Budget deal avoids future shutdowns, entitlements | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Budget deal avoids future shutdowns, entitlements

Posted: December 17, 2013 - 11:15am

Last Sunday’s news-talk programs were applauding the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Most were trumpeting the fact that the deal will avoid the possibility of government shutdowns for two years. Then what?

Well, none of the “experts” were addressing the seriousness of the real budgetary difficulties that few politicians are willing to tackle for fear they would be thrown out of office. After all, getting re-elected is far more important to senators and representatives than problem solving.

Retiring baby boomers will strain Social Security and Medicare to the breaking point. Let’s face it, Democrats won’t cut retiree benefits and Republicans nix tax hikes to compensate for the entitlement shortfalls that are anticipated in the next 10 years.

The Ryan-Murray budget deal only addressed the 36 percent of the nation’s budget that includes defense spending, school lunch programs, environmental concerns and farm subsidies.

Why are members of Congress afraid to be honest with their constituents? America’s aging population would bury any candidate that would dare to be honest and point to a bleak future for the social programs seniors have become dependent upon to survive their “golden years.”

Well, if the retirement age is not raised in the next few years to 70, the cost of living raises that have been automatic are not curtailed, and the crushing numbers of people qualifying for disability under Social Security is drastically limited the programs will fall on hard times. As of Dec. 16, 2013, the Social Security liability is $16.7 trillion, the prescription drug liability is $22.2 trillion and Medicare’s liability is $88.1 trillion. That’s a total liability of $127 trillion.

That’s unsustainable. Of that amount $127 trillion is unfunded.

These entitlements are 64 percent of our nation’s annual budget. There is no way to sustain this strain on our nation’s economy and continue to support an aging populace. Solution? Deal with the problems before the system collapses under the sheer weight of the debt.