Publicado el 10-01-2012
The National Debt,
Social Security and
Medicare in the Debates
Everyone agrees that the economy will be one of the most important issues in the three presidential debates that will be held this month, as well as in the vice-presidential debate of October 11th.
According to reports on national television this Monday, right now all revenues of the federal government go to pay Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits as well as interest on the debt. In other words, other federal expenses such as funds to pay for the war in Afghanistan, education, public words, etc., are borrowed from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other countries that buy U.S. Treasure Bonds which, logically, increases the amount of interest as the debt of almost $16 trillion continues to grow.
From January to August, 2012, the U.S. government had paid $343,095,816,534.41. Interest for the month of August was $20,045,169,656.99. These amounts are staggering for any economy.
The situation will not improve unless something is done, and soon. The federal government has to begin by approving a balanced budget every year and presenting a permanent program to reduce the national debt and another to modify the Social Security and Medicare programs.
Logically, retirees over sixty-five years old are scared about the possibility of seeing their Social Security and Medicare benefits affected. They rightly say that they contributed during their working years to receive these benefits. But, the truth is that life expectancy for Americans was around seventy-two years when Social Security began. Now, with new medical treatments, life expectancy is much higher and it could be said that older retirees have already received much more in benefits than what they paid. The programs are supported by the payments of the younger workers and, because of the high unemployment rate, the government now receives less and less money every month to cover the cost of the programs. It is a question of simple arithmetic.
Regardless of which candidate wins in November, something will have to be done to change these entitlement programs trying, of course, not to affect those older than sixty-five who are retired but establishing a new system for the future. And this must be clearly explained, with reasons, by both candidates during the debates.