If you are on a pleasant walk and someone comes out of nowhere to demand that you stop and turn around, you may regard him as an unwelcome interloper. Until, that is, you learn that he’s saving you from going over a cliff. In that case, you might realize that a real friend is someone who tells you the truth even when it isn’t welcome.
That’s the position of Paul Ryan as he undergoes a frenzy of flagellation from Democrats outraged by his Medicare plan. President Barack Obama’s campaign has a new ad accusing Ryan and Mitt Romney of a scheme “ending Medicare as we know it.” But the real enemy of Medicare “as we know it” is not Ryan. It’s arithmetic.
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Medicare is the second biggest item in the entire federal budget and one of the fastest growing. Over the past 30 years, its cost has doubled as a share of our gross domestic product, and over the next 30, it’s on track to double again.
But the revenues that pay for it are not keeping pace. The Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund is expected to run out of money by 2024.
At the rate we’re going, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest payments will consume the entire federal budget by 2025—leaving nothing for defense, law enforcement, national parks, highways, food stamps and all the other responsibilities the government is supposed to handle. Either drastic spending cuts or staggering tax increases would be needed.
Read More at reason.com. By Steve Chapman.