‘No pain, no gain’ 

How considerate of Republicans to propose balancing the bloated federal deficit on the frail shoulders of seniors. From a April 5 Kaiser Family Foundation report: “According to the (Congressional Budget Office) analysis, the total cost of providing health care benefits (premium and other costs) to a typical 65-year-old in a private plan would be about $20,500 in 2022. The government would contribute $8,000 or 39 percent toward the total cost, and the remaining $12,500 would be paid by the beneficiary. The CBO projects that out-of-pocket costs for the typical 65-year-old would be more than twice as large under the proposal as under traditional Medicare ($5,630) in 2022, because the cost of providing benefits is greater under private plans than under traditional Medicare.” Worse yet, the proposal limits future government contributions to the inflation rate, while medical inflation has historically averaged 6 percent above the Consumer Price Index. Dumb and dumber.

Despite the media’s hysterical shrieking, federal spending last year (23.8 percent of GDP) was precisely .3 percent of GDP higher than in 1983 (and far below the vast majority of industrial nations). David Stockman (Reagan’s budget director), noted that federal spending in 1986 was 24 percent of GNP compared to a pre- 1980 norm of about 20 percent. Why? Because the White House has no semblance of a program or political will to spend any less. The politicians who had warned and feared that the Reagan Revolution would end up a fiscal fiasco forced the administration to raise taxes four times between 1982 and 1986, including increasing payroll taxes from 9.5 to 11.8 percent of income.

Deficits have skyrocketed because politicians keep handing out tax cuts to bribe taxpayers (47 percent are not paying a dime of income tax), with revenues down to 14.4 percent of GDP (the last time they were lower was in 1943), and 6.2 percent of GDP below 2000 (a surplus of $236 billion).

Medicare is in trouble because private sector costs are out of control; the free market solution would be to eliminate the $3.6 trillion tax subsidy over the next decade (four times the cost of so-called Obamacare) to the 59 percent of the population covered by employer insurance, a system which Sen. Tom Coburn said “discriminates against low-income Americans; wealthy Americans receive $2,680 in tax breaks for health care while the poorest Americans only receive $102.26.” No pain, no gain.

—D.W. Tiffee

Tiffee ran as an independent for U.S. Congress in 1994.

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