Ensuring Medicare and Social Security Remain Available for Future Generations
May 4, 2012 -
Last month, Medicare and Social Security trustees released their annual reports confirming what most Americans already know – unless changes are made soon, both of these programs are headed toward bankruptcy. Trustees predict that Medicare will go broke in 2024, Social Security Disability Insurance in 2016, and Social Security in 2033.
There is no question that our nation faces a fiscal crisis. Social Security and Medicare currently account for nearly half of all federal spending and continue growing each year. If we are going to get our fiscal house in order we cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend these programs can continue on their current paths. Social Security and Medicare will not be available for future retirees unless reforms are made.
Earlier this year, President Obama had an opportunity to address our nation’s biggest fiscal challenges in his annual budget proposal. However, he refused to propose any reforms to these programs and instead chose to add more than $11 trillion to our national debt in coming years - in spite of raising taxes on hard working Americans by nearly $2 trillion.
Americans, whether current retirees counting on their benefit check to meet living expenses, disabled Americans who are unable to work, or younger and middle-age Americans who are paying into the current system, are counting on Medicare and Social Security to be there in the future.
Republicans in the House of Representatives recognize the need to reform these programs, make them solvent and ensure they are available for future generations. In March of this year, I voted in favor of the Republican budget known as the Path to Prosperity. This budget takes on the true drivers of our debt, programs that run on autopilot growing each year, and strengthening them so they are available for future generations.
Our budget guarantees that benefits are not reduced or changed for those in or near retirement. America must honor its commitment to those who have worked hard and paid into the current system – the rules suddenly cannot change for those in or near retirement. It preserves the safety net for those who most rely on these programs, including those with disabilities. Lastly, it ensures these programs are solvent long-term, rather than leaving the promise of these programs in doubt and placing an even heavier burden on our children.
Americans know we face difficult choices in these challenging economic times. Reforming these programs will not be easy and will require real leadership. But reforms must be made before these programs go bankrupt. We must ensure Medicare and Social Security are available for our children, grandchildren, and future generations.