REAL ISSUES

What Obama (and GOP) Didn’t Say

January 27, 2011

Rick Moran, FrontPage Magazine

What Obama (and Republicans) Didn’t Say

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Neither party is telling the American people the truth about the coming entitlement crunch which threatens not only our fiscal solvency, but our national security, our economic vitality, and ultimately, our way of life.

Our unfunded-entitlement train is careening down the tracks about to tip over, but the conductor is lecturing us about staying in our seats until we come to a full stop.

That, among other things, was one of the important problems with the president’s State of the Union speech. It was also what was wrong with the GOP response delivered by Rep. Paul Ryan. Neither party is telling the American people the truth about the coming entitlement crunch which threatens not only our fiscal solvency, but our national security, our economic vitality, and ultimately, our way of life. Every year we delay the bitter medicine we must take to get our fiscal house in order adds trillions in unfunded debt to the entitlement burden we already carry.

We expected President Obama to downplay the problem. He’s got a re-election campaign to win and the hugely unpopular entitlement cuts and tax increases that are going to be necessary to address the problem would be his doom if he proposed them. There were exactly two paragraphs in the president’s speech that dealt with this nation-threatening crisis – as if it should be treated as an afterthought rather than as the 3-alarm fire it is. What’s worse, the president made it seem as if fixing our entitlement problems will be a lot easier than it is surely going to be.

He claimed that Obamacare would “slow these rising costs” for Medicare – an extremely dubious claim unproven by the facts – while assuring seniors that we must “strengthen” Social Security without “putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”

In other words, some day in the future, a president is going to wave a magic wand and the trillions of dollars of Social Security unfunded liability is going to disappear. No one suffers. No one gets hurt. Presumably, the “rich” will take a hit, but then no one really cares about them.

Newsflash: All the easy fixes for our entitlement nightmare have already been tried several times. We’ve raised the retirement age, raised the eligibility age forMedicare, raised Social Security and Medicare taxes – doubling them over the last 30 years. We’ve fiddled, we’ve tweaked, we’ve performed all the dishonest accounting possible, hiding the truth from the American people for as long as we could, and yet – here we are at the gates of fiscal hell, the devil is opening the door and there’s nowhere to run.

Meanwhile, the GOP is riding high at the moment and doesn’t want to sour the mood of the voters with blood curdling tales of $100 trillion plus in unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare. But that’s the reality of our situation and someone, somewhere, somehow is going to have to take the bit in their mouth and lead us out of this house of horrors we’ve constructed for ourselves.

Rep. Ryan, whose “Roadmap” at least offered an alternative to business as usual, was strangely quiescent about the entitlement mess. Not once in his response to the president’s speech did he mention Social Security or Medicare. Ryan at least had the courage to point out that we were in a major crisis headed for fiscal disaster, but the man who has offered a politically poisonous but realistic alternative stopped far short of endorsing what he so bravely put forth just a few months ago.

Cosmetic gambits like “spending freezes” and “doc fixes” can’t even begin to address the danger. This is political gamesmanship and it should anger us that the politicians know it but do it anyway. It’s not that the crisis is hidden, or has come upon us suddenly. We’ve known for decades where we were headed, but Washington chose the easy way: the politicians ignored the problem, kicking the can down the road, assuming they would be well into retirement — living off their extravagant congressional pensions — before history forced our hand.

Short URL: http://realissues.us/?p=1878

Posted by on Jan 27 2011. Filed under Jobs/Economy, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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