In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning, the much vilified but absolutely correct Charles G. Koch laid down the gauntlet on entitlement reform. He wrote:
The unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already exceed $106 trillion. That’s well over $300,000 for every man, woman and child in America (and exceeds the combined value of every U.S. bank account, stock certificate, building and piece of personal or public property).
If that isn’t enough to make you sit up and listen, it’s already too late. But, one of the good things about entitlement obligations is that these are promises Americans have made to themselves, and so they can be altered, reduced or broken if necessary without harming the country’s international standing (unlike a defaulting on the national debt).
Republican leadership didn’t even make a pass at entitlement reform in their budget proposal for the year, instead saving the debate for the next year’s budget. There is only one reality regarding Social Security and Medicare reform: the age at which Americans can receive benefits is going to have to go up for future enrollees. The Democrats have their heads buried deep in the sand regarding entitlement reform. They are hoping that the economy will miraculously rebound in line with the pie-in-the-sky projections in the president’s budget proposal, thereby pulling the country out of the deep deficits it is running. For a saddening look at the malfeasance of your government, look no further than the Senate’s Active Legislation web page. Do you see anyone working on Social Security reform, Medicare reform or Medicaid reform?
Instead of pursuing entitlement reform, the president has been busy with the EPA generating ways to tax and limit carbon emissions. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming has had to spend his legislative time and energy on a piece of law that limits the EPA from doing what it should already not be allowed to do. How’s that for government efficiency?
Americans face an activist executive branch, willing to bend/break the rules to get its way. Furthermore the opposition leadership is headed by RINOs and neo-cons who must be flushed out before any real progress can be made. These groups would rather use wedge issues to gain political power and enrich their friends than to spend time on the substantive matters of reform needed to stop the country from heading off the cliff. Mr. Wedge Issue himself, Karl Rove, has planned on spending $120 million in the next election to make sure his candidate wins. His campaign funding groups, founded with Ed Gillespie, named American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, are sucking up dollars from the neo-con and RINO fundraisers that are frightened as hell of the Tea Party movement and are bent on co-opting the power in it.
It is high time for presidential candidates on the GOP side to start drawing a line between themselves and the failed neo-con policies of the past. Endless wars, occupations of countries, and handing out benefits to friends in certain industries must end. It’s easy to knock liberals for their special interest giveaways, and there are a lot of them, but the GOP must clean its own house before it can take the reins of government.
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