Congress will begin debate this month on the President’s sixth debt limit increase in his five years in office. The need to strengthen and secure entitlement programs for the future is greater than ever. Instead of refusing to negotiate, the President should accept that our country can no longer avoid a bipartisan agreement to reform entitlements.
If he is unwilling to seriously deal with our country’s debt, Congress is left with little choice but to use the debt limit to force him into fiscal solutions. Our spending status quo is not sustainable.
Spending Squeezed by Entitlements
In September, CBO reported that in the long-term, defense, education, infrastructure and all other discretionary spending will be squeezed by entitlement programs and interest on the debt.
Over the next 75 years, discretionary spending will decrease by 39 percent. Medicare increases by 213 percent; Medicaid and other health spending increases by 159 percent; and interest on the debt increases by 823 percent. Social Security rises by just 37 percent, but only because CBO assumes benefits will be cut drastically in 2033 when the program’s trust fund runs dry.
The President recently spoke out against making cuts to discretionary areas of spending. He failed to mention that by refusing to make changes to entitlement programs, he is guaranteeing that these “investments,” as he calls them, will continue to shrink.
Americans Deserve the Truth
Entitlement reform is needed not only to preserve other federal spending, but in order to slow our ever-expanding debt. President Obama has bragged that he is no longer racking up deficits at the record-setting pace he set for four years. But CBO predicts deficits will soon start rising again unless reforms are made now.
Deficits Increase Again Starting in 2016
as a percentage of GDP
The President prefers to deceive the American people about the debt, so Republicans should take steps to make clear to the public just how bad the Obama debt is. This could include things like putting national debt and budget information on various government notices that Americans already get, e.g., Social Security statements, applications for federal benefits, naturalization information.
Without real reform, our debt will continue to grow, and our entitlements will take over the federal budget completely. The American people deserve to hear about the tough choices they and their elected representatives need to make.