(Paul Jacob/Common Sense) – The essence of politics-as-usual is to promise the moon and bury any mention of costs.
This beggar-all promising has calcified into government policy. And we all get trapped in the web of promises that become law and then bureaucracy with “benefits” . . . as folks come to rely on those benefits. Damn the costs.
It’s politically untouchable. Though deeply insolvent, politicians and partisan activists of both parties whip voters into a frenzy each time the program gets targeted for the slightest cost-constraining reform.
How out of control is it?
According to a report by David Naither, for The Center for Public Integrity, “Medicare is a significant part of the reason the national debt is soaring. . . .” Millions rely on it as a “safety net” that protects them “from bankrupting medical bills. But since it’s an open-ended program — with no upper limit — the nation has no similar protection to keep Medicare from bankrupting the country.”
Naither is not just fear-mongering. The trends are clear. The program itself raises medical costs, Naither notes, and, as the Baby Boomers retire, it will have “more seniors to cover.” No wonder the program now outpaces Social Security growth; it could very well bulge past Social Security within 25 years.
If the country survives the added burden, that is.
There are reasons we need to reform the structure of politics. For politics-as-usual is throwing us into a deep, downward spiral.