So was catching up on some missed tv via online streaming, and had to sit through those mandatory ads they make you watch before you can get to what you really want to see. However, one particular ad was interesting; interesting enough for me to actually follow the link. It’s called Vote Our Future, and while I’m pretty sure it’s a right-wing-based sponsor, it had the most effective pitch I’ve seen this year – one that, if it gets out there, could really have an impact. The site and ads are directed at 20-somethings, and the whole concept is that the older generation is screwing the younger generation by refusing to deal with the debt/Medicare/Social Security crisis now and instead dumping on future generations. Sure, that’s what politicians have always done, but it looks like things are finally reaching a tipping point, and this site is attempting to make its demographic target sit up and take notice. And the 20-somethings should, because no matter which way the site itself leans, their message is correct.
Saving Social Security and Medicare are central topics to both Presidential campaigns, and both claim they can fix it, but I don’t believe either one because I don’t think these programs can be saved without changing some of their basic tenets. Per multiple sources (I’ll put two here: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258 and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/budget-2010/), these social programs eat up twice as much as the defense budget (and cutting the defense budget is a whole ‘nother blog, and can be done rather easily if it’s done by what’s not really needed vs. what’s not politically acceptable). There’s no way to save them and keep us from going bankrupt without reducing what’s going out compared to what’s coming in. People are living much longer now are working much longer (and before anyone screams “easy for you to say,” my Dad is 90 and still does 20 hours a week at Lowes and enjoys it) and so the eligibility ages need to be increased to compensate. This is not to say people 3 or 4 years away from eligibility should be screwed, because that doesn’t give them enough time to plan, but I don’t feel raising the eligibility age to, say, 72 or 75 for everyone who is now age 45 or 48 is particularly punitive. They have decades to plan and save, and since they’ll be working longer, that’s also more payroll taxes going in to offset later expenditures.
Is this a perfect system? Nope, but guess what: in spite of what the candidates like to claim, THERE ISN’T ONE. People are going to have to sacrifice and adjust to a new reality, and IMHO, giving them a few decades to do so is the fairest possible way.