Saturday, January 13, 2007

Robert Kuttner on Social Security, Medicare

He has a great piece in the Globe today, so he can do the talking for once.

Consider first the roots of today's budget imbalance. After 12 years of tax cuts and deficits by Reagan and Bush I, the Clinton administration succeeded in balancing the budget and even produced surpluses. Bush II then came in and enacted more than $3 trillion worth of tax cuts, tilted to the top. It was a purely partisan assault, intended to reduce taxes paid by the wealthy and gut government's ability to address social needs.

So, why does it need a bipartisan solution -- with more cuts on the spending side? The remedy is as simple as the cause -- get rid of Bush's tax cuts, except for tax relief for those of moderate income. (Getting rid of his off-budget war would help, too.) End of budget problem.
He goes on to say that Medicare is a larger problem, but not a crisis. The cure, he says, would be universal health insurance - where healthcare funds would go toward paying for that healthcare, not all the inefficiencies that exist in the American insurance system.

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