Monday, December 24, 2012

Lumping Social Security and Medicare together rhetorically - a common trick of Social Security opponents

Jason Linkins makes an important point about Social Security and Medicare in an article about the Biden-Ryan debates during the Presidential campaign in Joe Biden Knows That A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure: The 2012 Speculatron Weekly Roundup For Oct. 12 Huffington Post 10/13/2012. Moderator Martha Raddatz said in one question that Social Security and Medicare are "going broke." This conflation of Medicare and Social Security is a common trick of Social Security opponents. As Linkins explains:

Her framing of Social Security and Medicare as "going broke" is incorrect and doesn't even require a "liberal economist" to get out of bed to critique it. The very conflation of the two programs, in this context, remains a perennial error of media professionals. Medicare is the more difficult nut to crack, because it features a complicated array of inputs and outputs, there's rising longevity in the population, and the overall cost of health care is escalating. But it's not going broke -- in fact, the Obama administration added eight years of solvency to the system (which Romney wants to take away).

Social Security, on the other hand, is neither "going broke" nor a complicated fix -- raise or remove the income caps on contribution, and you provide solvency. It's a little system we like to call the "Make Alex Rodriguez Pay More Social Security (And Make The New York Yankees Match) Plan," and it's elegant in its simplicity. All we really need to preserve Social Security is some of those brave-talkin' legislators who always pound on and on about needing to make "the tough choice" to show up for work one day and prove they are what they say they are. [my emphasis]
And Medicare's financial problem is not about some flaw in its design. It's part of the larger problem of health-care costs that are taking an increasing percentage of the GDP.

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments: