“The true threat to the social safety net”
by Paul Ryan, USA Today
Friday, September 10, 2010
The editorial debate on my reform plan "A Roadmap for America's Future" underscores the need for an adult conversation on tackling our nation's greatest fiscal and economic challenges ("One lonely plan in Congress highlights tough choices," Our view, Balancing the budget debate, Tuesday).
To be clear, the Roadmap reforms make no changes to Social Security and Medicare for those 55 and older, and offer future generations the same health and retirement security options I enjoy as a member of Congress. Your editorial's concern with the plan's perceived "carnage" misses the entire premise of entitlement reform: We are already on a crash course to collapse. Our critical social insurance programs are set to implode, inflicting real "carnage" on society's most vulnerable.
I put forward a plan to avert this perilous future with gradual, sensible reforms. The retirement age increase would not reach 70 until the next century. Benefits would continue to grow for all seniors, albeit on a more sustainable path for higher-income individuals set to retire over a decade from now. If we act now, we can protect and preserve these critical programs for those in and near retirement, while strengthening health and retirement security for future generations.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., argues in his opposing view that we can simply chase the explosive growth of government spending with ever-higher taxes (" 'More harm than good' "). You cannot tax your way out of this problem; the revenue cannot mathematically keep pace, and if you try, you'll kill the economy.
Democratic leaders eager to demagogue solutions while exacerbating the entitlement crisis advance a heartless disservice to seniors, the poor and future generations. The social safety net is in crisis and must be reformed to strengthen America's commitment to those most reliant on it. Should Washington continue to cling to the unsustainable status quo, a truly draconian future awaits.
The Roadmap is a plan for prosperity, not austerity. It serves as an invitation for my colleagues to offer solutions of their own to restore the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation.This article available online at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/letters/2010-09-10-letters10_ST1_N.htm