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Too Much Time In Washington

Neil Macdonald of CBC News reports on US politics: Debt and insensibility in modern-day America

House Speaker John Boehner, addressing the Economic Club of New York this week, repeated the Republican sacrament that the debt can and will be conquered without a penny of new taxes.

Republicans consider Americans, the most lightly taxed citizenry in the developed world, to be terribly overtaxed already.

Despite near-consensus among economists (and even moderate Republicans) that only a combination of higher taxes and spending cuts can even begin to solve the mess, Boehner told his audience that that is just a myth.

Massive spending cuts and entrenching low tax cuts permanently, goes the Republican argument, will somehow goose such wild economic growth that government revenues will gush in and all will be well again.

Every economist here knows nothing can really be accomplished until the so-called “entitlements” — Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid — are brought under control.

Those programs are set to balloon by trillions of dollars and are severely underfunded.

He started out so well, but then he just had to “balance” the unkind things he said about Republicans by finding fault with the Democrats. I would like to see the names of the economists who are so concerned with “entitlements” that they don’t know that Medicare and Social Security have nothing to do with the Medicaid program or the budget.

Medicaid is different in each state, and the Federal government provides matching funds. The states are cutting their Medicaid programs, so the Federal cost will also go down without any action by Congress. A competent economist would know that.

Given that the Social Security Trust Fund has trillions of dollars in it, it would appear that the program administrators knew that the money would be needed.