New York (CNNMoney) - As the fiscal cliff nears, the question remains whether policy makers will meaningfully address the biggest drivers of the national debt: Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.
Experts say it's unlikely they will ... at least not in the next few weeks. The two sides have vastly different views on health care, with Democrats looking to avoid benefit cuts and Republicans focused on limiting the federal government's liability.
Let all the tax cuts expire. They have been used too many times to take the entire nation hostage - by the Republican House. That will shut them up for awhile. And maybe then they will be willing to work more than 3 days a month.
In my book, entitlement reform and defense spending reform are inseperable.
As a democrat, I oppose ANY reform to Social Security. SSI is not running a deficit. Congress needs to stop using it as their personal penny bank. There are ways to sustain the program for many more decades. Now on another note, Medicare does need to be reformed. There is far too much waste and fraud in the system. One solution is to get more seniors on Medicare Advantage Plans rather than on traditional Medicare. Reimbursement rates to providers needs to be lowered. I know this because as a medical biller I see that Medicare pays out far too much for procedures that commercial insurances nickel and dime you over. That has got to stop. We need to make cuts to the defense budget. Plain and simple. Last and and certainly not least, taxes must be raised on the top 2%. Not now, but RIGHT NOW!!!
Please do not send the SS to the people who come to USA from other nations who did not contribute a dime into SS and Medicare. India is number one cheat on this. They take citizenship and go to India live happily ever after, thus story ends. The end. Pass strict IMMIGRATION LAWS TO INDIA, number one cheat in the entire world.
The big budget in the room to look at is Defense. The U.S. Spends more money on defense on an annual basis than the next largest 10 nations COMBINED. I somehow find it hard to believe we value such largesse for war making equipment that we'll never use over the retirement benefits and health of our seniors.
Next, let's also examine the practice of providing gross tax cuts to the wealthy. Remember, these were started under the Bush Administration as a temporary means to remove the then existing budget surplus that had built up under the Clinton Administration. I think it safe to say the surplus is long gone, the rich don't need the tax cuts they have, and there are far greater needs in America and in the American budget.
Perhaps instead of using the arcain self-sustaining budget methodology we currently employ to fund the so-called entitlements, we could have a more honest discussion about how our tax dollars get spent if these items became line items in an annual budget.
#1. Reduce our legislators pay to about $50k per year or a percentage of the GDP. #2. Pull out of Afghanistan immediately, if they blow themselves to pieces, too bad. #3. Stop all loopholes and subsidies to billion dollar corporations. #4. End Bush tax cuts for over $300k. #5. Locate and stop all excessive military spending (each base doesn't need flat screen TVs in their break rooms....) #6. Agree on entitlement cutbacks. Oh wait, this is the good ol' USA, none of this will never happen! We are all screwed!
Social Security is in trouble but just not as far along as Medicare and Medicare. Medicare is now going through some of the changes that had been talked about as possible. This month a test previously paid for by Medicare was denied by "the board" after it had already been performed. Medicare told my wife that we wouldn't have to pay for it, but the local community hospital shouldn't have to bear the cost of it. So, the rationing and Doctors leaving the Medicare program has already started.