The right-wing conservatives in Congress have Social Security and Medicare in their sights. They are once again threatening to hold our economy hostage. Since they failed to extract draconian benefits cuts in the recently negotiated “fiscal cliff” deal, they are threatening to refuse to lift the debt ceiling and demanding Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cuts.
Our economic problems are not caused by overly generous Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Social Security has not added one dime to the deficit. We do have a projected budget imbalance over the long term that is driven by heath care cost growth, but the solution is to make the health care system more efficient, not shift costs to the beneficiaries. If Congress was serious about reducing the debt, they would not be demanding wasteful tax cuts for corporations and the richest 2 percent of Americans that explode the deficit.
Conservatives in Congress want to make the next two months a fight over how much to cut vital programs to reduce the deficit and they plan on holding raising the debt ceiling hostage to get what they want. This tactic will prevent the government from paying the bills we already owe and will destroy our fragile economy. Our side needs to make the opposite case, that we need a lot more revenue to grow the economy, create jobs and achieve balanced deficit reduction. Clearly, there is a lot of work to do.