August 9 2011

Entitlement Reform Is the Key for Restoring AAA Rating

Carrie L. Lukas

Attempts to blame the credit downgrade on the Tea Party, or even the recent debt ceiling debate, are wishful thinking. Americans shouldn't be fooled into thinking that the solution to our perilous position is so easy as just getting Congress in line to rubber stamp future debt ceiling increases or silence Tea Partiers who question if the federal spending party can continue.

Indeed, as National Review details, the S&P explicitly fingers runaway entitlement spending as the primary cause of our downgrade and the greatest threat to America's long-term financial health.

And it is changes to entitlement reform that the President and his party have rounded rejected. It's not the Tea Party, but the President and Democratic Congress who have taken the ostrich-approach to our financial problems and completely failed to offer any meaningful budget plans for how to get our fiscal house in order and reduce the long-term debt.

If the President wants to show he is serious about assuring the world that the U.S. is up to the task of bringing down our long-term debt, he should push for serious Social Security reform, as quickly as possible. I write about the issue in IWF's latest Policy Focus and explain why Social Security's problems are straightforward, and that there are common sense ways to bring down the program's future costs, without impacting those who depend on Social Security.

It's wishful thinking I know. Real Presidential leadership is required, and it seems unlikely to come from this White House.

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