“What is the difference between squirrels and members of Congress?” asks columnist Tony Blankley, who answers his own question: “Squirrels make provision for the future.”
“If the current responses to fixing Social Security and Medicare by senators and congressmen — both Republican and Democrat — are any indication,” Blankley continues, “we might want to consider electing squirrels to Congress rather than humans.”
Without prompt reform, Blankley writes, Social Security is in dire trouble. Baby boomers may end up receiving only 72 cents on the dollar of what they have been promised: “That is all the existing law promises when the revenues fall short.”
Congressional representatives from both parties have been equally pusillanimous, and there is now an emerging consensus that nothing is going to happen with regard to Social Security this year or next. The Democrat solution to the impending Social Security mess is denial:
“Democrats are wandering around Washington proudly bragging that they have never been more united than they are now to kill any Republican-supported Social Security proposal. They note with pride that they are ahead of where the Republicans were in 1993 in their successful project to kill Hillary Care.
“To the extent that they have a policy argument, it is that Social Security is not in any trouble that a modest little tax increase can’t solve….As the unfunded Social Security liability is $3.7 trillion (over 70 years), the little tax increase would, by definition be at least $3.7 trillion.”
The Republican approach is more squirrel-like:
“Give it to the Republicans,” writes Blankley, “like good squirrels they are providing for their own future re-elections, by refusing to support or fight for the financial retirement future of the general population. There is admittedly some risk to about one in 10 Republican members of the House that they might lose re-election if they support an unpopular bill. But even many members in safe districts are taking no chances in supporting reform.”
It would be possible to fix Social Security at a fairly late date if it were the only retirement-related program in need of drastic repair. But that is not the case:
“If the Social Security financial wave that will hit us is a scary 25-foot wave of water, the Medicare wave will be something the wrathful Old Testament God would send if he was in an apocalyptic mood. Think in terms of Noah — or worse.”
Unless Congress changes its ways, Blankley has some essential advice for the boomers who’ll be retiring in years to come: Don’t get sick.