In what appears to be a frontal assault on the notion of fiscal prudence, Michael Hiltzik argues that Social Security and Medicare are just fine, and that even if they weren't, it doesn't matter because nobody can predict the future. Have defenders of the status quo sunk to this level of reasoning? Should the U.S. stop trying to anticipate and prepare for clearly observable trends and just sort of "go with the flow"?
It's this kind of thinking — for example, not knowing or caring in the 1930s that Social Security's surpluses would turn into gargantuan deficits as the population aged — that has put us onto our current collision course with national insolvency.
Which probably doesn't bother Hiltzik because he believes the problem doesn't exist. Try telling that to the Greeks.
Marina del Rey
Hiltzik is a must-read at our house. His most recent column is definitely so.
The fear-mongering about Social Security and Medicare is a sure-fire subject for pundits, especially on the right. Hiltzik's logical and common-sense approach to the subject is not only refreshing, it also has real merit. It exposes the foolish panic of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and all the others negotiating with President Obama for what it is — a rash conclusion, as far as these programs are concerned.
Are these lawmakers really troubled about the fate of these programs, or is this just another ploy to gain the upper hand?
Hiltzik states that "we are talking about conditions that are 20, or even 70 years away, and nobody knows what's in the future." Would he say the same about global warming? Climate models show what will be in the future, but we have to prepare now. It's the same for the "fiscal cliff."
If we don't prepare for the future, a huge wave of insolvency will rise over us and wash us away.