The U.S. government debt is rising, and curbing discretionary spending will never be sufficient to change that trajectory.
That's why anyone—Left or Right—who is serious about controlling government costs and stopping the accumulation of debt has to be ready to reform our entitlement programs. This is not only important because it's irresponsible to continue piling on an unpayable debt that will have to be shouldered by future generations, but also because the nation needs to be able to have resources for other needs, from addressing natural disasters to supporting the military to improving our infrastructure.
Too many politicians have shied away from this issue, assuming that Americans will recoil from any conversation that acknowledges that we can't afford to pay all the Social Security retirement benefits that have been promised to future workers. Yet Representative Sam Johnson stands out for having developed legislation that would put Social Security on a fiscally sustainable debt. That's a pretty impressive policy package and shows real political courage.
That's a great place to start the conversation about what Social Security reform could look like. Read IWF's new policy focus to learn more.
People may decide that they want a different mix of changes to Social Security's structure, but it's time for our political leaders to acknowledge that something needs to be done to change our current tragectory. Postponing reform won't make the problem go away; it will only make solving it more difficult.