Something I read this morning set me to looking for info on the levels of US debt (modern day). Nothing comes close to the WWII levels. But the problem as I understand it is not today’s debt as much as where it’s projected to go.
There are a number of fixes floating out there*, but most of them involve taxes – it seems however, that while we weren’t looking an amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed saying “thou shalt never discuss taxes unless they are being lowered sayeth someone”.
But look at this. And look at the years – the only years – the debt went up. It’s so friggin’ obvious and yet rarely makes it into the conversation.
UPDATE: Re those ‘small fixes’. Just reading an article by Steven Pearlstein, business writer at The Washington Post, who addresses this very issue today. He proposes a partnership to address both tax increases and spending reductions.
One of his suggestions is also one of my favorite talking points on this subject:
— Raise the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare by one month for each two-month increase in average life expectancy. At the same time, slowly reduce the cost of living increases on Social Security benefits for wealthy seniors (couples, say, with income over $100,000) while slowly increasing their Medicare premiums. Everyone else’s benefits would remain untouched.
Another of my favorites:
— Reduce the Social Security payroll tax slightly to 12 percent and over time impose it on wages and salary up to $150,000, up from the current cap of about $110,000. Raise the Medicare payroll tax slightly, to 3 percent, and apply it to all income.
Of course, he’s proposing other stuff I don’t like, but the whole thing is worth a read.