The U.S. is barreling directly toward a Greece-style financial crisis complete with a sovereign debt downgrade, a currency crisis, and double-dip recession. It is a threat to every man, woman, and child in America.
There is a direct connection between the federal debt and the imminent financial crisis. Reducing the current and projected debt has to be the top priority for any serious federal policymaker.
The burgeoning debt we are faced with stems directly from the broken entitlement programs. Social Security is bleeding red ink and will not survive to the next generation. Medicare will implode financially while failing to meet the legitimate health needs of seniors. Medicaid is in worse shape, providing substandard care right now and still dragging down both federal and state budgets. And the “Affordable” Care Act is anything but; it will merely provide the budgetary exclamation point to the failure of the social safety net.
Put simply, the status quo entitlement programs will be a disservice to their intended beneficiaries, feed the bloated debt bomb, and fuel an economic disaster. Reform of entitlement programs must be the number one issue.
So, one would expect that entitlement reforms would be at the center of the debt-ceiling negotiations. Wrong.
Instead, raising the debt ceiling is imperiled. President Obama will only talk about raising taxes when revenues are the furthest from the issue at hand. Raising taxes will not solve the problem, and President Obama has already proven it. His 2012 budget contained all the tax increases his imagination could muster. The result? A debt spiral and predictable crisis inside of one decade.
Entitlement reform is off the table and the focus is on a tax strategy that is a proven failure.
This is leadership? Really?
— Douglas Holtz-Eakin is president of the American Action Forum. His Twitter handle is @djheakin.