People who are planning for retirement have to have an understanding of their projected income and expenses, so the future of programs for seniors like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are very relevant. Unless you’ve been incommunicado for the last several months you are aware of the fact that the federal budget is a matter of concern on Capitol Hill. When you look at the statistics these programs account for over a third of the annual expenditures, and as a result there are lawmakers calling for cuts in these programs.
These calls for fiscal responsibility are admirable, but there are certainly questions that many of those who would be affected by the cuts may ask. Sometimes things that are made to seem extremely complex can be simplified. Let’s say you paid into Social Security and Medicare for 40 years without receiving anything at all in return for your contributions. On the day that you receive your first Social Security check, why would this be an instance of deficit spending? This is a simple question that should perhaps be the starting point of the debate about cuts in these programs.
Yes it is true that baby boomers are expanding the Social Security roles and will be doing so for some time, but these massive numbers of Americans have been paying into the program for decades while receiving nothing in return. And, huge numbers of people pass away before they ever see a dime from Social Security or become qualified for Medicare benefits.
The Kaiser Family Foundation recently conducted a study in an effort to get a feel for public opinion with regard to spending cuts. 62% of Americans polled stated that they did not want to see any cuts to Social Security at all. 57% are against Medicare cuts, and half the respondents said they didn’t want to see any reductions in Medicaid spending.
There may well be a deficit problem in the United States, but the majority of the American people seem to feel as though it is a problem that should not be addressed through any reductions in these programs that our seniors have paid into all of their lives.