Monday, February 26, 2007

A Contrarian View

New York actuary, David Langer, adds his voice to the chorus of others like economist Dean Baker who've tried and tried to provide some desperately needed perspective in the "entitlement reform" campaign. The Christian Science Monitor wrote today about Langer's view that now is the time to improve benefits...not cut them.

"The New York actuary's opinion runs contrary to the standard view in Washington. Both conservatives and liberals tend to talk about how to "reform" the system by trimming its long-term costs. Otherwise, it's argued, the cost of benefit payments from Social Security and Medicare will become overwhelming as baby boomers retire. By contrast, Mr. Langer urges making Social Security benefits much more generous to provide safe and adequate pensions, even if payroll taxes must rise."

In other words, we can afford an aging population if we'll only confront our long-term funding issues honestly without a crisis mentality.

"Kogan wants to make clear that there is no general "entitlement crisis." Medicare and Medicaid costs are growing rapidly as healthcare costs escalate."

We can't continue to ignore the tougher issue of healthcare reform (which might hurt insurers' bottom line) in favor of benefits cuts (which certainly hurts seniors and their families)under the guise of "entitlement reform". The goal should be strengthening Social Security and Medicare, not cutting these programs just as we need them most.

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