One of the first things that needs to be done is to rectify Medicare Part D's drug costs. When Republicans originally came up with Medicare Part D,they forgot to fund it (along with the two wars.) Right now, Big Pharma can charge whatever they please and Medicare pays it. So one piece of legislation that needs to happen is to allow Medicare to negotiate with Big Pharma for prices. Raising the Medicare age will accomplish nothing in terms of real savings, as younger seniors are generally healthier, yet it would be very harmful to those who are not. The provision of outcome based payments rather than per hospitalization or per test would go a long way to reducing costs.
Regarding health care costs in general, we should seriously consider going the single-payer route for all Americans (or stay insurance-based, but emulate Germany's program), which every other advanced nation has done. No other country on earth pays as much as we do for the exact same surgeries, hospitalizations or treatments. Despite what some may want to believe, these countries have better medical outcomes than we do. American no longer has the best medical care in the world. Last I checked, we ranked somewhere around 17th.
Another issue to tackle is Social Security. The best way to keep it solvent forever is to get rid of the Income Contribution cap, yet keep the cap on payouts.
There is no need to go into great detail on the next two items. Suffice it to sum it up in few words:
-End Corporate Welfare (End Subsidies to Big Oil and Big Pharma, Close Corporate Tax Loopholes, in particular, loopholes that reward the outsourcing of jobs.)
-End the War on Drugs.
Close at least 50 overseas bases that have been around since WW2 and have long outlived their usefulness other than to support the foreign economy in which they are situated. Stop insisting on building jets the military has said they do not want.
We now spend more on defense than any other nation in the world...combined. If we cut our military budget in half, we would still be spending more than twice as much on our military than China does. It is any wonder, then, that we are losing our prosperity to China? Let us get out of the middle east. We simply cannot afford to continue to be the policemen of the world. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words (and hundreds of billions of dollars):
Expect corporate owned politicians to do everything they can to blame, and attempt to raid, the Earned Benefits ("entitlements") of the American people, when the real problem lies with allowing corporations (economic power) to determine our fiscal policies. Their only allegiance is to their shareholders, not the American people, and will only further hurt us all in the long run. Despite the claims that we have the "highest corporate tax rate in the world", the truth is that the most profitable corporations have been paying ZERO corporate tax rates for years (and some less than that, due to receiving government subsidies), while others have paid, at most, 14%.
We need to think long-term. More than merely focusing on cuts, we still need to focus on the issue of bringing jobs back to America (which includes protecting American patents and and a more favorable trade agreement for the U.S.), raising the minimum wage, and investing in education and infrastructure so we can once again become an economic global leader. If we do these things, as well as the suggestions mentioned above, we will bring in more revenue and the deficit will eventually resolve itself.
The growing income disparity in our nation is one of the biggest threats to a full economic recovery. Never forget for a minute that a strong middle class is the engine of our economy.
Tags: social security medicare spending deficit jobs economy corporate taxes big oil big pharma seniors ronald reagan health care costs military department of defense earned benefits