And while the cost of the war is considerable and causes me great worry (not least of all because of the proposal to impose a War Surtax), but there is an even bigger monkey on our fiscal backs: The elderly.
Robert J. Samuelson in the Washington Post today notes that
From 2000 to 2030, the 65-and-over population will roughly double, from 35 million to 72 million, or from about 12 percent of the population to nearly 20 percent. Spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- three big programs that serve the elderly -- already represents more than 40 percent of the federal budget. In 2006, these three programs cost $1.1 trillion, more than twice defense spending. Left on automatic pilot, these programs are plausibly projected to grow to about 75 percent of the present budget by 2030. [emphasis added]So forget about the paltry War on Terror, our War on Death is costing us more than twice as much, and it is exepected only to get more expensive. Add to that the drive for Universal Health Care, and we can expect those elderly to live even longer. Once the Death tax comes back, these longer living seniors are going to use up their estates instead of leave it to us younger, better looking descendants. The picture is dire indeed.
Analogizing from our dear Speaker's remarks regarding the war on terror, we have only three choices to avoid these staggering deficits:
- Institute a draft. It is politically inviable to force people to be nursing home attendants. I have always opposed this measure
- Tax our people to support this program, so the true cost hits home. I always and with all my might oppose any tax increases whatsoever
- End our engagement with the War on Death because it is too costly.
Oh you aren't willing to do that to save on our deficit problems? Then please don't use the rhetoric of the fiscal conservative as a rationale to end the war.
*Please note: my actual suggestions for Social Security are not so draconian as those above, but I suggest them to make a point.
Note further: I do actually see the distinction between funding a campaign that creates death and has little to do with national interests anymore and a program that purportedly enhances the quality of life of certain citizens of this country. But you will forgive me if I am a little resentful at the prospect spending most of my working career funding the retirement of a generation that perfected the art of living beyond their means. I'll gladly stop whining once I am allowed opt out, which I promptly will.