Robert Pear writes in the New York Times that the recession is draining Social Security and Medicare of funds faster than expected. If current trends continue, Medicare will be out of money by 2017 and Social Security by 2037.
The situation with Medicare is especially bad news, coming at a time when we’re finally on the edge of maybe enacting real health care reform. Medicare’s situation will be more ammunition the Right will use to protect the private health insurance industry.
My fear is that we’re looking at cascading system failures. Everything is breaking down at once, and we can’t fix this until we’ve fixed that, but because that is failing we lack the resources to address several other things, etc. Government may not have been drowned in the bathtub, but it lacks the strength to stand up and dry itself off.
It may be that it’s too late to pull the nation out of the pit it’s in, and that hardships are going to continue to pile up for the next few years. That’s a possibility I think we have to face.
I haven’t seen much discussion on the blogosphere about this yet. For the past couple of years discussion of the looming shortfalls of Social Security in particular were actively shouted down as a right-wing talking point and not a real problem. However, it always has been a real problem; just not a problem that a health economy and some tweaking of the income cap couldn’t fix in time to avoid disaster. Now, not so easy.
Well, if you find any commentary that sheds light on this situation, please let me know.