When I turned 30 back in 1999, I wondered if I would have enough money saved in my various investments (401k, IRAs, annuities, etc.) to retire comfortably. When I turned 40 back in April, I still wondered if I’d have enough money saved with the added worry if I’d even have a job to make it to retirement. Then this bit of cheery news comes out today regarding the shortfalls for Social Security and Medicare. According to the article, Social Security will start paying out more than it takes in starting in 2016 (which seems to be standard operating procedure for this new administration—paying out more than it takes in) and that Medicare will be insolvent by 2017.
This should come as no surprise to anyone that has followed this story for the last 20 years, but rest assured in the words of Rahm Emanuel, “We should never let a good crisis go to waste.” I’m sure that the Obama administration will spin this to their advantage to push for more government control of the health care industry—it’s because of them and their audacity to want to make a profit that we are in this mess, or so the administration’s reasoning goes. In addition, I’m sure that they will claim that the shortfall in the collection in social security taxes has nothing to do with the high unemployment rates or declining wages, rather they will say that it is because the rich don’t pay enough in taxes.
Maybe I’m just a little cynical, but I can see the day when healthcare is rationed by the government because it costs too much (no doubt due to the layers of government bureaucracy that will be required to administer the system), and when your guaranteed social security benefit is modified (read reduced) because the government can’t meet its obligations. And if you think this can’t happen because you paid into the system and are entitled to your benefit, just look to see what the government did to Chrysler’s creditors and see what leg you have to stand on.