A Simple Proposal
posted at 11:56 am on August 10, 2011 by Jorge Bonilla
Four days have passed since the S & P downgrade. No serious conversation over how to deal with our structural (or short-term) debt has taken place since then (except for one glaring exception), despite the fact that this was the main reason cited by S & P for issuing the downgrade…that, and Washington’s sclerosis in dealing with this existential matter.
What separates the United States from the rest of the world, and what affirms this Republic in its role as what President Reagan deemed “the greatest experiment in Man’s relation to Man” was (and still is) our ability to face an uncertain future with a great sense of optimism and individual responsibility, with a unique creativity born of the liberties endowed to us by our Creator, which we have enjoyed for generations.
Out of this love of our fundamental freedoms, as well as the desire to preserve these freedoms for future generations, is born a desire to submit a simple proposal.
I propose that Congress pass, and the President sign, legislation which would allow all Americans to choose whether to delay (or opt out of) their eligibility to receive transfer payments from such entitlement programs as Social Security and Medicare. Furthermore, I submit that individual citizens be allowed to voluntarily accept changes in their Medicare coverage as set forth in the Ryan plan.
We are fully capable of deciding, on our own, whether to delay individual entitlement eligibility to the age of 73, 78, or even 83. We are also capable of deciding whether to voluntarily submit to means testing, or to opt out of eligibility altogether. With the click of a mouse, we can bypass our dysfunctional Congress, and make individual contributions towards the elimination of our deep structural debt.
If enacted, such an initiative would allow these agencies to price these voluntary reductions and opt-outs into their forecasts, and could well wipe trillions from our structural balance sheets at a pace and scope far greater than Congress could ever achieve on its own.Furthermore, we could further the process of restoring the proper relationship between our government and its citizens, back to the balance intended by our Founders (as a matter of fact, it is clear that the dysfunction of this relationship is at the core of our debt and deficit woes).
There are those will pretend to see no daylight between this proposal, and progressive millionaires and billionaires’ repeated bleating in favor of tax increases. The main distinction is that those phonies can cut a check at any time, whereas the proposals outlined here require Congressional action.
Clearly, the time has come to make serious decisions regarding the future of entitlement spending. It is also clear that there is a fundamental lack of political will to make these tough decisions and execute the required changes. Very well, then. All I ask is that Congress and our bureaucracy get out of the way, and allow this dillema to be resolved by those best equipped to handle their own affairs: We, The People.
A Spanish-language version of this post is available at El Tercer Riel (The Third Rail).