Act now to save Social Security and Medicare

    The Social Security and Medicare Trustees this week handed Congress a fresh reminder of its historic opportunity to transform these programs before it’s too late.

    Congress has known for years that our largest entitlement programs – particularly Social Security and Medicare – simply cannot survive as currently structured. Without reform, these programs will grow themselves right into extinction, thereby eliminating the retirement security and health safety net for the very people they were designed to serve.

    Congress knows it must act. If we act now, we have the opportunity to reform these programs in a rational, well-thought-out way. We can make them better, stronger, more responsive, more resilient, more sustainable, and more in line with the way our economy really works. There is no reason to wait; each year of delay increases the likelihood that Congress will be forced to make deep cuts in benefits or raise taxes or debt to unsustainable levels.

    The alarm has been sounded – this is the third consecutive Medicare warning. Hitting the snooze button, yet again, is not the right choice. Congress is lucky enough to have yet another major opportunity – in the FY09 Budget Conference Report – to do the right thing.

    Americans should demand we take it. Because our actions on this issue, or lack thereof, will have an impact on these critical programs – and our nation’s economy – for generations to come.


    Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) represents Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.

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