Tags: Reich | Deficit | Panel | Blind | Soaring | Health | Costs

Reich: Deficit Panel Blind to Soaring Health Costs

Monday, 15 Nov 2010 07:23 AM

Economist Robert Reich says that the report from President Barack Obama's commission on reducing the deficit largely ignores the biggest driver of future deficits — the relentless rise in healthcare costs coupled with the pending corrosion of 77 million boomer bodies.

"This is 70 percent of the problem, but it gets about 3 percent of the space in the draft," Reich writes in his blog.

"The report suffers a more fundamental error — the unquestioned assumption that America's biggest economic challenge is to reduce the federal budget deficit," says Reich. “The size of the budget deficit (and cumulative debt) is meaningless without reference to the size of the economy.”

“What looks like a big debt 10 or 20 years from now may turn out to be small if growth has been rapid in the intervening years. By the same token, a seemingly small future debt can become unmanageable if the economy tanks, or barely grows at all.”

Good reasons we should beware budget-deficit mania, according to Reich, who describes the commission’s first draft as “a pastiche of ideas — some good, some dumb, some intriguing, some wacky.”

“The only unifying principle behind their effort seems to be to throw enough at the wall that something’s bound to stick,” he says.

RetireSafe, a national advocacy group for older Americans, blasted the deficit commission's draft report, which cites cuts to Social Security benefits and a reduction in Medicare services as ways to reduce debt.

"The deficit commission has chosen to put the burden of Washington's debt on the backs of those who are least able to bear it, America's older citizens," RetireSafe President Thair Phillips told PRNewswire.

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Economist Robert Reich says that the report from President Barack Obama's commission on reducing the deficit largely ignores the biggest driver of future deficits the relentless rise in healthcare costs coupled with the pending corrosion of 77 million boomer bodies. ...
Reich,Deficit,Panel,Blind,Soaring,Health,Costs
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2010-23-15
Monday, 15 Nov 2010 07:23 AM
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