“To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle.”
As the American presidential election season gets into full swing, it is both astonishing and troubling to see that neither major party is talking about solutions to the fiscal crisis facing our country.
United States Comptroller General David M. Walker recently told 60 Minutes that the federal government’s fiscal crisis is so great that it threatens the future of the republic. He embarked on a mission to take his message directly to the people because, he says, politicians don’t want to hear about it — much less act.
During MDRT’s Boomertirement Industry Summit, Dr. Alan Greenspan conveyed a very similar message about government inaction. He said the federal government will find it increasingly difficult to keep all the financial promises it has made through Social Security, Medicare and other programs. At the same time, however, he said solutions do exist. For example, he stated that the problems with Social Security could be solved in about 20 minutes — with 15 of those minutes spent on pleasantries.
It’s very simple: We either have to reduce benefits or increase contributions. Otherwise, Social Security, Medicare, health care and other financial challenges — converging with the coming wave of 78 million retiring baby boomers — are going to devour the federal budget.
I believe the candidate who has the courage to talk honestly about this issue and the solutions (cutting services or increasing taxes) without dramatizing it, will gain credibility and traction. So, why is neither side of the political arena addressing this issue? As my experiences as a state senator showed me, many politicians believe that honest talk about cutting services or increasing taxes is the “third rail” of politics.