Let's try to put the ongoing debate over the future of Medicare into a little bit of context. Last year, Americans paid $274 billion in Medicare taxes and premiums. At the same time, the program paid out $564 billion in benefits. That amounts to a shortfall of roughly $290 billion. Looking into the future, even the most optimistic estimate by the program's trustees puts Medicare's future unfunded liabilities at more than $38.6 trillion. More realistic projections suggest the shortfall could easily top $90 trillion.
Speaking outside a helicopter museum in eastern Pennsylvania yesterday, Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan bemoaned the “irresponsible defense cuts” and subsequent job losses that would occur under the Budget Control Act’s sequestration spending cuts. That would be the same Budget Control Act that Paul Ryan voted for, and, at least initially, defended.
It’s always nice to hear from readers in the “real world” who deal with government programs first hand. I recently received an email from a credit analyst with a commercial bank who read my essay with Veronique de Rugy on terminating the Small Business Administration. I think it’s worth sharing (name withheld):
Economist Antony Davies and Catholic theologian Kristina Antolin argue in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ criticism of Paul Ryan’s budget policies is wrongheaded:
A front-page story in Saturday’s Washington Post carries the headline, “Ryan’s funding requests blur image as deficit hawk” (different online). That is, Rep. Paul Ryan has sought federal funding for projects in his district, even when he has voted against the relevant spending program, such as President Obama’s $787 billion “stimulus” bill. But I don’t think that’s the best way to judge a congressman’s fiscal conservatism. The question is, did he vote against excessive spending? Did he work in committee, with his colleagues, and in the national debate to end programs and cut spending?
Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate has been well received by the Republican faithful. Movement conservatives in particular have been energized with the pick given that, unlike Romney, Ryan is actually one of them.
Even though I’ve already made clear that I am less-than-overwhelmed by the thought of Mitt Romney in the White House, I worry that people will become to think I’m a GOP toady.
If nothing else, Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as his running mate has made a dull and joyless campaign a little more interesting.
Paul Ryan is an excellent choice as running mate for Mitt Romney. He understands federal spending and tax policies in enormous detail. He has said that he started reading federal budgets when he was in high school. He’s also read Global Tax Revolution, my book with Dan Mitchell about the implications of globalization and tax competition. He knows that the American economy will not thrive with high tax rates, especially on business income and capital. He shares Mitt Romney’s goal of chopping the corporate tax rate to revive investment and job creation.
Average private sector wages in the United States rose 3.0 percent in 2011, which was more than the 1.2 percent average increase for federal government workers. This was the second year in a row that average private pay rose faster than average federal pay, but that comes after many years of an escalating federal pay advantage.