Last year Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and ranking Republican Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) proposed legislation to create a task force to study the long-term fiscal problem and propose solutions. Given that spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is set to double over the next 25 years, something must be done about the growth in entitlement spending.
Although there has been some reluctance on the part of others (including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) to create the task force, CQ reports that Budget Committee members hope to bring the issue to a vote this year.
This is a step in the right direction. First, voting up or down on legislation to create a task force would require members to go on record about whether or not they are willing to set partisanship aside and have a serious conversation about America’s long-term fiscal problems. Second, if crafted successfully, proposals from the task force could help curb the unsustainable trends in entitlement spending.
Any such process should include a serious conversation with the American people about the hard choices we face and build support for changes — blancing the needs of the young and the elderly. Currently, every child born in America carries a $175,000 debt burden to pay for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. As the Congressional Budget Office confirms, our long-term fiscal outlook is grim but a task force could help compel a conversation that would help alleviate the problems ahead.