Lightening the burden on the young requires cutting retirement benefits for the old - raising eligibility ages, being less generous to richer retirees and making beneficiaries pay more for Medicare. Simply increasing taxes or cutting other programs won't work. The problem is not just closing the budget deficit.
In other words, we must cut Social Security benefits according to Mr. Samuelson. Part of my objection to this silliness has been outsourced to Dean Baker:
Robert Samuelson has yet another diatribe talking about the budget breaking cost of "Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid." As CBO director Peter Orszag has tried to teach those willing to learn, the problem is health care, not aging.
Simply put – the expected future payments to Social Security recipients do not exceed the expected future payroll taxes dedicated to this program by all that much with the really big ticket items coming from things like expected future health care costs and expected future Defense Department costs relative to expected future income taxes under what those in the Republican Party (including that current President that Greg used to work for) wish to have as permanent policy. So when Samuelson makes claim that members of both parties are making false promises, then he must think George W. Bush is a Democrat.
We have all sorts of means for closing the fiscal gap including raising income taxes, cutting defense spending, and yes finding some means for providing for health care at lower costs. While Samuelson may be correct that we cannot simultaneously keep tax rates low, defense and health care spending high AND maintain the current level of Social Security benefits, his oped becomes yet “another diatribe” as Dean puts it when he limits his choice of policy options to slashing Social Security benefits. Now we know Samuelson and the Washington Post have had a slew of such silly opeds in the past, but why can’t Greg Mankiw point out even the obvious to the readers of his blog?