Politicians from both sides keep harping about Medicare and how or how not to fix it, while Social Security has become an "afterthought," writes Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg View. Big mistake, he argues. The program's long-range troubles may be smaller than Medicare's, but they're still massive problems "on any other scale," and probably worse than most realize. One stat he uses to illustrate the point: The financing gap over the next 75 years is about double what it was when lawmakers struck a deal in 1983 to "fix" Social Security.
"We need to fix both programs," writes Ponnuru. "If anything, it’s Social Security that ought to be saved first because it’s the more urgent near-term problem." What's more, those same remedies would help Medicare's prospects, too. We need to get the debate rolling. Raise the retirement age? Cut the growth of benefits for high-income retirees? Maybe raise the payroll tax? "One way or the other, we need to get Social Security’s finances in order, instead of acting as though there’s no problem to be solved." Read the full column here. (Read more Social Security stories.)