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The main issue with the continued funding of both of these government entitlement programs is that the baby boom generation, those born between 1945 - 1961, our nation's largest population group, is now in the process of retiring, and as they do, the demands on these programs for services and payouts will be greater than the taxes that come in to support the programs from everyone else.
I can't do all of your research for you, but here are some possible recommendations for you to look in to for each program:
Social Security -
1) Raise the retirement age to 70 before you can receive benefits. This alone would save an estimated $50 - $70 billion dollars annually.
2) Decrease the amount paid out to each retiree - savings dependent on amount of the cut
3) Increase the social security tax rate paid by workers from the current 7% to 8%
4) Eliminate benefits to those with an annual income of over $1,000,000 - people who do not need Social Security to survive
Medicare - An additional problem with this program is how expensive medical care is. The recent Health Care Reform effort sought to make care more affordable, which would immediately help Medicare. It remains to be seen if that will work.
1) raise the age at which people receive benefits to 67 from 65
2) Raise Medicare premiums to $150 per month per retiree
3) Raise the current Medicare tax rate from 2.5% to 3.5%
4) Eliminate Medicare coverage for those with a net worth of $20 million or more
There will be no right answer for this. This has to be said on the outset. Additionally, I would strongly advise and implore you to consider any class readings or instructor insights as well as any potential discussions that might have been offered on this topic. If there are specific readings that need to be integrated into this answer, I strongly suggest that you turn here first before soliciting anyone else’s thoughts. The answer to this question is far beyond my pay grade. I can offer some potential thoughts that might help commence the process of an answer, though. There might have to be a bit of clarification offered in the question. The manner in which the question is worded seems to indicate a deficit problem. This is fine, but I think that the inclusion of the entitlement acts raises questions. Are we to examine the problem in these programs with regards to cost and being able to afford them or the deficit problem that might be exacerbated by such programs? I think that clarify here would be needed. The issue of the need to pay down the deficit or continue to deficit spend might help determine what specific recommendations need to be enacted. Once this approach has been solidified, I think that one can progress with grounded assertions and evidence to support it as both sides have enough literature to support their stances, making the issue of recommendations even more arduous.
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