August 13, 2003

August 13, 2003 | WebMemo on Health Care

Medicare Malady #24: Happy Birthday, Elizabeth. Now Pay Up.

Ed Feulner is happy to be a grandpa to Elizabeth Jane Feulner, who was born on July 29.

 

But, as The Heritage Foundation president writes in an Aug. 13 essay, "I can't ignore a dark cloud that's hanging over Elizabeth and the members of her generation."

 

That cloud? Proposals to add prescription drugs to Medicare as an entitlement that Congress could approve and President Bush could sign into law.

 

Here is Feulner's problem: Should the proposals become law, babies just like Elizabeth would inherit, when they're 27, an extra tax burden average $1,125 per household.

 

That's just for the drug entitlement many lawmakers want. It doesn't cover the deficits Medicare already has. That will cost Elizabeth and her contemporaries roughly an extra $2,855.

 

Then there's the 15.3 percent Medicare payroll tax. Not to mention other taxes the government needs to pay for things the Constitution actually calls for, like defense.

 

Plus, these taxes will rise over the next 40 years, which means "Elizabeth will be so busy paying for everyone else's retirement, she won't be able to save up enough money for her own," Feulner writes.

 

Feulner is 62 years old, has a Ph.D. and runs one of America's most prominent think tanks.  But you don't need all that credibility to know these Medicare proposals are a bad idea that will sentence your grandchildren to a lifetime of high taxes and deferred dreams.

Read more of Feulner's essay and Heritage's Medicare research at Heritage.org.

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