100% of Gross Domestic Product after the government’s debt ceiling was lifted, Treasury figures showed Wednesday…
“The new borrowing took total public debt to $14.58 trillion, over end-2010 GDP of $14.53 trillion, and putting it in a league with highly indebted countries like Italy and Belgium…
“The last time US debt topped the size of its annual economy was in 1947 just after World War II. By 1981 it had fallen to 32.5 percent.”
“U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) on Wednesday suggested that Republicans will continue a push to overhaul programs such as Medicare, saying in an interview that ‘promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many and that younger Americans will have to adjust.
“‘What we have to be, I think, focused on is truth in budgeting here,’ Cantor told The Wall Street Journal’sOpinion Journal. He said ‘the better way’ for Americans is to “get the fiscal house in order’ and ‘come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.’…
“‘When we came out with our budget, we said, look, let’s at least put people on notice, but preserve those who are 55 and older,’ Cantor said, referring to a Republican-written budget plan that would turn Medicare, now a fee-for-service program, into a program that subsidizes private health insurance. ‘The rest of us have got ample time to try and plan our lives so that we can adjust to reality here when you look at the numbers. Again the math doesn’t lie.’”
“The cuts agreed to in the debt-ceiling debate are a down payment, but they are just a down payment. And they were the easier ones. Much more must be done by fundamentally reforming entitlements, especially Medicare and Medicaid. But there is no reason to believe Mr. Obama will expend an ounce of energy on systemic entitlement reforms. It cuts against his ideological grain.
“Entitlement reform in the current political context can be achieved only by having a Republican Senate and a Republican president join the Republican House. This is not ideal, since reforms of this magnitude are better done in a bipartisan manner. But there doesn’t appear to be any alternative.
The crisis is real and the need to act is overwhelming
“And so the GOP must take its case to the people in 2012 in the hope of earning a mandate.”