The Norman Transcript

Columns

January 17, 2013

Another ‘cliff’ on the horizon for U.S.

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Second, Medicare’s funding problems are frighteningly overwhelming, but there is one obvious place to start improving its financial plight. Get rid of the Bush-era law prohibiting the program from bargaining with drug companies over prices. That’s the American way — allow drug companies to compete to sell to Medicare providers.

To put this information in context, compared to other developed countries, the U.S. has very low tax rates. The federal government now taxes its wealthy citizens at some of the lowest rates in history. And current federal revenue as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product is the lowest it’s been in more than 50 years.

All the polls confirm that people do not want to cut any of these “entitlement” programs. They much prefer making the well-off pay a larger share of these popular and essential public endeavors.

The major problem with these rational solutions is the country’s dysfunctional political system. Republican senators would filibuster such legislation, while the right-wingers in the House would block any such progressive action. So, unfortunately, we’ll end up with more fiscal cliffs.

Retired OU professor David R. Morgan lives in Norman.

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