Art’s Place, Mike Coffman, 8/06/2011

Show: Art’s Place
Guest: Mike Coffman
Link: feed://
Date: 8/06/2011
Topics: Debt Ceiling, Across the Board Cuts, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Wisconsin Recall Elections, Redistricting, Miklosi.
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COFFMAN: I think that the central problem with the [Super Committee] agreement is that it does not address the underlying problem of the debt crisis. And that is actually entitlement spending. What we call mandatory spending. Those programs that are literally on autopilot that once we enact them, and put them in and give them the classification of mandatory spending, like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, food stamps, those programs, then whoever is eligible gets to draw upon them. And we don’t budget for those things. And that is the fastest growing part and that is the majority of federal spending right now, is on entitlement programs. And so until you really address those, and the only way you can address them is you have to change the criteria for eligibility. And until we do that, until we reform those programs, its basically you’ve got a boat with a hole in it. You are scooping out the water but it is filling in just as fast as you are scooping it out-if not faster.


COFFMAN: We’ve just got to have the courage to address those problems. And the sooner we can address them, the less dramatic the change is. I think on Social Security, for people under 55, for them that they have time before they retire, we need to phase up the retirement age to 70. For Medicare, we need to do two things: we need to make it income adjusted so that wealthier seniors get less than poor seniors and seniors with chronic illnesses. Lets focus our resources on those folks. Lets have it private carriers; lets have them administer the program because they know how to ferret out fraud. And fraud is unfortunately a significant part of the current Medicare system. And then on Medicaid, which has enormous growth. It has really been plused up under this administration. That is a program that has a shared responsibility with the state level and is bankrupting states and running up enormous deficits in the federal government. What we need to do is what we did in welfare reform in 1996. We need to block grant it to states, say from a federal prospective they are no longer an entitlement program, just like we did wit the cash assistance piece under aide for families with dependent children and the program because Temporary Aide for Needy Families. That is what we need to do, let states devise programs that better address the needs of their citizens in a more cost effective manner, instead of having it done out of Washington, D.C. Those are the three main changes that we need to do. And if we don’t do them, we are never going to right this ship.