The elderly should share the burden

By Robert J. Samuelson
Washington Post

One hallmark of the Obama administration’s budget policy has been to exempt the elderly from major cuts, even though spending on the elderly — mainly through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — represents 40 percent or more of the budget. The main reason is political: The elderly (it’s presumed) would vote against politicians who would cut their benefits. But to justify the policy, politicians and others often portray the elderly as financially vulnerable with scant savings.

Surprise: It’s not true. Yes, the poorest 50 percent of the elderly have little savings; but above the midpoint, savings rise sharply and — including the present value of Social Security — average more than $2 million for the richest 10 percent of the elderly. Don’t take it from me. This information comes from President Obama’s top economists.

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Washington Post