Obama can save entitlements through reform – but will he?

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from Fortune Magazine,

The White House is pouring millions of taxpayer dollars into its public relations campaign to build public support for — and understanding of — Obamacare. Imagine what a fraction of that effort might do if directed at educating voters about the dangers of exploding entitlement costs. Here’s what a newly enlightened public might learn:

–We haven’t “fixed” the federal debt.

–Despite a much-touted slowdown in the growth of health care costs (largely because of a lagging recovery, according to studies), Medicare spending will rise from $500 billion this year to more than $900 billion by 2023, according to another nonpartisan debt group, Moment of Truth.

–The debt, driven by entitlement costs, still hangs like a toxic fog over the U.S. economy. The prospect of higher taxes contributes to business uncertainty. The elephant of entitlement spending squeezes out resources for infrastructure investments that would boost American competitiveness.

That’s where President Obama could step in to make the case that reforming entitlements means rescuing them. With both sides of the aisle coming to an agreement on cost-control measures such as means-testing and Medicare cost-sharing, all roads lead to the need for leadership from a President whose liberal-activist base is well practiced in the art of demonizing anyone who dares question the growth of entitlement programs.

This White House is satisfied with leaving a legacy of ending two wars and imposing a complex and divisive Obamacare on one-seventh of the economy. But if he ever did take up the fiscal sword to protect future generations, Obama might start by borrowing MacGuineas’s point: “It’s going to hurt people more if we wait.”

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