During an appearance on CNBC, ND Senator Kevin Cramer talked about the need for an “adult conversation” on changes to programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. His remarks came in response to a question about the mounting debt and deficit the nation is facing. The rapidly growing debt and deficit are a real concern. Should we really look at cutting back those programs following a national health and economic crisis?
“First of all, we have got to deal with the mandatory side of the ledger or we’re never going to get to balance. We know that two-thirds of our debt, at least, is driven by the mandatory side of our ledger, the entitlement programs and other things.” Cramer told host Andrew Ross Sorkin. You can catch the exchange in Cramer’s tweet below.
Conversations about the rising debt and deficit must start by addressing the mandatory side of the ledger.
We spend more than we take in, and every solution for fixing that should be on the table.
Let’s start the discussion. pic.twitter.com/4xVhdKTzT2
— Sen. Kevin Cramer (@SenKevinCramer) April 8, 2020
As of this writing, nearly 17 million unemployment claims were filed in three weeks. The stock market has lost much of the gains from recent years impacting retirements. Hospitals are seeing more patients because of the covid19 pandemic. Medicaid and Medicare spending is relied on more heavily for not only the hospitals but those in lower incomes now without a job.
“I may have my preferences. I may prefer one side or another, whether it’s tax increases or, you know, cuts in services. I think changing some of the formulas is appropriate.” said Cramer. Though he doesn’t explicitly say which side he’d “prefer” there is a history to look at when it comes to addressing the deficit. He has already supported dramatic federal drawbacks in Medicaid spending. Go ahead and ask Cramer if the $1.3 trillion added to the debt from the rushed 2017 tax cuts should be on the table to address the debt. On spending, Cramer hasn’t exactly shied away from borrowing and spending for other services during his time in office.
The debt will continue to rapidly grow as we collectively fight our way through this pandemic. It will be necessary. Some of the growth in spending will include programs and services provided by Medicare. Additionally, we don’t know how many Americans will be pushed into poverty who may need services provided by Medicaid. In three weeks, 10% of payrolls were lost. What will that mean for Social Security? It would be wise to shore up the resources necessary for these programs that are providing a lifeline to Americans across the country.