The hot topic of 2012 seems to be Medicare reform — Romney and Ryan have made it clear that this would be a top priority of their administration.
The problem with Medicare is not the system, there is a deeper issue that no amount of reform can fix: Americans are getting older. Due to modern medicine, the baby boomer generation is going to be here for a while.
Modern day couples are having fewer children than the mid 20th century. There will be fewer working adults to pay for programs such as Medicare, which will have more people to care for.
This demographic shift, along with Bush-era tax cuts and corporate tax loopholes are the causes of the deficit. Politicians are scrambling for a quick fix to patch up the system as opposed to confronting the underlying problems using a long-term solution. Turning Medicare over to the private sector might alleviate the symptoms of this national ailment, but why not cure it by investing in the future?
Lost in modern American politics is the fact that education is in national decline. When it comes to education, slashed budgets, sub par standards and politically motivated curriculum have turned the US into a second rate country. An uneducated population will have higher crime and unemployment rates. As the quality and quantity of American jobs decrease, so will the national income, making it hard to care for the country’s old, sick and disadvantaged populace.
Forget Medicare; the American public education system needs a complete overhaul. A longer school year, better trained teachers, increased standards, and improved systems for measuring success would do wonders for a national school system that suffers a decline after once being considered among the world’s finest.
Few people would disagree that education leads to economic success, the problem is that it takes 20 to 30 years. If the US is going to be the economic and military stalwart of the 21st century, we must invest in our children. If we fail to face this shortcoming, we will be an infantile nation, unable to take care of our most basic functions.
Matt Story is a kinesiology senior and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.