Sen. Isakson: Social Security, Medicare ‘must be reformed’
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson was in Fayetteville Tuesday to address the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. He shared the lunch meeting with a room full of business people, centering his remarks on the November election, federal spending and the need to reform Social Security, Medicare and the tax code.
“This is the most important election in the history of this country,” Isakson said of the upcoming election in November. “We are overly regulated, overly taxed and overly governed.”
Isakson said the biggest cost to American business is the cost of compliance with federal regulations. That reality leads to businesses sitting on cash because they are not certain when the conditions will change, Isakson said.
“We need a government that gets out of the pocket of business and gets off their back,” he said. “Government is trying to do business. That’s the problem.”
About federal spending Isakson said, “We need to cut the budget where it’s appropriate, not where it hurts us. Americans have to live within their means. It’s time government does.”
Matters only become worse when, during the period between the November election and the end of the year every tax rate will go up, exemptions will go away and estate taxes will nearly double, he said. And on Jan. 1 cuts to the military will begin, Isakson said, citing an example of the type of cuts that hurt America.
The U.S. is $15 trillion in debt with a $15 trillion gross domestic product. That combination means we are 100 percent leveraged and we are mortgaging the future of our children, said Isakson.
Isakson suggested that areas such as Social Security and Medicare must receive attention.
“Social Security and Medicare are contracts with our government. They are contracts, not gifts. They should not be invalidated but they must be reformed. Social Security is going broke in 2034 and we have to fix it,” Isakson said, suggesting that the age for eligibility might be pushed out further as had been done in the past.
With Medicare, Isakson said it is the thought process that needs to change. He suggested an approach noted by Rep. Paul Ryan where the recipient would receive a pay subsidy to purchase insurance rather than government paying a fee for service to the healthcare system. That approach, he said, would enable the individual to buy the policy they want and bring competition back to healthcare.
Isakson also suggested that Medicaid could be funded as a block grant to the states.
Saving what is perhaps his greatest issue of concern for the end of his remarks, Isakson said the tax code must be reformed or it will not last.
“It’s been 26 years since we reformed the tax code. It’s complicated, it does not work and it’s compromising American business,” Isakson said, making the point that the U.S. now has the highest business tax rate in the world. His reference was to Canada, Latvia and Estonia that have lowered the tax rate on business and the recent move by Japan that leaves the U.S. with the world’s highest rate of taxation for businesses.