If you want to be properly prepared for the future you need to pay close attention to all relevant trends as the years pass, and right now there seems to be a good bit of momentum on Capitol Hill toward slashing programs that are important to senior citizens. The fact that we are faced with a huge national debt has been widely publicized, and it is true that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid spending consumes about a third of the federal budget.
However, those who are poised to receive their benefits would probably point out the fact that they paid into these programs for perhaps 40 or 50 years without receiving anything in return. They have a hard time understanding why the benefits that they receive should be instances of deficit spending, at least for the first few years. Many take umbrage at the suggestion that their benefits are tantamount to handouts from those who are still working, and it is not hard to understand why they may feel this way.
The public weighed in recently with regard to spending cuts via a poll that was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The results indicated that a majority of Americans are not in favor of cutting programs that seniors have paid into throughout their lives. 62% of those polled stated that they did not want to see any Social Security cuts, and 57% were against cutting Medicare at all. Americans who responded to the poll were split 50-50 with regard to cutting Medicaid funding. Of course Medicaid is used by many American elders to pay for long-term care, which has become unaffordable to many.
For the vast majority of Americans the ongoing viability of these programs is very relevant as they plan for their retirement and the twilight years that will follow. Ongoing talks about cutting the budget will inevitably include these programs, and it will be interesting to see how the lawmakers respond in light of public opinion against such cuts.