And while the short-term deficit is shrinking, both parties know it is projected to widen dramatically in coming decades as the U.S. population ages unless changes are made to curb the growth of programs like Medicare.Conspicuous in its absence from this long-term budget snapshot: Social Security. Again, later in the article:
Many Democrats have called for a broad budget deal that would reduce the deficit over many years by raising taxes and curbing the growth of Medicare and other entitlement spending.As those opposed to deficit hysteria have long argued, Social Security, long-term projected shortfalls in the Social Security Trust Fund can be fixed with relatively modest tweaks, e.g., raising the cap on income subject to the payroll tax. Healthcare inflation is really the long and the short of the United States' long-term budget challenges. In fact (as Panetta might have mentioned), if the slowdown in healthcare spending increases that has emerged over the last five years holds, our structural deficit may already be gone. No one is counting on that -- the incentive and fee structures in the healthcare industry are still in desperate need of reform.
But it's heartening to see that even in a Murdoch-controlled paper, in which the news emphasis has shifted noticeably rightward in recent years (via editing if not reporting), recent improvements in the long-term budget picture may be having an effect on the language in which budgeting matters are presented.