3Center for American Progress | Recommendations for the Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction
Criterion No. 3
Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security beneiciaries
One o he bigges drivers o our long-erm budge deci is he rising cos o healhcare naionwide. As a resul o his rend, he coss o he wo bigges ederal healh careprograms, Medicare and Medicaid, are projeced o rise much aser han everyhing elsein he ederal budge. Bu i would be wrong o punish senior ciizens, he disabled, andhe poor or somehing ha is ar rom heir aul.I is rue ha in he long run we are going o have o nd ways o conrol he growh o healh care coss all across he economy. Bu cuting Medicare and Medicaid in waysha merely shi hose coss ono beneciaries does nohing o achieve ha goal. Inhe inermediae erm, we can reduce ederal spending on healh care by improvingeciency and in some cases by asking healh care providers o pich in a litle more.Te botom line is ha cus o hese programs mus no increase coss or Medicare andMedicaid beneciaries, and mus no undermine heir access o qualiy care. As or Social Securiy, he commitee should leave he srenghening and reorm o hisprogram or anoher process. Social Securiy aces a long-run nancing problem, oo, bu over he nex 10 years, i does no conribue signicanly o he ederal budgedeci. More imporanly, any opion o reduce Social Securiy benes ha would haveany impac by 2021 is one ha would reduce he benes o curren reirees or hose jusabou o ener reiremen. Ta is boh unair, unnecessary, and poliically unwise.
Criterion No. 4
Avoid dangerous cuts to discretionary spending, both nondeense and deense
Te Budge Conrol Ac already cu discreionary spending by nearly $1 rillion. Te bulk o hese cus ell heavies on a caegory o spending known as “non-deense discre-ionary.” Tough he bland and nebulous name does i no avors, his caegory acually includes some very imporan and popular programs and services.For insance, he single-larges program in he caegory is he Veerans Healh Adminisraion, which provides healh care services o our naion’s veerans. Also in hiscaegory are nearly all o he counry’s vial invesmens, including educaion, inrasruc-ure, energy, and science and echnology research.Nondeense discreionary spending also encompasses mos o he day-o-day operaionso he ederal governmen, such as ood and drug saey inspecions, airpor and high- way saey, law enorcemen, and border conrol. Te Budge Conrol Ac cu his enire