Entitlement reform

It’s a good thing Gary Loveman isn’t running for Congress. If the Caesars Entertainment chairman were, he’d be destroyed for championing badly needed, common-sense reforms to the country’s entitlements – reforms that would ensure their survival and put the government on a sustainable fiscal path.

In an op-ed published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Loveman observed that “Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security consume 42 percent of the federal budget and are projected to account for half the budget by 2020. Addressing debt and deficits means tackling the projected spending growth without undermining the retirement security that Americans rely on.”

Writing for more than 170 CEOs as chairman of Business Roundtable’s health and retirement committee, Mr. Loveman makes several suggestions, none of them new:

– Increasing the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare to 70 to account for increasing life expectancies.

– Giving Medicare beneficiaries more private options to drive down costs through competition.

– Reduce benefits for the wealthy through means-testing.

– More accurately measuring inflation to better control benefit increases.

– Making all newly hired state and local government workers pay payroll taxes.

In a Wednesday news conference Mr. Loveman said no one age 55 or older would be affected by the reforms. That’s important, because such change would be politically impossible.

Because fear-mongering stifles the entitlement reform debate, it’s up to private-sector leaders such as Mr. Loveman to address what Washington won’t. The voting public should join Mr. Loveman in demanding that Congress and President Obama take action now, before the choices get even harder.

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