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Promises We Cannot Keep
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

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Wayne Shepherd

Wayne Shepherd:  From the American Policy Roundtable, this is The Public Square® with our host Dave Zanotti.  I'm Wayne Shepherd.  And Dave, we're talking about healthcare this week. But here's my questions - what happens when government makes promises it cannot keep?

Dave Zanotti:  Wayne, that is the question I cannot escape. When you look at our problems with Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and the auto industry, you cannot escape a recurring theme. In every instance, those programs or companies are collapsing because of promises made that simply cannot be kept.

WS: True.

DZ: It sounds so good to promise workers a full retirement, full health care and full benefits for the rest of their lives once they retire. But somebody has to pay for all those benefits. When you run the simple numbers, there are just not enough workers to pay for all the people who bought into the false promise of endless retirement benefits.

When you try to pack all these legacy promises into the price of a car or the cost of a hospital stay, the math simply doesn’t work.

WS: No.

DZ: So why doesn’t somebody have the courage to say this out loud?

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had a great way of explaining all this. On February 5th, 1976 she said on British television, “…Socialist governments traditionally do make a mess. They always run out of other peoples’ money…”

The real question we've got in America today is how many more bankruptcies will it take before we wake up from the illusion?

WS:  Yes, really. As you might imagine we are tracking this and many other stories. For Dave Zanotti and The Public Square®, I'm Wayne Shepherd.  We'll see you next time.

Promises We Cannot Keep - October 20, 2009

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