The Budget Will Bust

Reason assembles a group of libertarian thinkers and market watchers to speculate on the economy. Here's Megan:

By far [the next President's] biggest quandary will be the budget. Obama (who I assume will be the Democratic nominee) wants a big new health care entitlement; John McCain wants even more tax cuts. Both will be frustrated by adverse budget math. The economic slowdown is going to cut into tax revenues, and most economists agree that a recession is not a good time to raise taxesnay, not even on “the rich.” Meanwhile, the baby boomers are about to start retiring, turning Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid into the sucking chest wound of the federal budget. Assurances that the trust fund won’t run out until 2042 notwithstanding, the president will have to start coping with Medicare deficits as soon as next year, and a falling Social Security surplus soon thereafter. All this will be compounded by the slowdown in GDP growth made inevitable by declining labor force participation and service-intensive elder care.