So, even with Medicare spending at 8.7 percent of GDP, in 2050, there will be a lot of additional money to spend to provide a financially secure, healthful retirement for Americans. We will have $66,600 of non-Medicare GDP per capita, up from $38,600. In short, Reinhardt makes the case that we have the resources and the reason to strengthen benefits for people with Medicare if we want true retirement security to be part of the social contract.
Not only that, there’s room for us to raise taxes without impeding economic growth. In 2012, we had lower taxes as a percent of GDP than every country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) except Mexico, at 24.3 percent. Denmark’s is 48 percent and Canada’s is 30.7 percent. And, the US has had lower economic growth than many other OECD countries with higher taxes.
Most cynically, Reinhardt suggests that the moneyed interests may be our best allies in ensuring that Medicare remains strong – as long as they get a slice of the larger economic pie. After all, Congress passed both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act after paying off powerful industries. Who knows – that just might get the serious people to change their tune.