FOSTER: Simple entitlement reforms we can all agree on

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Medicare has many problems, but the fiscal problem is straightforward — it’s the subsidy. The total cost of the Medicare subsidy, about $230 billion in 2012, over time will soar as health care costs rise and the baby boomers retire. Paring back the subsidy for wealthy retirees is an obvious step toward reducing the budget deficit today and shoring up Medicare for the long run.

Mr. Obama should attend to the nation’s real budget problems, not continue to press for destructive, ideologically driven tax hikes. Having won an election, if not a mandate, it is time for the president to lead.

A handful of fairly obvious, understood and agreed-upon changes to entitlements would go a long way toward restoring the nation’s finances.

J.D. Foster is the Norman B. Ture senior fellow in the economics of fiscal policy at the Heritage Foundation.

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