Five Years After 9-11 Some Threats Still Unanswered

September 6, 2006

In the five years since 9-11, Americans are asking themselves Are We Safer? Congressional leaders are trying to answer this question this week by topping the agenda with national security issues such as port security and the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program. However, other grave threats to national security have gone unanswered for far too long: the out-of-control cost of entitlement programs and our declining ability to compete in the global market. Entitlements will dwarf all other spending

• According to the Congressional Budget Office, entitlement spending as a percentage of GDP will double over the next 45 years. The cost of Medicare and Medicaid will triple. • By 2050, the federal government will only take in enough revenue to pay for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the national debt. • That means no money for national defense, homeland security, counterterrorism at home and abroad, or border security and immigration enforcement. Every cent will go to pay for ever increasing health costs and retirement for the baby boom generation.

Declining competitiveness undermines American economy

• The United States continues to lose ground among all other developed countries due to our high tax rates and our failure to reform the Byzantine tax code. • As other countries race to encourage investment and entrepreneurship, the United States purges American jobs by refusing to reform a punitive business climate. • Declining revenue and a corroding economy will mean less focus on growing national security threats and our strategic interests abroad.

As we prepare to commemorate the 5th anniversary of 9-11, we should remember that a robust American economy is a large part of the reason we are able to trumpet the values of freedom and prosperity throughout the world. As we become less competitive and entitlements eat up our revenue, our ability to protect Americans around the world is crippled and we become less and less safe.

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