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The Franklin Online - Rokita: Nation's Fiscal Overhaul Must Begin with Medicare

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Location: Franklin, IN

By Timothy Cox

U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita said Monday that the nation's mounting debt is "the red menace" and that getting control of the problem must begin with changes to Medicare.

"The greatest threat to our national security in fact is not Al Queda. It's not North Korea. It's not the former USSR. It's not even terrorism generally," Rokita said during a ceremony for a new National Guard armory in Franklin.

Rokita -- a Republican who represents Indiana's 4th District -- said the nation can't be protected much longer without controlling national priorities, overhauling entitlement programs and reforming military spending.

"The debt is currently about $15 trillion, and there's another $100 trillion on the way. That's the present day value of the unfunded promises made over the next 75 years," Rokita said.

Earlier this year, Rokita voted for a controversial and unsuccessful plan created by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan that meant to reduce the federal deficit by $4.4 trillion over a decade by repealing the federal health care bill, reforming Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements, and making cuts in defense spending.

On Monday, Rokita said about two-thirds of federal spending is put towards social entitlement programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

"Of those three, Medicare is the worst off," said Rokita. "The average couple through their working lives will only have paid in 30 percent or so of what they end up taking out. That 70 percent difference is put on the backs of our children and grandchildren."


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