I have good news and better news and I enjoy sharing it at my Town Halls and during my visits with businesses and community groups.
We do not have to sit idly by in some budget-less vacuum and watch our economy and future drive off a fiscal cliff. We do not have to put on blinders so we can avoid witnessing Medicare's slow and needless death on the installment plan.
We can act. And we can act in a decisive way that gives maximum choice to you before our We-Know-What's-Best-For-You government friends strip you of your freedom to choose. It is that simple.
At the Town Halls this week -- Tuesday in Elk Grove and Thursday in Folsom -- the topics of our economic woes/record unemployment and saving Medicare came up with virtually every other question.
Many came bearing bad news, some even attempting to shout down the good news about plans that can save us from fiscal ruin and invigorate Medicare with a transfusion in the form of a real, sustainable solution.
Although our economy is in sort of a life-threatening pre-diabetic state, the good news is a diet of fiscal discipline and a program of exercising spending restraint can restore it for our children and generations to come. The bad news foisted by some is that spending should continue at present rates and the wealthy people should pay the bill -- even though more money from the wealthy still would not balance our budget. My hope is that most of us view ourselves as Americans who are all in this together and that we act for the "good of the country" and do "what's best for our situation."
Regarding saving Medicare, there are those still making the clichéd charge that the budget ideas and Medicare solution plans first introduced by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would "end Medicare as we know it." Politifact.com has called that assertion the "Lie of the year."
The good news is that bipartisan efforts to rescue Medicare from collapsing by its own weight as soon as 2016 (according to some estimates) are well underway. Congressman Ryan has worked closely on such policy proposals with Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore).
There are those who broadly criticize the "Ryan budget plans." They are always welcome at my Town Halls. A robust debate helps clarify any issue.
But I cannot let a discussion about Medicare reform end without pointing out that President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act already has "reformed" Medicare -- stripping it of more than $700 billion dollars and trashing the Medicare Advantage program that so many in our region embrace.
So, I hope you are ready to join in having the adult conversation we need to reduce spending, balance our budget and create the job generating economy necessary for all Americans.
I am convinced you understand the gravity of our situation and that you and I do not want to pass along our problems to our grandchildren.
That is good news.
Daniel E. Lungren
Member of Congress