If you think the current national debt of $10.7 trillion and rising is high, consider that Uncle Sam would be on the hook for $52 trillion if Medicare and Social Security programs were stopped tomorrow, resulting in no more payroll taxes and no further accrual of benefits. The National Center for Policy Analysis points out that the $52 trillion is in current U.S. dollars, not the amount that would be required to pay future benefits. Of course no one’s talking about stopping these programs, but an estimated $9.5 trillion is owed to current retirees, the NCPA says. Factoring in the amount to be owed to those nearing retirement and the tab swells to $20.6 trillion. By 2030, almost half of all income tax dollars will be needed to close a funding gap projected for Social Security and Medicaid. “The longer we postpone reform,” says Andrew Rettenmaier, an NCPA analyst, “the worse the financial picture becomes. Procrastinating will make the cost of reform even more painful.” Are you listening, Barack Obama?