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How much has government spending for things like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Affordable Care Act subsidies, unemployment benefits, and other welfare programs grown since today’s Social Security recipients were born?
The National Interest‘s Milton Ezrati has the numbers:
These constraints are crystal clear in existing budget data. Entitlements have grown relentlessly over the decades, from 30 percent of all government spending in 1950 to fully 70 percent today. They amount to 15 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). More than one dollar in seven, then, of everything this country produces now gets paid out in one or the other of these programs. Since the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act promises only to increase those proportions, and voters clearly show no desire to fork over still more economic resources to Washington, the rest of the budget, everything else that Washington does, faces a relentless financial squeeze.
Ezrati describes where this is all going:
The arithmetic is irrefutable, whatever some people would like to believe. There simply is no room in the budget for much else but entitlements. Washington will either reverse sixty-plus years of practice and turn to serious entitlements reform, or it will have to give up on most of its other priorities. The only remaining question is this: can the White House, the Senate and the House do the math?
We suspect that the politicians and bureaucrats who occupy each of these institutions can indeed do the math, but won’t, until the time when their pay, benefits, and power are negatively impacted, since those are the only priorities that they really care about.
Until then, the entitlement squeeze will be on!