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March 20, 2015

Fed Spending More Than Doubled in Five Decades

A lot has changed in five decades. Take, for example, federal spending. Research conducted by the Heritage Foundation found that annual government payouts increased by an astounding $17,000 for every household since just before Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” christening. “In 1962,” writes Michael Sargent in The Daily Signal, “the U.S. government spent about $12,000 of today’s dollars per American household; it now spends almost $29,000 – more than twice as much for each household.” What’s driving it? “A large part of the problem is that the government now spends about two-thirds of its budget on mandatory spending, which consists of dispensing benefits through the major entitlement programs and paying interest on the national debt. Mandatory spending grows on autopilot every year and is not subject to the annual budget process like other parts of the budget are.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are afraid to even approach the entitlement dilemma. But absent changes, says Sargent, “these programs are poised to account for 85 percent of spending growth over the next 10 years as America’s population grows older and collects more health care and Social Security benefits.” Policy differences aside, there’s no denying that the system on its current trajectory is unsustainable. We’re long past punting the issue. More…

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