Fellow Patriot:

The voluntary financial generosity of Patriots — people like you — keeps our doors open. Please support the 2020 Year-End Campaign today. Thank you for your support! —Nate Jackson, Managing Editor

John C. Goodman / Feb. 10, 2013

Denial

There was a time, not long ago, when both Republicans and Democrats agreed that something had to be done about entitlement spending -- especially spending on the elderly. But no longer. Although he promised in his first run for the presidency to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Barack Obama seems increasingly unwilling to do any of that now. The leftwing of the Democratic Party seems increasingly shrill in its insistence that there is no need for any fundamental reform of entitlement spending. Even in the left-of-center think tanks and on the liberal blogs, one finds increasing denial that any fundamental change is needed.

There was a time, not long ago, when both Republicans and Democrats agreed that something had to be done about entitlement spending – especially spending on the elderly. But no longer.

Although he promised in his first run for the presidency to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Barack Obama seems increasingly unwilling to do any of that now.

• The leftwing of the Democratic Party seems increasingly shrill in its insistence that there is no need for any fundamental reform of entitlement spending.

• Even in the left-of-center think tanks and on the liberal blogs, one finds increasing denial that any fundamental change is needed.

This last development is especially disappointing. Tyler Cowen writes:

I see the current American Left as rapidly losing what it once knew about the need for entitlement reform. This is a shame, it does not augur well for our fiscal future, and it remains an under-reported story. I see it happening right under my nose, day by day, article by article, blog post by blog post.

Our budget problem should not be a mystery. Basically, spending on government entitlement programs has been growing at almost twice the rate of growth of our national income for the past 40 years. Health care entitlements have been growing more than twice that fast. Entitlement spending is already more than half of the federal budget and soon it will be more than half of all government spending – including state and local governments.

You don’t need to be an economist or a mathematician to know that if the cost of something you are buying is growing at twice the rate of growth of your income, you are going to be facing deficits that will get larger and larger through time.

When he was head of the Congressional Budget Office, one-time Obama adviser Peter Orszag estimated what tax revenues would be needed to stay on the spending course we are on. The projection: By mid-century, the average family will have to fork over two-thirds of its income to the federal government and upper-income families will have to surrender more than 90 percent!

And that was before the passage of Obama Care, which creates a new, massive entitlement for people under 65 years of age. Right now, the real cost of Obama Care is not showing up in official projections because of two budget gimmicks. The law assumes that Obama Care entitlements will be paid for by (1) slowing the rate of growth of Medicare to the growth of the economy as a whole and (2) slowing the growth of federal subsidies for the insurance everyone will be required to buy to the growth of the economy as a whole, even though health care costs will be growing at twice that rate.

The first assumption will crumble as soon as seniors discover doctors won’t see them and hospitals won’t admit them and they decide to march on Washington as a result. (See the Medicare Actuaries report.) The second assumption will crumble as soon as everyone else discovers they have been hoodwinked and joins the seniors in their public outrage.

The problem of entitlement spending deficits, by the way, is not something in the distant future. Don’t be misled by “trust funds” that are holding nothing more than IOUs that the government has written to itself. All our entitlement programs are run on a pay-as-you-go basis. Every dollar of payroll tax revenue is spent the very minute, the very second, the very day it comes in the door. And here is the bottom line: we are spending more than we are taking in right now. That is, we are experiencing a cash flow deficit that is growing larger and larger through time.

On the present course, we will need one out of every four general revenue dollars at the federal level to cover the cash flow deficits in Social Security and Medicare by 2020. We will need one in every two by 2030. To balance the budget without raising taxes, the government will need to stop doing about one in four other things it is currently doing in seven years. It will have to stop doing one of every two things it is currently doing in 17 years.

Nate Silver summarizes the state we are in this way:

We may have gone from conceiving of government as an entity that builds roads, dams and airports, provides shared services like schooling, policing and national parks, and wages wars, into the world’s largest insurance broker.

Most of us don’t much care for our insurance broker.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2020 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.