Excessive Spending and the Trillion Dollar Deficit

Liberals often accuse conservatives of only having one, old, pathetic idea about how to reduce the deficit or to keep debt down: cut taxes.  Au contraire.  Conservatives are brighter than the liberals give us credit for. Not only do we recognize that raising taxes is counterproductive, we also see the bigger picture; and what liberals willfully chose to ignore is this commonsense suggestion: rein in spending.

Perhaps this is because their whole philosophy of governing is founded on taking other people’s money to give it away to others through confiscatory taxes and excessive and inefficient spending so that people become dependent upon government.

The following graph shows where our country’s publicly-held debt is headed relative to the size of our economy:

As Margaret Thatcher once said, “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”  Liberalism and socialism are different, but as far as Lady Thatcher’s statement goes, the two are practically interchangeable.

Why all the ragging on liberals?  It’s not just for fun, honestly.

It’s because as Heritage’s Federal Spending by Numbers – 2012 shows, “total federal spending for fiscal year 2012 reached $3.6 trillion, or 22.9 percent the size of the entire U.S. economy,” and conservative admonitions to rein in spending have been ignored.

It’s because “in the past 20 years, federal outlays have grown 71 percent faster than inflation,” and “the average American household’s share of this spending is $29,691, roughly two-thirds of median household income.”  Federal spending is projected to become about 36 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the next 25 years, and conservative calls for reform have not been put into action for decades.

It’s because “federal entitlements are driving this spending growth [and have] increased from less than half of total federal outlays just 20 years ago to nearly 62 percent of growth in 2012,” and conservatives have not been the ones blatantly ignoring the true purpose of entitlement programs, which is to help those truly in need, not to make people dependent on government.

The growth in federal entitlements spending is accelerating at such a rate that “all other government programs—national defense, veterans health care, transportation, federal law enforcement, and others—would effectively have to be financed on borrowed money” by mid-century.  Discretionary spending has also grown by 60 percent over the past twenty years.

Still not convinced we have a spending problem, or wonder where we should make cuts?  Lawmakers made an attempt at limiting the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion with the Budget Control Act.  But the law provides for sequestration, or automatic budget cuts to various programs in a very unbalanced way.  Riddle me this:

“Sequestration imposes 50 percent of its reductions on defense, which represents only 17 percent of federal spending in 2013.

Mandatory spending accounts for 64 percent of the budget in 2013, but receives only 15 percent of the sequestration cuts.

Two of the largest spending programs, Social Security and Medicaid, are exempt from sequester savings, as is all but 2 percent of Medicare.”

Spending must be cut.  Our spending priorities must be reevaluated.  Reckless spending has set our country on a dangerous course, and we will continue down this path as long as the government spends more than it collects in taxes.

Read More: Federal Spending by the Numbers — 2012

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