Adam Hasner is right, as is Allen West, both of whom agree with a sermon Paul Ryan has been preaching for years:
First, our nation is drowning in debt.
Second, it’s a spending problem, not a revenue problem.
And third, it all emanates from entitlement spending, not defense.
This is how bad it is. Using the White House’s own figures, if the government were to shut down completely — including disbanding the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard; getting rid of the departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security; and defunding the CIA, the FBI, the IRS and the whole alphabet soup of departments, agencies and bureaus — the United States would still be operating in the red for fiscal year 2012.
Stated differently, the total we pay out in interest on debt, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, federal pensions and all other entitlements is greater than what we receive, including personal and corporate income taxes, estate and gift taxes, payroll taxes, excise taxes and all the rest. Again, it’s not a revenue problem. Revenue actually went up from 2011 to 2012 by $166 billion. It’s just that entitlement spending increased a lot more.
Page 210 of the federal budget for fiscal year 2013 lists each spending category from years 2011 through 2022. For 2012, total outlays equal $3.796 trillion. However, we’ll only receive $2.469 trillion in revenue, resulting in a $1.327 trillion deficit. We’ve heard this broadcasted on the cable TV business and news stations for a long time now. As scary as these figures are, the following is even more so.
Entitlement spending for the current year equals $2.252 trillion, and interest on debt is $225 billion, for a total of $2.47 trillion, which exceeds receipts by $8 billion.
As huge as the federal government is, we’re paying out $933 billion more to individuals in the form of entitlements than we pay to run the entire operation — including the military.
For all of his faults — both real and imagined — George W. Bush wanted to tackle the problem by privatizing Social Security. Local governments have tried this, and their employees actually come out way ahead. Nonetheless, whenever someone even suggests privatizing the program, Democratic congressional candidate Lois Frankel cries, “It’s time we reject the radical plans to destroy Social Security.”
Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget proposal, an attempt to tame the entitlement beast by reforming Medicare, was immediately met with derision from the left. Both Frankel and Democratic congressional candidate Patrick Murphy claim that Ryan wants to end Medicare. Actually, Medicare will end Medicare on its own if we don’t make some changes.
There’s no question that no matter what the change, some people will come out ahead, others behind. That’s the nature of change. But if nothing is done, everyone will get hurt. And the longer we delay, the harder that hurt will be. That’s the reality, and research organizations, most notably the Heritage Foundation, have been calling for entitlement reform for years. Adding another massive federal entitlement in the form of the Affordable Care Act will only hasten the fall.
In his farewell address on Sept. 17, 1796, George Washington said, “As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible.”
Democrats like Frankel and Murphy, who scream that Social Security and Medicare should be left alone, are either fools living in a fantasy world or sadly misinformed. The president either hasn’t bothered to read the data his own staff prepared, or just doesn’t care. What’s more, they all ignore the threat to our national security posed by our enormous debt, a threat we’ve been warned repeatedly about.
On Wednesday morning, while the president was pushing for more spending on education, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office announced that we are teetering on the edge of a financial cliff.
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