Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

AEI: Fiscal Policy: James Pethokoukis: The US Government: "A Weaponized Entitlement Machine"

The US government: A weaponized entitlement machine

As much as people perhaps in both political party's and perhaps Americans as a whole like to complain about a bloated Federal Government. I've done the same thing myself when I blog about government waste and things that I believe could be done better by state or local governments. Or non profits in the private sector but if you subtract national security including homeland security, intelligence and defense. As well as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we would have a Federal budget of around 2T$ in an. Economy of 16T$ and todays budget is currently over 4T$. A lot of people when it comes to government waste, point at things like foreign aid or social insurance spending. Sometimes agriculture if they are really trying to be factual, agriculture alone is around 50B$ a year. Or they point at Congressional earmarks a big chunk of those go to agriculture but foreign aid and public assistance. Is around 50B$ a year again in budget of 4T$ in an economy of 16T$, so throw in earmarks which Congress has limited. So that at most is another 20B$ a year.

So the heart of the Federal budget. Has to do with Social Security, Medicare and defense things that are all very popular with Americans for the most part. But they alone are more then half of the Federal budget. Which is why I'm skeptical to say the least when it comes to plans to reduce the debt and deficit. Even when it comes from Democrats because rarely does either party go at the heart of the matter. Defense and entitlements when it comes to saving and I haven't even mention the 500B-1T$ in what's called. Tax expenditures or tax loopholes that are designed to meet some economic purpose. But there's plenty of waste in the tax code as well, so when I write a plan or outline for deficit reduction. Like the famous bank robber when asked why does he rob banks and he replies because thats where the money. Is and thats where I go where the money is, I look for savings in what I call the big three, defense entitlements and the tax code. Partly because I'm not an elected official and I can risk offending special interests.

So when you hear someone say they have a plan for deficit reduction. And you are interested in hearing what their plan is, ask them what do they do about the big three. If they say well I or we didn't cover those areas, then you know they don't have a plan because unless they are looking to completely. Eliminate the rest of the Federal budget somewhere around 1T$ not including the big three. Then they don't have a real plan.