Posted by: michaeldavidpower | October 7, 2009

The Curse of Democracy – Spending that goes up rarely comes down

From Bruce Bartlett, former US  Treasury economist in Forbes:

“Whenever I write about the federal deficit, some nitwit always demands to know why we don’t just cut spending. Here is the simple, if unsatisfying, answer. We can’t. Nearly two-thirds of spending — 62% is mandatory, entitlements and interest on the debt. The defense budget — which will never be cut substantially, — consumes more than half of what remains, leaving a total of $485 billion for everything else. Given a deficit of $459 billion last year, a balanced budget would require the elimination of virtually every single domestic program, including all social programs, education, highways, border patrols, air traffic control, and the FBI. The only alternative is to reduce mandatory spending on Medicare and Social Security — and good luck with that. The elderly will fight anyone who tries to cut their benefits, even as they hypocritically demand fiscal responsibility. And seniors’ political power will only get stronger, as baby boomers get old. Face it, if the US ever stops running a deficit, it won’t be because Congress made massive cuts in federal spending. The votes aren’t there, and never will be.”

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