It’s time to address the budget in a comprehensive fashion. Let’s look at five charts to put everything in context and to show how we got into our current mess.
Our first chart (based on Table 8.2 from the Office of Management and Budget’s Historical Tables) shows what has happened to major spending categories from 1962 to 2017. And all the data is in inflation-adjusted dollars (2009 benchmark) to accurately gauge how and why the burden of federal spending has grown.
This next chart shows the actual percentage increases in the major spending categories during this time period. The two big takeaways are that 1) the defense budget is not the cause of our long-run fiscal problems (though that doesn’t mean it should be exempt from cuts), and 2) entitlement expenditures have exploded.
And if you look at the data I shared from the Congressional Budget Office’s long-run forecast, you would see that these same trends will prevail for the next three decades.
In other words, our fiscal problems start with entitlements and end with entitlements.
If you want to look at the problem with a broader lens, this next chart shows that the problem is domestic spending (i.e., the combination of entitlement and domestic discretionary outlays).
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