I got a little wild and crazy with the data. It makes me want to gulp JD and sing Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins version). At the bottom of this post is one huge table with three parts.
Part 1: Amounts for various categories of government budgeting in billions of dollars for the years 2006, 2011, 2016, 2021, and 2026. The data for 2021 and 2026 were given to me by Putin. Just kidding. They are estimates of the future based on past legislation. That is, if we do not change any legislation, that is what the Congressional Budget Office thinks will happen to spending in the future.
Part 2: The changes, in billions of dollars, between those five-year time periods.
Part 3: The percent changes between those time periods. The last two lines 06-16 and 16-26 summarize a comparison of 10 years past to 10 years in the future.
Let's start with the last column which shows federal government revenues. The government collected around $2.4 trillion in 2006. By 2016, it was raking in $3.3 trillion, an increase of about 36%. That seems reasonable. With no legislative changes, this would increase to almost $5 trillion in 2026 or 51% higher than in 2016.
I started with revenues because they are a benchmark for how much spending could grow without increasing the government debt. A 51% increase in the next 10 years seems reasonable. But then, if you are paying that 51% increase, you might want to argue about that. One thing we learn is that the rate of growth of federal taxes will be much higher (the rise from 36% to 51% is a 42% increase) in the future compared to the past. Don't say a word to me about austerity!
With that benchmark, we can now look at spending. Let's start with Medicaid. Medicaid was a mere $181 billion in 2006, rising to $369 billion in 2016. So in the past 10 years, Medicaid spending rose by 104%. Review: Taxes rose by 36%; Medicaid by 104%. Medicaid will rise another 78% from 2016 to 2026. So whether we look backward or forward, Medicaid is one of the stars of government spending -- rising much faster than overall revenues.
If we want to be concerned about deficient government spending, look at the Income Security (Part of Mandatory Spending) and Discretionary changes. These components contain a lot of government programs*. After rising by 52% in the past 10 years, Income Security is projected to grow by only 21% in the next 10. Discretionary spending rose by 17% in the past and could rise by 24% in the future. Laggards!
Not to be prejudiced against Social Security and Medicare, you can see that those programs are doing their respective parts to bankrupt our country. After growing by 67%, SS will grow another 84%; Medicare will leap by 101% after growing by 84% previously.
The sad conclusion is this: As a centrist I support using the government to help people. But as a centrist, I also believe the best way to help people in a sustainable way is to not go bankrupt. These numbers help us see that we are on our way to trouble. These numbers do not incorporate any proposed increases in spending on military and infrastructure and do not incorporate any budgetary changes attendant to reforming healthcare or taxes.
These numbers suggest that Medicaid is among several key spending areas that must be addressed. It is not our national purpose to harm or kill the old and sick. But it is in our national interest to find ways to correct a problem in such a way that we can sustain programs that help the elderly, the sick and others. If ideologues scream murderer every time a program's growth is slowed -- then we will have to deal with a world in which none of the government works.
*Discretionary Spending includes spending on such items as education, scientific research, infrastructure, parks, environmental protection, some low-income assistance, public health and more.
|6 to 11||181||183||94||204||330||-104|
|11 to 16||185||133||93||-100||-162||965|
|16 to 21||274||212||111||16||121||743|
|21 to 26||490||486||176||49||158||937|
|6 to 11||33||49||52||102||32||-4|
|11 to 16||26||24||34||-25||-12||42|
|16 to 21||30||31||30||5||10||23|
|21 to 26||41||54||37||15||12||23|
|6 to 16||67||84||104||52||17||36|
|16 to 26||84||101||78||21||24||51|