The current administration just released their budget (busting) proposal. What I never quite understood about budget discussions is why Medicare and Social Security are always put into their own category of “Mandatory Spending”. What this does is put the focus on the “Discretionary Spending” category which then puts the focus on Defense Spending, which is the largest of the “discretionary” section. In making the argument that Defense should definitely be cut, they never tell you that defense spending has been declining since 1960 as a percent of total government outlays. They also never tell you that defense spending is absolutely dwarfed by the mandatory section. The huge gaping hole in the US government’s budget is the entitlement programs which consist of Medicare and Social Security. If you do not cut those programs, you cannot fix the government’s budget. The problem is that voters do not want to see cuts to their personal benefits, so it is political suicide to suggest entitlement cuts.
The New York Times did a good job of putting the budget into an infographic:
A picture really helps when it comes to trillions of dollars being spent. Any budget “solutions” that do not include health and human services or social security are not solutions at all.