Courtesy of a link at Silicon Graybeard's place, we find this amazing infographic from FreedomWorks.
I've never seen a graphic that better illustrates what many of us have been saying for years now.
Our economic situation is simply unsustainable.
D'you remember reading a headline yesterday, reporting that over the past five years this country spent $3.7 trillion on entitlement programs? Sure, it's from a partisan source, but the numbers it cites are fact, not fiction. You can't make up figures like those and expect to get away with it - the opposition will be only too eager to expose your lies. As Jon of Freedomworks pointed out:
Since posting this chart to Twitter, the reaction has been intense. Some on the right think I’m too tough on the GOP while those on the left say it doesn’t matter or it’s all a big lie. Others tell me that I should have weighted for this variable or added lines for that trend. They are free to create their own charts to better fit their narrative and I’m sure they will. But the numbers shown above can’t be spun by either side.
The explosion in entitlement programs isn't the only reason for the USA's burgeoning debt: but, as the Cato Institute pointed out in 2011, it is the single biggest reason. In fact, it was reported recently that 'Americans who were recipients of means-tested government benefits in 2011 outnumbered year-round full-time workers, according to data released this month by the Census Bureau. They also out-numbered the total population of the Philippines and approached the population of Mexico.'
The Heritage Foundation has produced its own graphic illustrating the size of the problem.
Let's be quite clear about what this Administration has achieved by such an expansion of our national debt to fund entitlement spending. They've effectively co-opted tens of millions of voters who are now dependent on the US government for some or all of their daily bread. Those dependents know - and are periodically and publicly threatened with the reality - that if they vote for fiscally responsible politicians, the only fiscally responsible thing for the latter to do would be to rein in deficit spending and debt growth - and that inevitably means a reduction in entitlement spending. Therefore, those dependents are likely to vote Democrat in future come hell or high water, because they regard the Democratic Party as their only reliable source of free handouts.
The tragedy is that the Republican Party - at least, the Republican establishment, excluding the 'Tea Party' grassroots constituency that many regard (erroneously) as exclusively Republican - is now locked into those entitlement programs as well. They know beyond a shadow of doubt that with 49% of the American people now dependent upon entitlements to at least some extent (as of 2011), trying to cut those programs would be political suicide. Therefore, they won't do it.
I believe that politicians on both sides of the aisle are fully aware of this. They aren't ignoring the problem; but they're not trying to solve it in a way that's best for America. They're trying to solve it in a way that's best for themselves - allowing them to keep their jobs and their freebies and the river of money that flows their way, whilst continuing to exploit the gullibility of the electorate. They'll allow the Federal Reserve to print money until the cows come home - thereby further increasing our national debt - to pay for otherwise unaffordable entitlement programs, and hope that currency inflation will rescue them from the fiscal morass they've created (and are making much, much worse every day they continue with their current policies).
The trouble is, as Jon points out, they probably won't be able to do that for very much longer before the fiscal insanity of their policies explodes in their faces.
The analogy is imperfect, but imagine the green is your salary, the yellow is the amount you're spending over your salary, and the red is your Visa statement. Then imagine your spouse runs into the room and shouts, “Great news, honey, our fiscal crisis is over. We just got approved for a new MasterCard!” Your first call would be to a marriage counselor or a shrink.
The chart is brutally bipartisan. Debt increased under Republican presidents and Democrat presidents. It increased under Democrat congresses and Republican congresses. In war and in peace, in boom times and in busts, after tax hikes and tax cuts, the Potomac filled with red ink.
Washington likes to talk about sustainability. Forget sustainable — how is this sane?