Today, as Americans (or at least some of us) make sure we have our federal taxes properly paid; I would like to look at our national debt, and the biggest contributors.
The Big Two:
Half (52%) of our budget (2018) goes to two things Healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare) and Social Security. These two things (and the interest paid on the debt) 1) make up what what is known as non-discretionary spending; meaning that we spend as much as necessary on them with no limits, and 2) are our biggest growing expenditures by far.
If these continue growing unabated, in a decade they will account for 80% of our budget; within two decades, 100%; meaning there will be no money for anything else (unless you raise taxes even more and/or accrue more debt); both of which will further exacerbate the problem. Everything else (also known as "discretionary spending") includes defense, food, schools, environment, transportation, the arts...
Social Security will run completely dry of funds in about 15 years. That means massive cuts in benefits (20-30%) or massive taxation on workers paying for retirees. All us old folks need to consider that all it will take is a bunch of whiny self-centered pantywaists to say, "Hey, I'm not paying for gramps anymore" to end the whole thing in one election cycle. Sound like anybody we know?
Our national debt recently topped $22 trillion dollars. You want to talk about a #1 threat to national security? You want to talk about "existential"? There you go...
I gave President Obama a lot of grief concerning his running up that debt; and rightfully so. If I'm honest, President Bush did his part before him, and President Trump is little better today. I understand that Trump actually submits balanced budgets (that Congress ignores); but I don't see him promoting the issue like he should, IMO. The spending continues unabated thanks largely to Congress (Republican and Democratic), who Constitutionally hold the purse strings.
Let me be clear, when it comes to fiscal responsibility and the debt, the Democrats are drunken sots passed out in the gutter in front of a whorehouse... the Republicans are drunken sots passed out in the back of the church pews, during a sermon on drunken sots.
If we're honest (and I always am); the "big two" mentioned above must be fixed, really fixed, if we are going to have any chance of addressing the debt. Yes, tax reform, and budget reform, and a lot of other reform have roles to play, but they are minor roles when compared to what really must happen; cut spending drastically. And the two things that make up over half of what you spend on a yearly basis is going to have to be a big part of that. We don't have an income problem. Income is going up and up and up. It's just that spending (via big government) is going up and up and up more.
All that said? We're doomed. No... I mean that, we really are doomed. There is no political will on either side of the aisle to address this problem. Does anyone see the inhabitants of Washington growing brains or cojones anytime soon? Well over half of the idiots in Congress don't even know there is a problem.