Saturday, July 30, 2011

Throwing sand at Sanders

In our most recent post, we mentioned that the Ostrich had endorsed a sky is falling assessment by Bernie Sanders, avowed socialist in the US Senate.

We came across an interesting item in the Wall Street Journal this week that applies directly to this position; it talks very succinctly of the history of the unsustainable entitlement state we have become, and that has us headed in an unsustainable death spiral.  According to Sanders and his ilk, including the erstwhile opinion editor at The Ostrich, cutting anything from our huge budgets, or even capping them, is akin to a vicious attack on the vast majority of the population.  In their view, we have no choice but to continue borrowing and printing money, no matter the consequences.  That whole ‘shared sacrifice’ thing.

If you want to see just how we have allowed things to get away from us, through undamped and runaway growth in obligations, read the article, which you can find here.

You’ll find these gems:

In inflation-adjusted dollars, Medicaid cost $4 billion in 1966, $41 billion in 1986 and $243 billion last year.

Yes, you read that right; that’s growth in inflation adjusted dollars.

According to the most recent government data, today some 50.5 million Americans are on Medicaid, 46.5 million are on Medicare, 52 million on Social Security, five million on SSI, 7.5 million on unemployment insurance, and 44.6 million on food stamps and other nutrition programs. Some 24 million get the earned-income tax credit, a cash income supplement.

By 2010 such payments to individuals were 66% of the federal budget, up from 28% in 1965. (See the second chart.) We now spend $2.1 trillion a year on these redistribution programs, and the 75 million baby boomers are only starting to retire.

There are two charts in the column that should hit you over the head like a 2x4 in portraying our road to financial ruin, brought to us compliments of the clamoring masses and election officials who buy the votes of the clamorers with our tax dollars.  Collectively, you can think of them as the free lunch crowd, where you pay for the lunches, whether you realize it or not.

We all know The Ostrich has always been fond of reader submissions that assert that defense spending is the root of all social and economic ‘injustice.’  Our local area is full of true believers in such wisdom.  Here’s a relevant quote from the subject article:

On Monday night Mr. Obama blamed President George W. Bush's "two wars" for the debt buildup. But national defense spending was 7.4% of GDP and 42.8% of outlays in 1965, and only 4.8% of GDP and 20.1% of federal outlays in 2010. Defense has not caused the debt crisis.

Those who can refute this claim are welcome to submit their arguments by way of comment, or with a guest submission.

And unlike ‘for-profit’ media in the area (at least at one time), we will vet any such offerings to the best of our ability, or tell you instead that we didn’t bother and let you decide what is true and what isn’t.

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