By Attorney Jonathan Emord
January 9, 2012
As the nation continues to spend like a drunken sailor, pushing the national debt in excess of $14 trillion and our present unpaid commitments to entitlements to over $62 trillion, we accelerate toward the day (within the next five to ten years) when just paying interest on the debt we are amassing will exceed $700 billion and just paying entitlements annually will exceed $2 trillion. After interest on the debt and entitlements, there will be precious little left for discretionary spending. In short, as economists from Clinton OMB Chief Alice Rivlin to Bush Comptroller General David Walker have told us, the spending spree is unsustainable. That means either uncontrolled spending will bring down the entire economy and with it the government, or the threat of collapse will yield a political change that results in massive spending cuts. Either way, the federal government is about to become much smaller.
With rare exceptions like Paul Ryan, Ron Paul, and Rand Paul, few in Congress accept that big government’s days are numbered and that to avert a catastrophe dramatic reductions in spending must occur right now. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prefers a dream world where government growth never ends. He speaks of continuing Social Security and Medicare “as we know” them, blithely ignoring the economic reality that entitlement spending is unsustainable, in the apparent hope that the crisis coming to those programs will arrive after he retires from the Senate. Most others continue to play the Washington spending game also, doing nothing to reign in the bureaucracy and still finding ways to devote tax dollars for pet projects (while at the same time mouthing platitudes about fiscal responsibility).