I know, its fashionable to complain about a variety of things when it comes to the federal government's spending priorities. Popular among the complaints is defense spending. We spend too much on war, the liberals say. They also say we spend too little fighting poverty, we allow successful people to grow too successful...and so on. The list of liberal complaints against society is long.
But one thing you never hear mentioned in all the hysteria about misplaced priorities is a clear identification of the single largest category of federal spending: Old People.
We spend more on old people than we do on any other category of federal spending.
Read the monthly budget reports at CBO.gov.
Through July social security ($453 billion), medicare ($285 billion), and medicaid ($151 billion), dwarf all other categories. Defense was $440 billion. Less than social security alone.
And its about to get worse. Why? Because old people are the fastest growing segment of the population. They are right now about 13% of the population but suck 35% of federal spending. Soon they will grow to 20% of the population and suck more than half of all federal spending.
Why all the fuss about health care reform? Because we can't afford the healthcare promises we've made to today's and tomorrow's retirees. Our current unfunded liability for Medicare alone is $36 Trillion. Trillion!
We are doomed as a society unless we can start making the hard choices about how we ration healthcare. We simply cannot afford to continue on the path we are on.
Our policy makers understand it. That's why they are pushing for healthcare reform. But don't kid yourself. Healthcare reform is not about anything except cutting spending on old people. I hope we succeed.