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  • Morning Bell: Pictures of a Budgetary Disaster

    Another budget battle looms on the horizon as Congress returns from recess next week to continue work on the nation’s finances and debates whether to raise the debt limit, now at $14.3 trillion. In the last year, no single issue has captured the attention of Americans more. And for good reason. Spending and debt are skyrocketing, causing many to question what kind of course we are on. Hyper-drive spending is what last year’s elections were really all about.

    To understand what that all really means — and why deep spending cuts and fiscal reforms are paramount — Americans must understand how bad the nation’s fiscal situation has gotten. Just in time for the debt limit debate, The Heritage Foundation has launched a special preview edition of its 2011 Budget Chart Book which paints a clear picture of how much the federal government is spending, how deep it’s in debt, how massive entitlement programs are, and what we pay in taxes.

    Want to dive into the Budget Chart Book? Here’s a great place to start. Just this week, The Washington Post reported that all across Western Europe, countries are starting to tighten their belt and cut back on costly social welfare programs because they simply can’t afford them anymore. Countries like Greece and Portugal have suffered or are anticipating financial crises as a result of mounting debt. As our chart shows in dramatic detail, U.S. debt is, unfortunately, on track to fuel that kind of economic crisis.

    Wall Street is taking notice of the problem. Last week, Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook on the U.S. credit rating, warning that America needs to get its spending problems under control or else it’s in serious trouble. The 2011 Budget Chart Book shows just how bad that spending has gotten. See for yourself how federal spending has increased by 162 percent since 1965. Think we can fix this by just getting rid of foreign aid? See where our dollars are spent. Wonder how much we’re spending on entitlements? Check out the giant chunk Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security take out of the budget.

    There are plenty of other charts, too, that fill in the blanks on how bad the budgetary picture really is. If you’ve got the post-Tax Day blues, our charts might not make you feel better, but they’ll arm you with valuable information. You can see how the total tax burden is rising to the highest level in history and visualize how the top 10 percent of income earners paid 70 percent of all federal income taxes (while 49 percent of U.S. households paid no income tax at all).

    Unfortunately, these pictures aren’t pretty, but neither is the U.S. budget crisis. Some, though, just don’t get it and are insisting on borrowing more money without enacting much-needed reforms to get the government on a fiscally sustainable path. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney warned, “It would be terrible folly to play games with [the debt ceiling],” and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner resorted to inflated hyperbole to warn of what’s at stake:

    I mean, the idea that the United States would take the risks — people would start to believe we won’t pay our bills — is a ridiculous proposition, irresponsible, completely unacceptable risk for us to take.

    Here’s an unacceptable risk: Spending keeps going up along with the national debt, and we are spiraling into an economic crisis. Yet President Barack Obama is calling for an increase in the $14.3 trillion debt limit without one single meaningful spending reform. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the facts and put vital reforms like those found in Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget resolution, passed recently by the House, into context. The Heritage Foundation’s 2011 Budget Chart Book will arm you with the facts you need to make sense of any discussion of the nation’s spending, taxes and debt.

    Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for an updated, final version of the 2011 Budget Chart Book in mid-June. A print version of the 2011 Budget Chart Book is also available.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    51 Responses to Morning Bell: Pictures of a Budgetary Disaster

    1. Ray Reed, Columbus, says:

      Thanks for the primer. I do NOT support an increase in the debt ceiling. If anything, I believe it should be lowered.

      Something else I would like to see is how the continuing devaluing of the dollar is affecting not only the budget and the deficit, but also we citizens of the United States. For example, how much of the rise in gasoline prices at the pump is a result of the declining value of the dollar? (The decline in the value of the dollar is a result of the printing of money due to TARP, Quantitative Easing, etc.)

    2. Mike, Chiago says:

      The best way to pay down the Regan/Bush deficit is to undo the changes that created it. Restore tax fairness by reversing the tax cuts for the wealthy, reduce corporate welfare and reduce military spending. And then start on repealing some of the erosion of civil liberties that have occurred in the name of freedom.

    3. toledofan says:

      This entire spending debate is getting really pretty stupid; I mean we know we're in trouble, the dollar is devaluating, gold prices are soaring, homes are still being devalued, unemployment is still over 9%, higher in some places, and gas prices and the price for a barrel of oil is skyrocketing, food prices are going up, just to name a few . So, why, if all this is happening and we know we're in trouble, why aren't the Democrats responding propotionally with other alternatives other than just raising taxes? I mean isn't it time to do what is best for America rather than keep doing the same old spend and then spend some more philosophy? It seems pretty simple but I guess if you depend on spending to garner votes, then everything has to be a freebie.

    4. Robert, North Richla says:

      This debt ceiling debate is so elementary – and for once Chuck Schumer is right -this is the defining political battle of today. Paul Ryan's "resolution" will cut $ 5.8 trillion dollars against the baseline – assumed growth – over ten years. Rand Paul's PLAN cuts $500 billion of real spending now. Even with Rand Paul's plan, we would have to increase the debt ceiling by $ 500 billion every six months. With little johnny's plan we would have to increase it by $ 1.5 trillion next month. Limiting the increases to $ 400 billion would require at least three separate votes before the November elections (that everyone is waiting for) – and it would require tough budgetary reductions. That is why we cannot allow little johnny to slither away from this tough issue. We CAN keep this issue alive for 18 more months.

    5. Dick Williams, Boise says:

      A good start would be to remove Social Security and Medicare from the General Fund and require them to stand on their own, as was done prior to Clinton combining their revenue into the General Fund. Prohibit Congress from "borrowing" from the Social Security Trust Fund and set up a repayment schedule for the IOUs they have stuck in the Trust Fund over the years. If you have not paid into Social Security or Medicare you should not be able to draw funds from it.

    6. Sterling Baer, Mesa says:

      Thank you for your continued factual reporting! While I graduated in Economics many years ago, it does not require a degree to understand the simple mechanics that governs finance. Interest never sleeps and if you don't stay within a budget ,eventually anyone will go bankrupt and the same goes for our Government. What concerns me most is that the media does not seem to care nor portray this as the crisis it is to the lay American such that everyone will understand the truth. Their only interest appears to be in showing the erroneously represented "entitlement" cuts that must occur to get our fiscal house in order. When this crisis exists in every American's personal situation, hard decisions MUST be made to pare back expenses to the bare necessities. Ie ALL perceived entitlements are on the table for cutting like dining out, extra cars, cell phones, Cable TV etc. All entitlement programs must be reviewed and cut back immediately to get our country back to living below the budget so we can invest for the future and fuel growth. Don't increase the debt ceiling, hold the line!!!

    7. Steve Cafaro Fort My says:

      How is it possible to place the blame for our fiscal crisis on entitlement programs that have been bought and paid for by the public in the light of the trillions of dollars that have been given to businesses and banks in the form of bailouts, FED purchases of questionable assets and the ongoing FED policy of near zero interest rates? And in a twisted irony – all this is done while we proclaim the necessity of free markets. USA economic policy is a cruel hoax perpetrated by our government and business leaders at the expense of the American people and ultimately an entire county.

      It was Thomas Jefferson who warned "the merchant hath no country" and I add that these same merchants have so corrupted the government so as to conclude "our government leaders are so endeared to business interests that they have sold out the county". It is past time for a new American Revolution!

    8. James Michael Tierra says:

      there is no reason to increase the debt limit none period. live with the cash flow we have and cut spending, end all subsidies and tax everyone including corporations at 10% with no deductions. make a dollar pay ten cents make a million pay one hundred thousand, let corps. expense at 100%

    9. Stephen P. Melancon says:

      I consider myself to be a true conservative. I support a small Federal Government and many, if not all, of the "Tea Party" views. While I am genuinely concerned about the direction that our beloved country is taking, one gnawing thing about the conservative discourse is the term "entitlement" when used in the context of Social Security & Medicare. Many of us have "paid into the system" for years, as mandated by law and while I would have readily opted to purchase private monetary and health security for my later years had I been given the choice, I nevertheless did purchase these benefits. The term "entitlement" holds the conotation of a freebie for Senior Citizens. While our leaders grossly mismanaged our funds and completely abdicated their sworn duties, at least some of our senior citizens have earned their social security and medicare benefits.

      My 2 Cents –

    10. Bill B, Michigan says:

      Great analysis of the weakness and blindness on the Democratic side.

    11. George Colgrove VA says:

      I am trying to moderate my participation here – so please bear with me.

      It may very well be that this nation is starting to feel some of the pain a generation ago imposed on us today. And that, as we continue to to practice the same deficit spending from here to infinium, that people a generation from now will be feeling even more profound pain.

      Total state deficit = $1.2 trillion

      Total fed deficit = $1.6 trillion

      Total Government annual deficit = $2.8 trillion

      Just sit in your chair right now and imagine the problems we are having today. Try to feel that intensity. 13% of homes are vacant, Americans lost 23% of thir incomes, 15 million are out of work, people are losing their jobs, gas prices are significantly over $4/gal, gold is skyrocketing over $1,500 an ounce. This is with a 14.3 trillion National Debt. Absorb this feeling. Now think about the next generation (people yet to be born) setting there in your chair doing the same thing – but they are no longer spending $2.8 trillion dollar deficits, and they are forced to pay $1.5 trillion in interest and principal on our debt. That is a total reduction of annual government spending of $4.3 trillion. Think about the GDP, think about the lost opportuity that money could have provided us.

      Waiting just one more day further pounds this entire nation down by about $8 billion dollars. One month further drives this nation into an abyse by a $238 billion combined state and feds.

      When do we want to stop. I feel like we are all ghosts walking in a trance in a sense, because the train wreck has already happened.

    12. Samuel Wellman, Lync says:

      I personally feel that Obama, and his allies, pursue their reckless financial course because they desire to destroy our country. This is a serious charge but the only logical way to see it. Why else would our leader take actions which defy all logic and common sense?

    13. Gene, Lake Stevens, says:

      Hyper-drive spending is a problem for sure but the fact that jobs went overseas and corporations pay no taxes and we continue to fund wars are key culprits in our dilemma. And now we want to kill Grandma & Grandpa by eliminating entitlements. I wonder what it would cost to give them back the money they paid in with interest … or do they just lose out and we face the consequences of "moral hazard".

    14. Richard Rogers says:

      Look forward to studying your charts.

      Just this morning I was thinking of a way to make that kind of information interractive and more persuasive. It would consist of an interacitve financial model that could be used in arguments, civics classes (do we still have those?), town meetings of elected officials, etc.

      In a town meeting a representative could respond to the audience thusly, "Well, lets just see how much impact it would make on discretionary spending and the size of the deficit if we took your suggestion and eliminated all foreign aid." Or just suppose we taxed all income above 250K at 80%,..? The level of fiscal ignorance is apalling.

    15. Russell Sebring Fl says:

      I have been concerned about the evils of government welfare and subsities for some time but it seems that nobody cares as long as they are bribed by tax payers money.

      For over two thousand years men have been trying to solve the problem of poverty. Will it take another two thousand years for men to discover the real reason for poverty.

      The one thing that is left out of the debate on poverty is human nature. I see that human instincts and animal instincts are the same except that humans have their instincts somewhat under control.

      Self-preservation includes all of our instincts, greed is one of the important ones.

      Greed is a selfish desire for more than one needs or deserves. We all have a different opinion as to how much need and how much we deserve.

      Fire is a dangerous thing, but we have learned to control and use it to our benefit. Greed is a dangerous thing in a civilized society, but have we learned to keep it under control or to use it to our benefit?

      A country controlled by a dictator or king uses greed to control the country. The dictator or king uses money, taken from the people, or privileges to buy allegiance.

      In a democracy there is two types of economy, socialism and capitalism.

      Socialism is based on greed. The promise of an equal share of the wealth produced whether they share in the equal production of that wealth. The population becomes complacent Why would anyone try to produce more when the rewards are the same? This generates laziness in the population. This results in a smaller pie. What do the promoters of socialism want. Certainly they haven’t learned from the past. Wherever it has been tried it has failed. Socialism requires a larger government and the larger the government the closer we get to tyranny.

      Capitalism on the other hand promotes greed. But unlike socialism, the competitive free enterprise system controls that greed. The latent effect of capitalism is that it provided more goods to more people. Socialism (welfare, subsidies and grants)removes the penalties that has keep the greed of capitalism in check. So why would any one wont to inject socialism into a good system? Socialism puts laziness into the system and reduces the size of the pie.

    16. Jim Patterson, Dulut says:

      What, Wash. D.C. put its financial house in order? No way! It seems every program is a necessary program or some poor soul will be without (and here you can fill in the blank) ________. Of course if we keep spending then at some point in time there won't be any money to pay for those precious programs.

    17. Bob DeBiase says:

      Concerning the Debt, ala the 24 Charts on the Federal Spending and Revenue.

      Why can't we just go back to the year 2000 for discretionary spending . there are some easy ways to cut the spending . FRAUD in MEDICARE what is the number associated with Fraud in Medicare and the Spending in general . That number is probably HUGE. Cut 60 billion from Defense That is a 10% cut .

      how about the INCOME security and other entitlements 18% I did not see any talk of this group . What is this group. In conclusion, let us go back to 2000 Discretionary spending , cut the Fraud in Medicare and elsewhere , cut 10% from Defense , what does that look like ? We have to turn this trainwreck around NOW . Hope my suggestions sound logical enough to implement Thanks and look forward to reading the articles on this website .

      Bob DeBiase

    18. Frank, Florida says:

      Prior to the turn of the 20th century, do you know what percent of the nations GDP was spent by the Federal Government? For over 100 years since this nation's founding, except for occasional upward "blips" in the chart, the nation averaged 3%!! The Federal Government began to grow enormously with "Progressives" like Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, FDR & progressives in both major Parties just continued the trend until the Federal Government now spends over 20% of the nation's GDP & it is projected to only get much worse, very fast.

      I saw a very interesting DVD about "The Ascent of Money" yesterday which focused mainly on the effects of money, monetary systems & how finance has evolved chiefly over the last 500 years. It was very interesting how Chile under Marxist Allende was leading his nation to financial ruin and when overthrown by Pinochet (military dictator), Pinochet was desperate for solutions to his nation's financial problems. Enter Milton Friedman from Chicago. What was bankrupting Chile (among other things) was their equivalent of our Social Security retirement system. It simply ran massive deficits and the main point I want to make is how the problem was solved: Chile let all workers either to opt-in to the State run retirement system or opt-out of it & pay 10% of their salary into various government approved private retirement accounts which individuals owned 100% of & could pass on to their descendants should they pass away before they used up their retirement accounts. Surprisingly, the vast majority of workers (even the poor who made little money) opted out of the State run retirement system and for the private retirement system. That led to a gigantic economic boom within a few years as all that private retirement money was reinvested back into the nation's businesses.

      Imagine if workers in the USA had a similar option: to opt-in or opt-out of Social Security? What if, like in 1970's Chile, 80%+ opted out of Social Security & for a 10% payroll deduction into private retirement accounts? Yes, taxpayers would still have to fund those now on Social Security & those who decide to still opt-in to Social Security, but the economy would soon "boom", like it did in Chile and the yearly payments needed for Social Security recipients would drastically shrink, not grow over time.

      I think this is one solution that should be "on the table" in our upcoming financial battles.

    19. Judith in Michigan says:

      Americans, I think, are so weary of being told over and over and over again of the financial nightmare we have and what needs to be done about it. Organizations like The Heritage Foundation and fiscally responsible experts inside and outside the government are constantly reporting what must be done to stop the carnage. Some foreign countries are even warning us about the disaster ahead for us, for Heaven's sake!

      BUT, nothing happens. Either the current administration and others in Congress, from both parties, are either unbelievably inept, or are so corrupt, their only concern is money and holding onto their own power.

      If we don't clean house in DC and vote out the corruption, say Good-by to the United States as we have known it. Overly dramatic? Look around you because you haven't been paying attention.

    20. Jim-MN says:

      It appears that both houses of Congress are going to just let it hit the fan on its own after the next election then spend all their time blaming everyone but themselves for the end of the line austarity cuts to stay elected while the riots begin in the streets from the have nots who now have nothing and will steal and rob from the producers because there is no moral and/or statesman leadership to right the Titanic ship of its economic fate.

      Is anyone on the Rep side going to step up to the level of Trump and lead?

      I have lost all faith in all members of Congress.

      Is not this President such an embarrassment that it is beyond logic that 42% of this country will still vote for this coniving criminal.

    21. toledofan says:

      I think there is some discomfort on both sides of the aisle on this but I have to say the lions share of the blame has to fall squarely on the backs of the Democrats. Even today, with all of the negative indicators, the Democrats are still in denial about the scope of the problem and they say who cares, it's our money anyway, and we can just print more. So now the money supply is increasing and all of a sudden inflation kicks in with the possibilty of hyper-inflation. Oil prices are increasing because that comodity is directly tied to the value of the dollar.One comodity depends on the other.It's time to get serious and do what is right for America and limit the amount of spending, now.

    22. Robert, North Richla says:

      This debt limit debate is the defining political battle – Chuck Schumer finally got one right. Paul Ryan's "plan" will cut $ 5.8 trillion against the baseline – which assumes annual growth – over ten years, if enacted in its entirety. Even Rand Paul's $500 in spending cuts this year would require increasing the debt by $1 trillion. Little johnny's plan will require $ 1.5 trillion. The key is to only increase the debt limit by $400 billion, which would require at least three separate votes before the November election (which everyone is waiting for, because then the republicans promise they will do something). No, thank you, let's start today!

    23. Judith in Michigan says:

      Americans, I think, are so weary of being told over and over and over again of the financial nightmare we have and what needs to be done about it. Organizations like The Heritage Foundation and fiscally responsible experts inside and outside the government are constantly reporting on this crisis, like HF's column today, and what must be done to stop the carnage. Some foreign governments are even warning about the disaster ahead for us, for Heaven's sake!

      BUT, nothing happens. Nothing changes. Either the current administration and others in Congress, from both parties, are either unbelievably inept or are so corrupt that their only concern is money and holding onto their own power.

      If we don't clean house in DC next election and vote out the corruption, then say good-by to The United States of America. Overly dramatic? Look around you because you haven't been paying attention.

    24. KC - New Mexico says:

      Trump won – Obama released the birth certificate. Since Obama is so radical, past associations, friends, forgetting Easter, loves and apologizes to the Muslim countries, and is a socialistic liberal, it is good to know that he was born in the USA.

      Now the budget disaster – yes we are in a spiral dive to ruin! Yes, this has been caused by our political leaders on both sides for many years. But the last three years have been ridiculous. Obama and his czars and professional liberal politicians have destroyed the economy for the USA.

      What to do – 1 – cut spending, 2- revise the tax process to a flat tax – everyone pays, no exclusions, 3 – cut foreign aid spending, 4 – present the bill to Iraq, and other Muslim countries – time to pay up for our military deaths, wounded, and overall expense, 5- cut the freeloaders and fraud in Social Security, Medicare, etc, and 6 – try being a leader for once! Obama and both sides of the political party are not leading this country. Get some guts like the majority of Americans have!

    25. Judith in Michigan says:

      Americans, I think, are weary of being told over and over and over again about the financial nightmare we have and what needs to be done about it. Organizations like The Heritage Foundation and fiscally responsible experts inside and outside the government are constantly reporting on this crisis, like HF's column today, and what must be done to stop the carnage. Some foreign governments are even warning about the disaster ahead for us, for Heaven's sake!

      BUT, nothing happens. Nothing changes. Either the current administration and others in Congress, from both parties, are either unbelievably inept or are so corrupt that their only concern is money and holding onto their own power.

      If we don't clean house in DC in the next election and vote out the corruption, then say Good-By to The United States of America. Overly dramatic? Look around you because you haven't been paying attention.

    26. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Seems people think I come here to muddy the waters, I argue that the Cost of Medical Care has been 'necessarily skyrocked' in Obama-speak, and the takeover of the Health Care Industry is going to 'necessarily skyrocket' Medical Costs some more! I cannot imagine why Heritage Foundation and other reliable news outlets "Can't Get It" that our whole horrifying mountain of debt is trumped up.

      The most Regulated People on the face of the Earth are American Medical Doctors! I swear on a stack of Bibles! The disaster of overwhelming Medical Costs is actually the disaster of Government Regulation of Medicine (and the American People paying for it!) It sounds crazy to Defund and Abolish the Department of Health and Human Services! It isn't, when you realize what a limited mandate HHS actually has, and how far into Dictatorship the HHS goes! You would have to be insane to want to be a Medical Doctor in America! People don't know what a nightmare that is! Under Obamacare, Doctors are like the Soviet Doctors from the 1920's! De Facto slaves!

      Oh! I am so 'extreme' to point out that Americans pay hyper inflated Medical Costs because they are paying for all that Government Interference in Medicine! I am 'crazy' for pointing out that the AMA was taken over by the Communists! Well yes! The head of the AMA was a card carrying Communist! We knew that! It is Public Record! So these days, the Public Record is crazy if that's what you think about me!

      Geithner's comments remind me of the Obama Candidate, talking down America's Economy just before the Housing Crisis! These 'Public Servants' are running down the Economy from their podium of trust! Tim Geithner is LYING like crazy! He is actively Undermining the Treasury, he is wrecking Public Confidence with his irresponsible statements! Well! That is like 'Precedent' Obama wrecking things with his demogogic statements. Like little old ladies wouldn't starve if we just let the Nation go off the Cliff! Obama won't drill for American Oil, and that is just killing American Jobs! Mr. Obama, it would be kinder if you just shoot us! What? Do we wait 'til America is hopelessly gone before we count the Constitutional Damages? He is already creating Dictatorships in virtually every Government Agency! Hey! House! Don't pay for it!

      • Not an Idiot says:

        You're wrong. Medical costs are lower in countries where the government controls and more tightly regulates what procedures will be covered and done. See France, England, Sweden, Switzerland etc.

    27. Judith in Michigan says:

      Americans, I think, are so weary of being told over and over and over again about the financial nightmare we have and what needs to be done about it. Organizations like The Heritage Foundation and fiscally responsible experts inside and outside the government are constantly reporting on this crisis, like HF's column today, and what must be done to stop the carnage. Some foreign governments are even warning about the disaster ahead for us, for Heaven's sake! How embarrassing!

      BUT, nothing happens. Nothing changes. Either the current administration and others in Congress, from both parties, are either unbelievably inept or are so corrupt that their only concern is money and holding onto their power.

      If we don't stand up and start demanding, loudly, that changes start to happen, then we can say Good-Bye to The United States of America. Overy dramatic? Then look around you because you haven't been paying attention. around you

    28. Becky says:

      Gene… why are are you complaining about "corporations" as if they are people? Every person that invests in corporations (owners or stockholders) or get's paid by a corporation is paying taxes.. A corporation is just a business entity.. all the people involved with at business pay taxes on their earnings. Business is not the bad guy. They employ all those people that pay taxes. Companies are heading overseas because we tax our businesses to death.

    29. Nancy says:


      Nobody is talking about eliminating entitlements, but they do need reform. It's obvious. Corporations do pay taxes. Where do you get your information? Of course they do, but they make up for it by paying their employees less and charging more for products and services. Jobs going overseas? Well, those jobs don't really belong to us, do they? They belong to the employers. They send them where it makes sense for them to be sent. Not pretty,but humans are not made to be altruistic. Look it up.

    30. Rick says:

      It seems the ppl in washington do what they want. The people no longer have a say. I promise you this they will raise the limit and use there BS to say why. For them there greed and power are more important not what us common folk feel such a sad state all this and we will just keep spending

    31. John R. Hanson says:

      How much of all Social Security spending is spent on individuals under 62. Everytime I go into the Social Security office all I see nothing but young people. Thank you, JRH

    32. Kaydell Bowles, Brig says:

      Thanks for reporting and prsenting the data and charts. We have a President who care more about basketball, vacation, and golf than resoliving serious problems bot at home and abroad. His Czars who are Socialists-Communists are destroying our country before our eyes and Congress does nothing. Turly this is like Nero as he fiddled and Rome was burning.

    33. KC - New Mexico says:

      Another example of how our liberal democrats and lawyers are holding back jobs – look at the NLRB attempt to stop Boeing from building a large manufacturing facility in the Southern state of SC that is a "right to work state". The NLRB does not want Boeing to create jobs there since they would not be unionized. This is total BS on the NLRB side and the political czars for Obama that are hypocritical when it comes to job creation. Time for change – get rid of these stupid liberals! Change NLRB to become realistic and help with job growth instead of only being the adversarial body of out-of-touch liberals.

    34. David Jacksonville, says:

      The budget is a major concern of mine. Spending and out of control plans not present laws but plans are of great concern. Immigration is the major one involved.; That will cause more spending and we just are not in position to bring immigrants into the nation and have them on healthcare, social security Medicare etc. We cannot do this now. We have no real credit anymore. This matter as got to be faced and real action taken. The RSC budget needs better consideration. It is a more feasible budget than the other two. It gets us back into striking distance of a balanced budget quickly. It should be looked at with real interest. We have more work than we an do and they are off on another vacation.

    35. Jill-Maine says:

      Any way you cut it, entitlements are going to be cut because they are unsustainable. If they don't work on Medicare, Mediaid, and SS there won't be any entitlements.

      There are 10,000 baby boomers retiring everyday and that is going to go on for years. They want to add 31 million people to health care but there aren't enough doctors. yesterday I read that the senior citizen on Medicare are going to be the new welfare mother and doctors will refuse to treat them becuase it doesn't pay.

      I am a baby boomer and I am very nervous but I realise things have to chage or they won't exist at all. Of course Congress and the WH will never have to worry about any of this.

    36. Dave W. Provo. UT says:

      Many of my liberal friends quote Michael Moore to me, That we have plenty of money its just the wicked bankers who are hoarding it. They will not admit that we are driving off a cliff into a financial grand canyon crushing debt. With Obama and the Demoknotheads driving the bus. I'm frightened to the bottom of my boots jut wish they were filled with gold.

    37. Gordon, Jonesboro GA says:

      What are SS revenues vs. SS expenditures, in dollars? I suspect revenues continue to exceed expenditures and that's the reason they are not identified. This allows SS expenditures to be rolled into entitlements and treated as part of the deficit problem when it is not at the present. In fact, if my suspicion is correct, it mitigates the deficit. This is not to say that SS reform is not needed, for it is and needs to be done now. But to include it as part of the immediated deficit problem is political deception. Congress (ha!) needs to breakout this information for the public: SS revenues v. SS expenditures; Medicare revenues (taxes and premiums) vs expenditures; Unemployment revenues vs expeditures. The public needs to get a handle on this.

    38. Paul M. Albert, Jr. says:

      Great charts, but nothing new. My question is always: Why are these welfare type programs passed when any kind of actuarial projections would show they are completely unsustainable even if you confiscated everybody's income and wealth?

      The appalling desire to buy votes by both parties has been unconscionable, but finally the chickens are coming home to roost. I had never bought gold in my entire prior 60 years of investing, but I did as soon as Obama was elected. I am not optimistic. We'll try to get out of it by inflation and continuing decimation of the dollar, and meanwhile China and India are accumulating gold.

    39. Linda, Fort Worth says:

      There are so many "strands" of irresponsibility and overspending that I am getting "whip lash" considering first one issue and then another. I would like to see a chart that pulls all the strands (health insurance, soc. sec., wars, overspending, etc., etc.) together to depict the cumulative affect. We all have an issue that looms against us and/or our family more than the others, but we must try to base our position on the cumulative overspending whether it directly affects us or not..

    40. Bill - Hawaii says:

      How dare anyone put social security and medicare under "entitlements"! We specifically paid into those insurance programs. Just because those idiots in congress stole our fund, that does not make them entitlements.

    41. Liliane Heydt Danvil says:

      The Ryan bill will kill Medicare and cut most necessary domestic programs that benefit the middle class, the poor and needy American people but does not make any cut in the military budget. Do we want to become a third world nation without safety nets?

      It's a criminal and anti Americans' well being – bill?

      Military is 70% of our budget or more so why is not that on the table for cutting? Why do we need to police other nations at large when we are in such bad way and spend billions on wars?

    42. Tsum says:

      I read that medicare, medicaid, and social security are considered entitlement programs. I am hoping they are referring to the people that haven't paid into those ponzi schemes but yet are reaping the rewards. I have paid into all since I have been wrking and I sure as hell don't want the money I have contributed to be not returned to me. Nor do I want some politician telling me I have to work another 5 years to recieve such payments and at a reduced rate plus pay income tax on monies which I have already paid taxes.

    43. Jim from New Jersey says:

      It’s much more than this president… Bush didn’t help things, nor did Clinton or Bush Sr. We have been on a vote purchasing spending frenzy… we need to elect Tea Party Candidates, because the democrats and the republicans are basically the same party behind closed doors.

    44. Frank Egbert Kentuck says:

      Only those who pay taxes should be allowed to vote. Why should anyone who doesn't contribute a FAIR SHARE get to participate? You'd think a REAL AMERICAN would want to do so.

    45. Roger A. Walker, Ohi says:

      As usual, The Heritage Foundation is first rate, sane and factual.

      The people that write and fact check for The Heritage foundation would never make it in Government house–or Fantasy Island, where people think they can tax, spend and regulate into Utopia, though it has never been done in all of human history.

      Keep up the good work, and God bless you,


    46. Gene, Lake Stevens, says:

      Think what you will. I get my information from lots of sources.

      from Commondreams.org article by Paul Buccheit, 4/8/11:

      "In 2010 General Electric made $14 billion and received a $3 billion tax refund. The response by business? The 35% corporate tax rate is too high. Tax cuts, they continue to say, will spur economic growth and create jobs, and allow American companies to compete in a global economy." — so where are the jobs and economic growth ?

      Here's another. I don't consider myself a socialist but economist Prof. Richard Wolff has an interesting perspective on capitalism.

      Capitalism Hits the Fan, by Richard Wolff


    47. Gene, Lake Stevens, says:

      So tell me how well things are working in the good ol' U.S.A. Aggregate demand in the U.S. is low. Why? Consider these reasons (as extracted from Richard Wolff's "Capitalism Hits the Fan" documentary:

      1) wages were kept relatively the same in the last 30 years

      2) technology replaced jobs

      3) more women in the workforce

      4) immigration/outsourcing (cheaper labor)

      Where do we go from here?

    48. Kevin H, college par says:

      Does everyone know which president signed off on raising the debt limit the most while they were in office? His name was Ronald Reagan.

      Under Reagan, the debt limit was raised 17 times. Yes, 17 times!!! The next highest number is 7 – George W Bush, Nixon and Johnson all rasied it 7 times. Amazing how Republicans act like fiscal stewards when history shows they are responsible for raising the debt limit far more often than Democratic presidents and the Republican policies have created the most long term debt and deficits in the last 5 decades.

      I'm always shocked to hear people think Republicans have any economic answers when history shows the exact opposite.

    49. Stephen B, Mooresvil says:

      FACTS for the REAGAN Bashers:

      Less than five months after being gravely wounded in an assassination attempt, President Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act in August 1981, which brought reductions in individual income tax rates, the expensing of depreciable property, and incentives for small businesses and for savings. So began the Reagan Recovery. A few years later, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 brought the lowest individual and corporate income tax rates of any major industrialized country in the world.

      The numbers tell the story. Over the eight years of the Reagan administration:

      • Twenty million new jobs were created

      • Inflation dropped from 13.5% in 1989 to 4.1% in 1988

      • Unemployment fell from 7.6% to 5.5%

      • The next worth of families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 annually grew by 27%

      • The real Gross national Product rose 26%

      • The prime interest rate was slashed by more than half from 21% in January 1981 to 10% in August 1988

      The economic lot for blacks and Hispanics improved far more than it did for whites after Reagan's steep tax cuts. In late 1982, Reagan's second year in office, the unemployment rate for blacks was 20.4 percent. By 1989, his last year, the black unemployment rate had fallen to 11.4 percent — a 9 percent drop. In late 1982, the unemployment rate for Hispanics was 15.3 percent. By 1989, it had fallen to 8 percent — a drop of over 7 percentage points. White unemployment, by contrast, fell "only" 4 percentage points.

      Given actual rates of inflation, through 1987, the Reagan tax cuts saved the median-income, two-earner American family of four close to $9,000 in taxes from what it would have owed in 1980.

      Tax cuts were only one “leg of the stool.” The second was job creation. Millions of new jobs were created, and as President Reagan had pledged in his inaugural address, they were not limited to just one segment of society. Employment of African-Americans rose by more than 25% between 1982 and 1988, and more than half of the new jobs created were filled by women.

      Taming the lion of government spending was another key component of the plan – the third leg of the stool. Here, too President Reagan did what he said he would do. During his administration, growth in government spending plummeted from 10% in 1982 to just over 1% in 1987. With inflation factored in, federal spending actually declined in 1987-the first time that had happened in over a decade.

      Reducing tax rates restored the incentive to produce and create jobs, and getting the government out of the way allowed people to become entrepreneurs. From there, the free marketplace operated as it should.

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