Government Watch / Politics

Government Waste Is Just the Tip of a Massive Federal Spending Iceberg

From The Heritage Foundation – Senator Mary Landrieu (D–LA) recently stated, “I am not going to keep cutting the discretionary budget, which by the way is not out of control, despite what you hear on Fox News.” I got to join Fox News’s Eric Bolling in a segment of “Your World with Neil Cavuto” to set the record straight.

From the Environmental Protection Agency awarding a $140,000 grant to study Chinese swine manure to the National Institutes of Health funding studies on the hookah smoking habits of Jordanian students to the Department of Agriculture funding a $20 million reality TV show in India to promote U.S. cotton to a country that is a net exporter of cotton, government waste in the discretionary budget abounds.

But that’s just the tip of a massive iceberg of federal spending. Spending on entitlements is the main driver of the accelerating U.S. spending and debt crisis. By 2025, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and net interest costs will consume all projected tax revenues.

Non-defense discretionary spending surged 78 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars over the past two decades as the federal government has usurped more and more power from state governments and Washington’s bureaucracy has grown far beyond reasonable bounds.

Federal spending is currently at about 23 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—way above the historical average of 20.2 percent. Unless Congress puts the brakes on spending, it will surge to nearly 36 percent in less than one generation.

Congress is in the middle of the budget process, and this could be one of the few remaining opportunities to control spending and debt in a prudent and gradual manner.

If Congress and the President keep ignoring the problem, they risk a fiscal and economic crisis, which would force drastic policy measures with significant harm to the American people. Congress should instead strive to balance the budget within the 10-year budget window by scaling back federal spending in nearly all areas to meet tax revenues at 18.5 percent of GDP.

Heritage’s plan, Saving the American Dream, shows that the responsible course of action—balancing the budget in 10 years without burdening Americans with crippling taxes or compromising the nation’s national security—is possible.




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9 years ago

Aw, this was a honestly nice post. In concept I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to create a very decent article?- but what can I say?- I procrastinate alot and by no means appear to get some thing performed.

christian louboutin

9 years ago

The saddest part of this country today is that we have become a nation of entitlement. So many people think that what they need/want is most important. The ME generation has given rise to a nation of GIVE ME citizens. Few people consider that what is best for the nation as a whole is best for every individual as well. Those who have the least feel that they are entitled to the most and if they can’t have it, then no one should. My mother, who is in her 90s, lives on her savings, a small social security check each month and what her children can do to help her out. She feels bad that she doesn’t contribute enough. For many years she made bags for veterans who must use wheel chairs or walkers. Her eyesight got too bad for sewing and she resorted to making mittens, hats and scarves for children and needy families. She feels she doesn’t do enough! Unfortunately that attitude has really faded in this country. We are paying the price of greed and it may be too high unless we become satisfied with less before it is too late.

9 years ago

The so-called “non-discretionary” part of the budget (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Government Pensions, and interest on the debt) is certainly the major part of our fiscal problem. Our congress has promised more than the nation can deliver. Now, we must either start scaling back – or continue to spend ourselves into oblivion.

The longer we continue to delude ourselves into believing “it can’t happen to us, for we are too wealthy to go broke” the longer it will be until serious efforts to set our finances in order begin. And once we begin, it will still take more than my lifetime (I’m now 73 years old) to get out of the hole we are in. Balancing the budget is not enough. We must go beyond balancing it if we are to truly get out of the quagmire we are in.

9 years ago
Reply to  Jerry

We must learn that wealth is not created by printing money, nor does it come through government redistribution schemes. Real wealth only comes through productive work and development of continuing streams of income.

Les Balty
9 years ago

What Contitutionally enumerated power is exercised with this frivolous Federal spending? It is well past time that each branch of the Federal Government do their specific jobs and get this leviathan under control. Any official who overreaches is in violation of their Constitutional authority and should be removed for violating their Oath of Office, starting with the tyrant at the top.

Michael Fessler
9 years ago

Just another of the many thousands of pork programs funded by the non-informed, don’t care taxpayers of this country.
The solution is with the tax paying citizens-the rest, including that 47% who don’t pay any federal taxes, could care less.

9 years ago

Yes Senator Landrieu, and states like California, Illinois, and New York don’t have any fiscal problems either, right? In spite of what you hear on Fox News? But what about what you hear from the State Houses, the Congressional Budget Office, and other “less biased” sources? I suppose she thinks the real problem is that there aren’t enough taxes in place to recover the government’s money. I know this short clip was purposely used to make a point and perhaps the senator went on to say that Social Security and Medicare are the largest part of the problem (which they truly are); but with so many people counting on these programs, after paying into them all their working lives, how can you not consider discretionary spending for cuts? When my household is running short it’s the discretionary spending that gets cut.

9 years ago

Look at any news report of natural or man-made disasters. You’ll see swarms of people smashing into stores and running off with all manner of things that don’t belong to them. They have no inhibitions or consequences because the social order has, in the case of time-limited disruptions, been temporarily destroyed.

What we are seeing now is the approach of the permanent disruption of the social order. The looters hold the Executive branch, and they don’t much care what inhibitions the other two branches of government would impose. The short-sighted majority see only the consolidation of their power. They are too stupid and short-sighted to see that the looters will come after them when they’ve ransacked everything else.

Van Hamlin
9 years ago

I don’t know if I totally agree with the plan laid out in “Saving The American Dream.” They actually suggest that people paying into Social Security receive payments on a graduated scale based on income. That is a progressive agenda, if I ever heard one. How about we change the formula for computation of benefits so that benefits PAID provide the same value in the future as they do today rather than allowing them to grow out of control as they currently will do. If Social Security was never meant to be a retirement program then it certainly was never meant to be a disability insurance program. Get SSI out of Social Security altogether. Allow people to pay an extra tax when they are healthy and working to cover them if they become disabled, if they elect to do so. Assign these disability cases to Medicaid, if the victims are indigent. Last, why do we cap the annual FICA tax? Let’s pay it all year! You cannot expect to get over the entitlement hump without some increase in taxes. Politicians have squandered the money now we have to pay for their lavish misuse of our tax dollars.

Medicare and Obama care need to be redone. One thing that would go a long way is an pooled purchase of drugs on the world free market. By setting the standard for each drug being bid out a pool could be created for the mass purchase of drugs at a much lower price. Just think if all of the drug stores went into a pool with Canada and the UK to purchase in bulk. The consumer could be the beneficiary of this cooperative effort. Hey! Don’t worry this hump will only last about twenty more years; till us pesky “Baby Boomers” die off!

9 years ago

what do these politicians care, they’ll be long gone, by the time that the “united soviet states of America”, take over!!!this time, when someone yells, “the sky is falling”, RUN!!!

9 years ago
Reply to  slk

Its not going to be the soviets that take over, they are almost out of the picture. Its the Chinese and asian markets. They are the ones growing and edging out everyone else. Anyone speek Chinese?

Charles Crihfield
9 years ago

I get so tired and upset when every one calls social security an entitlement. Money was put aside by myself and my employer to fund this “entitlement “but the fund was raided over the years by scum bag politicians and used for their own pet projects thereby effectively stealing our money!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look up the definition of entitlement .. I do not believe it says anything about a plan that was funded by employees and employers then defunded by politicians as being an entitlement !!!!!!!!! !All the politicians we have in office want to put their spin on what is or is not an entitlement so they can tell us they are concerned about our welfare ,when they are only concerned about staying in office and lining their own pockets with our money !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wasteful and excessive spending needs to be reined in !!! Do we have anyone in office now that is not afraid to speak out against this administration and try to change the course this nation is on instead of continually caving in to its demands.

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