Coming soon, the Big Gorilla
During the past week, there has been considerable discussion over the content of Pres. Trump’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year. I shall list it for your review. (See accompanying illustration.)
Without question, this is the first budget proposed by a president of either party that is not proposing increases in the budget in many, many years. The increases in this budget are offset by decreases. Now, perhaps you are one of many who are howling about the decreases. Perhaps some unhappiness is justified, and the budget probably will be adjusted where necessary.
It should be understood that a large amount of the decreases are through elimination of duplications of agencies, reduction of a bloated number of personnel, and the elimination of unnecessary regulatory restrictions. These efforts are long overdue. It is the reality that, for far too many years, politicians of both parties have spent like drunken sailors. Keep in mind, politicians of all stripes are keen on spending, particularly when it is other people’s money. In my opinion, this budget proposal illustrates the thinking and expertise of a businessman’s approach, rather a “tax-and-spend” politician.
Bear in mind, this portion of the budget is discretionary and is approximately only 34 percent of the budget as a whole. The major portion of the budget is mandatory and includes Social Security at 25.3 percent; Medicare and Medicaid at 28 percent; our interest on the national debt at 6 percent presently; and the rest at 7 percent. These figures are from Americans for Prosperity.org.
To put things into perspective, in 1965, the year that Medicare and Medicaid were created, 43 percent of the budget was for defense and 15 percent was for Social Security. By 2015, the following changes had occurred: defense was at 16 percent and Social Security at 24 percent. All of the mandatory programs are increasing at significant rates, and without increases in age eligibilities or other modifications, these mandatory programs will drive us toward a fiscal cliff.
However, the “Big Gorilla” is the potential for enormous increases in the interest payments on the national debt. This situation will increase significantly as interest rates rise through the Federal Reserve. Without changes in our current spending policies, we could be liable for $1 trillion in debt interest alone, and by 2054, interest costs could well consume every dollar of all federal revenue, according to an article published on the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's website in December 2016. The only true long-term solution is for bipartisan recognition of this problem and commitment to addressing, it rather than posturing and pointing fingers at each other.
It is incumbent on all citizens, regardless of party affiliation, to unite and demand the political elite get off their butts and do something to help, rather than talk, while they get richer and richer. Remember that more than 50 percent of our current congressional representatives in the House and Senate are now millionaires. If significant change does not come, the “Big Gorilla” will, and he will be mighty hungry.