So here’s what I don’t understand: Obama’s proposed 2010 budget is approximately $3.83 trillion in spending, with about $2.57 trillion in receipts. That represents a shortfall of $1.267 trillion. With the total discretionary spending–including the entire defense budget–coming in at $1.376 trillion, I’m given to wonder why we’re even talking about chipping around the edges with higher education education, clean energy, space exploration, foreign aid, etc. I grasp that some people are concerned about spending anything on certain types of programs because of federalist concerns. But when it comes to simple balanced budget concerns, the elephant in the room are entitlements.
There is simply no way to balance the 2011 budget without touching entitlements. Even if we completely dismantle the military, we’re only saving $895 billion, which represents only 70% of the budget gap.
In other words, we have to tackle Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlements–as well as the debt itself–if we’re going to ever achieve a balanced budget from the spending side. Third rail of politics? Perhaps. But frankly I’m thinking anyone who is unwilling to discuss, say, raising the retirement age is so irresponsible as to require resignation in disgrace.