The Heritage Foundation’s 2009 Federal Revenue and Spending Book of Charts is now available online. Please do keep it bookmarked for those times you need a good visual to refute liberal nonsense. For example:
Liberal Myth: Bush’s Deficits Were Worse Than Obama’s.
Reality: Obama’s Budget Would Create Unprecedented Deficits
Liberal Myth: Obama’s Budget Reduces the Deficit
Reality: Obama’s Budget Would Increase Debt by 26.3 Percent of GDP Compared to CBO Baseline
Liberal Myth: Bush’s Tax Cuts Caused the Deficit
Reality: Income Tax Receipts Stay Constant Even as Tax Rates Decline
and Corporate Income Tax Receipts Stay Constant Even as Tax Rates Decline
Liberal Myth: The Rich Don’t Pay Their Fair Share
Reality: The Top 10 Percent of Income Earners Paid 71 Percent of Federal Income Tax
Liberal Myth: Defense Spending Growth is Driving Our Deficits
Reality: Defense Spending Remains Below Historical Levels Despite the War on Terror
So if tax revenue and defense spending are flat, what is driving our deficits?
Federal Spending per Household Is Skyrocketing
Total federal spending per household is currently at record levels, having risen 203 percent since 1965. The Obama Administration’s budget would increase federal spending even further to $33,194 per household by 2019.
And what is driving federal spending?
Mandatory Spending Has Increased Five Times Faster Than Discretionary Spending
Discretionary spending, the portion of the budget subject to annual review or budget debate, increased 203 percent from 1965 to 2009. Mandatory spending, consisting mostly of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which run on autopilot, rose 832 percent from 1965 to 2008. In 2009, spending from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and President Obama’s $250 billion placeholder for additional stabilization efforts will increase mandatory spending over 50 percent.
And what is driving mandatory spending?
Medicare and Medicaid Spending Will Rise with Increasing Health Care Costs
Health care costs have risen faster than the economy over the past few decades. This directly contributes to the uncontrolled growth of Medicare and Medicaid costs. Health care costs are expected to continue increasing rapidly in the future and will be one of the main drivers of future increases in entitlement spending.
And what does President Obama want to do about Medicaid and Medicare spending? Spend even more. He already expanded Medicaid spending with SCHIP and The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle explains why Obama’s health care reforms will do nothing to rein in Medicare:
[L]iberal analysts have very serious plans to cut Medicare’s costs, which is why we need universal coverage, so that we can implement those very serious plans.
I hear this argument quite often, and it’s gibberish in a prom dress. Any cost savings you want to wring out of Medicare can be wrung out of Medicare right now: the program is large and powerful enough, and costly enough, that they are worth doing without adding a single new person to the mix. Conversely, if there is some political or institutional barrier which is preventing you from controlling Medicare cost inflation, than that barrier probably is not going away merely because the program covers more people. Indeed, to the extent that seniors themselves are the people blocking change (as they often are), adding more users makes it harder, not easier, to get things done.