America is trapped in a horror movie that just won't end. Long after the Great Recession is banished to sepia-toned memories, the country's long-term budget crisis will still be haunting us, a fiscal Freddy Krueger ready to shred any semblance of sleep.
Take a look—if you dare!—at federal deficits (annual shortfalls between money in
and money out) and debt (the accumulated steaming pile of deficits). Since 1950 federal revenues have clustered around 18 percent of GDP. As John Merline of AOL News has helpfully documented, some years they're up a bit, other years they're down, but never by much. Meanwhile, outlays have gone up and up, regardless of ability to pay. Entitlements, especially Medicare and Social Security, play a starring role in bloat that would put the Blob to shame, as do ever-expanding bureaucracies, bailouts, and subsidies.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts that by 2020 federal spending will equal 25 percent of GDP. If past performance is any indication of future results, we know that revenues will be…around 18 percent of GDP. Anybody who has balanced a checkbook—scratch that, failed to balance a checkbook—knows that what follows is as predictable and grisly as a curvaceous college co-ed entering the last house on the lane: red ink that threatens to drown us all.
We may be out of money, but we aren't out of ideas. To make the long-term financial crisis real, reason is pleased to present the following information in 3D, to hit you in the face with some of the goriest images you'll ever see. Then, while you're still reeling from the horror, check out our suggestions for ways to arm up with pitchforks and torches to storm the castle, turn Mr. Hyde back into Dr. Jekyll (who, hopefully, will still see patients under Obama-Care), and shrink government from Godzilla huge to Pokemon tiny. Those with weak stomachs should exit the theater now, for what is seen cannot be unseen.…
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