In fiscal 2005, the U.S. government spent $2.47 trillion. More than half of that, or $1.3 trillion, went for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm-price supports, and government-employee pensions.
These programs are all called entitlements, because citizens receive the benefits if they are entitled to receive them, regardless of any appropriation by Congress. Formulas for the entitlements are set by law, and the payouts are currently growing at 8% per year, which is faster than either the economy or inflation.
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone account for $1.1 trillion of this year’s federal budget. That’s $3 billion a day.
And Congress has promised even more in future benefits for Social Security and Medicare.
Thanks Wall Street Journal, for this analysis.