The latest Social Security Trustees Report tells us that the program will be insolvent by the year 2037. The combined unfunded liability of Social Security and Medicare has reached nearly $107 trillion in today's dollars. That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the national debt. Those entitlement programs, along with others, account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending. They are what Congress calls non-discretionary spending. About half of discretionary spending is for national defense. Each year, non-discretionary spending consumes a higher and higher percentage of the federal budget.
As the presidential campaign for 2012 gets under way, conservatives, libertarians, and others typically disposed to vote for Republican candidates would do themselves a good turn to bear a few things in mind as we enter the next election cycle.
One of the painfully revealing episodes in Barack Obama's book Dreams From My Father describes his early experience listening to a sermon by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Among the things said in that sermon was that "white folks' greed runs a world in need." Obama was literally moved to tears by that sermon.
By all means let us continue to remember and honor our war dead, as many (though too few) did yesterday in observance of Memorial Day. Let us be grateful for our living veterans as well. Go ahead, thank a "vet" for his or her service. Let no one think that those of us who rail against unconstitutional wars and the pretenses for them do not appreciate those who stand ready to fight in the defense of our country.