Economic-policy expert: Financial crisis inevitable the longer Congress waits to address entitlement spending
So-called “autopilot” congressional spending – e.g., spending that Congress isn’t allowed to take its red pen to and eliminate from the budget, like food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, social security – will soon become the bulk of the federal budget, leaving little room for discretionary spending like national defense.
Autopilot spending is growing at an alarming rate and will consume more than 75 percent of the entire federal budget by 2020. As the autopilot portion of the budget grows, the budget becomes less responsive to current needs and crowds out spending on critical national priorities like defense.
Autopilot spending locks in status quo programs. Congress has the final say about mandatory expenditures and can change programs within the annual budget process. Lawmakers choose not to take action because there is little incentive to reduce spending on popular, but unaffordable, programs and there is no immediate penalty for ignoring the brewing budget crisis.
If Congress fails annually to fund the discretionary portion of the government, agencies cannot obligate resources to keep the programs running; if Congress ignores mandatory (autopilot) spending, nothing immediately happens. However, the longer Congress waits to address programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, the larger the risk of a fiscal crisis during which investors may demand high interest rates to continue lending to the United States, and the deeper inevitable cuts will need to be.
It’s time for Congress to get a handle on out-of-control entitlement spending that is digging our nation deeper and deeper into debt. Click here to help Tea Party Patriots urge lawmakers to adopt a commonsense spending plan that balance our budget within five years!