While lawmakers negotiate ways to avoid the Taxmageddon tax increases and the so-called fiscal cliff, they are ignoring the real issue at hand: runaway entitlement programs and interest payments that account for more than half of federal spending.

Combined with interest payments on the debt, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (including Obamacare) are driving the United States toward fiscal collapse.

The Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia explains:

By 2025, the major entitlement programs and net interest together will eat up all tax revenues collected in that year. This implies that all other government spending, including for national defense, would have to be financed by borrowing.

This projection by the Congressional Budget Office assumes that historically low interest rates continue at least until 2015 and that inflation will be modest, inching up toward 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2017. Nevertheless, spending on interest on the debt would double before the end of the decade.

Do you think Congress should find ways to rein in overspending rather than debating whether and how to increase taxes?

Comments (59)

e.c.c. - December 29, 2012

Obama’s ideology is the main thing, IMO, that’s driving
this… He wants to cut this country down to size, turn it into a
police state… We’ve got to counter this, or we’re

Kenneth - December 30, 2012

It’s past time for big spending to stop. Each and everyone
needs to assess their spending. We have no time to waste; let’s
tighten down on run away spending. It’s killing our great

John Spitler - December 31, 2012

Like Einstein once said…..something to the effect that
Stupidity is performing the same experiments over and over and
expecting different results – We as a nation keep voting for the
same incumbents over and over expecting a different result. Who’s
at fault here???? hum ???

Linda Coffman - December 31, 2012

This comment is for Senator Jim DeMint. I am very concerned
about the comment you made about Harry Reid being your friend. As
much as I have always liked what I have heard you say is as much as
I have always disliked what Harry Reid has said and done. At first,
I was really glad to hear you would be the president of the
Heritage Foundation, but hearing you defend Harry Reid troubles me.
Hasn’t he stood in the way of bringing House bills to the Senate
floor for a vote? Doesn’t he have some responsibility for not
passing a budget in the Senate? How can you defend him? We need the
Heritage Foundation to have totally conservative views and get the
message out clearly. I am afraid that you have sent a mixed message
about you and Harry Reid. I wish you would respond to my concern.
Sincerely, Linda Coffman

Sherri Wynn - January 2, 2013

I’d like an expert at Heritage to create a graphic with numbers that can be understood by the general public by equating one trillion dollars to one thousand dollars so it’s easier to visualize. Then we could look at the federal revenue/spending items the same way we do our own family budgets and better grasp the insanity of what’s going on. I hope you’ll do this – thank you.

George - January 2, 2013

It beyond regrettable Congress is unable to enact fiscally responsible legislation.
Term limits of no more than 2 four year terms must be enacted.
A flat tax on gross income with no exemptions or deductions for every individual must be adopted.

Lou Larmoyeux - January 3, 2013

Term limits, a balanced budget ammendment, and a return to the gold standard are the only ways to return sanity to our fiscal issues. There can be no compromise on this. The ruling class (on both sides) have been selling us down the river for decades to get re-elected. We need citizen/part time politicians not career politicians (and judges). Enough is enough!

Darryl Hofe - January 3, 2013

We need a simple business plan to transition extra-Constitutional insurance programs into the insurance sector. From the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s $500,000,000 underfunded police/fire pension fund, to the retirement funds in most states to so-called federal entitlements – it is empirically proven that governments can’t do insurance correctly. The single and only requirement for any solvent insurance fund is: CASH. Simple as that …

Charles Dewald - January 3, 2013

I believe that all Congresspeople know that the answer to our debt crisis is to reduce government spending. There are many non-essential government programs and departments that can be trimmed substantially, a darnn good start would be to cut EPA by 50%, Education Dept by 100%, Energy Dept by 100%, Agriculture Dept by 50%. All others by 5% per year for 10 years except for the Defense Department, which should not be cut but that we should start closing overseas bases that are not essential to our security. To do that would require that our ICBM missle defense systems are top notch. Congress needs to be very forceful in seeing that these cuts are implemented.

R. K. Smith - January 3, 2013

I wish i had the answer as to why no one on capitol hill pays any attention to “we the people” polls and also why is everyone in congress afraid to call Obama on ignoring the constitution and that is Dems and Repubs alike.
I would like some simple answers as to why we cannot get politics aside for the sake of saving our country, Is it George Soros’ money ?

Donald E. Thomas - January 3, 2013

Higher future interest rates will doom this great Republic if we do not get spending under control immediately. Bernanke is only able to keep the lid closed on the “interest rate pressure cooker” for so long.

Robert Turner - January 3, 2013

Stop spending,Cut taxes,Stop waste and fraud,Cut size of government! If I had more than a 6th grade education the ideas might be better.

Hurant Karibian - January 3, 2013

Why can’t we elect people who know how a business is supposed to operate, like, “Don’t spend more than you take in”.

Mr Jon H. Clayton - January 3, 2013

I’m afraid we’re turning into a nation of government dependants which is driving up the entitlement budget
and offering nothing to the economy. We need to show
people that they need to work for a living and contribute
to the public treasury unless they are totally physically
impaird the they are not enabled. I’ve spent 1/3rd of
my working lift in Europe and have seen that socialism
might look nice on the surface, paying for it is entirely
something else.

Barbara Cassel - January 3, 2013

We had no choice, we had to pay into Soc. Sec. and Medicare if we earned wages. I am sure most of us would have rather had our own private retirement fund. So why now, do you call our benefits, which we paid for…entitlements? This baffles me.

Ned Killeen - January 3, 2013

I believe the Republican congressmen have allowed themselves to be out-maneuvered by socialist Obama and his henchmen. I would like to see all discussions of irrelevant social issues avoided, and constant attention payed to our financial dilemma … massive debt, overspending, over-regulation, inflated government payrolls.

Gary Williams - January 3, 2013

Add more taxpayers by creating jobs.Republicans/conservitives need to stand their ground. The President has won every game of “chicken”, we will get the blame no matter what so keep our values and quit giving in.

Peter Pfefferkorn - January 3, 2013

The Republican Leadership has caved in again, as usual!

Richard Gaskill - January 3, 2013

This is a backwards run goverment.Our Constitution was set up to keep the goverment small,and off the peoples backs.Our senators,our congressmen,ARE NOT serving the people,but serving the`re own agenda`s at our expence.This growing goverment is nothing but a movement towards a communist run state.Watch out people!we must get our congress back to our Constitution,and not it`s self-serving agenda of a growing goverment,Less is more,STOP the spending,reduce the size of these redundant offices,quit sending our money to other countries.It`s time to take care of America.

Cynthia - January 3, 2013

Always offer choices in education and incentives for communication to “We the people….”

Gerry Eberwein - January 3, 2013

The people voted the 113th Congress into office to fix that problem. We shouldn’t have expected the clowns who created the mess to suddenly admit they were wrong. So, we got the best we could. Now it’s time for those who promised to do the fixin’ to produce. I wish them well and urge their efforts begin as soon as they’re unpacking is done.

g.s.e. - January 3, 2013

It is obvious to the average American that a person cannot operate their household indefinitely while running a budget deficit. You can only keep the debt balancing act going for so long before it comes crashing down – often with disastrous results.
There are many brilliant people in government – including our president and those who comprise the Federal Reserve – who know this continued debt-based operating plan is unsustainable. So what is their agenda for our country’s political and financial future once we experience a collapse?
As a student of history, we’ve seen monarchies, governments and political systems come and go. I feel that our Founding Fathers had the right idea when they established our Republic, with a Constitutionally based form of government which prescribed limits on the scope of government control and influence over the daily life and freedoms of it’s citizens.
In the hopes of maintaining this ideal, it is now absolutely crucial that Congress tackle the issue of continued debt spending. It’s one thing to vote for debt spending as a matter of addressing a one-time crises, whereas it’s quite another thing to vote year after year for debt spending as the ordinary course of doing business.
Maybe we need to engage the services of someone outside of the government! The first one who comes to my mind is personal financial guru Suze Orman. Her no nonsense tough talk about setting priorities and establishing financial plans for getting out of debt could be applied to our government! It would be both entertaining and informative to watch someone like Suze Orman address a joint session of Congress!

Cal Parrish - January 3, 2013

None of our elected officials will listen to those who elected them. Want to prove my point? Just try to contact them. The only response you get will be their own personal agenda! Never mind that they will not address your question, problem, request. Get rid of them all! One way or ANOTHER!

Gerry Eberwein - January 3, 2013

Term limits aren’t a great idea. If that’s imposed then career bureaucrats will be forcing their personal empire expansionism upon the nation. The best term limits method is informed voters. If the member of Congress isn’t listening, vote the bum out.

Craig Andrews - January 3, 2013

Until the consciousness, intelligence, and lack of spirit of self-responsibility is elevated in the country, efforts against the new collective of socialism will triumph to the demise of our freedoms. Education and an unbiased news media need to be corrected. Presidential corruption must be prosecuted aggressively in the House and Senate as it was during Watergate.

Bob Wilson - January 3, 2013

We need 0-based budgeting across the federal budget. Eliminate DoE, DoEng, DoAg, HUD, most of EPA and the other alphabet agencies, most of foreign aid, revise formulas for the “entitlement” programs the politicians have exploited. No more reducing the growth of spending; we need to reduce it in absolute terms in this session of Congress using the appropriation bills as the vehicle.

carolyn k hall - January 3, 2013

I am 75 years old and as far back as when medicare went into effect I paid into Medicare, you mean to tell me that is an entitlement to me?

Richard Brogger - January 3, 2013

“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, 1824
The federal government managed quite well on about 3% of GDP until the 1930s and it should be our national goal to return to that level by removing all expenditures not enumerated by the U.S. Constitution. If there are programs that we want to keep at the federal level than those programs should be made legal by amendments.

Robert Moffitt - January 3, 2013

Congress has the tax issue upside down. It is TAX DECREASES that stimulate investment that will save us.

Frances Borsh - January 3, 2013

We have to make sure the HOUSE cuts out the pork, ie
$$ to Hollywood?? Algae growers??? Pork, pork, pork. etc, etc.If Boener does not lead us in the right direction our goose will be cooked. I wish there was a way for us tobe able to petition for term limits. A total of 12 years should be the limit in both Houses. They manage to make extra money in so many ways. I think their pensions should be more in line with most American workers. Lord knows they get free healthcare for the rest of their lives. We the taxpayers don’t have that luxury.
I refuse to accept that we will soon look like Europe.

Jeff Yetter - January 3, 2013

The continuous increase in (ALL) government(s) spending and the concomitant “necessity” in raising the debt (read that “borrowing”) limit, is as incomprehensible to me, as those who say welfare constitutes an “earned income”, or likewise, the magnitude of one trillion dollars, let alone any multiple thereof.
It is painfully obvious that only a tiny fraction of our legislative bodies has not been seduced by the heady rush of power that results from giving the proletariat that which they so avidly desire; that is, equal access to the manna that flows from the Public Trough, and the resulting repeating tenure on the Washington-Go-Round.
Ask any productive member of the middle class how to control spending shortly after he/she has lost his/her job. He/she will likely agree that loss of income is the most effective way of curtailing spending. A pity that the “fiscal cliff” was not allowed to help achieve that end.

Howard Haddock - January 3, 2013

It is time for the Congress to stop this president AT ALL COSTS without any concern about the election in 2014. The “inside the beltway” crowd will be bananas and that os GOOD. Regardless of the outcome, we MUST cut spending at least equal to 3 times the revenue that was just recently allowed by Congress on the fiscal cliffdecision. NO ADDED TAXES and SHUT the GOVERNMENT DOWN until that objective is acheived

John Buonocore - January 3, 2013

What has happened to the peolple of the great country of ours is very simple. Obama, the Senate and the House just lit a cigarette and looked at the American people and said “was it as good for you as it was for me”.
The best is that the Speaker was re-elected. These people cant’ get to first base and already they are “promising” we will hold on the debt cealing—yea light up another “cigarrette.

Louise - January 3, 2013

Of course – no question. If we broke it down to smaller numbers like a household budget, maybe the public would see the light. We are heading for disaster, just like the people who spend what they do not have, it will catch up with us.

Diane Winston - January 3, 2013

Of course they should concentrate on spending cuts. That’s what every real conservative knows and I am amazed at the Congressmen who didn’t stick to their guns (if I may dare to use the analogy) on this issue. Once again the Republicans caved and now have re-elected John Boehner as Speaker.

Bonnie Smith - January 3, 2013

Absolutely the focus should be on cuts not only
$$$$$ but the ever growing size of government! !

Grant Richter - January 3, 2013

Divided we stand…that is what America has become under Obama. There are now more people who believe the government has the right to help them. They believe they are “entitled” because of some grandfathered principle. As for those of us who work hard and pay our taxes on-time, every time, we are left on the doorstep and for some reason our opinions don’t matter. Boehner must get tough, outspoken and rally the conservative movement to prove that this country will go bankrupt if we don’t cut spending and reign in taxes. There is no leadership in the White House, just 30 second sound bites from an administration with post-graduate liberal thinking from persons who have only work government jobs and never held a real private workforce job. They have no understanding except they know now to get critical votes at the polls whether it is legitimate or not.

Paul Wilson - January 3, 2013

I agree with R.K Smith. I’ve had it with our Congress, both parties, both houses. There is a fatal flaw in our government structure and that is that there is no way to peaceably remove
an out of control president who ignores our Constitution and there is no way to get our elected officials to listen to us once they are elected. Since when did bills start in Senate? The worst thing is that Boehner is re-elected as Speaker. He’s worthless. We need term limits and get away from electronic voting machines, they are too easily tampered with.

Sharron - January 3, 2013

Yes, but they won’t. I can think of at least 1000 ways to cut spending. But stupidity rages in the congress. The administration doesn’t want to fix the problem. The Congress believes Obama will worry about his legacy and want to play nice. Sorry guys, Obama doesn’t give a hoot about his legacy. Jim DeMint—I don’t like Harry Reid either. He is the most obnoxious human being on the planet.

Richard Swan - January 3, 2013

I believe Obama has committed too many crimes vs our liberties and is in fact destroying our great country by his policies. HE SHOULD BE IMPEACHED FOR FAILING HIS OATH TO PROTECT, DEFEND, AND OTHERWISE UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION.

Alice lee - January 3, 2013

The country is being imploded on purpose and by design. The idea is to disarm everyone so that when the Greatest Collapse of all times does arrive, not one citizen will be able to defend themselves. That’s it, plain & simple. Tucker Carlson today on Fox with Brett Baeir, says his conversation yesterday with a higher up in the Repub. party says enough will most likely break ranks over the 2nd amendment issue. Carlson said that if that happens, we’re “done for.”
Someone better call some Congressmen!

Glen - January 3, 2013

We need to cut spending, have a flat tax with no exemptions and a balanced budget. Also, since when is Social Security now and entitlement. This something I have paid into my entire working career and am now just starting to get some of “my money” back (although I could have done much better if I had a say in how that money was invested). If our elected representatives had not raided it, it would be solvent and we would not be paying interest on “our” money.

Dave Hardy - January 3, 2013

Spending for interest on the debt is a dead end street. Handouts without accountabilty always leads to addiction and enabling negative behaviour. If we are going to publish the names of individual firearms carry permit citizens, we need publish the names and addresses of those receiving assistance from the government. Someone needs to be accountable for consuming tax resources.

Karl in Miami - January 4, 2013

We MUST… put God back into our Nation/ Republic. Sounds like a radical uber right wing thing to some… But, just keep a slightly open mind for a second. Would ANY politician, or moral American, for that matter… EVEN dream about ‘stealing’ anything from another member of a family…REALLY
Ya, there would be acouple that would take the fillings out of there mothers teeth if they could make a buck, but I’m talking about the 99 percent of decent Americans that i pray are still out there. Stealing our rights, our freedoms, our creativeness, our dignity, and our resolve seems to be the only thing that either side in Washington,D.C. is capable of doing REALLY well these days. Are we really becoming a Nation of people who are not willing to take responsibility for there own prosperity/failure or political decisions !!! Do we really vote for people who are going to give us ‘free stuff’ or are we still the people who believe that hard work and great ideas can bring us the life we expect from our labors. Wake up Oh 51% … If you think that the 49%are going to pay for all this ‘free stuff’ forever… Well… They won’t.

Lorraine Smith - January 4, 2013

Please include my concern regarding the relationship between Jim DeMint and Harry Reid. Harry Reid, who in my opinion is one of the United States’ most dangerous enemies along with Obama. They are in the same boat, doing their best to sink the U.S.A. “fast and furiously.” I am troubled about the whole state of affairs of our beloved country at the hands of this worrisome henchman and his idol..

Larry Miller - January 4, 2013

I have no doubt a majority think Congress should find ways to rein in the spending…..but will they? Where’s accountability anymore? I find it difficult to believe they even have the desire. We elected them to play “their” political games. Politics has become their profession, and I would venture to say that most motives are selfish, even if unintended, with no regard for “we the people” who are paying them and elected them. We, and our children, are paying the price for their shinanigans. Sure, we can vote them out, but I wonder, will the newby’s perform any different than those they replace? Politics is the game, no mater who plays it. I am very concerned about the days ahead for this great country and my childrens’ future. I try not to let the circumstances that surround me every day dictate the way I choose to live, so I choose to have hope because I know my source of hope is God, not our fumbling Congress.

Sharon Earle - January 4, 2013

Amen to all of the above. It’s inconceivable that we are even having this discussion in a country that was once so great. I pray to God above that He is and will be our help in the troubling times we are facing.

Ginger - January 4, 2013

This whole fiscal cliff debacle is due to one thing…lack of common sense by Washington. Any idiot knows one cannot live beyond one’s means for years and ultimately have a crises. Just keeping on spending what we don’t even know will be coming in is the height of stupidity. Stupid voters get just what they pay for.

William Paulus - January 4, 2013

Stop the spending ,No more free money for people thatsit at home year after year,STOP giving money to countreys AID,Cut Congress wages,they work FOR US ,

Dexter Christianson - January 4, 2013

With the Republican Party in disarray, it’s leadership unable to articulate a common mission and purpose, we must offer a new strategy of growth and governance to the American people. America is looking for leadership that can offer an economic growth program that embodies basic free enterprise principles, limited government, particularly at the federal level, and a body of law that is constitutionally sound. As soon as we Conservatives can assemble this order of strategy and achievement, and present it to the American People, the sooner we will be able to move this great country towards the growth and prosperity we so urgently want. We must have the leadership that true Conservatives can offer. To paraphrase an old German poet:……if you can do a thing, or you think you can, begin it….boldness has power, and beauty, and magic in it…..begin it now!

jeraldine - January 4, 2013

Is it not time to look strongly at the Declaratiion of Independence and realize that America is right back where we started when our Fore-Fathers said that “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of our rights to LIFE, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of HAPPINESS, heaping to much burden and theft through taxation and controls it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and institute new government.This government is in the toilet and my children and grandchildrens future is NOT. WE THE PEOPLE must forget Wall street and money. We must turn to GOD and stop the bowing to the anti-christian policies. All this country needs today is to repent, stop doing evil, and PRAY, to GOD–the CREATOR,of course. We are in this much trouble because we have pushed GOD away and said that we do not need HIM.We can not expect to have blessings in this nation while we are murdering the unborn, abusing the children that JESUS loves,living immoral lives, robbing each other and especially empowering an individual to destroy our Nation who is not even eligible to be there. Another failure of Congress and why we do not need them either.

Gini and Michael Spicer - January 4, 2013

absolutely but the speaker re-elected, nobody in congress is really standing up for the people or listening to them

Gini and Michael Spicer - January 4, 2013

useless people in congress not listening to the citizens or really caring about the people, only their reelection

Robert L.Brown - January 4, 2013

Since NO Revenue Bill can Originate in any house but the House of Representatives, I think that the House should pass single bills for all Programs/Agencies seperatley,in a priority schedule. That is no Program/Agency will receive a budget unless funding (income) is available. They should only budget Programs/Agencies worthy of continuing. ALL others get no budget. In this manner Obama Care is NOT funded, the Dept of Education is NOT funded, etc. After passing these budgets singularly, they should do nothing unless the Senate passes one of these bills. Amendments by the Senate MUST be voted down. Only single bills for one Program/Agency at a time can be approved. Will this STOP spending beyond the income? No need for a raise in the national debt either!!

Dee Buscetto - January 4, 2013

These politicians no longer represent the people who elected them and are the most fiscally irresponsible and spoiled group of folks I have ever known in my life. An entitlement mentality has emerged in this country that started with FDR’s social programs and has become the beast that could devour this country!

:Les Thompson - January 6, 2013

cut spending. Cut the pork. If it cannot stand on its own and go throuth the approval process it should not be attached to a bill the congress knows will pass. It is wrong and should be stopped.

Dale Huebner - January 6, 2013

Of course we need to hold-back spending. You cannot collect enough taxes to make a dent in the deficit.
Also, the House should tell the Senate: No vote on the Debt Limit until the Senate DEBATES and PASSES a BUDGET.

Terry - January 7, 2013

Why do you consider Social Security and Medicare an entitlement program when I’ve been paying into them for 40 years?

Holly Chapo - January 7, 2013

Of course Congress should be committed to cutting spending in a meaningful way just as the rest of us would be required to do so if we were faced with a specific income. Unfortunately, spending is their power and they are addicted to both – spending and power. Nevertheless, we must do our part. We, the American people, must hold their feet to the fire and demand that they make the cuts. we must write to our representatives and tell them, professionally, in no uncertain terms that they work for us and the out of control spending has to stop. Write to John Boehner and tell him the same and that he must lead. Sometimes it feels like I am talking to a doorknob when I do this, but at least I am exercising my responsibility as a voter. We all have to this.

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