August 21, 2014

Debt, Deficits and Dysfunction

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

While there are many places in the federal budget where taxpayer dollars could be saved, simply “cutting waste” is not a panacea. Harry Zeeve, national field director for The Concord Coalition, emphasizes that point in a new blog post on the El Pomar Foundation website.

“For one thing,” Zeeve says, “government projections already assume an optimistic amount of waste reduction in the future.” He added that political consensus on what constitutes waste “is often lacking,” with what seems like waste to one person or organization often striking others as an important government program.

He noted that the two key factors driving projections of large federal deficits in coming decades are the aging of the population and rising health care costs. “It will simply cost the government far more money in the future to provide Social Security and Medicare benefits for millions of baby boomers as they leave the workforce,” Zeeve said.

He encouraged American voters to carefully consider their own demands on government, including the services they expect, the direct or indirect financial assistance they receive from Washington, the taxes they are willing to accept, and the role they want the U.S. to play in world affairs.