Here is a trivia question: Under which scenario would Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make up the larger share of non-interest (i.e. “primary”) federal government spending?
B. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget (House Budget Committee)
The answer is B.
Under Ryan’s budget, these programs would grow from 46 percent of primary spending in 2011 to 62 percent in 2021. This compares with an increase to 56 percent under the President’s budget.
The divergence becomes even more pronounced after that. By 2040, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid account for 74 percent of non-interest spending under Ryan’s budget compared to 62 percent under the President’s budget.
At first, this result may come as a surprise because it is clear that Ryan’s budget would do far more than the President’s budget to curtail the growth of federal health care spending. At...