Our Budget Deficit and the Definition of Insanity.

March 17, 2010

The chart attached in the below PDF calculates the deficit in “constant” dollars – dollars that have the same purchasing power over time. Using that measure, the current deficit ($1.4 trillion) is a surprising 260% of what the government deficit was in the worst years of WWII, the biggest war we as a nation have ever fought.
While the WWII effort saw the U.S. government commandeer the levers of industry (at its peak, the war effort consumed 90% of government spending), we knew that the war’s end would reduce the elevated level of spending. Today, while the cost of the military is 20% of federal spending, the vast majorities of our government’s expenses are for non-discretionary items like Social Security and Medicare, and have no expectation of being cut. In fact, they are likely to go higher.
This chart shows that the problem is too big to ignore. Somebody is going to pay for it. Yet, politicians continue to push for more expenses to cover more unfunded mandates, apparently unaware that voters do, in fact, know the very definition of insanity.

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