Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Trouble on the Horizon...

What keeps you up at night? For me, it is the following:
In 1954 defense accounted for 69.5 percent of federal spending and "human resources" (programs such as Social Security, Medicare, job training and food stamps) only 18.5 percent. In 2005 defense was 20 percent and human resources 64.2 percent.

Robert Samuelson included those very scary statistics in a wonderful column today. Trouble on the Horizon isn't the best title, in fact it is a bit misleading. Folks, the trouble is here and has been here for a while. To be sure, my concern is NOT that defense spending is so low as a percentage of government spending. The scariest part is that this trend will continues as the Baby Boomers grow older.

The rest of Samuelson's column, titled "Affluence and Its Discontents" is worth a gander. The title is a play on the recently deceased John Kenneth Galbraith's book "The Affluent Society" which was partially used as justification for much of that social spending. As Samuelson points out, the problem with many of Galbraith's ideas is that the public would grow to demand more from the government as it gave us more. Today we are at a point where our appetites (for government assistance AND material goods) are difficult to satisfy and the current economic growth and record unemployment isn't enough to make us content.


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