Lies, Damned Lies, and…the Undeniable Truth

Nicola Moore /

Most people are skeptical about statistics, claiming that mathematically-minded people just bend numbers to their will. But when it comes to long term budget projections, economists from the left, right, and center all agree we on an unsustainable course, and that the entitlements—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—are the main driver of the problem.

One more testimony to this fact was recently released by the chief accountant of the US Government, the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Like the Congressional Budget Office and the Social Security and Medicare Trustees, GAO finds that

Our long-term simulations show that absent policy actions aimed at deficit reduction, the federal government faces unsustainable growth in debt…growth in spending on major entitlement programs will absorb the lion’s share of the government’s resources. Just ten years from now…76 cents of every dollar of federal revenue will be spent on retirees and their health care providers.

This kind of consensus makes it impossible to claim that our long-term budget challenges are just a matter of “cooking the books,” and illustrates that something must be done to curtail entitlement spending if this problem is ever going to be resolved.