It’s The Entitlements, Stupid


Yesterday I wrote a post responding to a Grand Forks Herald editorial that was, in turn, a response to a post here on the blog. In the editorial, Herald opinion editor Tom Dennis blamed Republican election losses on conservatives being insufficiently compassionate as measured by their support for social entitlements.

I objected, writing that I could agree with Dennis if it “weren’t for that pesky reality of cost.” ”

“Compassion is all well and good, but then there is this other thing called ‘math’,” I wrote. To that point, here are some charts from a study conducted by the St. Louis Fed which breaks down US spending by type. As you can see, while defense spending has grown of late, the major problem areas in federal spending are social entitlements. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and “other payments to individuals” are by far our largest areas of problem spending (via Hot Air):


Here’s another chart breaking down mandatory spending (mostly entitlements) and discretionary spending (mostly military and everything else the feds do):


It’s nice to be compassionate, but how compassionate is it to explode spending on entitlement programs, running up debt our children and grandchildren will have to pay off?

That’s not compassion. That’s greed.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

Related posts

  • splined

    If we want fewer and larger farms we need to double down on government crony
    capitalistic schemes that target greater benefits to larger farmers. Obviously
    rather than annual multimillion dollar benefits per farmer we need annual
    multibillion dollar benefits to the select few. On the other hand if we want
    more farmers working the land we need to dehorn,castrate, and slaughter
    government program schemes that target greater income and investment benefits to
    a select few. Perhaps we should be running in the direction of our founding
    fathers that designed a government that provided for very limited interference
    in citizens’ lifes and their businesses

  • Thomas

    There is a bigger problem
    There is very few people, and almost no one in Washington, who want to cut this spending. Almost all love it, and want to do alll they can to perserve it.

    This must be one reason our Founding Fathers were against big Government.

    • Rob

      Well when the #1 one area of public spending is the government writing checks for people, of course nobody wants to cut spending.

      The problem is, nobody wants taxes to go up to pay for all the checks either (and we couldn’t possibly raise taxes high enough to pay for it all).

      So here we sit.

  • mickey_moussaoui


    I don’t believe that most entitlement minded folks think there is any economic issue. They tend to react as if the supply of money will be endless. They selectively choose not to look into the larger issues. These are emotion driven people, not fact finders.

    Entitlement minded people feel that they deserve “benefits” simply for being alive. Crafty politicians like Obama use this resentment mentality to stir the pot and get votes. Once they get what they want they can go back to fanning the flame just enough to keep the anger ember lit. Just curious…how many of the Whitehouse support staff that work for the Obama’s are unionized? ( Whitehouse police not included )

    • Gern Blanston

      Many liberals I know still believe defense leads to the biggest chuck of our deficits/debt. We CAN’T cut entitlement spending – struggling folk will struggle more. And look at the rich – they still have money left over after taxes to live ‘the good life’. Therefore, taxes on them are not high enough. That’s just so obvious…. Low information voters, indeed.

      • mickey_moussaoui

        Are you saying that you are part of the “hate the successful” group?

        Life isn’t fair. Not only did it not give most liberals equal intelligence it shortchanged them on initiative too.

    • igx

      We pay for this stuff out of GDP, and the Fed can’t goose the economy anymore and the government wont’t get out of the way. it’s all a 40 year old illusion caused by easy money. It’s over now.

  • sbark

    The problem to cutting entitlements is that the recipients vote……..and their grandchildren and greatgrandchildren dont…….
    When you hear a politician say SS is yet solvent, he means it isnt fixed and the problem is being kicked down the road to our grandchildren who dont yet vote.
    Statesmen and Indiv patriots worry about future generations…….politicians and low information voters worry about tomorrow.

  • awfulorv

    Whereas we were once “the haves,and the have nots”, we have become ” the used to have, and the doin awright, but alrays lookin for mo”.