"Federal entitlements are driving this spending growth, having increased from less than half of total federal outlays just 20 years ago to nearly 62 percent in 2012. Three major programsMedicare, Medicaid, and Social Securitydominate in size and growth, soaking up about 44 percent of the budget. All three programs are growing faster than inflation, andwhen joined with $1.7 trillion in new Obamacare spendingwill drain about 18.5 percent of the nations total economic output by mid-century. Because that is about the historical annual average of total federal tax revenue, it means all other government programsnational defense, veterans health care, transportation, federal law enforcement, and otherswould effectively have to be financed on borrowed money.
Other entitlements continue growing as well. Anti-poverty programs have surged by 49 percent in just the past decade, even after adjusting for inflation. Spending for food stamps alone has more than tripled since 2002. Health programs, including Medicaid, have increased by 38 percent, and housing assistance by 48 percent. Although these entitlement programs have dominated the governments spending growth, discretionary spendingspending authorized by annual appropriations billsalso has grown by 40 percent more than inflation, to $1.289 trillion. Spending on non-defense programs has grown 29 percent. These outlays peaked in 2010 due to the stimulus bill, but remain 7 percent higher than their pre-stimulus level of 2008.
Bear this in mind: Defense spending is the only major discretionary program that has been cut (by Billions) in the last few years. Defense spending is also at a near historic low in percentage of GNP. It is also one of the few programs actually mandated by the Constitution.