“Our increased spending isn’t necessarily a case of waste or of Congress spending like drunken sailors. It’s happening because providing an increasingly expensive service to an increasing number of people is increasingly expensive,” said Robert Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan budget-research group.
It’s predicted only to grow as baby boomers age into the system. The Congressional Budget Office warned in June that boomers will create a “significant and sustained increase” and “providing the health care services and retirement and disability benefits that people are accustomed to will consume a greater share of the economy in the future than it did in the past.”
But the entitlement programs pack a powerful political punch.
“We all hear, ‘My opponent will cut your Medicare. Grandma is going to be eating cat food,’ ” Bixby said. “One of the reasons that it’s difficult to hold a good, honest discussion about these programs is because the changes are so easily demagogued.”