By 2033, the government will spend as much on Social Security as on the military and all other discretionary spending combined. According to new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the 2023 federal deficit is projected to be $1.4 trillion. That means the federal government is expected to spend $1.4 trillion more than it takes in taxes this year. And it’s only going to get worse: Between 2024 and 2033, the gap will average $2 trillion per year.
All told, the United States can expect to add about $19 trillion in new debt this decade.
“To put these numbers into context, the total amount of debt held by the public will equal the total annual output of the U.S. economy in 2024, rising to 118 percent of the economy by 2033,” notes The New York Times. “Updated estimates could supercharge a partisan debate between President Biden and Republicans over taxes, spending and the nation’s debt limit.”
House Republicans say they won’t approve raising the debt limit without cutting spending. But Democrats don’t want to cut spending—and Republicans, too, are somewhat unclear about where and how to do it. Both Democrats and Republicans have vowed not to cut any Medicare or Social Security benefits, despite these programs—and the massive influx of baby boomers who possess them—being a major contributor to the U.S. deficit.
“On Wednesday, the Budget Office predicted that Social Security spending would increase by two-thirds over the next decade,” notes The New York Times White House Correspondent Jim Tankersley. And inflation is only making it worse, as Social Security continues to keep pace with the cost of living (this year, it posted an 8.7 percent cost-of-living increase). CBO now projects Social Security spending over the next decade to be $412 billion higher than it estimated last May.
“By 2033, projections suggest that the federal government will spend as much on Social Security alone as it does on combined spending — military and otherwise,” notes Tankersley.
The cumulative total deficit is expected to be $18.8 trillion for 2023-2032-$3.1 trillion That’s higher than CBO projected in May.
This is “primarily due to newly enacted legislation and changes in economic forecasts that increase interest costs and spending on mandatory programs,” CBO Director Philip Swagel said in a statement.
“New legislation enacted in the past nine months will add nearly $1.5 trillion to growing deficits over the next decade,” notes times:
More than half of the increase came from a single piece of legislation: expanding health care benefits for military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. That bill overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate, with Republican majorities voting yes in both chambers.
The law makes it easier for veterans who believe they were exposed to toxins during their service to receive medical benefits, effectively assuming that any American service member stationed in a combat zone for the past 32 years could have been exposed. It provides a dedicated stream of funding to treat illnesses associated with those exposures.
Another $550 billion in additional deficits is attributable to increased military spending, which also has strong bipartisan support.
Republicans talk a good game about spending cuts, but in reality their record is much more spotty. So it will be interesting to see if House Republicans stick to their promise to raise the debt limit without actually spending.
Here’s what Swagel had to say about the debt ceiling:
Regarding the debt ceiling, the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling was reached on January 19 of this year. The Treasury then began taking well-established “extraordinary measures” to borrow additional funds. We project that, if the debt ceiling remains unchanged, the government’s ability to borrow using extraordinary measures will expire between July and September 2023.
Swagel concluded that “over the long term, our projections suggest that changes in fiscal policy will be needed to address rising interest costs and to mitigate other adverse consequences of high and rising debt.”
Proposals to limit social media use to minors violate the First Amendment. Utah is moving closer to passing a pair of social media bills that would require age verification for accounts, ban underage teens from social media or require parental consent, and more.
2/ These bills–SB 152 and HB 311–were only introduced in late January, and are likely to pass both houses by the end of next week. If your goal is to protect children, one would think that a little more care and thought could be put into it.
— Ari Cohn (@AriCohn) February 16, 2023
Ohio is considering a similar proposal. “As part of Gov. Mike DeWine’s two-year budget proposal, social media companies would require parental consent before allowing children under 16 to use their platforms,” notes Columbus Dispatch. “They will be tasked with creating a splash page that verifies the user’s age and obtains the necessary consent from a parent or guardian.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) wants to establish a social media age limit at the national level (part of a bad bill aimed at “protecting our kids online”). as becauseAs its Jesse Walker points out, it would also seriously infringe on the privacy of adults:
To be clear about what Hawley is proposing: The bill would require “any person attempting to create an account” to “upload a scan, image, or government-issued identification” to the platform. Old accounts will be grandfathered, but this is it: https://t.co/5X3lcyQpow https://t.co/BqU6Kjzq04
— Jesse Walker (@notjessewalker) February 14, 2023
Such a database would link all accounts to real identities and be vulnerable to government overreach and hackers.
Even better, on pages 3-4, social media companies will be subject to audits, meaning they will have to keep all that information instead of deleting it after age verification.
Can’t wait for the identity theft that comes from it.
— Lou Welch (@Lou_J_Welch) February 14, 2023
An absurd proposal in Rhode Island aims to prevent “gathering” of marijuana. Rhode Island last year legalized recreational marijuana use for people 21 and older. Now some lawmakers are moving to limit legalization with a measure (SB 125) that would ban the possession or use of marijuana at social gatherings.
“No person shall suffer, permit or host parties, gatherings or events at their place of residence or other private property, place or premises or the assembly of two (2) or more persons in one place Under their control where controlled substances are served, consumed or in possession Any participant,” the bill says. controlled substance Marijuana (excluding medical marijuana), is defined to include many other drugs.
Allowing marijuana in an assembly would be a civil offense, punishable by a citation and a fine of $500 for the first offense, $750 for the second offense, and $1,000 for the third offense.
BREAKING: DOJ decides not to formally charge Congressman Matt Gaetz in sex-trafficking probe Prosecutors are informing witnesses today of DOJ leadership’s final decision after investigators recommended not to back down in the fall. More to come @CNN
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCNN) February 15, 2023
• González v. Google Gives the Supreme Court the first opportunity to weigh in on Article 230. First Amendment lawyer Robert Korn-Revere explains what’s at stake.
• A Food and Drug Administration panel voted to allow over-the-counter sales of the anti-overdose drug naloxone. “The Food and Drug Administration’s expert panel voted 19-0 in favor of the switch,” it notes Marketwatch.
• Bad schools are not always underfunded.
• RIP Internet Explorer.
• becauseIts Jacob Sullum pushes back, arguing that “America has gone too far in legalizing sin.”