Andrew Sullivan reviews the book Red Ink.
Here are some shocking facts that I learned from “Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget. Where the Trillions Come From, Where They Go, and Why Inaction Imperils Our Future.”
- An amazing 64 percent of the 4.4 million employees on the federal payroll are either uniformed military personnel or work for Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. The U.S. defense budget is “greater than the combined defense budgets of the next 17 largest spenders.”
- In 1981 Medicare and Medicaid accounted for 9.5 percent of all federal outlays. Twenty years later, that number had jumped to 25 percent. By 2021, if current trends continue, it will probably hit 31 percent.
- “Today, Americans pay less of their income in taxes than citizens of nearly every other developed country.”
- “In the early 1950s more than 30 percent of federal revenues came from the corporate income tax — in 2011, 7.9 percent.”
“Red Ink” is an extraordinarily useful book. It is exactly what author David Wessel, economics editor for the Wall Street Journal, claims it to be: “a collection of uncomfortable, indisputable facts showing the unsustainable fiscal course the U.S. government is on.”
Perhaps asking clearer questions might help? How does a person ask clearer questions?