You are hearing ad nauseam in the discussion of the fiscal cliff about entitlement reform and tax reform (tax increases). What you’re not going to hear hardly anyone talking about is Executive branch reform. Why? I don’t know, but it is very disturbing. The Simpson-Bowles commission didn’t make one recommendation for cutting the Executive branch. Not one. Cuts from Social Security, Medicare and the Military yes, but not the Executive branch.
And why should they be talking about Executive branch reform (cuts)? Because the Executive branch is much bigger than you think.
So just how big is it? Well, let’s go back to 2009 spending and we see that the Executive branch was nearly as big ($1.21 trillion) as Medicare, Medicaid and SS combined ($1.27 trillion) . We haven’t had an official budget since then, so our government has just been extending these proportions or at least that’s what they tell us.
When you search the web for actual spending you’ll continually find the budget represented as a % of GDP. The hard numbers are too scary to print. But you can find some pie charts that show the Executive branch in 2011 at 33% and SS, Medicare and Medicaid at 43% of the total budget. What they don’t tell you is that the executive branch administers these programs and that cost is paid for out of the plans’ funds. Administrative costs are as follows: SS 1%, Medicare 3% and Medicaid 3%. This puts the true Executive branch cost at about 34.5% of the budget and entitlement payouts at about 41.5%.
So when it comes to actual spending, the Executive branch is bigger than actual budgets would indicate and you can see that in the hard numbers two paragraphs above. In fact the hard numbers from 2009 would indicate that the Executive branch percentage should be higher. Where might the Executive branch be getting more money to spend?
Well, we’ve been borrowing against Social Security in total to the tune of $2.7 trillion. You may be aware of this fact but were you aware that this money is off budget? That’s right, not included in the national debt or counted in the annual deficit. Liberals try to explain that it was tax cuts that drove the government to borrow from SS. Wrong! The reason government needs to borrow from SS is because the Executive branch is too big and it wants to be even bigger.
And what has this money been used for? Remember, we’ve been running a deficit of about $1.2 trillion each of the last 4 years. Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t counted in that. So much of the raiding of SS has been to keep that deficit number as low as possible if that can make any sense at all and has mostly been going to the Executive branch and the programs it administers (food stamps, welfare, stimulus, etc.). This explains why the Executive branch spending is bigger than it has been budgeted for.
To recap: $1.2 trillion, nearly as much as all of SS, Medicare, and Medicaid combined isn’t enough for the President and his bureaucracies. They are telling us they need more while hiding that fact that they already have more “off budget.” Our government is an alcoholic that claims to only drink a 12 pack a day while hiding a 5th of scotch behind its back.
So while it’s not easy to figure out what our government is actually costing us, the numbers for the cost of your retirement and old age medical plan are everywhere to be found. These are the target. “They must be reformed” we are constantly being told. But what about the Executive branch? Apparently it can’t be touched because no one will talk about it!
True conservatives are talking about reducing the size of government, but liberals turn that into cutting Social Security and Medicare. Unfortunately conservatives don’t realize they are talking about the Executive branch. This branch needs to be called out every day.
The bigger the Executive branch, the more power the President has. If you read the Constitution, you’ll see that the President has very little authority. Massive bureaucracies give him power he was never intended to have and we are the ones funding it. It’s quite ironic that we fund something no one wants to discuss let alone cut, while they steal from our retirement funds and then ask us to cover the additional cost.
Oh, and by the way, the last budget the President proposed, the one that got not a single vote in either house, it increased the Executive branch to a larger portion of the budget than SS, Medicare and Medicaid. If this President gets his way, his branch of government will be more important than you. He’s literally asking you and me to forgo the full retirement and health care benefits that we have paid into for our entire adult lives so that he can have more.
We the people have become expendable in order to protect bureaucracies in an ever growing government. That’s why entitlements are the focus of cuts instead of the equally big and costly government. The Executive branch is more important than you.
Tom Garcia is a retired Navy fighter pilot and the host of The American Hour Radio Show.
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