Perhaps conservative blogging is passé. I've been complaining here for years about the budget being engulfed by over-stuffed entitlement programs, as opposed to (as lefties claim) defense spending. And I've been warning that we were headed for a test of the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis--the uncertain outcome when "the voter in the exact middle of the earnings spectrum receives more in benefits from [the government] than he pays in taxes."
Now I discover that the most mainstream of Mainstream Media agrees. Specifically, in a February 12th story headlined "Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It", the New York Times included these charts:
source: NY Times (page 3 of on-line version)
source: NY Times (page 4 of on-line version)
If I had to quibble, it would be that the first chart understates the government healthcare component of entitlement spending, because it appears to treat the Federal tax deduction on employer-sponsored health insurance as lower receipts, not outlays. This is despite the fact that the deduction effectively subsidizes a large share of health insurance premiums for employees (though not for the self-employed). Thus has our tax policy morphed into a foot-tall code of Byzantine false flags too complicated for any single Congressman or inside-the-Beltway lobbyist to comprehend. Scrap it and start over.
Anyway, even on their face, the Times' own charts prove two things, as Powerline observes:
[First,] inflation-adjusted spending for entitlement programs on all levels of government has soared from under about $1,000 per capita in 1960 to over $7,000 today. If you want to know why we have huge deficits look no further. . .Vindication -- my own points, now in the press -- should seem sweeter. But because liberals won't change their rhetoric or votes, I still feel cheated.
[Second,] the proportion of entitlement spending going to the poor has fallen from half to about a third. So increasingly we’re taxing the middle class to pay themselves their own money, minus a large commission to Washington DC. More stark is the inter-generational aspect--we’re taxing relatively poorer young workers to benefit relatively much richer elderly.