My One-Item Christmas List: A Government That Stops Playing Santa

Ideas

Forget a new car, Beats by Dre, or even affordable health care. You know what I really, really, really want for Christmas?

I want a government that spends less money. I’m not alone in such a wish. Even President Obama, who has asked for more and more spending in each of his annual budget proposals, has called the nation’s long-term spending patterns “unsustainable.”

We should be cutting small-ticket, medium-ticket, and big-ticket items, and we can do it in a way that doesn’t kick out Tiny Tim’s crutches or leaves us open to terrorist attacks. But first we need to understand the magnitude of the growth in spending over the past 10 years.

In 2003, the federal government shelled out about $2.2 trillion in nominal dollars. In 2013, it spent about $3.5 trillion. I have trouble figuring out exactly where that extra $1.3 trillion a year is…

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