I am going to admit up front that I am going to pull a “sneaky” here. That is I am going to use some data in a way the author never intended. I can just hear you say “I am so surprised, that has never been done before!” Okay, okay you are not really doing that. More likely you are not terribly surprised as this sort of thing happens all the time. But anyway here goes.
As the title ( I added the “or not”) indicates the originator of this graph intended it to shock us into the action he desired. Let’s look at the data. It shows entitlement spending was 20% of our gross domestic product in 1970 and forty years later it was 21%. But most shockingly if we do nothing to change it, it will grow to 22% in the next ten years! Oh, shocking, shocking!! How can we exist as a country with those kind of numbers?
Ok now I am going to admit to my sneakiness here. I eliminated all the graph to the right which projected the bars till 2080. Since when have we been able to predict anything accurately for seventy years in the future! The originator makes the point “if we do nothing, this is what is going to happen”. There are two very basic fallacies with this thinking.
When have we as a country ever done nothing for thirty five years let alone the seventy years of these projections.? If we are nothing else we are a country of change. Just ask all those people whose fathers had lifetime employment in the factories of the 1960s if things have changed since then. Doing nothing is almost impossible for us.
Secondly, I remember seeing the New York World’s Fair of 1964. All the big corporation and other big shots predicted that by the year 2000 (remember that was 36 years in the future) that we all would have our own flying cars or jet packs to take us to and from our work which only required twelve hours per week of our time. The rest of the time we would be frolicking at the beach. Of course we are still driving our old gasoline powered cars to our now regular sixty hour work week and many times to even a second job. This ought to give us a clue as to the reliability of those predictors in the above graph.
So, long story short it is down right silliness to try and say that “this is going to happen 35 years in the future let alone the 70 years used by the guy who figured all this entitlement spending stuff. I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that things will change in the next 70 years to make it possible for us to handle this guy’s worries. We don’t have to do it all today.
But what do I know….