The numbers behind the debt limit problem

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data shows expected revenue to the U.S. Treasury for 2011 of $2,228.45 billion and “mandatory” expenses of $2,108.28 billion to give a net income before other expenses of $120.17billion. The CBO lists interest on the debt as $225 billion. This means the “mandatory” expenses have to be reduced by $105 billion to service the debt.
The “mandatory” expenses include funds for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, veterans, civilian and military pensions, agriculture, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ($11 billion), food stamps ($77 billion), earned income and child tax credits ($77 billion), family support ($27 billion), child nutrition ($18 billion), foster care ($7 billion), and Making Work Pay and other tax credits ($21 billion). The items in parentheses add up to $238 billion, more than enough to service the debt with $133 billion left for welfare and other programs. If servicing the debt is given the top priority over welfare programs and other expenses, the debt is easily serviced but the expansive government would have to be reigned in.

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