'The Business of America Is Insurance'

This is a great framing post from Ezra Klein. He makes the case that nearly three out of every five dollars the U.S. government spends is on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or income security, while another dollar goes to the military. We are, he writes, "an insurance conglomerate protected by a large, standing army."


Budget graphinsurance.png

Two of every five dollars goes to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, all of which provide some form of insurance. A bit more than a buck goes to the military. Then there's a $1.50 or so for assorted other programs -- education, infrastructure, environmental protection, farm subsidies, etc. Some of that, like unemployment checks and food stamps, is also best understood insurance spending. And then there's another 40 cents of debt repayment. Calvin Coolidge once said that the business of America is business. Well, the business of the American government is insurance. Literally. If you look at how the federal government spends our money, it's an insurance conglomerate protected by a large, standing army.

Read the rest at Ezra Klein's blog.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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