By Conor Clarke
There's really no getting around the fact that the country's long-term budget outlook is a massive trainwreck waiting to happen: an aging population and growing health-care costs are a tagteam Uncle Sam can't handle. That said, I thought this one chart from Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf should offer a small amount of hope (and I'm pretty sure you can click this for a bigger, more hopeful version):
This is past and projected government spending as a percentage of GDP on things besides Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest. And look, it's not so bad! And sure, maybe that is like saying, "when you consider the ocean without all that water, things don't look so wet." Nonetheless, my sense is that when people worry about the future of big government, they worry about things above and beyond an older population that gets increasingly grabby with the increasingly expensive entitlements. But that's really all we have to worry about.