Why This Is the Age of Small Government (Sort Of)
April 11, 2013
With the president's budget released on Wednesday, all the plans, Democratic and Republican, are in. And under each, nondefense spending—funding for many of the government's most-visible operations—will reach a 50-year low.
Here’s an explanation we wrote when the Senate Democrats and House Republicans released their budgets in March:
Every year, the government spends money in two broad categories. The first is funding that has to be approved annually by Congress, or discretionary spending. The second is funding that does not, known as mandatory spending. Most of the mandatory spending goes to Social Security and to Medicare and Medicaid, the latter of which are among the key drivers of the country's debt. In other words, the “debt crisis” that many politicians decry... is in large part the result of runaway future health care spending.