I found an item in the federal budget that’s even worse than earmarks and pork-barrel spending. It’s the $91,000,000,000.00 spent each year for pensions and medical benefits for retired federal government employees. Government employees do deserve retirement benefits just as much as employees in the private sector, but this line item is disturbing on several levels:
– It’s hidden. After hours of reading reports about President Obama’s proposed federal budget for 2010, I finally discovered that it’s one of those items, like Social Security, that’s either “off-budget” or a “mandated program.” Apparently, this means that it’s not included in the President’s budget proposal, because it’s just assumed that we’re going to spend the money for this item (due to laws from previous years, etc.). So, although the budget is some $3.6T, the sum of all of the items in the President’s budget is only about $1.9T. The difference (almost half of the budget) is made up of all of these other off-budget and/or mandated items, and our federal government seems to intentionally make it difficult to find and isolate these items in the budget. After a few hours of digging, most people just give up trying to reconcile all of the spending.
– The sheer size of this item reflects what’s wrong with government philosophy. If we’re spending $91B just on pensions and benefits for retired federal employees, then we have way too many federal employees. This reflects the monstrosity of the federal government. Our (off-budget) spending for Social Security is some $700B, so for every $7 in Social Security benefits for retirees from the private sector, we’re spending about $1 in pensions and benefits for retirees from the federal government. This is aside from the salaries and benefits for the millions of current federal employees.
For more on the biblical (and constitutional) role of government, please see: www.christiandataresources.com/government.htm.