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Chart Of The Day: Entitlement Nation, Now And Forever

Tyler Durden's picture


The following items comprise what is defined as the key Non-Defense Discretionary Spending (NDDS) components of government outlays:

  • Job training and worker dislocation programs
  • All elementary, secondary and higher education
  • Health research and training
  • Consumer and occupational health and safety
  • Federal law enforcement and Federal judicial system
  • Pollution control and abatement
  • Air, ground and water transportation (FAA, Coast Guard)
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • General science research, NASA
  • Energy R&D and demonstration projects
  • NIH/CDC spending on disease control and bioterrorism
  • International drug control and law enforcement

Why do we bring it up? Because the following chart shows the ratio of historical and projected government spending on entitlements - these are self-explanatory - to all the non-defense discretionary items listed above. It shows a disturbing trend.

Why is the trend troubling? Jpm's Michael Cembalest explains in his latest note:

With a deal in place, we can get back to financial markets and investments for a while. Before doing so, here’s why I have some Sympathy for the Devil (e.g., House members who initially balked at a debt ceiling increase). No question, default is a very bad idea... However, there’s an undercurrent to US fiscal dynamics that is striking. The chart shows dollars spent on entitlements for every dollar spent on non-defense discretionary spending (NDDS). This latter category includes education, infrastructure, energy R&D, law enforcement and a wide range of other things that affect the productivity and the general well-being of the US economy (see table), not just today but into the future. The entitlements-to-NDDS ratio is already at an all-time high, and is headed for the stratosphere during the next few years according to CBO projections.

In addition to the obvious question of how the US will fund these unsustainable payments, Cembalest has a few additional questions:

  • Is this what the designers of entitlement programs initially envisioned?
  • Is there a point at which progressive politicians would be concerned about this shift, and if so, at what ratio? If you were a fiscal conservative in the mold of the now defunct Democratic Leadership Council, how would you view this?
  • How is parliamentary democracy affected when 100% of government revenues are already committed to mandatory programs, leaving legislators little spending left to fight over without running large deficits?
  • What does the table on the next page suggest about the likelihood of the Affordable Care Act really being deficit-neutral by the time all of its actual costs are tallied up?

And still another: can one mention these issues and not be branded a retrograde Hooverite for doing so? I still believe we will see some kind of grand bargain within the next 3-5 years (but not during this Presidency) which will broaden the tax base (means-tested limitations on the ability to deduct mortgage interest, state/local taxes, charitable contributions and perhaps a modest Federal tax on municipal bonds) in exchange for some kind of effective curtailments in the entitlement system, of which there have been few to speak of since their inception.

* * *

Or not, and as deficit spending explodes once again after the near-term lull in 2014-2016 as per CBO projections and then goes stratospheric, all the incremental debt needs to fund government spending is monetized by the Fed, leading to even great wealth disparity between the 0.7% which now control $100 trillion of all the world's assets and everyone else, until it is not the Fed's balance sheet but social cohesion which ultimately snaps and ends this great monetarist experiment.

Then again, maybe this time it is different and the central planners will find a way to refute every single law of mathematics and physics in their attempt to refute two thousands years of common sense. We can't wait to find out.

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Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:27 | 4065348 maskone909
maskone909's picture

sorry kyle but it looks like usa will crack before japan

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:36 | 4065393 Renewable Life
Renewable Life's picture

OMG how are we going to take three more years of this shit????

Then they'll just take the crown off his head and crown Hillary next!! Isn't it time to start talking about democratically breaking this bitch up?? Texas, are you there??

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:45 | 4065428 Ham-bone
Ham-bone's picture

gotta give it to the Fed since '08, they truly are amazing...consider:

National debt increased from $10 T to $17 T

Interest payable on the debt decreased from $454 billion to $432 billion (as of '12, likely lower still in '13)...pretty neat trick

All while GDP "increased" by $2 T despite the growth in debt by $7 T

The dollar has maintained it's value vis-a-vis other currency's trading in the middle of a range going back to '04 (hi of 92, low of 71...now goldilocksian 80'ish)...dollar has maintained value vis-s-vis gold only up from $1000'ish in '08 to $1300'ish now

Stock market all time highs

Bond yields low and still in long term descending pattern...new lows on 10yr aren't out of the question

The owners of the Fed are making record profits and record bonuses

Above charts suggest record recipients on everything .gov related

Hate the Fed but gotta say the Evil Empire has won the last 5 yrs...just cause it's evil and unsustainable doesn't mean it's gonna end anytime soon???

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:46 | 4065447 maskone909
maskone909's picture

anyone else get an erie feeling when the MSM continues to mention "USA losing its reserve currency status", yet will hardley mention gold?

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:52 | 4065463 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

They're just saying that to address people who actually know anything about economics concern. I don't think that will happen for another few years at least.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:53 | 4065473 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Hmmmmmm maybe it has something to do with this?


Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:34 | 4065713 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

<-- Bad News = Obamanomic is crush USSA

<-- Good News = Not wait full 3 year balance of Obama term

Consider every dollar US Soviet Style government is extracting of private sector, every dollar move to bloated government bureaucracy, is double move toward supremacy of State over Individual. This is how serfdom is appear.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:44 | 4065762 Johnbrown
Johnbrown's picture

Obamacare gives you a choice. Gold, silver, bronze, platinum...

"What would it look like if we had the same type of option for national defense?"


Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:55 | 4065793 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Cartoon on page is have very smart funny! LOL, Boris again to spray CRT with evening demitasse of libation...

Small child to Obama: "Daddy is say you are spy on all Amerikan..."

Obama to small child: "He is not your real daddy."

(Boris is explain, Obama is read interparty email communication between mother of small child and is to discern actual paternal parentage is not same as small child is perceive as "daddy", expose by ironic humor depth of government intrusion in private life of citizenry.)

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 14:28 | 4065976 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

What would it look like if we had the same choices for backing the currency we use?

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 16:48 | 4066572 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

Obamacare gives you a choice. Gold, silver, bronze, platinum...

Or Medicaid.  Boris is right, this how serfdom arrives. On the gentle wings of "We want to help you". This after decades of only helping themselves. Ask Trumpka how that's working out.


Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:54 | 4065477 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I should have brought a lot more money with me down here on this trip...

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:37 | 4065732 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Too bad you are not have Federal Reserve CTL-P keyboard. Poor you who are not private held central bank.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:51 | 4065807 max2205
max2205's picture

Don't forget that Barry is still operating as if there is a peace dividend to offset spending...we'll see

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:57 | 4065849 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Pre WWIII peace dividend is quick to evaporate when drum of war is beat. Remember, all war is Central Bank War, by design.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:54 | 4065478 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

 "USA losing its reserve currency status", yet will hardley mention gold?

MSM aside, someone seems to have got the memo today.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:06 | 4065537 Renewable Life
Renewable Life's picture

Jamie Dimon got the memo, if you've been following their letters to some business account holders, sent Oct 11th, stating they will jot allow any international wire transfers after Nov 17th!!!

Wonder what that could be about?? Ohhhhh I'm sure nothing:)

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:39 | 4065742 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Jamie Dimon and Lord Blankfein daily conference with Lucifer, have "hot" line from hell - no memo is of necessary.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:49 | 4065455 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

and to piggy back that Ham-bone QE will not only assure this continues but it will collapse yields even further from here. So interest payable could even drop even as the debt climbs.

That is why this is about the dollar, and only the dollar. The rest of the world has to reject it. So far they are too busy devaluing their own currencies along with it to worry about rejecting it.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:57 | 4065494 Ham-bone
Ham-bone's picture

Fonz - yup, the points of vulnerability for all the mis-invested capital and dilution of dollar holders should be bonds or dollars or both. 

But logic is not our friend here and there appears to be no one that's gonna hold the US's feet to the fire.  TIC data shows foreigners have stalled at record highs in their ownership of US debt but I have to admit that's more likely a result of lower debt (lower issuance) coupled w/ ongoing QE...but there is no sell-off of US debt and no significant dollar weakness. 


Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:47 | 4065777 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

When creditor is shackle with debtor, bluster is aside, cannot sell-off.

HOWEVER, chaos bifurcation scenario demonstrative flash point is come where captive creditor is sever appendage with hack saw rather to sink with shackle partner debtor.

... but what is Boris know, is still shackle to lazy in-law family share apartment leave underwear on floor, drink Boris reserve of Stolichnaya...

Fri, 10/18/2013 - 10:07 | 4068516 dunce
dunce's picture

There is often talk of other countries selling off our debt, but to who and at what discount?? It seems China could break our bank at any time by dumping our debt on the market all at once. Our interest rates would spike even if we could find a fool to take our IOUs. Theirs might well wind up the new reserve currency. Our fed could only hold a circle jerk in response.

Sun, 10/20/2013 - 12:31 | 4073581 BooMushroom
BooMushroom's picture

Our fed could also call up several journalists and politicians, remind them of the skeletons in their closets, and tell them that such an action was causus belli.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 15:26 | 4066263 Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

"So interest payable could even drop even as the debt climbs."

Interest is considered usury in progressive circles. As you said, fonz, this ends at nationalization of all financial markets, bonds included. Hud already pretty much controls the mortgage markets. Incrementalism on parade here.

The mantra will sound something like "Looky here people, the markets can't police themselves so we here at gumnut need to police it all. Turn in all your wealth and we will assure your welfare from cradle to grave."

So, what the hell is new here? Just another dying empire. Good thing about the failure of big spending republicans to rein in the big spending democrats is, now the process will accelerate, and we can move into the next faze of this "Really Big Shooo." 

The fuse is lit. Sit on cash, or get real.



Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:57 | 4065493 Renewable Life
Renewable Life's picture

Yep those ARE the facts and its been 5 years! 7T in 5 years, so at this rate will need to continue to ramp NOT maintain the flow, in order to hold down interest rates, which is what this is all about in QE. Which will drive oil to 150-200 a barrel, food cost planet wide thru the roof, and god knows what else?

So 25-30T by 2018, who's buying that shit at 2.5% 10 yrs???? When it goes, rates will double or triple overnight and it will go fast! 3-5 years is all this bitch has left in a perfect world!!

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:00 | 4065506 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

By 2018 the fed will own the bond market outright and eliminate it. There will be no UST market in 5 years. The fed and the treasury will have complete control of the monetary spigot.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:10 | 4065572 Renewable Life
Renewable Life's picture

And what will happen to the 10T in treasuries owned outside the country or in Instituations globally, banks etc??????

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:15 | 4065607 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

they will either mature or if they sell the fed will buy them. More likely they will be hoarded by the owners once it becomes apparent what is going on.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 15:31 | 4066278 Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

More than likely, those 10 year treasuries will become worth their intrinsic value. What's paper worth today, maybe $112 a ton?

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:12 | 4065588 Ham-bone
Ham-bone's picture
Fonz - I have to admit I posted some bad data recently as it was 2nd hand...anyway, seemed strange so I've re-figured based on first hand info...Looking at Treasury debt distribution of $12 T public outstanding debt (see TD link http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/charts/principal/principal_debt.htm) they have a lot further to go w/ QE than I anticipated @ current QE and Treasury issuance:

Bills - $1.5 T

Notes - $7.8 T

Bonds - $1.4 T

TIPS - $1 T

Fed only owns $2.2 T of the $10+ T Notes/Bonds/TIPS public outstanding...fyi net ouflows in 2013 (-$40 Billion Jan-July) of foreigners from Treasury debt (according to TIC data...  http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/tic/Documents/slt2d.txt) after huge inflows from '08-'12 ($500-$750 Billion anually...http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/tic/Documents/shlhistdat.html)...seems logical Fed's QE coupled w/ lower Treasury issuance is soaking up Treasury's and foreigners need not continue increasing but certainly maintaining nearly record holdings.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:17 | 4065629 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

"they have a lot further to go w/ QE than I anticipated"

I hear you man. I don't think they are very concerned about it. 

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:36 | 4065726 Ham-bone
Ham-bone's picture

Even more amazing - looking at all major commodities...nearly all are trading in the middle of their '08-'13 range.  Only a couple near the upper end of range (Lumber, cattle).  Everything else moving in the middle of peaks / troughs including oil, gold, silver, sugar, cotton, wheat, etc. etc.).   Trillions being created but the old problem of directing those dollars to the assets you want to inflate (stock market, housing, bonds) and avoid peripheral bubbles...somebody has really got a handle on it now!!!

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:40 | 4065747 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Hambone I was fortunate to get an in depth lecture on this offline by someone who was booted from here. I give you a lot of credit for coming to these conclusions on your own. I needed the mental shove.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 14:15 | 4065923 Ham-bone
Ham-bone's picture

I get off-line lectures but more typically from my wife asking "all this may be so...and then what?  why will any of it end?  and when?"?  I've got no reply.  Chick is too smart.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 14:15 | 4065924 Trucker Glock
Trucker Glock's picture

"Stock market all time highs"

Nominal highs, not inflation adjusted (even using deflated "official" CPI)

The stock markets are boat anchors with no ropes that will fall overboard at some point.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:01 | 4065508 Itch
Itch's picture

Texas? What like, the Alamo or something? 

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:14 | 4065598 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

"Then they'll just take the crown off his head and crown Hillary next!! Isn't it time to start talking about democratically breaking this bitch up?? Texas, are you there??"

Too late for the democratic option.  It's going to break apart from sheer physics.....like the Titanic.

Seriously.....there is a theory floating around that at a certain size companies need to break apart into smaller wholly owned entities to stay nimble.  I think.....if memory serves me... it is somewhere between 60 to 150 people.  And I think.....again....if memory serves me that this theory was based on Buckminster Fuller's theories.

Anyway.....it's inevtiable....America is heading for the crash and breakup.  I've been prognosticating for 5 years based on other data than this set of data above that around 2020 give or take a couple of years its the BIG CRASH/CRACKUP.

This data set only reenforces my feeling about that time frame.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:23 | 4065664 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

Sort of like this map of what a former KGB agent thought the US would look like around 2010?





Thu, 10/17/2013 - 15:00 | 4066135 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

As for a rough sketch.....yeah I agree with this guy.  I saw this when it first came out....and have seen other maps of this sort before that were roughly saying the same thing.  But we've been Balkinized since the Founding.....Northern Blue Bloods vs the Southern Lowland Agrarians.  It just so happened to be a primarily one race Balkinization......of ideas.  Now....it's the chaos of the "melting pot" where hardly anything gets melted into a coherent American Identity regardless of race, color, creed, or nationality.

You combine no national identity with rampant corruption and profligate spending amongst 300 million people and no one should be surprised that it blows up somewhere down the road.

Oh look......sign says we're almost there.



Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:28 | 4065682 Renewable Life
Renewable Life's picture

By "democratically" I mean the people of Texas vote for secession and establish their own Country! They are uniquely positioned to do so, and could lead the way, IMO Alaska should do the same!!! Those two have the grassroots movements already in place, and I have family in Texas and if anyone doesn't think they aren't talking about it at the highest levels, your dreaming!!

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:43 | 4065756 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

"By "democratically" I mean the people of Texas vote for secession and establish their own Country! They are uniquely positioned to do so, and could lead the way, IMO Alaska should do the same!!! Those two have the grassroots movements already in place, and I have family in Texas and if anyone doesn't think they aren't talking about it at the highest levels, your dreaming!!"

You're dreaming if enough people go from the talking (uselessly bitching) stage and to actually get enough people and politicians to formally seceed.  Will never happen.....until of course maybe after the Big Crash.

But trust me.....the Federal Leviathan has so many hooks into Texas and Texans that even if you get CLOSE to pulling the pin.....the pols and prols will get the heebee-geebees about ALL that money they will lose, not to mention the full faith and credit of the NSA, the FEDERAL RESERVE, the IRS, the HSA, the Transportation Department, HUD....E V E R Y B O D Y......plus Texas Copperheads inside the state doing everything they can to disrupt......NOT TO MENTION MEXICO SENDING OVER THEIR BEST AND BRIGHTEST TERRORISTS.....(at the behest of American Progressives <ahem....that's just an unproven allegation> ) in order to muddy up the waters as well.

Nope....sorry rootin' tootin' Texans.....you're stuck with the rest of us in Prison Planet until the Collapse.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:27 | 4065349 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Fuck it.  I'm either going to start cooking meth or collecting government benefits.  Then again, I hear you can do both so even better.  I guess this is what they mean when they say "you can't fight the Fed."

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:32 | 4065374 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Why not do both?

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:43 | 4065434 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

I kinda wonder. You figure prostitutes and drug dealers have no official income so the best thing to do is get on welfare.

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:57 | 4065496 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

LTER and tmosley,

Yeah, you have to wonder whether TPTB want us to do both of those.  They are trying as hard as they can do discourage productive activity.

And now JPM wants to lock up all money in their accounts.

"Someting wicked this way comes."

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:54 | 4065476 Itch
Itch's picture

It dont matter either way, China is picking up the bill. (muttley snigger)

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 13:08 | 4065554 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

Will we see the day that Obamacare pays for Medical Marijuana?  If so, and if you live in a state that has medical marijuana laws on the books, it would be much safer to grow than it is to cook meth, and, you'd be getting indirect subsidies via Obamacare.  I'm just trying to help you out here. 

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 15:39 | 4066308 Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

Hear tell there's no cash shortage on the streets of Humboldt County California. Jus' sayin'

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:30 | 4065362 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

"we can get back to financial markets and investments for a while."

WTF does this guy mean by that?

Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:32 | 4065371 maskone909
maskone909's picture

he means, "Hey maraia B., you stank ass bitch!  Get back to pumping stocks, we are on the verge of taking a 1% hit for fucks sake!"

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