What will bankrupt us first are the wealth transfers to my generation: Medicare and Social Security
When FDR started Social Security, most people didn't even live to age 65. Today, we average 78 -- and we baby boomers demand all the cool new stuff that modern medicine invents: anti-cholesterol drugs, hip replacements, etc. And we don't want to pay for most of it because we've been trained by government to assume that we're entitled to these things for free, or nearly free. We paid into Social Security and Medicare for our entire working lives, and damn it, we're entitled to get our money back!
Few of us realize that most of us get back up to three times what we paid in, that politicians have promised Social Security and Medicare recipients an impossible $46 trillion more than will exist and that our sense of entitlement will ruin America much faster than foreign aid, subsidies for NPR or foreign wars ever will.
Amazingly, we could grow our way out of debt if Congress simply froze spending at today's levels. That would balance the budget by 2017. If spending growth were limited to just 2 percent per year, the budget would balance by 2020!
But the politicians won't do even that.
It's depressing writing this. But it's not hopeless. There are examples of fiscal sanity we can follow -- if we have the will.