If providence (or dumb luck) takes mercy on the Constitution, Washington D.C.'s gridlock—an organic reflection of the nation's disposition—will remain the status quo.David Harsanyi argues that gridlock will be the order of the day so there will not be any significant policy changes. My feeling has always been that, without entitlement reform, this country will be slowly constricted by mounting debt. In other words, there won't be any money left to spend. Here's the Congressional Budget Office in July 2016:
If current laws governing taxes and spending did not change, the United States would face steadily increasing federal budget deficits and debt over the next 30 years, according to projections by CBO. Federal debt held by the public, which was equal to 39 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of fiscal year 2008, has already risen to 75 percent of GDP in the wake of a financial crisis and a recession. In CBO’s projections, that debt rises to 86 percent of GDP in 2026 and to 141 percent in 2046—exceeding the historical peak of 106 percent that occurred just after World War II. The prospect of such large debt poses substantial risks for the nation and presents policymakers with significant challenges.When debt rises to these high levels, it puts the brakes on the economy:
Those effects include displacing private investment, resulting in lower productivity and reduced income, even as the cost of paying the government's bills soar. That means a poorer, more constrained country.Yet nobody is willing to even talk about entitlement reform, so that slice of the pie called "discretionary spending" gets smaller and smaller every year. The next president will have to deal with legitimacy questions, a divided Congress, and a budget constrained by mandatory spending and the debt limit. There's not much room to maneuver.