Does the government owe you?
We're not talking about a tax return, but things like a social security check, Medicare help or even food stamps if you need them.
We've seen explosive growth in the amount of money the government pays out for those so-called entitlement programs.
The question to ask is, 'will we always be an entitlement nation?"
Caroline Fichtner, along with her two sons and sister, are visiting the nation’s capital for a little shopping and a little education.
“We are visiting the monuments and the memorials and the Smithsonian,” Fichtner stated.
What they don’t see is what’s becoming a trend in their tax dollars finding a larger percentage of federal programs.
"We're continuing to increase the size of government,” Dr. Ben Carson, Johns Hopkins Pediatric Neurosurgeon stated. “We're continuing to increase this big bureaucracy.”
Doctor Benjamin Carson has been critical of some of the current policies in place, including at a recent speech standing just inches from President Obama.
He echoes the sentiments of other critics like Romina Boccia with The Heritage Foundation, who predict a dreary future, should entitlement spending continue on the same track.
“We think that entitlements, especially Social Security and Medicare as they are currently structured are unaffordable and they will lead to their own demise unless lawmakers make changes soon,” Boccia commented.”
With 78 million baby boomers set to retire in the next few years, the congressional budget office predicts a massive hike in federal spending. A chart shows spending for social security, Medicare and Medicaid. The actual spending and then the prediction for what will be spent, which shows spending will double by 2030 and quadruple by 2050.
But supporters of President Obama call his re-election, evidence, that such programs should be protected.
“I don’t think that anyone’s going to say that poor retirees and grandma caused the financial world to go into tailspin in 2008 and yet they are being asked to pay for it,” Nicole Woo of the Center for Economic and Policy Research said.
Woo says Medicare can and should be reformed and more revenue brought in from those who make more money. The one thing all sides do seem to agree on is that changes need to be made now.
"Now we've gotten into this mindset, just give me what's owed me.” Dr. Carson said. “Let the future take care of itself.' that is not the sign of a great nation.”
Another program lawmakers point to is the SNAP program, formerly known as food stamps. 26 billion in 1995 to 70 billion in 2010.
Congressional budget office analysts predict it will go up to 80 billion by 2015.