The crucial point is not whether a dollar is spent publicly or privately, it’s whether it is spent on the present or future.
David Brooks: Our Second Adolescence
This is the core issue with the growth in entitlement spending. Not that it’s government spending, but that it’s unsustainable spending entirely on present day consumption (funded by borrowing from future consumption). We obviously need to take care of our sick, poor, and elderly, but we can’t afford a default 65-year-old retirement age nor can we afford to entirely shield people from the costs of their healthcare choices. Obama becomes a truly great president if he tackles these realities head on.