It only gets worse. Over the next 25 years, the number of Americans aged 65 and up is expected to almost double. The work population will shrink and more and more baby boomers will be drawing Social Security and Medicare benefits, putting new demands on the government's resources.
These guaranteed retirement and health benefit programs now make up the largest component of federal spending. Defense is next. (The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost $2.4 trillion over the next decade.)
And moving up fast in third place is interest on the national debt, which totaled $430 billion last year.
[The Associated Press]