The Mercatus Center's Veronique de Rugy uses Congressional Budget Office data to present a clear illustration of the problem with the long-term budget: health care costs:
As the chart shows, spending on Medicaid and Medicare, the two big government health care programs, will continue to grow and dominate the budget even if all other programs shrink.
De Rugy also shows the rapid deterioration of the budget in the past few years:
Earlier this year the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimated that deficits would be $1.4 trillion by the end of 2012. This chart uses historical data from the OMB to show that federal spending has exceeded collected revenues by $1 trillion for four consecutive years (shaded green). Before the recession, deficits never surpassed half a trillion dollars, shown by the relatively smaller gap between the red and blue lines.
The president’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget projects yet another year of deficits exceeding the trillion-dollar mark. Worse, future deficit projections included in the president’s budget greatly exceed OMB projections released only three years earlier.