Today Americans for Tax Reform President, Grover Norquist spoke at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations titled, “The Great Society at 50: Assessing the Legacy, Evaluating the Future.”  Norquist emphasized the importance of fiscal prudence in place of wasteful federal programs that promise taxpayers things they do not and cannot deliver.

While the New Deal and Great Society Eras are often referred to as successful periods of economic recovery in our history, the American people are still paying the price for entitlement programs established during these times. 

In fact, they represent half of all federal spending today and a large portion of every American’s income. Norquist pointed out that annually:

“The federal government spends 20% of what Americans make.”

The cost of President Lyndon Johnson’s so-called “Great Society,” is well, enormously great.  He continued:

“We have spent $20 trillion, inflation adjusted dollars, since 1964 on welfare programs.  Seventeen percent of income in the United States comes from means tested welfare programs.”

The American people are seeing the negative impacts of tax increases and federal entitlements implemented half a century ago, today.  Looking towards the future, Norquist reasoned:

“The real challenge is we can’t afford this, now or in the future.  Social Security has $10.6 trillion in unfunded liability.  That doesn’t mean $10.6 trillion owed sometime, that’s the present value of unfunded liabilities that we have in Social Security alone. Medicare is somewhere between $28- $35 trillion in unfunded liabilities.”

You can watch the entire event above.