Rethinking Mandatory

The U.S. government budget for 2016 was $3.9 trillion. Mandatory spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and retirement obligations consumed $2.4 trillion, leaving approximately $1.2 trillion (or 31%) for discretionary spending. Discretionary spending includes defense and nondefense programs, such as education and housing. (Source: CBO)

Politicians use the budget construct to tell each other (and voters) what can and cannot be done.

So what, right?

The problem is, we use the same logic in our own lives to limit ourselves.

Our mandatory spending isn’t trillions, but is our own time and money.

From the size of the house and the neighborhood we choose, to entertainment consumption and our mode of travel, we decide our “mandatory” and “discretionary.”

Like a career politician, we tell ourselves what cannot be done because of this or that. When an opportunity arises, we kill it with internal filibuster…an endless mental chatter that pushes off dreams and drags us back to our comfort zones.

Maybe it’s time to elect a new representative.


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