HOW CONCERNED SHOULD we be about America’s $22 trillion national debt? The Treasury Department tells us that amount is $67,000 for every man, woman and child in this country, and the debt load is only going to escalate.

President Donald Trump has proposed a 2020 federal budget that would add an additional $4.8 trillion in debt over the next five years, and that assumes we have a robust economy and that interest rates remain about where they are. Not everyone is that optimistic.

The primary reasons for soaring government spending and rising debt are the benefit programs such as health care and the recent tax cuts of $1.5 trillion over 10 years. There will be enough blame for members of both parties as budgets are unlikely to ever be balanced again.

Liberal Democrats have proposed audacious programs such as the Green New Deal which advocates free college, single-payer health care known as Medicare for All, a war on climate change, reparations, infrastructure spending and guaranteed income even for people who refuse to work. Some economists have said these proposals would cost more than $75 trillion over the next decade.

Republicans are just as much to blame for these irresponsible projections. They stand by the belief in supply-side economics, which says tax cuts magically pay for themselves. The new socialist Democrats believe the notion that America can borrow or print its own currency (modern monetary theory) which states that there are no consequences for deficits.

Democrats are pushing free-lunch spending plans and Republicans are sticking with free-lunch tax cuts. Leading up to the 2020 elections, we will be told there will be no tax increase except on millionaires and no spending cuts on entitlements. The fact is no amount of tax increases can pay for the spending increases promised.

A few months ago, more than 200 members of congress cosponsored a new version of the Social Security 2100 Act, because they know Americans value Social Security and want it to stay strong for the foreseeable future.

Rep. John Larson (D-Connecticut) chairs the House Ways and Means Committee’s Social Security subcommittee. It’s his job to strengthen and improve Social Security because it is more than a pension for old age and poverty. It also provides critical coverage for people with disabilities, spouses and dependents.

To accomplish this, Larson admitted that taxes on the working class will have to increase. Every penny of the tax increase will go to retirees. No money will go toward deficit reduction or the causes embraced by millennials such as college loan forgiveness, climate change solutions, mass transit, health care cost reductions or the war on income inequality.

The scary part is for almost 66% of beneficiaries, Social Security makes up the majority of their income. For almost one-third, Social Security provides nearly all of their income. Social Security keeps many people out of poverty.

The debate has been running for many years. It doesn’t take a survey to tell us that people love Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Because of that, they believe it should be available to everyone; either free or via buy-in.

But the facts aren’t that simple and no politician or political party wants to address the elephant in the room: we can’t afford all of these progressive social schemes, even if taxes are raised on everyone earning more than $100,000 a year.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has calculated that government outlays on those 65 and older are now 40% of the $3.8 trillion which is up from 35% in 2005. At the rate baby boomers are reaching retirement age (10,000 per day) this spending in 2029 will increase to 50%.

The CBO and the Social Security trustees tell us the social benefits for the next fiscal year will account for nearly 62% of all federal government spending. By comparison, national defense will only be 15.7% and interest on the national debt will be 9.7%.

The CBO estimates that in just 10 years, half of all federal spending (except for debt service) will be benefits to senior citizens. Despite those forecasts, presidential contenders are pandering for votes by promising to expand Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The CBO said Social Security benefits paid out this year will exceed taxes paid in by about $82 billion. In 10 years, that operating deficit will top $300 billion and will swell by midcentury to nearly $1 trillion.

There are proposals to cover this staggering cost increase, but workers aren’t going to like it. The proposal would gradually increase the payroll tax from 12.6% to 14.8% and the income cap would be increased from $132,900 to more than $400,000.

That additional revenue would all go to paying current seniors and nothing would go into the magic lock box for current workers or toward “green dream” programs touted by the progressive socialists who believe paying for the Green New Deal is of no concern.

The world is changing every day. There are monumental disruptions to our routines on the horizon that will require enormous amounts of money. There also are $80 trillion of unfunded obligations made by previous state and federal governments that will come due in the next 10 to 30 years and no one is sure how they will be paid.