office, entitlements constituted 45 percentrnof the budget. Net interest wasrn11.1 percent. Now entitlements consumern47 percent of the budget, with interestrnon the debt pulling down anotherrn14.1 percent. “Mandatory spending” isrnnow 61.4 percent of the federal budget.rnBy 2030, according to one estimate, thernannual deficit will reach $4.1 trillion,rnthe size of the national debt today.rnScared for your kids yet? Listen torneven more figures from the Bi-PartisanrnCommission on Entitlements and TaxrnReform: by 2010, entitlements and interestrnon the national debt will consumernthe federal budget. By 2030, federal revenuesrnwill not cover entitlements. Nowrnthe national debt is $10,000 per American.rnBy 2030, the figure will rise torn$64,000′.rnAnd who are the entitled? Not justrnghetto-dwelling, black crackheads scammingrnthe government. About $150 billionrnin Social Security payments thisrnyear will go to households with an incomernexceeding $50,000, meaningrnhome-owning, white Republicans. AynrnRand would have called them all “looters,”rnand what these disparate groups ofrnpeople have in common is an Atlas tornshoulder the ponderous burden theyrnrepresent. That would be the working,rntaxpaying American.rnIn any event, a number of lawmakersrnLIBERAL ARTSrnDRYKK-PIIOBIArnSiiiie ^paiikiiii; tliiKlrcii i.-. illc!;;il inrnSuvdeii, a Z6-rar-()tcl Swi-dishrniiiotliL-r cliicipliiKd licr nmily twovcar-rnnld Mill, wild Lnj()i’il juuipini;rnon t^l•^lllv laimtli.-rid cintlii.’^. hrnplaiint; liini in a ilotlus Jrver andrnliiriiiiiq it OH tor a tew s])ins. rtporli.rnd till- /••.’i/;ti/if./;i last January. IwornM.;ir^ aftiT the intidiiil. lln- iiKitlurrnwas ihari;i.-d in a di.striii i.onit withrnniallUMtniiiil aileva R’Litii- n’iiici.’drnthat “tlif lio Iiad an nniMial fiat otrntunil)li.-drvi.Ts.”rnwant reform, and Senator Judd Greggrnchaired a Republican commission on entitlements,rnwhich was scheduled inrnMarch to release a report that suggestedrna number of “reforms.” If all went accordingrnto plan, legislation is now coursingrnthrough the veins of Capitol Hill’srnbody politic. Gregg rightly observesrnthat the Constitution does not entitlernanyone to anything, but he and his wellmeaningrngroup do not seem to understandrnthat “reform” is not the answer.rnCongress should not reform entitlementsrnby “block grants” that would “letrnthe states decide” how to distribute welfarernor by tinkering with Social Securityrnto stave off its impending insolvency. IfrnGregg is right, then entitlements are unconstitutionalrnand must be scrapped.rnThis cardinal goal ought to be approachedrnby zeroing in first on Social Security,rnthe most important target for arnreason that has less to do with the staggeringrncost of subsidizing the well-to-dornBush generation than with the culturalrnand social problem it has created: militantrnold people. “The system was supposedrnto promote self-sufficiency andrnindependence,” says Paul Hewitt of thernNational Taxpayers Union. “But what itrnsays is ‘Don’t save, we’ll tax your kids'”rnto pay your freight. In short, claimsrnHewitt, Social Security has created arn”belligerent dependency pitting seniorrncitizens against their children and grandchildren.”rnYes, Hewitt notes. Social Security hasrnpromoted “independence.” But it is thernindependence of parents from their children,rnnot of parents from the state, almostrnthe exact opposite effect welfarernspending has on families in the ghetto.rnSocial Security has created a bottomlessrnchasm between the generations that willrnworsen with time and is responsible forrnthe shameless and aggressive panhandlingrnin Congress by the American Associationrnof Retired Persons, which owesrnits clout to 64 million Americans whornjoined it to get cheap airiine tickets andrnhealth insurance.rnOf course, scuttling the welfare state’srnship will not be easy without first gettingrnrid of its crew, meaning the bureaucratsrntrying to protect their jobs. Yet progressrnon the issue lies not in firing bureaucratsrnor converting politicians but in showingrnmiddle-class Americans that killing entitlementsrnis required as a matter of principlernas well as practicality. Forget aboutrnconstitutionality for a moment. Topplingrnthe welfare state would eliminaternthe need for laundering money in thernfederal bureaucracy, which would meanrnthe states really could decide how theyrnwanted to address the needs of their residents.rnThat’s what the House Speaker’srn”contract” is all about, isn’t it?rnMaybe it will be hard, if not impossible,rnfor members of Congress to relinquishrncontrol over the entitlements onrnwhich their power is based. But onernthing is certain. By 2010, the moneyrnruns out. Then Americans will have arnchoice: either spend money on legitimaternfunctions of the federal governmentrnor turn everything over to the looters.rnAt that point. Atlas may finallyrnshrug.rn—R. Corf KirkwoodrnOBITER DICTA: This issue ofrnChronicles features a sequence of poemsrnby Katherine McAlpine, whose terse poetryrnhas often graced our pages in thernpast. These new poems form an operaticrnsequence and can be found on pagern29. Richard Waller, whose poem “Oratoriornin the Ruins” appeared in Chroniclesrnlast year, has published a volume,rnBeethoven’s Brain, containing 44 samplesrnof his work. Another contributor tornChronicles, Frederick Feirstein, the authorrnof five books of poetry, is one of fivernauthors whose work is featured in therncurrent Quarterly Review of Literature.rnThe German publishing firm PeterrnLang has released a book on the Balkans,rnTitoism and Dissidence, by journalist andrnChronicles contributor Tomislav Sunic,rnwho currently serves in Croatia’s Ministryrnof Foreign Affairs. Examining relationsrnbetween the various ethnic groupsrnof Communist Yugoslavia, whose coexistencernis widely supposed to havernbeen “peaceful,” Sunic reveals the acuterntensions that exploded into open warfarernafter the collapse of the Yugoslav federation.rnIn Arizona, the following stores nowrnsell Chronicles: Barnes & Noble Superstore,rnMetro Center, Phoenix; Bookstar,rnTown & Country Shopping Center,rnPhoenix; Borders Books and Music, BiltmorernFashion Park, Phoenix; Books Etc.,rn901 South Mill Avenue, Tempe; MillrnAvenews, 1 East 6th Street, Tempe;rnTower Records, 821 Mill Street, Tempe;rnHastings Books, Music, Video, 1990 Mc-rnCulloch Boulevard, Suite #4, LakernHavasu City; Northern Arizona NewsrnCompany, 1709 North East Street,rnFlagstaff.rn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn