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Griffin: America Has a "Pac-Man Problem'

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02), a member of the Ways and Means Committee, issued the following statement after releasing a new video -- America's Pac-Man Problem:

"A large part of my job is listening. Just about every day, I hear from Arkansans who tell me how important a federal program is for their family. These aren't Wall Street bankers or high-paid lobbyists -- they're folks like you and me -- people who care about their communities and the ones they love. Often, I have to tell them about America's Pac-Man problem: autopilot spending on things like health care and retirement programs is crowding out the country's ability to pay for things like transportation, medical research, education and health care for our veterans. My newest video explains the problem and House Republicans' efforts to reverse it."

There are two types of federal spending: the first is mandatory spending (or autopilot spending), which describes the amount of money that is automatically spent each year on things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the interest on the debt. Mathematical formulas determine how much money is spent on these programs each year. This spending is automatic and occurs without annual Congressional approval. The second is discretionary spending, which is controlled by Congress and most federal programs are funded through annual appropriation bills passed by Congress.

In 1970, autopilot spending accounted for only 42 percent of all federal spending. In 2010, it accounted for 62 percent. Less than three decades from now, it's going to account for over three-quarters of all federal spending.

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