First, let’s point out that defense spending isn’t driving this crisis. We used to spend an amount equal to 10% of GDP on national defense (as we ramped up our involvement in Viet Nam) without tipping over into massive deficits. In terms of GDP, Reagan’s increased defense spending was below the pre-Viet Nam norm, and not much of a spike, either. Entitlement spending rose more, faster, and longer than defense spending did during the Reagan term. By the time Bill Clinton took office, both SSM and OPI (Other Payments to Individuals) outstripped defense spending, and the difference has only become greater in the last three or four years of this graph.