Around 29:00 in the second video the teacher moves on to discuss the term “discretionary spending”. This term refers to the spending by the U.S. government that is optional and not required by law. An example of this includes defense spending. The opposite of discretionary spending is non-discretionary spending. Non-discretionary spending refers to the spending that is mandated or required by law. Examples of this include paying interest on the national debt or funding entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. The relevance of these things are seen in recent change in majority spending. Half a century ago, the primary spending was discretionary (that spending being dedicated to defense). In the present day, the primary recipients of spending are the entitlement programs (non-discretionary spending).
There are some issues predicted to arise from this. One being that the entitlement programs are growing so large that they are not able to support themselves, thus needed to gather more money. This is a delicate issue because these programs are designed to help people, but at the same time they are hacking away at the national budget, and, in consequence, could negatively impact the U.S. budget in as little as 15 years. Some of these negative impacts will be seen in less funding for things like defense or new movements such as eco-friendly accomplishments. (http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/overwhelming-entitlement-crisis). The other negative impact seen with these programs is that these programs could be the sole reasons that taxes will steadily increase during the next 50 years. Programs like Medicare aren’t going to be able to function without a large source of money to sustain them because of specifically the baby boomers generation. By fair the largest generation of youth the country has ever seen is now entering the “senior citizen” status and essentially pushing the capacity of Medicare to the max.
Without raising taxes or taking from other programs, this entitlement program is a prime example of why non-discretionary spending will leave no room for discretionary spending. Which in turn will clearly show why leaving room for balance is so important.