Our take: What Americans decide to fund with government resources remains to be seen. But one program that many Americans oppose any cuts to is Medicare. Over the next few years, Medicare will continue to rise in cost, forcing an increased strain on government funding in other areas including military spending. In a recent column for The New York Times, David Brooks discussed President Barack Obama's strategy for nominating Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.

Americans dont particularly like government, but they do want government to subsidize their health care. They believe that health care spending improves their lives more than any other public good. In a Quinnipiac poll, typical of many others, Americans opposed any cuts to Medicare by a margin of 70 percent to 25 percent.

In a democracy, voters get what they want, so the line tracing federal health care spending looks like the slope of a jet taking off from LaGuardia. Medicare spending is set to nearly double over the next decade. This is the crucial element driving all federal spending over the next few decades and pushing federal debt to about 250 percent of G.D.P. in 30 years.