The true driver of the national debt has long been staring the nation in the face, and it’s the skyrocketing cost of entitlement programs. Though the CBO expects annual defense spending to grow 20 percent over the next decade, it sees spending on Social Security growing at 67 percent and spending on government health care programs (led by Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare) soaring by 94 percent.

All told, in 2023, the federal government is projected to spend $3.7 trillion on mandatory programs, representing 62 percent of the budget and more than five times what will be spent on defense.

These numbers, taken together, make it abundantly clear that the only reason for additional tax hikes at this point would be to chase skyrocketing spending on entitlements. Paying for this spending wouldn’t be a matter of asking the very rich to pay a little more — it would necessitate large tax hikes on the middle class that far exceed historical levels.