The United States will allocate $252 billion for debt service, interest payment on the national debt, in 2015, as compared to the president's request for $135.4 billion in funding for federal R&D programs in 2015.
If these allocations hold, the United States will spend 46% more on debt service than it invests in R&D in 2015. This highlights the squeezing out of non-discretionary expenditures (i.e., investments in the core building blocks of innovation) by non-discretionary spending (i.e., mandatory expenditures such as for entitlements or debt service). Under the 2015 Budget Request, discretionary spending will decrease by 22% while non-discretionary spending rises 30% by 2024. In fact, if current trends hold, debt service obligations will rise four-fold, to $812 billion, by 2024, consuming an ever-larger share of the budget and increasingly squeezing out investment in innovation. Simply put, this is a recipe for competitive decline and economic stagnation.