For fiscal year 2011, White House figures show that mandatory federal spending (i.e., emtitlements) will exceed total federal revenues. In other words, even if discretionary spending — stuff like defense, law enforcement, transportation, parks, and imposing race and gender quotas — were cut to zero, there would still be a deficit. What is most impressive is how quickly this has happened: Just four years ago, revenues exceeded mandatory spending by $1.1 trillion. The old joke was that entitlements were going to make the federal government a senior-citizens’ program with a couple of tanks. Increasingly it looks as though we cannot afford the tanks.