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Republicans stop worrying and learn to love deficits

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell once called the national debt “the nation’s biggest problem.” And he blamed it on President Barack Obama.

Of course, that was in 2012, when members of Congress could disagree with the president without having their patriotism questioned or being told to leave the country.

The GOP was once the party of fiscal conservatism. It warned the $16.3 trillion debt was a ticking time bomb. Now, with the debt at $22.5 trillion and counting, Republicans have learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.

President Donald Trump is praising a budget deal that will add another trillion to the debt this year. And this is the guy who said as a candidate in 2016 that he would not only eliminate the debt, but do it “very quickly.”

It just takes the right people,” said Trump. “You can cut the numbers by two pennies and three pennies and balance a budget quickly and have a stronger and better country.”

Yet, here he is, prepared to add another trillion to the debt, just as he did in the wake of his highly praised — by him — 2017 tax cuts.

Obama racked up trillion-dollar deficits his first four years, while dealing with the worst recession in 80 years. The Trump administration is simply building a Tower of Babel that threatens to collapse on us all.

Democrats’ hands are far from clean.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer both hailed the bloated spending deal because it allocates more to domestic programs than it does to the military. Trump and Congress are inking a bipartisan deal that will increase current spending limits by $320 billion over the next two years.

The third party complicit here is the constituency. A politician’s most important commodity is votes and will naturally gravitate to the issues that offer the best opportunity for reelection. There’s simply little to no demand in this day of identity politics to encourage leaders to be fiscally responsible. Normally, one party is at least pretending to be so. 

So what of that ticking time bomb? In a few years, the United States could be paying more in interest on the debt than on the military or Medicare. At the current rate, by 2049, the national debt will reach more than one and a half times the size of the entire U.S. economy, breaking a record set during World War II.

Not to worry, Trump said in 2017, after seeing charts and graphics illustrating the problem: “I won’t be here.”

Ballooning deficits get scant attention while the president draws fire for his unhinged racist tweets and other imbecilic public statements. 

Future generations may wonder what we were thinking in electing him, but with any luck, they won’t have to deal with this sort of day-to-day carnival. What they will have to deal with is how the president and Congress decided to mortgage the future in ways that will beggar their imaginations.

McConnell said in 2012 that he and his fellow Republicans fighting runaway spending were “the adults in the room.”

Where have all the grown-ups gone?

Comments

RobsNewsRegister

As a former Republican that voted for economist Laurence Kotlikoff in 2016 as a protest vote, I applaud the News Register for scolding my former party's abandonment of fiscal conservatism. I fear we may have gone past the point of no return though. With trillion dollar deficits in a time of prosperity, what in the world happens during a recession?