Tag Archives: national debt

‘Welcome back,’ ballooning budget deficits

Ronald Reagan and his fellow Republicans made lots of hay in 1980 about the “spiraling” budget deficit during that presidential election year. It totaled a whopping $40 billion.

The GOP presidential nominee’s campaign ridiculed those big-spending Democrats en route to a smashing landslide election victory over President Jimmy Carter.

Ah, yes. Republicans were the party of “fiscal responsibility.”

Hah! Not any longer. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the current fiscal year will end with an $800 billion budget deficit and will surpass $1 trillion by the next fiscal year.

Hey, what happened? Oh, it’s that tax cut that the Republicans wrote into law — at the insistence of Donald J. Trump, and the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress.

What happened to fiscal restraint? Where are the controls on runaway government spending? Aren’t congressional Republicans — who control the House and the Senate — supposed to rein in free-spending tendencies usually associated with liberal Democrats?

A Democratic president, Bill Clinton, managed to craft a balanced budget in the late 1990s with help from congressional Republicans. Then came Republican George W. Bush, who succeeded Clinton in 2001. We went to war at the end of that year, but didn’t increase taxes to pay for it. The deficit soared out of control.

Democrat Barack Obama came aboard in 2009 with the economy in free fall. He pushed a tax hike and a spending boost through Congress. The economy recovered. The deficit was pared by roughly two-thirds annually by the time he left office in 2017.

Now we’re hurtling back to Square One. The deficit is exploding.

And no one in power seems to care about things that used to matter a lot.

Infrastructure reconstruction? Sure, but how?

I am inclined to support Donald Trump’s plan to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure. He wants to spend more than a trillion bucks to remake our roads, highways, bridges, airports and rail lines.

The Republican president sounds like a big-spending Democrat with this bold notion. To which I say, bring it on!

Here’s the deal, however. How are we going to pay for this?

The president and his Republican congressional allies have just pushed through a big tax cut that slashes corporate income taxes and helps many Americans at the top of the income ladder. Corporate leaders are kicking back those tax savings to their employees, which is a good thing.

The tax cut is going to explode the federal budget deficit, not to mention add tremendously to our $20 trillion national debt.

What price will we pay to finance this huge infrastructure plan that has come forth from the president? Are we going to sacrifice more in social programs? Will there be cuts in Medicare, Social Security?

I don’t expect the defense establishment to pay for this infrastructure plan. Trump proclaims his love and admiration for the military. As do I. This is another area of agreement I have with the president.

I’ve already mentioned here that I consider myself to be a deficit hawk. President Barack Obama and Congress managed to pare down the annual deficit during Obama’s two terms. His successor, Trump, now is on the cusp of exploding it yet again.

Cutting taxes while at the same time spending more than $1 trillion to rebuild our infrastructure in my mind just doesn’t compute to anything other than adding billions and billions to the annual deficit.

I would like to support the infrastructure improvements. It’s the potential consequence of this massive expense that gives me pause.

Deficit hawks have taken a powder

You have heard it said — I am quite certain — that “we ought to run the government like we run a business.”

I ask: How many businesses do you know operate on deficits approaching the scale of what we’ve had in the federal government?

None. Right? Of course!

But now we have the Business Mogul in Chief as president of the United States and those federal budget deficits are approaching $1 trillion annually, a figure not seen since early in the Obama administration.

I should remind you that Barack Obama took office in January 2009 with the economy in free fall. He pushed through some ambitious rescue plans that included tax increases to help pay for the significant boost in public spending to help failing businesses.

The result over President Obama’s two terms was a serious reduction in the annual budget deficit; it shrank annually by about two-thirds.

It’s now heading back up. Congress keeps spending while approving big tax cuts. I believe that’s a recipe for increasing budget deficits, which in turn pile on more money onto the national debt that now stands at a cool $20 trillion.

Deficit mounts

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin now wants Congress to boost the nation’s borrowing capacity to pay for all this spending.

Just wondering: Isn’t the Republican Party the party of fiscal responsibility? What’s more: How many businesses would survive such exorbitant spending?

RINOs take over congressional GOP

Republican Party “purists,” whoever they may be, must be furious with what the GOP majority in Congress has done.

Republicans who control both congressional chambers have just rammed through two versions of a tax cut that by many economists’ view is going to explode the federal budget deficit.

Therefore, congressional Republicans — virtually to a person — comprise Republicans In Name Only. They are the dreaded RINOs that purists keep condemning as closet big-spenders masquerading as members of the party of fiscal responsibility.

One Republican — lame-duck U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee — managed to vote “no” on the Senate version of the tax cut. But he was the only one.

Now this monstrosity goes back to the House of Representatives, which will seek to reconcile its differences with the Senate version. Then they get to vote again on it.

After that? It goes to the Oval Office, where the president of the United States will sign it. He’ll boast about the “victory” he won. Donald Trump will take credit for enacting a bill about which he likely doesn’t know a thing.

Do you remember the time when Republicans used to blister Democrats for running up those huge deficits? As recently as the 2016 election, Republicans were pounding freely at Democratic President Barack Obama for overseeing a sharp growth in the national debt. But here’s the deal: Under the Obama presidency, the size of the annual deficit was decreasing almost every year; by the time President Obama left office, the annual budget deficit had been cut by about two-thirds from the amount he inherited when he took office in January 2009.

I guess those days are gone, along with any chance that Republicans and Democrats are going to find common ground on matters that affect all Americans.

As for the country’s budgetary future, it’s now in the hands of RINOs. When are the party purists going to start squawking?

Hello? Is there anyone out there?

Senate GOP makes yet another run at the ACA

Here we go … again!

U.S. Senate Republicans have come up with a scheme to pay for the big tax cut they’re trying to enact that involves the Affordable Care Act. They want to repeal the individual mandate portion of the ACA, which they say will save more than $300 billion over the next decade.

The savings would be used to pay for the tax cuts being pitched for many wealthy Americans.

This is so very maddening, in my ever-so-humble view.

Congress trying again to repeal ACA

Congress has been unable to repeal the ACA and replace it. The president has been unable push his Republican pals across the finish line. They have tried and failed since long before Donald Trump took office as president of the United States.

Now comes this bit of Senate trickery: attach the individual mandate repeal to a tax cut they say would jumpstart the economy. Moreover, is anyone on Capitol Hill or the White House worried any longer about the national debt and our annual budget deficit, which economists say are going to explode under the GOP tax cut?

I want to make a couple of points.

One is that the economy is rocking along just fine. The U.S. Labor Department announced earlier this month that non-farm payrolls jumped by 260,000 jobs in October; the unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in 17 years. Not bad, man!

Two, enrollment for the ACA is moving along at a brisk pace. Hundreds of thousands more Americans signed up for insurance when open enrollment began at the beginning of the month, despite the president’s efforts to undermine the ACA.

I remain totally opposed to any wholesale repeal of the ACA. I continue to insist that it can be improved. It can be made more affordable. 

Removing the individual mandate — which requires Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty — is certain to do one thing: It will toss millions of Americans off the rolls of the insured.

How is that supposed to help?

Remember when deficits mattered to GOP?

Donald J. Trump’s tax “reform” plan appears to be a prescription for doing something that used to be anathema to Republicans.

It will blow apart the national budget deficit.

I recall a day when deficits actually mattered to Republicans. The GOP spent a lot of political energy and capital during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency to lambaste the president for expanding the national debt, even though the annual budget deficit was cut by two-thirds during Obama’s two terms.

Flashing back to 1980, I want to recall how Ronald Reagan managed to be elected president. He and his fellow Republicans tore congressional Democrats — and President Carter — to pieces because they were running deficits that exceeded $40 billion annually.

Forty billion dollars!

Don’t you wish that were the case today?

Well, deficits no longer seem to matter. Republicans have joined their Democratic colleagues as political spendthrifts. Trump is going to cut taxes for his fellow wealthy Americans; his administration calls it the greatest tax cut in history. The spending will go on. The deficits are likely to soar. Won’t that pile more money onto our national debt?

Where is the outrage over that?

‘Mess’? Mr. President, you inherited a ‘mess’?

Barack Hussein Obama doesn’t need me to defend him.

Aww, what the heck. I’ll do so anyway.

His successor as president of the United States told us Tuesday night once again that he inherited a “mess” when he took office a little more than a month ago.

Donald J. Trump’s assertion came during his speech to a joint session of Congress. He talked about 94 million Americans no longer looking for work and about how the economic recovery is the slowest in 60-plus years.

He blamed President Obama’s economic policies.

Ayyye!

I’ll stipulate up front that the economic recovery isn’t as robust as most of us would like.

But …

The economy isn’t a “mess,” as Trump said it is. You want a “mess”? Consider what Obama inherited when he took office in 2009: Employers were shucking jobs at 700,000 per month; the stock market plummeted, costing trillions of dollars in wealth; the auto industry was failing; banks were failing; the economy was heading straight into the crapper, man!

Eight years later, where do we stand? The Dow Jones Industrial Average virtually tripled in wealth; the jobless rate has been cut in half; we’ve had 80 consecutive months of job growth; the auto industry has been revived; bank closures have all but stopped.

Oh, the 94 million figure Trump cited about those who are no longer seeking employment? That number includes retirees and students. It’s a phony statistic.

The debt? Sure, it’s high. I wish it were less than it is, too. Why did we accrue such debt? Because the economic stimulus package Congress approved shortly after Obama took office required the infusion of public money to shore up an economy on the verge of total collapse.

I’ll add — for the umpteenth time — this point as well: The annual federal budget deficit has been cut by nearly two-thirds during the past eight years.

A mess, Mr. President? No, sir. You did not “inherit a mess.” Stop repeating that outright lie!

Let’s await the next plan on immigration

On-Immigration-Trump-Appears-To-Shift-Focus-To-Getting-Rid-Of-The-Bad-Ones-Politics-696x391

Donald J. Trump has a big speech planned this week.

The Republican presidential nominee is going to lay out his latest plan for dealing with illegal immigration.

I can hardly wait to hear what it is. Well, actually … I can wait.

The Trump immigration plan has been all over creation since the candidate rode down the escalator this past summer at Trump Tower to announce his presidential campaign.

We’ll build a wall; we’re going to make Mexico pay for it; we’ll deport all the illegal immigrants; we’ll ban Muslims from entering the country; we’ll make America “great again.”

Then in recent days he began to “soften” his approach. He might not deport all those 11 million immigrants. But he’ll still build the wall. The deportation scheme resurfaced, but it will be done “humanely.” We’ll make the immigrants “follow the law.”

Do you see a pattern here?

Neither do I … except that this clown has no clue about what kind of policy he wants to initiate as president of the United States.

I believe, too, he’s back to deporting the illegal immigrants through the deployment of what he has described as a “deportation force.”

The greatest unknown in all of this is its cost. How much is all this going to cost the U.S. Treasury, which Trump and other critics of the Obama administration say is stretched beyond its limit. We’ve rolled up all that debt, Trump says.

So, do we acquire even more debt, borrow even more money — or do we slash, if not eliminate, other essential government programs to pay for this plan? Which programs do we toss aside?

And precisely how is he going to “get Mexico to pay for the wall”?

We haven’t heard a single detail in any of this.

I’m all ears.

Wipe out national debt in eight years? Wow!

National-Debt

The list of Donald J. Trump’s idiotic statements has gotten so long it’s becoming almost impossible to give all of them the attention they deserve.

This one has flown largely past many in the media and the so-called Chattering Class. I’ll admit to being a bit slow on the fiscal uptake on this one.

The Republican presidential frontrunner recently vowed to eliminate the national debt in eight years.

He would wipe … it … out. Pfft! It would vanish. No more debt. We’re free of debt! In just eight years. Yes, Trump said “I will do it.”

The debt is now about $20 trillion.

How does this reality TV celebrity and real estate mogul-turned-politician propose to do this?

He also intends to cut everyone’s taxes. He vows to rebuild a military complex he says “always loses” and has been “decimated” by the current president. He’s going to round up 11 or 12 million illegal immigrants and send them back to wherever they came from. He also says he won’t do anything to reform Social Security or Medicare.

Yet he says he — yes, he alone — will eliminate the national debt in eight years.

The way I figure it, Trump would have to veto every single spending bill that Congress approves. Then he would have to be sure Congress upheld every one of them.

The annual federal budget totals about $4 trillion. So, if the government doesn’t spend another nickel for the next eight years, it could save $32 trillion.

Are we on board with that?

Ladies and gentlemen of the military, in the longest-shot possibility that Donald Trump gets elected president this fall, you should start preparing to fight for your country for free.

This man’s idiocy is utterly boundless.

 

Big jobs numbers, but still no GOP applause

Critics of President Obama have been beating the drum for years about the economic recovery.

Yeah, nice jobs numbers, but those wages just aren’t increasing, they say, while lampooning the economic recovery as a sort of mirage.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/06/business/economy/november-jobs-unemployment-figures.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Today’s news brought some serious good cheer to some of us, but not all.

The economy added 321,000 jobs in November. Wages increased 0.4 percent as well. The bottom line? The economy is finally beginning to be felt in people’s homes.

Will there be cheering among congressional critics of the president? Don’t hold your breath.

My hunch is that they’ll find a way to spread the joy among themselves without giving credit to a federal economic policy that’s been working for, oh, about the past five-plus years.

The stock market is heading into record territory — again. The trade deficit is down. The budget deficit is down. The national debt is slowing. Unemployment remains less than 6 percent. Investments are up. Spending is up. Real estate prices are up. Auto sales are up. Domestic energy production is up. Gasoline prices are plummeting.

Holy cow! I can’t stand all this good news!

I’ll just have to proclaim it from this forum yet again.