By JOHN KANELIS / email@example.com
About the only conclusion I am able to draw about the current federal government fiscal debate is that the numbers have gotten so big that mere human minds no longer can grasp their meaning in ways that make any sense.
I refer to the federal budget deficit.
The government is now spending more than $1 trillion more than it has on hand on various and sundry programs. There used to be a time when Republicans railed heavily against Democrats’ tendency to spend more than they had in till. Then along came President George W. Bush, who cajoled Congress to enact tax cuts while fighting an international war against terror.
Bush took over the presidency when the budget actually ran a surplus! That all changed during the Bush years. The deficits mounted. Indeed, Vice President Dick Cheney once said famously that deficits “no longer mattered.”
The economy cratered near the end of Bush’s time. President Barack Obama sought to rescue the nation. He poured even more money into the deficit sinkhole. The deficit kept growing. Then the economy bounced back. Tax revenue helped cut the annual deficit by more than half by the time Obama left office.
Then along came Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed populist. He and his GOP allies rammed through a big tax cut. However, he kept spending money. The deficit piled up once again. It surpassed the trillion-dollar annual mark by the time he left office.
Now it’s President Joe Biden’s turn. The pandemic has all but wrecked the economy. Biden has pushed through a big COVID relief package. Now he wants to spend another $2.25 trillion over 10 years on infrastructure. He wants to raise taxes to help pay for it. Republicans aren’t buying it.
But … the deficit! What about the deficit?
I am a deficit hawk. I seriously dislike spending money we don’t have. I cannot do so in my home. Then again, I cannot print money at will, either.
My best guess at this moment is that deficit spending is so out of control that the bean counters have thrown up their hands in surrender.