Tag Archives: budget deficit

McConnell said … what?

(Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell said it, but I still cannot believe I heard it with my own ears. The U.S. Senate Republican leader spoke about the need to raise the national debt limit, that it is essential for the nation to maintain its standing with creditors.

Then he said that it’s a “Democrat problem,” and that he wouldn’t support to raise the debt limit.

I heard it. I shook my noggin. I cannot believe that the Kentucky Republican would actually such a thing. But … he damn sure did.

McConnell is leading the Senate Republican caucus in its effort to obstruct anything and everything his Democratic colleagues want to do legislatively. He also has become something of a sworn enemy of President Biden, his one-time Senate friend and occasional ally.

Now he is playing craven politics with what should be a bipartisan effort. Democrats want to enact an infrastructure rebuilding plan. It costs trillions of dollars. Republicans are having none of it. They contend that it’s too costly, that it would pile on more debt.

Strange, yes? Yes, given that Biden’s immediate predecessor — a Republican — rang up the biggest annual budget deficits in history and piled on more debt than any president who came before him. The GOP caucus had no problem with that. Now, it does.

Except that the Senate GOP leader recognizes that the debt ceiling is an essential part of governing. However, he will not — or cannot — commit to doing what he knows he should do.

Mitch McConnell has become, without question (in my mind), the master of hypocrisy, duplicity and covering his own backside … to the detriment of the greater good.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Now the deficit matters?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Listening to Republican members of Congress bitch about the possibility of running up the federal budget deficit because a Democratic president wants to invest in our infrastructure makes me want to laugh, scream and cry … all at once!

Only now does the ostensible party of fiscal restraint choose to raise its voice against the cost of infrastructure overhaul. Puh-leeze.

President Biden is planning this week to meet with Republican congressional leaders to seek a compromise. Biden wants to spend $2.2 trillion on various projects including infrastructure; the GOP has come back with a $568 billion proposal that focuses more intently on roads, bridges, airports, ship channels … those kinds of things.

Yes, that’s a big gap. The GOP is yammering about deficit spending after approving a big tax break for rich Americans when Donald Trump was president. The tax cut helped run up the deficit and, of course, the national debt.

Where was the outrage then? Hmm. I heard them crickets, man.

I do hope President Biden can bring his immense negotiating skills to bear when he meets with his Republican friends. I also hope he can persuade them of the importance of employing government to work for the people who pay for it.

Deficits no longer matter?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.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.

GOP turns hawkish on deficit

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Someone needs to explain something to me.

Congressional Republicans saw no problem with running up a federal budget deficit when a president of their own party pitched a massive tax cut that would necessarily run that deficit into the stratosphere.

Now their guy has lost an election and the new president, Joe Biden, wants to enact a hefty package aimed at providing relief to Americans suffering from the COVID pandemic.

Republicans’ response? No can do, they say, because it would — get set for it — run up the deficit!

OK, so why is it that one deficit-explosion notion is OK but another one that would cost a huge sum of money to help Americans is not OK? What gives?

I know the answer. It’s politics. That’s all it is.

Yet there can be little doubt we’re going to hear the GOP blame Democrats for “playing politics” with COVID relief. It’s their mantra. Their siren song.

President Biden is pitching a $1.9 trillion package that includes a $1,400 payment to Americans who qualify for it. It also expedites delivery of vaccines to states. Its aim is to jumpstart the economy while seeking to turn the tide against the pandemic. Does it spend more money that the government does not have on hand? Yes.

Let’s look back briefly. Joe Biden became vice president in 2009 as the national economy was in free fall. He and President Obama came up with a massive relief program that bailed out the auto industry and helped shore up a collapsing financial industry. It, too, boosted the deficit.

What happened next? The economy revived. More Americans went to work. The deficit that skyrocketed began to recede. By the time the Obama-Biden administration handed it over to the Donald Trump, the deficit had been pared to less than half of what it was when Obama took office in 2009.

I will await an explanation for why congressional Republicans suddenly have resorted to their game of fear about bold initiatives.

Obama weighing in — finally! — on the 2020 election

Barack Hussein Obama is speaking out, labeling Donald John Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as “chaotic,” and criticizing the Justice Department decision to forgo prosecuting an admitted perjurer.

So, you might ask: What is a former president doing here? Isn’t it “normal” for a president to remain quiet about how his successor is doing? Sure it’s normal. Indeed, President Obama has been quiet.

Except for this: Donald Trump keeps invoking his immediate predecessor’s name, criticizing his policies and declaring — mostly without justification — that he has fixed the things that Obama got wrong.

A leaked phone call to a group called the Obama Alumni Association has the former president describing Trump’s response to pandemic as “chaotic” because Trump has been too preoccupied with “what’s in it for me?” rather than fixating on the problem and the suffering of his fellow Americans. Obama also is going all-in for Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee and vows to work as hard as he can to ensure Biden’s election this fall.

I normally would take some alarm at a former president playing such an active role in a campaign involving his immediate successor. However, Trump — as I have noted — brought all this on himself by continually seeking to denigrate the service that Obama rendered during his two terms as president.

A quick review: Obama inherited an economy in free fall; he pushed Congress to enact stimulus packages to rescue the economy; the nation began a 10-year job-growth climb; he ordered the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden; the State Department negotiated a deal to deny Iran access to nuclear weapons; he reduced the annual federal budget deficit by two-thirds; he handed Trump a robust economy.

Trump, though, doesn’t see it that way. So he keeps seeking to criticize Obama.

Now it appears that it’s game on for the former president.

Hey, I don’t hide my affection for the former president and my disdain for the current clown masquerading as president. Thus, if the current White House occupant wants to invoke President Obama’s name continually, well … bring it. I’m quite sure Barack Obama can find plenty more to say in response.

Hoping for an issues debate in 2020 race for POTUS

You may choose to believe or disbelieve what I want to say next. That’s your call. I have no control over what you believe.

I want a serious issues discussion to unfold as we move into the guts of the 2020 campaign for the presidency of the United States. Sadly, and I say that with sincerity, I fear we’re going to devolve into a sort of 2016 Campaign 2.0.

Donald Trump will survive the Senate trial that will commence soon. He will run for re-election. Democrats will nominate someone from the field of contenders vying for the chance to run against Trump.

My serious fear is that Trump’s impeachment will dominate the campaign. What’s more, I also fear that the president will not want to veer away from it, given how I suspect he’ll spin the expected verdict from the Senate into an “exoneration.”

What should we discuss?

  • Climate change ranks near the top of my issues wish list. Trump has called it a hoax. Democrats say climate change poses the greatest existential threat to the nation’s security. Trump has rolled back environmental regulations. Democrats want to restore them.
  • Health care ranks up there, too. Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with an unknown plan. Democrats keep saying they want to tinker with the ACA, improve the parts of it that need work. Democrats want to protect the insurance coverage for millions of Americans. Trump isn’t making that commitment.
  • Federal spending? Yep, that’s a big one. Donald Trump has stood by while the budget deficit piles up to record levels. Democrats have become “deficit hawks,” trading places with Republicans who used to own that title.
  • Immigration reform is necessary. Trump keeps saying “Mexico will pay for The Wall.” Democrats don’t like building a wall along our southern border. They want to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Trump doesn’t have a plan.

All of this presumes naively, I’ll acknowledge, that Donald Trump is willing to discuss these issues in detail. He won’t go there. The president doesn’t read anything. He keeps telling us he is the smartest man in human history. He governs by “gut instinct.” Sigh.

I fear the president is going to concoct scandals where none exists with whomever he faces in the 2020 election.

There you have what I think will occur juxtaposed with what I hope happens. The idealistic side of me hopes for the best. The realist within me is preparing for the worst.

Hey, wasn’t the ‘national debt’ considered a deal breaker?

Check it out! Twenty-three trillion! As in dollars, man!

What does it represent? The national debt.

It crossed yet another milestone. The national debt keeps growing, despite bold — and arguably reckless — predictions that the president of the United States all by himself was going to eliminate the annual budget deficit by the end of his second term.

It, too, keeps growing, adding to the debt that those in Donald Trump’s Republican Party used to warn would bankrupt the country.

Has it bankrupted the United States of America? I don’t think it has, although the debt does pose a serious potential threat.

I guess my concern is that Donald Trump’s penchant for braggadocio persuade enough Americans to vote for him in 2016. He made that bold promise. He called himself “the king of debt,” whatever that was supposed to mean. Trump also pledged to balance the budget.

The current fiscal year deficit is growing at a breakneck pace, owing to the tax cuts enacted for the richest Americans along with still-uncontrolled federal spending.

I recall vividly the mantra repeated throughout the 2012 presidential campaign that the national debt, which totaled about $16 trillion, was the deal-breaker among Republicans. GOP nominee Mitt Romney said President Obama must not be re-elected because the national debt was just unsustainable. The message didn’t sell, as Obama was re-elected with a handsome margin — although it was diminished from the margin that Obama rolled up in 2008.

The debt has piled on another $7 trillion since 2012. It is still growing. What is Donald Trump going to promise to do about it to ensure his re-election in 2020?

I’m all ears.

Long live The King of Debt!

Donald John Trump once boasted that he is the King of Debt.

He also bragged that as president he would eliminate the national debt after eight years.

The King of Debt is even farther from fulfilling his pledge make the nation debt-free. But, by golly, he remains the King of Debt.

The president’s latest proposed budget is a doozy. It’s a record-setting $4.75 trillion. The debt? It stands at $22 trillion. It’s growing too, right along with the size of the annual budget deficit.

Those of us who call ourselves “deficit hawks” must be twisting ourselves into knots. I am.

Deficits endanger the nation

I don’t like my government running up so much debt. I didn’t like it when George W. Bush did it after inheriting a balanced budget from Bill Clinton. Then President Bush handed the presidency over to Barack Obama, who then rang up even more staggering debt, even while whittling down the annual deficit by roughly two-thirds before he handed the White House keys over to Donald Trump.

Trump, of course, had made many bodacious boasts about what he would do as president.

He cut taxes for a lot of rich Americans. The job growth, which has been stellar during his two years as president, hasn’t yet produced enough revenue to counteract the revenue lost by the tax reductions.

Now comes a proposed budget. He wants to slice domestic spending by 5 percent across the board while increasing defense spending.

Trump is going to hand out blame to congressional Democrats. He won’t accept any of it himself for the debt that continues to zoom into the budgetary stratosphere. That’s not his modus operandi. He is hard wired to take credit he doesn’t deserve and pass of blame when he should step up and take responsibility.

The King of Debt is alive and well. The debt destroyer is long gone.

What? No outcry over the national debt?

This just in: The U.S. debt has just jumped past the $22 trillion mark, rising more than $2 trillion during the first two years of Donald J. Trump’s administration.

I have to ask: Where is the outcry? Why hasn’t the far right raised holy hell about that? Why are acquiring all this additional debt without anyone raising a stink about it?

Didn’t the 2012 Republican Party nominee Mitt Romney once chide President Obama at a charity dinner that the event was sponsored by “the letter ‘O’ and the number 16 trillion”? He was referring to the size of the debt during the 2012 presidential campaign. The quip drew lots of laughs — and a few groans.

However, the GOP was simply aghast at the national debt back then.

This time? Pfftt! Who cares?

Oh, I almost forgot! Donald Trump has referred to himself as the “King of Debt.” All hail the king!

Nice timing on pay freeze, Mr. POTUS

Donald John Trump isn’t exactly the master of impeccable timing.

He helps shut down part of the federal government, forcing the furloughing of thousands of federal employees; thus, they are not getting paid while their agency is shut down because the White House and Congress are arguing over money to build The Wall along our southern border.

What does Trump then decide to do? He signs an executive order freezing wages for federal employees! They were slated to get a 2.1 percent pay increase. No longer will they get it. Trump said the budget cannot support it. Imagine that, will ya?

The budget deficit has exploded since the president and congressional Republicans enacted that tax cut, depriving the government of revenue that might have helped minimize deficit growth.

At least, though, the pay freeze doesn’t have an effect on the 2.6-percent pay increase granted to our men and women in the military.

Still, as the saying goes: Timing is everything.

Nice timing, Mr. President.