Tag Archives: national debt

Debt or investment?

One man’s piling onto the national debt is another man’s “investment in the future.”

So it goes with the debate over Build Back Better, which is President Biden’s domestic spending initiative that is hung up in wrangling between congressional Democrats and Republicans and, yes, even between factions within the Democratic Party.

Whether it’s a $3.5 trillion spending package over 10 years or a $1.5 trillion package, it’s a lot of money.

What is so damn troubling, though, is that the GOP caucus is now worried about the national debt. It wasn’t worried one little bit about it when Donald Trump pitched an idea about cutting taxes for rich people, depriving the government of revenue it could “invest” in programs to help the rest of us. Now, though, it is all hung up on the debt and the cost of the infrastructure package that Biden and some within the Democratic caucus want.

Yeah, I know. It’s politics. That’s a family member of mine’s favorite rejoinder. It’s his fallback position when he can’t find any justification for the nonsense being bandied about.

It still stinks, man.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Some perspective, eh?

A certain amount of context has been tossed aside in the discussion over whether to approve President Biden’s plan to “Build Back Better.”

We have become fixated on the number: 3.5 trillion … as in dollars.

What has become tossed aside is that the number that Biden and congressional progressives want would cover a 10-year period.

So, that figures to be a $350 billion expenditure annually to do a number of things: improve roads and bridges; modernize air travel; develop ship channels; improve Internet broadband service.

Here’s some more perspective. The United States of America boasts a $20 trillion annual economy, which suggests to me that $350 billion each year is like so much spittle in the proverbial bucket.

Congressional Republicans and some moderate congressional Democrats are wringing their hands over the amount of money that progressives want to spend. Again, I have to wonder: Why?

If the plan is to spread this expense out over a 10-year span of time, why are we quibbling over the total figure that in the grand scheme seems less relevant when you add some needed context to the discussion?

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.

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!

Doesn’t the deficit matter any longer?

News that the federal budget deficit grew by 17 percent in the past fiscal year makes me wonder.

How is it that “real Republicans” continue to lend their support to a man who calls himself a Republican but on whose watch the deficit is allowed to grow at this breakneck pace?

Donald Trump made a lot of campaign promises while winning the presidency. He said the deficit would plummet. It hasn’t.

It grew to about $771 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

Now I get that there are factors contributing to that deficit. The Trump tax cuts, for one. Another has been a boost in defense spending.

But juxtaposed to this deficit lies a curious set of potential issues that could send it into deep space. The wall Trump wants to build along our southern border is going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Then there is that infrastructure improvement package that the president said should cost more than $1 trillion. He wants to improve, repair, renovate, rebuild our nation’s highways, bridges and airports.

Where in the name of fiscal responsibility is he going to get that money? Oh, I know! He’ll borrow it, just like President Barack Obama did in 2009 when he inherited a national economy in collapse — and which Trump and other Republicans criticized to the hilt at the time, even as the economy began to revive itself.

Obama and his spendthrift policies did help reduce the rate of growth in the annual deficit dramatically during his two terms in office. In President Bush’s final year, the deficit exceeded $1 trillion; the Obama administration and Congress managed to cut that annual amount by roughly two-thirds.

Now it’s climbing — inexorably, according to many economists — back toward that trillion-dollar figure.

Deficit hawks — and I consider myself a deficit hawk — are alarmed. If not, they should be alarmed.

Yet the question remains about those real Republicans. The president you embrace doesn’t adhere to anything approaching regular Republican fiscal orthodoxy. Why do you keep clinging to this individual’s coattail?

Rescinding pay raise: ‘beyond outrageous’

Let me see if I have this straight.

Donald J. Trump and his Republican allies in Congress enacted a massive tax cut, most of which helps the wealthiest Americans. The cuts are driving up the federal budget deficit, piling more billions on to the national debt.

The president then decides to rescind planned raises for federal employees, citing the need for “fiscal restraint.”

I actually enjoyed this Twitter message from David Axelrod, the former Obama administration senior policy adviser and campaign guru.

To state the obvious, denying federal workers a pay raise because you’ve lavished a trillion dollars of tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy, creating massive new deficits, is beyond outrageous.

Yes, I know Axelrod is a Democratic partisan. I also know he has been highly critical of Donald Trump at every step of his presidency.

To be fair, the president said military personnel are exempt from the rescinding of raises; the fighting men and women will get a pay bump as planned. That’s good for them — and damn good for the country!

However, the president’s call for fiscal prudence and rational fiscal policy while rescinding raises for others in the government is, well, laughable on its face.

National debt? Hey, it’s still growing!

Donald Trump made a lot of promises when he ran for president of the United States.

Many of them were bold and audacious. One of them involved the national debt. He reaffirmed to the Washington Post in April 2017 that he would wipe it out over eight years, presuming he would be re-elected in 2020.

Let’s see. How’s he doing? Not too well. The national debt has, um, exploded in the first year and a half of his presidency. It has surged past the $21 trillion mark and is proceeding at a breakneck pace well beyond that total.

The Congressional Budget Office is reporting that the national debt, fueled by tax cuts and immense increases in government spending, is on a fast track into deep outer space.

According to CBS News: “At 78 percent of gross domestic product, federal debt held by the public is now at its highest level since shortly after World War II,” the CBO found. “If current laws generally remained unchanged, the Congressional Budget Office projects, growing budget deficits would boost that debt sharply over the next 30 years; it would approach 100 percent of GDP by the end of the next decade and 152 percent by 2048. That amount would be the highest in the nation’s history by far.” 

Republicans were so very quick to excoriate Democratic President Barack H. Obama over the national debt. The GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney sought to make the debt one of the centerpieces of his effort to defeat Obama. Then came Trump, the dealmaker in chief, the business tycoon and, oh yes, the self-proclaimed “King of Debt,” to tell us he would eliminate the national debt by the end of his presidency.

Well, at this rate, Mr. President, you have to get busy.

I mean, real busy.

‘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.