WASHINGTON, D.C. – There is little else in the world, it seems, as futile as asking politicians on Capitol Hill to meaningfully restrain themselves when it comes to spending other people’s money. Currently, the US is in uncharted territory when it comes to loving beyond our means.
After voters handed Republicans control of the US House, then the Senate, and finally the White House, believing that fiscal sanity may finally reign supreme in D.C., we now find ourselves more indebted than ever before. And the crazy spending is hardly being taken seriously by politicians that have made careers of their fiscally conservative talking points; it is accelerating.
“While it is often an overused and vague term, this year is showing that the “historic debt” not only has a definition, but it is becoming all too real for Americans heading into 2019.
Bloomberg reported: “Total public debt outstanding has jumped by $1.36 trillion, or 6.6 percent, since the start of 2018, and by $1.9 trillion since President Donald Trump took office, according to the latest Treasury Department figures. The latter figure is roughly the size of Brazil’s gross domestic product.”
If this year’s debt growth rate is sustained through the end of the year, it would be the biggest jump in percentage terms since the last year of President Barack Obama’s first term.
While the numbers are significant, what’s discussed less is the context in which this debt increase is occurring: Modern history shows few examples of deficits this high outside of recession, war or the immediate aftermath of either.
As the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget noted, the current situation — where the deficit has jumped from 3.5 percent to 4.6 percent of GDP in one year — is “virtually unprecedented in current economic conditions.”
Deficits are not magic and do not arise by chance. As usual, their primary cause continues to be overspending. Just last week, Congress passed a farm bill with a staggering price tag of $867 billion over the next 10 years.
President Trump also recently announced his support for a $750 billion Pentagon budget, a full $100 billion above the congressionally mandated — and ignored — budget caps.
These latest examples follow a handful of ghastly spending packages earlier this year that flouted budget caps and all principles of fiscal sanity as they passed in quick succession.
While elected officials may lean on the strong economy as an excuse for why their spending habits are not so bad, the fact that they are allowing this spending spree under good economic conditions is all the more reckless. Put in alternative terms, the economy is doing well, and national leaders are doing all they can to wreck it.[…]”