WASHINGTON, D.C. – We heard a lot about the mounting national debt and perennial fiscal deficits when Democrat Barack Obama was in the White House. It was a debt so big it will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. Then we got a Republican president and Republican majorities in both chambers of congress and *poof* the concerns about the debt and deficits seemed to melt away.
This week the national debt topped $22 trillion. A good chunk of that debt is money owed to ourselves, but, still, it is a gargantuan debt resulting from a gargantuan lack of spine by those that control the nation’s purse strings.
From USA Today:
“The Treasury Department reported the debt hit $22.012 trillion, a jump of more than $30 billion in just this month.
The national debt has been rising at a faster rate following the passage of President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax-cut package a little more than a year ago and as the result of congressional efforts to increase spending on domestic and military programs. The nation has added more than $1 trillion in debt in the last 11 months alone.
“Reaching this unfortunate milestone so rapidly is the latest sign that our fiscal situation is not only unsustainable but accelerating,” said Michael A. Peterson, chief executive officer of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan organization working to address the country’s long-term fiscal challenges.[…]”
The debt and deficits are certainly unsustainable, but the suggestion that it’s accelerating because of the Trump/GOP tax cut package is laughable. Even if revenues were to drop after a tax cut, one must never be fooled into believing that revenues to the federal government are the determining factor in deficits that add to the debt. The spending, the decisions made by politicians to spend money they don’t have after spending all of other people’s money they took in the form of taxes, is THE determining factor in how the balance shakes out.
Of course, pinning blame on the tax cuts is so laughable precisely because revenues did not decrease. Far from it – federal tax receipts have been hitting records after the tax cuts were in effect.
So that leaves only the spending side of the ledger, and those responsible for setting spending levels. With out a Democrat to blame it on, most congressional Republicans have gone radio silent on the debt, while blowing out spending numbers themselves.
There are still some deficit/debt hawks out there. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has consistently proposed spending reduction plans to eliminate the deficit and start paying off the debt and the House Freedom Caucus features plenty of members that have consistently supported similar measures. The House probably lost the most consistent voice in opposition to debt and deficits, though, in the recent death of Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC).
But the hawkish comments from Republican leadership has all but vanished regarding the debt. A real budget has not been passed in a decade. Spending accelerated under Republican ownership of the House, Senate, and White House. Have the all bought into the nonsense that is Modern Monetary Theory?
If we don’t have leadership in Washington, D.C. that actually respects taxpayers and future taxpayers, and proves it with responsible fiscal budgeting that forces the country to live within its means and actually reduce spending levels, it makes little difference which party holds the levers of power.
We need more deficit hawks; taxpayers deserve more deficit hawks; where are all the deficit hawks?