Trump Trillions: GOP ‘Fiscal Conservatives’ Nearly Doubled The Deficit in One Year
President Donald Trump has worked diligently his first year in office. OK, well, interspersed with a whole lot of golf. But if his goal was to destroy everything for which the Republican party once claimed to stand, he’s gotten a lot done.
“Claimed” is the operative word there. The party of “fiscal restraint” only believes in more money and power for the already wealthy and powerful. Everything else they purport to oppose, like deficit spending, is merely a means to an end. Reigning-in the debt is just a soundbite repeated to their targeted electorate to ensure participation at the polls.
Early in 2013, just after President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, a formal Top-10 list of Republican positions was proffered. To be fair, the list came from right-leaning columnist Jennifer Rubin, and not from the Republican National Committee. Still, the positions closely match the platform adopted at the 2012 nominating convention that selected Mitt Romney.
A party’s positions should not change with who is in the white house
Let’s get some perspective of the Republican position on debt and deficits?
“Deficits and debt be damned,” scream the Republicans now, five years later. The Treasury Department reported this week that the federal government, under absolute Republican control, is on pace to nearly double the deficit this fiscal year. The deficit in the fiscal year which ended in September 2017 was $519 billion. Though President Trump seemingly claims credit for all President Obama’s achievements, Trump could argue he inherited Obama’s budget. He inherited Obama’s economy, too, but conveniently ignores that. But the current fiscal year is all Republican, and the projected deficit is $955 billion. That is almost double, and it assumes the economy continues to grow this year.
That one only applied when Barack Obama was in the Oval Office. Back in 2012, when President Obama was re-elected, the national debt stood at just over $16 trillion. The debt was such a concern for Republicans; it was worth shutting down the federal government over. It was worth sequestration. There could be no spending on Obamacare, or infrastructure, nor even economic stimulus to speed the growth of the economy coming out of the great recession. The country was not just broke; it was drowning in debt. Stemming the growth of that debt meant more to Republicans than growing the economy.
from voodoo economics to reaganomics to “fiscal conservatism”
There is some irony in that, as Republicans typically claim (when pushing tax cuts for ‘job creators’ and investors) that growing the economy is the best way to reduce the debt. Back when George H.W. Bush sought the Republican nomination (that would go to Ronald Reagan), Bush referred to these policies as “voodoo economics.” Apparently, the Republican party has a long history of ignoring their stated positions to fall in line behind their president? This is especially true when that president promises tax cuts and massive funding increases for Republican pet-projects.
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This increase in deficit spending is the largest (as a share of GDP, not in dollars) that the deficit has jumped in one fiscal year during an economic expansion since the days of President Reagan. See how this Republican game works?
Under Reagan, the patron saint of trickle-down economics, deficits did not matter as we had to build the military to win the Cold War. When George H.W. Bush succeeded Reagan, deficits did not matter as we had to end the recession and liberate Kuwait. Under George W. Bush, deficits did not matter either, as we had to defeat Al Qaeda. In every case, just as under President Trump, there was always room for tax cuts for the wealthiest no matter the impact to the deficit. Where are the deficit hawks now? Or the fiscal conservatives? Where in the hell is the Freedom Caucus? I guess they are all hibernating waiting for a Democratic president to take office in 2021? Then, deficits will matter again.
Featured image Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.
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Dave Weaver is a freelance political journalist and author. Born in Pennsylvania, which was home most of his life, Dave has called Maryland, New York, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio, and Maine home over the last decade. All the wandering has allowed Dave to experience America (and Americans) from a variety of perspectives. For a political junkie, the insights gained from this exposure are invaluable.