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Monday, March 20, 2017
Trump Admin. promises to do nothing about the national debt
One of the most popular things to do in Washington D.C. is to come up with a "plan" to eliminate the deficit in ten years. For some reason politicians always come up with a ten year plan. I think they pick ten years out so it is short enough to take somewhat seriously, but long enough for a politician to serve in Washington and then to leave before the ten years are up. In any event, people forget about the ten year plans relatively quickly so in two or four years a "new" 10 year plan to eliminate deficit can be created, even before the old one has "come to fruition".
President Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, has just come forward with a promise to eliminate the deficit in, you guessed it, 10 years.
"No, we won't be able to balance the budget this year, but we're working on trying to get it to balance within the 10-year budget window, which is what Republicans in the House and the Senate have traditionally done in the last couple of years," Mulvaney said.
Any time a politician says they need 10 years to solve a problem, you can be sure it will never be solved. To believe Mulvaney, you have to believe that the deficit cannot be eliminated in two presidential terms for Donald Trump. Consider that the federal deficit was nearly 600 billion dollars last year. The federal budget was nearly 4 trillion dollarsin 2016.
So out of a 4 trillion dollar budget Mulvaney proposes to take out 60 billion a year, or a less than 1.5% reduction per year. That's not serious.
A real effort to reduce the deficit would start by cutting the budget by a modest 10%, or 400 billion dollars. That would reduce the deficit by two thirds in one year, and still leave plenty of money that could be shifted to defense and homeland security programs. Of course, that would require taking on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, something President Trump has vowed not to do.
What this effectively means, however, is that President Trump's budget spokesman has admitted that he has no plans to deal with the debt. Not in a first term, not in a second term, not even two years after a second term. The debt is about 20 billion, and unfunded liabilities are over $150 trillion (and getting larger, and more of a problem, every year).
The math, and the problem, are not new. But the Trump Administration's explicit admission that it will do nothing about it for the next eight years is new.
Some people are pointing to a Republican "fake news" article which is almost as distressing as Democratic fake news stories. This one claims to show that Trump has already reduced the debt by 100 billion dollars. Gateway Pundit has a report showing that the debt has fallen by that amount in the two months since Trump has taken office. This is "fake news" because while this report, in isolation, is correct, it was not due to President Trump. Every dollar coming to the federal government in taxes now is coming in for taxes due during the time Obama was President. Since it is tax time it is only natural that revenues would relatively overtake expenditures, for a short time. Trump's newly announced budget hasn't even been considered by Congress, so Trump can't have had any effect on the debt, but GP breathlessly reports "Trump reduced debt by $100 billion".
Why can't we be honest, free thinking people and acknowledge that President Trump is way better than Hillary Clinton, that he is doing a lot of good with his Supreme Court nomination, his rolling back of ridiculous EPA regulations, his opening federal lands to oil and gas exploration, and trying to round up at least some illegal aliens.
But not all that Trump does is perfect or all-knowing and the budget is one of those areas where he is letting us down. According to his own budget chief, his budget will only continue the financial problems this country is in, and it is sad to hear his budget chief admit he has no plans to deal with it. Eliminating the deficit in 10 years is not a "good start"; it's a evasive cop-out.