By: Mike Maharrey
Remember when Republicans told us deficits mattered?
But those days are long gone. The U.S. government continues to spend money at a staggering pace. The debt elevator is going up. And Republicans pushed the buttons.
The Trump administration ran up another $8.5 billion deficit in June. This comes on the heels of an all-time record May deficit. With an additional $8.5 billion added to the budget deficit last month, spending in fiscal 2019 now stands at $747.1 billion over revenues. That’s a 23.1 percent year-on-year increase. The budget deficit for all of 2018 was $779 billion. The administration projects the deficit will top $1 trillion in fiscal 2019.
Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the Trump administration and Congressional leaders are closer to an agreement on raising the debt ceiling. Mnuchin wants Congress to go ahead and bump up borrowing levels before the August recess because analysts now think the government will hit its borrowing limit earlier than expected.
One has to wonder why they even bother to call it a “debt ceiling” when Congress simply raises it every time the government pushes up against it. Debt elevator seems like a much more accurate term.
Mainstream pundits typically blame the Trump tax cuts for the increasing deficits, but revenues have actually increased in fiscal 2019. So far this year, the U.S. government has taken in $2.61 trillion. That represents a 2.7 percent increase over fiscal 2018.
The problem is spending.
So far, Uncle Sam has spent $3.36 trillion in fiscal 2019. That’s up 6.6 percent year-on-year.
Republicans are fond of criticizing Democrats as big spenders. And they are. But the current spending-spree comes to you courtesy of the GOP. A Republican Congress passed the spending bills. And Pres. Trump signed off on every penny of it.
Despite the occasional lip service given to spending cuts, the president has not made fiscal responsibility a priority. In fact, he continues to push for more military spending and funding for various pet projects, including “infrastructure.”
Things won’t likely improve with a split Congress. Politicians will grandstand, and there will be a big hue and cry. You’ll even hear some people talk about fiscal responsibility. It’s all political theater. When it’s all said and done, Congress will raise the debt ceiling and keep right on spending.