This is happening tonight.
If Republicans in the Senate muster enough votes to pass the two-year spending bill (likely) and if Republicans in the House muster enough votes to pass the bill (unclear) and if Republican President Donald Trump signs it (likely), then something spectacular will happen. If this bill passes and is signed, then we'll have to take on only $300 billion in additional debt.
Wait, that's $300 billion in addition to the $1 trillion we were already going to borrow...
Oh, and that $1 trillion is up from almost $600 billion borrowed last year...
That's not all: That $600 billion was on top of the $20.1 trillion we had already borrowed...
Not only is the overall size of our debt unconscionable, but also our deficits are trending higher, not lower. In 2015, our borrowing hit multi-year lows; that year, we took on an additional $438 billion in debt. In 2016, we took on $585 billion. In 2017, we took on $666 billion. In 2018, we're expected to take on $1 trillion. This is the wrong direction.
Our budget deficits had fallen dramatically nearly every year from 2010 to 2015 and then started heading back up again after that. They now appear to be not only continuing into the red; they're accelerating into the red.
Right now our total government debt stands at nearly $20.7 trillion. Latest estimates on the size of our GDP (our economy) are around $19.7 trillion. This means that our debt-to-GDP ratio is in the neighborhood of 105%. In other words, our government could seize every ounce of value added by our economy to the point that we no longer had an economy at all and use 100% of the proceeds to pay down our debt. After doing so, we'd still be left with a staggering $1 trillion in debt.
There is broad consensus now--among both liberal and conservative groups--that our debt will continue to grow at a faster rate than our economy will grow. At some point in the next few years when our next recession hits, it'll grow even faster.
Consider this. Interest on our debt alone (never mind repaying principal) is now the government's fifth-largest expense item. It also happens to be one of the fastest growing and the only one that's truly non-discretionary. (Democrats want us to believe that entitlement and welfare spending are non-discretionary, but they actually aren't.)
As it grows, the federal government's spending will start crowding out private sector investment and spending. The interest account itself will begin to crowd out other items in the government's budget. Republicans, this means that the military's budget will have to start shrinking. Democrats, this means that welfare and entitlement budgets will have to start shrinking. Everyone, this means that tax rates will have to rise.
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All the while, government borrowing costs will continue to rise. We hear this all the time. What we don't hear all the time is that private borrowing costs--yes, for you and me--will rise as well. In a worst-case scenario, which is an avoidable government default, catastrophic economic collapse will ensue for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street. No one would escape the effects of it; it would actually be felt around the globe and back again.
I realize as I write this that, inevitably, someone will respond blaming Democrats and, I suspect, mentioning Obama's spending. In order to head that off, I want to point out one statistic. From 1981--when the debt-to-GDP ratio bottomed out--to 2018, we've had four Republican Presidents and two Democratic ones. Of the Republicans, all four increased our national debt. Of the Democrats, one (Obama) increased it, and one (Clinton) became one of the very few Presidents to actually run a surplus and pay off some of our debt. All told, Democrats increased our debt-to-GDP ratio by around 27 percentage points. Republicans increased our debt-to-GDP ration by, so far, 44 percentage points, and this looks set to increase much more by 2020.
Some will counter by saying, yes, but Republicans were in charge in Congress when Clinton ran his surpluses, and Congress is actually in charge of spending. This is true--just like it's true that Republicans were in charge of Congress during most of the Obama years when our deficits exploded. They're in control of Congress now with our deficits exploding even more.
By 2020, Republicans will have been in control of the White House for four years and in control of Congress for, at a minimum, two of those years. They will have, solely, increased the national debt by more than $3 trillion during that short time.
The greatest deception being perpetrated against the American people right now isn't Democratic spending. The Democrats are liberal spenders to be sure, but they are honest about that. They don't claim to be conservative spenders. Republicans, on the other hand, have been campaigning for decades on "reigning in spending" and on "living within our means." This is propaganda of the highest order, and, shockingly, many buy into it. While we've been campaigning on "getting spending under control" and "taking a sharp knife to the budget," we've actually been setting aside our knives and just letting the patient bleed out. The truth of the matter is that we Republicans have been absolutely horrible for the government's financial position.
Why am I saying all of this? Simple: It's time to hold Republicans to account. It's time for Republicans to stop campaigning on conservatism before turning around and enacting such liberal spending that even liberals are shocked. If you're a Republican, then force Republicans to be conservative. Write to them. Call them. Annoy them. Harass them at their townhalls. Plus, they care about money and votes more than they care about anything else. Do not donate to a liberal-spending Republican. Do not vote for a liberal-spending Republican.
It's time to send them a message: You said that you'd get our fiscal house in order. Do it. When someone tells you that he can fix a problem, it isn't too much to ask to have him at least not make it any worse. If he does, then he's probably not the right person for the job. Making a problem worse because you know you'll be long gone before people have to pay for it is a form of moral bankruptcy.
Washington, D.C. doesn't live in the real world.
Who else do you think is an actual conservative Republican?
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