Debt and Deficits

Republicans Are the Party of Trillion-Dollar Deficits

If Mark Sanford wants to run a presidential campaign on restraining federal spending, he's in the wrong party.


Here's a story from this week that you likely won't hear much about, what with the 24/7 cable news screamfest over the Trump-Squad wars: The White House announced that its 2019 federal deficit projection has been revised upward to the symbolic $1 trillion threshold.

To accommodate this irresponsibility, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) are quietly negotiating the increase or even removal of that once-controversial artifact: the debt ceiling.

Mnuchin maintains, probably with some hyperbole, that the country faces default in September unless Congress raises the $22 trillion debt limit the country already blew through in March. (Treasury has been taking various emergency measures to patch the fiscal ship of state since then.)

Pelosi counters that in exchange for Democratic support, she wants a two-year budget deal that jacks up discretionary domestic spending. If recent history is any judge, the two will likely dance around each other for a while, then agree to spend and borrow trillions more.

Notice what is not on the table, despite a GOP administration: reining in federal spending, whether next year or next decade. What a difference a little power makes.

When a Democrat held the White House, the debt ceiling was the Republicans' favorite tool for forcing conversations about spending caps and long-term entitlements. It dominated the national political headlines from 2011–2014.

Now, particularly under a president who won a competitive primary by trashing traditional conservative notions of trimming the welfare state, Republicans are treating the borrowing limit as a momentary irritant, to be waved off as politically necessary.

The flight from fiscal rectitude pre-dated the rise of Trump. As soon as Republicans re-took control of the Senate in November 2014, new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) said: "Let me make it clear: There will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt." So much for the previous four years of political conflict.

Back then, fiscally conservative members of the Tea Party movement still had enough self-respect to call out their free-spending colleagues. In March 2015, then–Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a founding member of the recently formed, deficit-hawkish Freedom Caucus, wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined: "The Republican Budget Is a Deficit Bust," arguing, "There is no honest way to justify not paying for spending, no matter how often my fellow Republicans try."

Less than three years later, as a power-accruing member of the Trump administration, Mulvaney declared that "We need to have new deficits." Well, mission accomplished.

The Congressional Budget Office last month once again called the country's long-term fiscal trajectory unsustainable, warning that any meaningful rise in interest rates could trigger a global financial crisis. We will soon top even World War II records for debt as a percentage of GDP; annual debt service will likely eclipse military spending during the next presidency, and Medicare is on pace for forced benefit cuts by as early as 2026. All this during the late stages of a near-decadelong economic expansion.

So what are the deficit hawks at the Freedom Caucus doing nowadays? Criticizing co-founder (and now defector) Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) for daring to criticize Trump.

The president is certainly onto something when he says, whenever asked about the looming debt crunch, "Yeah, but I won't be here." Sadly, though, the rest of us will be.

And here's where things get worse. As Mulvaney warned in 2015, Republicans from 2011 through 2014 "were gaining the moral high ground on spending," but with new increases "we lost it, and it will be harder to regain the next time." No one will soon believe Republicans next time they cry about President Elizabeth Warren's mammoth new spending plans.

Americans received a telegram from that lost world of conservative deficit-hawkery on Tuesday, when former South Carolina congressman and governor Mark Sanford said he was considering a challenge to Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. "I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending and financial matters," Sanford told the Post and Courier.

So will Sanford be the flicker that causes the GOP to reignite its sense of fiscal sanity? Bet your life savings against it. Not only are we living in a time when one of the most influential conservative media figures, Tucker Carlson, is singing the praises of Warren's economic ideas; there's the not-insignificant matter of Trump himself.

The Republican Party already has a primary challenger to the president who talks in every speech about debt and deficits, fiscal rectitude and long-term entitlement fixes. And Bill Weld is being outpolled by an average of more than 70 percentage points, while being out-fundraised by Trump 150 to 1. There may be a place for deficit hawks in American politics, but it's not in the Republican Party.

This article originally appeared in the L.A. Times.

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  1. I blame the libertarians. In 2016 they were handed a gift with two very unlikable candidates. Now we have two main parties who both enjoy protectionist trade policies, who both spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on foreign election fraud, and who both no longer pay even lip service to fiscal discipline.

    Libertarians had a golden opportunity and they BLEW IT.

    1. it was quite expected

    2. Definitely and they continue to blow it. Nick Sarwark is a total joke.

      1. hey he cracked 10% in the Phoenix mayoral election

    3. One of Nancy Pelosi’s favorite government-speak words is “pay-for.” There is a difference with respect to fiscal discipline. You have just bought some of the GOP’s lies about Democrats while demonstrating some measure of sentience when it comes to the fact that the GOP lies about everything. Democrats do pay for shit. Republicans force them to.

      1. “”Democrats do pay for shit. “‘

        Looking at the growth of the debt over the last 30 years, I see no evidence that either party “pays for shit”

        1. Republicans: Cut taxes then increase spending by X.

          Democrats: Raise taxes to cover X spending (where current revenue + X is still not enough to cover existing expenditures with zero spending growth, promise voters 10X in new spending.

      2. Blindly ignorant or willfully ignorant?

        1. Tony’s not ignorant, he’s just a mendacious asshole.

    4. The first great deficit monster was none other than that great conservative hero, Ronald Reagan. The alleged conservative dedication to fiscal responsibility has been a sham for a very long time. The last time Republicans cut spending was in 1954.

      1. 1954

        The last time they cut spending when in charge of it all.

        If you want to cut spending, you want in practice a Democratic president and Republican congress. Then they can fight denying money to the other guy’s preferences.

        But the system as is is jnherently unstable, and a rare balanced budget (as happened in the Internet boom in the 1990s) will quickly unbalance as they will always borrow additional money to lavish to get votes.

        1. you want in practice a Democratic president and Republican congress

          ^ This. And in no circumstances do you want the same party in control of both Congress and the White House.

      2. Why do we lay any of this at the feet of the president? It’s never made much sense to me.

        And if I recall, Regan agreed to the Democrats demand for tax increases in exchange for spending cuts, with the former being instituted and the latter completely evaporating.

    5. they were handed a gift with two very unlikable candidates

      That’s no ‘gift’. Unlikable (preferably even detestable and evil) candidates are when the ‘lesser of two evils’ voting ‘tactic’ really delivers. People have to rationalize their decisions and with bad candidates, that’s made easier. They really do believe that they have to prevent massive evil so the partisan base turns out – and those who are disgusted just tune out and have no interest in being anywhere the poo flinging fight.

      What I never realized was that two bad candidates really leads to voters themselves polarizing into extremes. I always thought it was mostly DeRp pols driving that but not anymore.

      1. Unlikable (preferably even detestable and evil) candidates are when the ‘lesser of two evils’ voting ‘tactic’ really delivers.

        ^ This, unfortunately. Which means the LP is not likely to do well in 2020, either.

    6. “Libertarians had a golden opportunity and they BLEW IT.”

      Opportunity to do what?

      1. And according to another Reason article posted today, Trump tried to get the budget reduced .3% and was blocked by Pelosi.

        1. +100

    7. There was literally no way the Libertarian Party had a chance at the Presidency. If Jesus Himself had come down from heaven and gotten the Libertarian Party nomination, people would have said, “Libertarian? Really? I’m going to have to rethink my opinion of Jesus.”

  2. If Mark Sanford wants to run a presidential campaign on restraining federal spending, he’s in the wrong party

    Not if he wants a legitimate chance of actually winning. (I took this to mean he should be running as the LP candidate. Then again this is Matt W., who suffers from TDS. Maybe he think Team Blue has suddenly discovered fiscal responsibility. Idk. I don’t spend much time here anymore.)

    The Republican Party already has a primary challenger to the president who talks in every speech about debt and deficits, fiscal rectitude and long-term entitlement fixes.

    The same one that couldn’t stop fellating Her Shrillness last time around? Yea, sure…

    1. None of that should be taken to excuse the fiscal failings of Team Red. I just think the only viable option is for actual fiscal hawks, libertarian or otherwise, is to infiltrate Team Red.

      1. is to infiltrate Team Red


        *gets coffee*

      2. That doesn’t work.

      3. So between a Dem House currently beholden to a quartet of batshit Cray Cray anti-Semitic socialists and a filibuster implemented by the Democrats in the 70s that doesn’t interrupt Senate business but allows the minoroty party to kill bills dead, please explain how the republicans are supposed to implement fiscal responsibility. Really, I want to see what sort of bullshit you try to bamboozle me with.

      4. I just think the only viable option is for actual fiscal hawks, libertarian or otherwise, is to infiltrate Team Red.

        That’s been the strategy for 50 years. Hasn’t been working.

    2. The TDS is horrible here Rebel Scum. That and reason has so many troll bots on staff to keep web traffic high, the articles/comments are now mostly laughable.
      US Debt by President by Dollar and Percent

      Percentage-wise, President Roosevelt increased the debt by the largest amount. Although he only added $236 billion, this was a 1,048 percent increase from the $23 billion debt level left by President Herbert Hoover.

      President Reagan increased the debt by 186 percent. Reaganomics added $1.86 trillion.

      George W. Bush added $5.849 trillion, the second-greatest dollar amount.

      Under Barack Obama, the national debt grew the most dollar-wise. He added $8.588 trillion.

      1. Just can’t bear to admit that Trump is doing anything wrong, can you?

        1. What is trumps blame in the veto proof appropriation bills?

          1. Really? He threatened to veto a House bill that didn’t spend enough.

            1. Answer my question.

              1. He did.

                1. poor O = []

                  Always backing up his sock, alphabet troll.

        2. I admit that Trump is doing things wrong but he is a political animal.

          Jon Stewart vilified Rand Paul for not rubberstamping funds to 9/11 into infinity. Former presidents had plenty of government shut downs. Now it is political suicide. I blame the media. It goes apoplectic with shutdowns. Of course, if there is a Democratic president and republican congress, it’s congress’ fault. If there is a republican president and democratic congress, it’s the presidents fault.

          1. It is as if the media will demonize anyone who wants to cut spending.

      2. The Alphabet troll strikes again!

  3. Not disagreeing here, but in between all the “free” and “for everyone” and “a human right” talk I musta missed the dem’s plan to slash spending.
    Maybe instead of just pointing and screeching the Times could suggest a way to reduce the deficit?

    1. Welch seems to be saying democratic spending is okay because they want to double your taxes. It’s a pretty stupid belief. The only thing that is gained from higher taxation is even higher spending.

      1. Ah. Not to be cynical, but the US is doomed to be a two party system and both parties are doomed to blame the debt on the other folks while spending as much as they possibly can on their own pet projects.
        It’s like watching two crackheads fight over a stolen credit card.

        1. Sadly your metaphor is not all that metaphorical.

          The only real distinction is that Congress is not addicted to an exogenous chemical substance, they are addicted to power.

          1. Were Matt honestly libertarian he’d note that, and note that the only viable solution is to shrink government, but he’d rather play whataboutism.

            1. And really shrink the government, not just reduce the rate of growth and call it a spending cut.

        2. It’s like watching two crackheads fight over a stolen credit card.


        3. Come on, be fair. Given our budget imbalance, the Dem plan is to spend more now, and tax more later. The Rep plan is to tax less now, and spend more later.

          1. If the gop had majorities in both the house and Senate to reduce and reform entitlement programs they would. They have to overcome the 60 vote threshold. This means baseline budgeting is on autopilot as well as entitlements.

            You also ignore the fact that tax policy effects gdp growth. Just 4 years ago Democrats were pushing 2% as the new normal to justify higher taxes. The feds pulled in record taxes after the tax cuts. It is the spending. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

            1. If the gop had majorities in both the house and Senate to reduce and reform entitlement programs they would.

              Then why didn’t they when they had majorities in both the House and the Senate?

              1. oops

    2. My complaint about the headline is using “The” where “A” is more accurate.

  4. I don’t like Amash, never heard of this guy, Weld is an old bag floating in the wind, but I’d love to see any of them on stage pushing for fiscal responsibility. If only one of these three had a personality they could handle being on stage with Trump.

    If it had any popularity Trump would adopt it as policy, and we could all get back to railing on democrats for saying that if we cut welfare people will starve. and that cutting spending is racist.

    Just kidding, no one here is willing to consistently call out progressives for their fear mongering and devotion to “fairness”

    1. Trump ordered all his departments to slash spending by 10% this is being challenged by career employees in government and by the left through the take care clause. Until Congress agrees to regard spending increases, there is nothing the presidency can do. Full stop. Trump has received veto proof appropriation bills every year he has been in office. It’s not the presidency causing the issue.

      1. +10000

        Trump should still veto the appropriation bills on principle but as you said, Congress passes them with a veto proof majority.

      2. “It’s not the presidency causing the issue.”

        So… he didn’t sign the higher budgets that Congress passed? He didn’t pass the tax cut that greatly increased the deficit?

        Where does the buck stop? Not with the president, apparently.

        C’mon, give him responsibility for his choices. He could have pushed for lower spending, for renegotiating Medicare so that it cost less, for lower defense spending. He could have rejected the tax cuts which lowered tax revenues from where they otherwise would have been.

        *Any* of these would have lowered deficits from where they are now.

        1. Do you know what veto proof means?

        2. Fuck off with your tax cut increasing deficit.
          Tax revenue was higher than it’s ever been.
          Take your progressive talkings points and die in a fire.

  5. I have to wonder if Welch is too ignorant to look ar deficit projections from 2012. The course was already set to return to trillion dollar deficits due to growth in entitlement programs. Welch seems ignorant of this.

    The two main drivers of the deficit continue to be entitlement growth and baseline budgeting. Both are not controlled by republicans. Or by trump. They are baked into the baseline budget. Welch seems pretty ignorant on all things economics.

    Tax revenues continue to hit yearly highs, even with tax cuts. If tax cuts happened and spending was held static, deficits would have gone down. The same is not true the other way. It is the spending stupid, and more importantly it is the locked in growth of spending from programs already passed.

    1. Obama averaged -$1.15 trillion for an 8 year total of -$9 trillion

      1. Plus, Obama wanted to spend more.

        A Republican Congress was the only thing slowing down the spending from Jan 2011 until Jan 2017.

        RINOs in the GOP still spend like crazy though.

        1. Pretty much all of the left want to spend more. Anyone who supports the Green New Deal, or whatever it’s called has no right to complain about spending.

          1. Lefties have a multi-pronged attack to destroy the USA.

            1. Take power and force Socialism via law.
            2. Take power via free shit spending to buy votes.
            3. Bankrupt the USA via debt spending.
            4. Use propagandists to lie about said implementation of Socialism.
            5. Transfer as much of America’s wealth and industrial capacity to Socialist nations to mitigate America’s huge industrial potential during a WWIII.
            6. Weaken the US military to allow for no effective defense of the USA.

    2. The best number to look at is total debt/capita in constant dollars, including unfunded liabilities. But even CBO data on debt/GDP is insane rising from below 40% of GDP at the beginning of Obama’s presidency to nearly 80% at the end.

      Since the end of Obama’s presidency, that’s been just driven by essentially mandated increases. But during the Obama presidency, Keynesian idiots had gotten a hold of the government and promising a free lunch to poorer voters and massive wealth to people in the financial system.

      In the end, this kind of thing destroys nations; it’s similar to what happened to Rome.

      1. Reid is largely responsible for this. He took the one time expenditures of TARP and stimulus and locked them into the basins budget calculations with his continuing resolutions he used the first half of Obama’s presidency.

    3. You’re right about entitlement spending driving the deficits. But Welch isn’t ignorant of this, and Congress can vote to end Social Security and Medicare tomorrow if they so chose.

      The real problem is the RINOs have been lying a long time about being fiscally conservative (the way the GOP handled deficits under GW Bush when they controlled both the Senate and House tells us).

      Seems the simple fact is Trump isn’t fighting Congress on spending because it’s a battle he knows he’ll lose. He couldn’t even get the GOP to vote to repeal Obamacare (well, they did vote, and enough of them broke their promise and voted to keep it) as they promised, when the GOP controlled both the Senate and House. Trump would lose votes by advocating spending cuts and lose the battle to cut spending.

      IMHO, Welch should place the blame for the deficit and debt, on Congress, or on voters who keep electing big spending politicians. I voted for Johnson.

      1. Seems the simple fact is Trump isn’t fighting Congress on spending because it’s a battle he knows he’ll lose.

        oh good heavens. Trump is a guy who forces his party to defend his garbage tweets and his garbage statements and his garbage policies every time, and is *successful* in doing so.

        Trump could absolutely force the congresscritters to dance to his tune on spending if he so chose, because he has forced the congresscritters to dance to his tune on everything else up til now. Trump doesn’t WANT to cut spending in any *meaningful* way.

        1. Lil ignorant jeffrey.

          He is attempting to do what he can under his powers of the executive. but keep blaming him for the actions of congress.

    4. The two main drivers of the deficit continue to be entitlement growth and baseline budgeting. Both are not controlled by republicans. Or by trump.

      you’re right, it’s not like Republicans were in charge of both Congress and the Presidency for full two years or anything

      1. Little baby jeffrey once again proves he doesn’t know how government works. Under 60 votes in the Senate isnt control dummy.

        It has to be tiring defending your ignorance so vociferously.

        1. His parents failed to give him the beatings he needs.

        2. You’re right, they were all powerless to do away with the filibuster weren’t they?

          It’s Always The Democrats’ Fault For Everything, Never The Republicans’ Fault

          1. Yup. Its the Democrats fault for everything and sometimes the fault of republicans.

  6. Nothing will be done until it is forced upon us. Someday but not today and not until interest rates rise significantly. Hopefully those who knew this was coming decades ago have made plans. Those whose livelihoods depend on government spending will have it the hardest.

  7. Trump didn’t change the Republican party, he made it reveal itself. Republican actions, as opposed to their words, have always, always made government bigger and more intrusive. Barry Goldwater wasn’t destroyed by Lyndon Johnson. It was the Rockefellers and Romneys that killed the last free market Republican.

    When Republicans say, in effect, that they are not as bad as the Democrats they are saying the equivalent of “bubonic plague isn’t as bad as cancer”.

    1. What changed the Republican party is that it’s impossible to win at the polls with a fiscally conservative message against a progressive movement that promises trillions of dollars of free stuff, has driven half of all Americans into government dependency, keeps importing poor people by the millions, and claims they can find magic pots of gold somewhere to pay for it.

      Americans get what they want from their government, good and hard. The only way to turn the current mess around is to change the mind of the American people first; until that changes, any party who wants to be politically relevant needs to play along with massive deficits.

      1. This is the underlying truth. When faced with realistic budgeting like a legislature, regular folks choose deficits. That’s true worldwide, but some countries don’t have the borrowing power the USA does.

        But it’s not the regular appropriations bills driving the problem now, as has been pointed out here. It’s chiefly Social Security and the like, which would take the passing of bills, not simply blocking them, to make cuts in.

      2. The old people who are so invested in Social Security and Medicare refuse to let those budget items get cut.

        More and more die every day, so someday soon they wont have enough numbers to keep the cuts from happening.

        Gen Xers have a large percentage of 401ks for retirement than Gen Boomers and Gen Traditional. This might be then only thing helping cuts happen instead of a national debt cliff.

        1. There’s a large percentage of Democrats that want to actually increase SS payments to current and near future recipients. baby boomers are the locust generation.

          1. There’s a large number of democrats who want to give those increased payments to millions of illegals who never contributed.

        2. Fine. Give me back my SS and Med taxes, plus interest, and I will take care of my own expenses.

          Oh, and don’t even think about raising income taxes, or creating a wealth tax, to pay for the poor and stupid.

          1. Wealth taxes are not allowable at the federal level dummy. Read the taxation clause of the constitution please.

            1. The consti-what? I bet Warren plus Pelosi can find the right weasel words to enable a wealth tax with another label.

              And as those supposedly stupid Tea Partiers said, “Keep your government hands off my [Social Security and] Medicare.”

          2. I did a quick calculation. At 5% quarterly the government owes me 1.8 mil.

            1. I still dont understand why you people pay into Social Security.

              Don’t pay into it and you won’t receive any SS benefit.

              1. LC there is earned income. Most people have that or 1099 all of which is reported.

                You have what? Tell us.

                1. Some of us dont work for employers. When you own your own business or are self employed, you dont need to have tax withholding. There are numerous exemption classes.

        3. “More and more die every day, so someday soon they wont have enough numbers to keep the cuts from happening.”

          Lol. Can’t wait for them grey hairs to die, can you?

          My mother is 86. Still active and in good health. We were together this week. I gave her my opinion which was spend what you have. My plan is the same.

          Yup you cannot wait for them to croak and leave you the farm. .

      3. The reason that people won’t vote for fiscally conservative candidates is because during every campaign they are told of the impending economic catastrophe that gets forgotten 30 seconds after the election.

        No one believes that the debt will overwhelm us because the same politicians who run proclaiming their undying loyalty to budget cuts proceed to double the very budgets they swore to cut.

        Words say disaster awaits us. Actions say “No problemo”

      4. What changed the Republican party is that it’s impossible to win at the polls with a fiscally conservative message against a progressive movement that promises trillions of dollars of free stuff

        They actually did, in 2010. Remember the Tea Party?

        1. Right, and then people like you and Tony went out and denounced fiscal conservatives as racists, white supremacists, and worse than Hitler. That was the final nail in the coffin of running on fiscal conservatism.

  8. The insolvency of entitlements, the fiscal cliff, will just happen and morons will scream and point fingers at whoever their prejudice tells them to. Republicans will blame Democrats. Democrats will blame Republicans. The perpetual divide and conquer strategy of the big purple machine will carry on, and libertarians will still just be a bunch of creepy whale-fuckers who are literally nazis for promoting principled fiscal responsibility but also at the same time crazy pothead anarchist buttsex enthusiasts for standing up for civil liberties.

    1. Too long for a bumper sticker, but I like it.

  9. The under lying problem here is an unwillingness to accept certain facts. One is that deficient spending has grown so large that it can not be addressed solely by spending cuts. The second is that people like the government services they receive. Third is that the Trump Administration seems clueless about unnecessary spending. Government subsidies to offset tariffs, unnecessary military provocations appear to be examples.

    Here are my suggestions: develop a foreign policy that doesn’t generate unnecessary expenses, work on by partisan spending cuts (I will cut this if you will cut that). Increase some taxes and explain why it is necessary (you want roads fixed it takes money). Might not work but its worth a try. Unfortunately I don’t see any candidates willing to go with this.

    1. But who should “accept those facts”? From the point of view of most individual current voters, continuing the current system makes sense. The debt and unfunded liabilities are the problem of kids too young to vote or not yet born.

      1. ^This. Turns out Gen Traditional and Boomers are pretty selfish when it comes to debt spending and leaving future generations holding a pile of worthless US coins.

    2. Deficit spending can absolutely be addressed by cuts alone. But that means passing bills reducing government retirement and Medicare spending. Foreign affairs generate very little expense in comparison, and that can be handled simply by not passing bills.

    3. Your facts are wrong. If government adopted a 0% spending growth plan for 5 years the deficits would halve. If they could institute a 1% it is even more dramatic. There isnt a collection anywhere that can honestly say they cant find 1% of spending they could cut.

      So your facts are wrong or they are based on an assumption of baseline budgeting which requires 3% spending growth before any new spending is added.

      1. There isnt a collection anywhere that can honestly say they cant find 1% of spending they could cut.

        Sounds like a challenge for “The Squad”.

    4. “” work on by partisan spending cuts (I will cut this if you will cut that)””

      Didn’t we try to force that with the sequester? Both sides cried and nothing happened.

      “” Increase some taxes and explain why it is necessary (you want roads fixed it takes money).””

      Usually a deal breaker at election time. People don’t want a tax increase to pay for new programs. Trying to sell a tax increase to pay for old programs would be up hill.

      You might think that the idea of let’s make sure we find the money to pay for this would be a reasonable course, but Rand Paul just found out how unreasonable that idea can be perceived when it’s all about emotion. And it’s all about emotion theses days.

      1. Rand Paul was called out for hypocrisy. He signed on to many spending programs but drew the line at health care for the 911 responders. This did not have to happen. Kentucky get back over $2 dollar for every $1 dollar it send in in Federal taxes. All Rand had to do was suggest cutting some of the largess Kentucky gets and using that for the first responders..

        1. Oh god… you’re one of the ignorant assholes who fell for an undergrads takers/givers analysis of taxes. Hint… remove social security and defense from the analysis. People who cite that study are just proving they are as dumb as Jeff.

          1. Why remove defense from the analysis? Are you saying that every defense dollar is needed? I think that a lot of defense dollars are job programs. I also think the major reason some military bases are where they are is to support the nearby towns. I may well be an asshole but I don’t think I am ignorant.

            1. We don’t think you’re ignorant, we know it

        2. When the bill comes before the full Senate, people are going to be confused why Paul votes for it. All he wanted was a discussion about paying for it because it is a blank check that doesn’t expire until 2092.

        3. drew the line at health care for the 911 responders

          No, he didn’t. He specifically drew the line at open-ended health care for people who weren’t first responders but who happened to be in the area, and he balked at extending the period of this open-ended spending to a date long past when everyone present on 9/11 will have died.

    5. I know this isn’t federal, but in WA state it costs $30k to put a sign on the side of the road. Probably more, cuz that was a few years ago. And this is how government at all levels does everything they do. And if you ask a bureaucrat why so expensive they just shrug and say that’s what it costs, as if they don’t understand the question.

      There’s a lot o drops in that there bucket.

  10. If Trump actually used his executive powers to try to rein in spending, Reason writers would excoriate him for being a dictator and worse than Hitler. Ditto for any other presidential candidate.

    The simple fact is this: the US has massive deficits because that’s what voters want. It’s because politicians go around, making promises about new government services and environmentalism and defense while spouting nonsense that they can pay for everything by “taxing wealth”, “taxing the 1%”, and “Modern Monetary Theory”.

    No politician, Republican or Democrat, would have a chance of winning on actually balancing the budget, which would entail massive tax increases on the middle class, privatizing social security and Medicare, cutting much of federal and state government, and eliminating most welfare programs except for a modest cash benefit.

    American voters get what American voters want, good and hard. And they keep getting it until the system collapses.

    1. If Trump ever cut spending, Reason would praise him. Of course they would praise him. Faintly perhaps, but they would. Just like they praised him when he tried to get out of Syria. Just like when he appointed some good eggs like Ajit Pai. Just like when he refused to bomb civilians in one case.

      But when Trump had a Republican Majority in both houses, he still couldn’t get ObamaCare repealed or reformed. He managed to get a tax cut in, but he’s never been within several miles of a spending cut. He petulantly pouts if a spending increase isn’t large enough. The man’s been bankrupt four times. He has no idea what fiscal restraint even looks like.

      1. Because a simple majority isnt enough in the Senate. You’re the second retard to make this claim on this thread.

      2. Reason has gone off the deep end with TDS; they wouldn’t praise Trump if he were suddenly possessed by the spirit of Hayek, Ayn Rand, Rothbard and von Mises combined.

    2. Yep, the only problem with democracy: people are retards.

    3. That might all be true, but cutting into the staggering amount of bloat and waste would be a good place to start.

      Unfortunately, the resentment behind the “tax the rich” crowd means that politicians never have to worry about wasteful spending. When half the country screams “they should get even more!” these doosh bags have no incentive to be responsible.

      Now, if we all paid the same amount in taxes there would be zero tolerance for bloat. As long as we all think that somebody else should be forced to pay for it, it will never change.

  11. A hard reset is what is needed, there would be some great buying opportunities with stock prices brought down.

    1. The federal reserve and government are lying about actual inflation.

      Prices for food with high labor costs (restaurants/fast food) has steadily risen over the last decade.

      Stocks prices also do seem a bit artificially inflated. Amazon purposely doesn’t want to split stock, to keep the price high.

      The USA will likely have an even greater Great Recession as a hard reset and hopefully government wont be able to borrow to make it worse. The prices of all sorts of things will go down. Unfortunately for unprepared Americans, employment goes down too.

      A quick hard reset that is painful but over in under a year might be just the trick. Unless we lower our national debt, we’re fucked in the long run. Defaulting on repayment of debt is VERY BAD.

      1. I think its about even odds for either the painful reset you describe (though i think it’d take longer than a year) or .gov simply finishes off what few savers there are by inflating the debt into something manageable.

        I think a lot of boomers who thought they’d spend retirement golfing and traveling are going to be disappointed, but we should avoid the breadlines

        1. The retirees paid a Social Security tax and expected to get something out of that later in life.

          Pay the retirees lump sums based on what they put in and end Social Security. Pay off most of the debt as quickly as possible.

          1. That’s a good idea, but one can start simpler. Uncap FICA and means test benefits, for starters.

            1. Sure, but only if you change the name to Social Wealth Redistribution Tax.

              And then see how public support changes.

              1. See how public support changes if we DON’T switch to a means-tested welfare program and young people face massive FICA tax increases so we can keep sending checks to Bill Gates’s mom.

            2. God damn you’re ignorant. Uncapping it hubcaps both inoute and outputs. Means testing output makes the tax and benefit structure illegal. The program was only upheld judicially from the normative structure of the program, you get put based on what you paid in. Why do stupid and ignorant people try to fox things without learning what the underlying programs are?

              1. That’s why the system has to be abolished and replaced.

              2. “The program was only upheld judicially from the normative structure of the program, you get put based on what you paid in.”

                In that case, the court was hoodwinked. That ISN’T the structure of the program. SS is and always (all the way back to FDR) has been a pay as you go program where current benefits to current beneficiaries are paid from the payroll taxes of current workers.

                Also, the recipient of the very first SS benefits check by the end of her life had received 924 times what she paid in.

          2. Not a chance in hell. They’ll end up replacing Social Security with a means-tested welfare program for the elderly.

          3. Cmon LC

            There is not that much money. Nowhere near it. If you printed it the entire monetary system would collapse.

            1. Its cheaper than continuing this charade.

              Furthermore, if you cut the federal spending for these items and rolled the tax revenue into paying off the old debt of $22 trillion, we would have the debt paid off in about 11 years.
              Social Security: $982 billion.
              Medicare: $582 billion.
              Medicaid: $389 billion.

              1. Fine where is my check?

              2. My calculations were very conservative.

                Give me 2mil I have invested without choice. I figure around 35k per year max on social security.

                With 2 mil I can get 100k per year at 5% easy.

                Tell you what. Give me the principle and I will send you the SS checks.

                Or you can just bet on me dying.

      2. > A quick hard reset that is painful but over in under a year might be just the trick.

        If that were it, I would be happy. But as I near my retirement age I greatly fear what’s in store for me.

    2. Forcing the senate to rewrite spending appropriation from scratch would be a hell of a win. Address every line item.

      1. +100

      2. For once I agree with you. That would be a large improvement.

        1. Its probably because I made such a simple argument even you can understand it.

          1. Stay classy

            1. Why are you here if you have nothing to say?

    3. That depends on how hard of a reset and who’s in power. Saving and being well prepared could be nullified by a redistributionist administration. We all gotta “share the pain” donchaknow?

    4. You mean a “hard reset” like Venezuela is experiencing? If you want that, there are enough such nations around the world with “great buying opportunities” for stocks… according to you.

  12. It’s too late. The wealth does not and will not exist for us to pay off our national debt. One way or another, we will default. So, relax, keep running up the credit cards until they’re maxed out, and enjoy the party while it lasts. Mom and Dad are on their way home, and it’s going to be ugly, but it’s too late to clean up before they get here.

    1. Mom and Dad will be dead and the kids are left holding the bag of shit.

      1. LC “Mom and Dad will be dead and the kids are left holding the bag of shit.”

        Is this difficult for you? How many times did they hold your bag of shit child?

        1. It was their job to bag my shit. They wanted kids.

          Its not my job to take care of them.

          1. Not my business in your family issues.

            Sounds like you have them.

            1. Haha.

    2. There won’t be a default. The debt will be paid by inflation like it was after World War II when the debt to GDP ratio was about what it is now.

      1. Paying the debt in debased currency is a form of default.

        1. If you are trying to say that “it has effects similar to a partial default”, that would be correct.

          It is not, however, “a form of default”.

          1. It’s not paying back the debt. That’s what I mean by “a form of default”.

            1. It’s not paying back the debt. That’s what I mean by “a form of default”.

              A “default” is a breach of contract. Currency debasement doesn’t breach any contracts per se. Lenders contractually accepted payment in dollars subject to inflation.

    3. There is a way out. It will be painful, but there is a way out. But it starts by STOPPING spending increases.

      The Federal government is like a family drowning in debt and on the verge of losing its house. The solution? Apply for more credit cards! Oh, and there’s a new steak restaurant we have to try out! And don’t forget the kitchen re-modelers will be here next Tuesday!

      1. And for a family in such a hopeless situation, maxing out the credit cards and having a good time while you wait for the locusts to come can be the most reasonable course of action.

  13. Will Welch go on record stating that he will not vote for anyone who does not promise to cut entitlement spending?

    If he does, I will.

  14. I remember when the Tea Party started. At that time it was about fiscal responsibility. Cutting spending. Across the board. Even a huge number of Democrats were on board. Then within weeks it was taken over by profession parade leaders and it started to morph. By the next year the major concern was immigrants. There was still some talk of fiscal restraint though. But slowly over the months that got drowned out.

    Today, that old Tea Party, the grass roots movement for fiscal sanity, was taken out behind the barn and shot.

    1. “A huge number of Democrats were on board”?

      Don’t remember that. Was that like, for a week?

  15. Doesn’t the bible call for a debt jubilee every 7 years? At this time, slaves were freed, children allowed to return to their families and debts were forgiven. It follows an old Babylonian custom the Jews picked up at the birth of their nation. If debt becomes unsustainable, it seems a controlled debt forgiveness is better than an uncontrolled crash.

    1. True, and if you run an economy under those terms, that’s workable. People just won’t lend a lot under those circumstances. Good times.

      But if you just introduce a “debt jubilee” because you borrowed too much, that’s equivalent to defaulting.

      1. “because you borrowed too much”

        How much is too much? As long as creditors are willing to lend, maybe your problem is you haven’t borrowed enough.

        1. How much is too much?

          You’re missing the point. I’m saying that introducing a “debt jubilee” after people have lent you money is a breach of contract. Why you choose to breach the contract (“borrowed too much”, “don’t like the Chinese”, etc.) is irrelevant.

          As long as creditors are willing to lend

          You are still suffering from the delusion that international trade and finance is based on voluntary transactions. No wonder that you have such deranged opinions on immigration and trade.

  16. Never ever forget that Welchie Boy’s personal godhead, Block Insane Yomomma, increased the national debt by 9.2 trillion dollars in eight years.

    “A liberal is intolerant of other views. He wants to control your thoughts and actions.”
    -Lyndon Baines Johnson

    “I’m a liberal.”
    -Matt “Welchie Boy” Welch

    1. Congress controlled the budget, not Obama.

      1. True, now do Trump.

        1. After Trump is finished doing me.

      2. Must have been difficult for him when they overrode his budget vetoes.

        1. He submitted to the will of the Republican congress.

          1. Well, he was a loser of a President. Did you actually expect better?

            1. I thought he might be better than he was. I don’t see much to be gained by obsessing over our disappointments, though, especially as he’s out of office, never to return, and replaced by yet another feckless successor.

  17. As in…the Democrats are simply kidding when they propose their gargantuan entitlement schemes? Moreover, exactly whom does Welch think is disillusioned with the Republican Party’s – or any government actor’s – ability to curtail spending?

    We should be happy for Trump to cut what he has and encourage him to cut more.

    1. “We should be happy for Trump to cut what he has and encourage him to cut more.”

      We should also be encouraging foreign countries like Mexico to pay for our walls and stuff.

  18. Oh God, has Welch found a new crush?

  19. Is reason really trying to push the narrative that Republicans increase the national debt when every single Dem presidential nomination has pushed massive spending plans including single payer, reparations and healthcare for every illegal which are guaranteed to triple the debt.
    There is only one way to reduce debt.
    Abolish the Fed. America will always be in debt while the Federal reserve, a private company, controls the money supply and the rates.

    1. Yes. Ever since these jerks took over, they have been pushing the story nonstop that the republicans bear 100% of the blame for the debt and deficits, regardless of which party controls the White House, debate, and/or House of Representatives.

      Why would a group of alleged libertarians make such a ridiculous claim when we all know perfectly well that both parties are equally to blame, you might ask? Because they’re not really libertarians; they’re Clinton-Obama-Soros liberals play-acting at being something else.

      “A liberal is intolerant of other views. He wants to control your thoughts and actions.”
      -Lyndon Baines Johnson

      “I’m a liberal.”
      -Matt “Welchie Boy” Welch

  20. Until the filibuster is abolished or preferably returned to it’s mid 20th century form, there will be no fiscal responsibility unless the republicans can manage a majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate. This is because the Dems, along with the media and undoubtedly the willing assistance of the tech giants are perfectly willing to pin any issues on the right. As such, the only people truly expecting such are the uninformed, the naive, the stupid, or the lying sacks of shit.

  21. What ever happened to stormy daniels taking down Trump?

  22. Obama administration passes the AARA INSTANTLY adding $787 Billion to the debt. Next lie……………………………………………………

  23. […] the Libertarian-leaning Reason suggests, the Republicans. Are they […]

  24. […] not going to single-handedly solve a federal budget that’s on pace to run trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future, but every little bit could […]

  25. […] not going to single-handedly solve a federal budget that’s on pace to run trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future, but every little bit could […]

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