Economy

GOP Debt Hypocrisy  

The Trump-era GOP lends credence to the idea that Obama-era Republicans cared about deficits only as a means of hampering a Democratic president.

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Republicans in Congress, on the whole, no longer care about debt or deficits—at least not in any substantive sense. That's a problem for a number of reasons, not least that it increases the risk of a debt crisis in the future.

Those same Republicans spent the better part of Barack Obama's presidency complaining bitterly about the trillion-dollar budget gaps the country ran during his first term, and President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail to eliminate all federal debt. But since Trump's election, deficits have increased even faster than expected, and the total federal debt has risen accordingly. That, in turn, is likely to have long-term consequences for both the economy and for the broader politics of debt and deficits.

You can see the nation's trajectory spelled out in painstaking detail in the annual budget outlook from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Not only does it show that the trillion-dollar deficits that followed the financial crisis have returned, it projects that deficits of that magnitude will be a fixture throughout the coming decade. Indeed, the next decade's cumulative deficits are now projected to be $160 billion higher than was projected as recently as August 2019.

By 2030, CBO projects the deficit—the annual gap between spending and revenues—will reach $1.7 trillion, which was roughly the size of the entire federal budget in 1999. Rising debt and deficits, the budget office predicts, will coincide with slowing economic growth, dropping from 2.2 percent this year to 1.5 percent a decade from now. The federal government will be borrowing more, and the economy will be expanding at a slower pace. It may not lead to an immediate economic crisis, but the nation is spending and borrowing into stagnancy and decline.

The GOP's acquiescence to this eventuality has been driven mostly by political considerations: In the absence of a crisis, lawmakers have little incentive to close the budget gap, because doing so requires some combination of raising taxes and cutting spending, neither of which are particularly popular. The biggest drivers of long-term debt are Medicare and Social Security, which benefit seniors, many of whom are reliable Republican voters. Trump ran against cutting those entitlements, and although his rhetoric has wavered slightly in recent months, he has not pressed the issue. Republicans in Congress don't exactly seem eager to tackle it either. (Trump's 2020 budget proposed reducing some Medicare payments, similar to proposals made by the Obama administration, but would leave the program's essential benefit structure intact.)

Trump also does not appear to worry much about what happens down the road. When his advisers in 2018 raised the possibility of a future deficit crisis, the president reportedly shrugged it off, saying, "Yeah, but I won't be here." Absent some event to force his hand, it's unlikely that attitude will change.

One possible forcing event would be the election of a Democratic president in 2020, which would almost certainly see the GOP return to its Obama-era complaints about sky-high debt and deficits.

Yet if that were to happen, Democrats would most likely dismiss these complaints as hypocritical—not as honest efforts to enforce needed fiscal restraint but as self-interested attempts to check the opposite party's agenda. The Democratic primary race, which has prominently featured calls for tens of trillions in new spending, has already provided evidence for this view.

That view is also evident in the liberal intelligentsia's embrace of simplistic deficits-don't-matter economic theories and in complaints about how the CBO's emphasis on basic budget math hampers the progressive agenda. The GOP's rank deficit hypocrisy is empowering liberals who view concerns about fiscal soundness as barriers to political and policy success.

With every passing day, the Trump-era GOP lends credence to the idea that Obama-era Republicans cared about deficits only as a means of hampering a Democratic president. By demonstrating how little they care about fiscal restraint while in a position to do something about it, Republicans are creating a political environment that makes it even more likely that Democrats will proceed with a deficit denialist agenda of their own.

Republicans under Trump haven't just carelessly let deficits rise and debt pile up. They've made it even harder to find a politically plausible way of righting the nation's fiscal trajectory.

NEXT: Brickbat: Cheers!

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  1. It just means cutting spending. No new taxes. That’s never gonna happen.

    1. If you can’t/won’t control spending, raising taxes will not result in a reduction of government debt.

    2. another liberally biased garbage article from this publication that ironically is called “reason” yet pushes little that is actually reasonable. Now we are going to compare spending involved in a pandemic crisis to spending when there was no crisis. We are going to compare trying to keep a nation going with an unemployment rivaling the great depression, as a result of the liberal pushed lockdown that hasn’t reduced cases by even 1.

      Those are the same things? The profound ignorance and stupidity of this author is only exceeded by whatever nitwit can’t figure out that this a bunch of bullshit. I think it’s going to be time to simply block the URL. Nothing of any worth on this site anymore. Just partisan ignorance and Trump bashing.

  2. “Ok Boomer” isn’t nearly harsh enough for what that generation has been doing to our fiscal situation. I really can’t stand it when they talk about how no one can touch their retirement benefits because they “paid for them”. No, you didn’t pay for them. Your payroll taxes weren’t put aside or invested for your retirement. They were used to pay for current retirees first and the excess was immediately borrowed by your own government. It then immediately spent that money on stuff for you, like roads and schools and wars and ag subsidies and oil subsidies and medicaid and everything else the federal government does. That money is gone and what’s left are IOUs held by your children and grandchildren. Now, when you retire your benefits aren’t coming from what you put in. They are coming entirely from your children and grandchildren. And pretty soon they won’t be able to enough to cover everything that you forced them to owe you.

    Gen X, of course, can’t fix the problem even if they wanted to because there are too many voting Boomers and GGs left. Benefits will be cut and payroll taxes will be raised (either directly or via inflation) within 10 years. There’s no way around it. And it will be hard to listen to any complaints from Boomers since you’ve all already gotten 2x-4x out of these programs than you put in. It’s generational theft.

    1. Gen Xer here as well. I have to say, the Boomers fucked us all over. Never before in history has there ever been a self-righteous, irresponsible, self-centered generation as the Boomers. The Boomer POTUS’ have mixed, with two of four Boomer POTUS’ doing a competent job. That generation has materially degraded our economic, social, and spiritual health. They have stolen the financial future of our descendants because, “It is all about me”.

      History will not look kindly on the Boomers.

      1. And the millennials say “Hold my beer”.

      2. The problem with Gen x is they still resent their mom and are mad because she threw them out of her basement at 30 to 40 years old. It does seem each generation we get from the greatest generation which were the parents of the boomers we decline. As a Gen x how you describe the previous generation indicates Gen x are boomers on steroids. Some sources consider those born from 1960 to 1980 as Gen x which would put the worst President to ever be elected in the Gen x generation. Boomers usually have the political power but everyone makes mistakes. We made up for it in 2016. Gen xers were abandoned by their mommies who went to work and then were kicked out of their basements and are still bitter. Sad.

        1. Boomer: 1946-1964
          GenX: 1965-1980
          GenY: 1981-1998

          We have not had a GenX POTUS. Ok Boomer….I mean, dan1650. 🙂

    2. As a Boomer, I agree with you that my generation has been extremely selfish and have left a pile of debt. I want to caution those who would see the peoblem only as SS and Medicare. These programs have problems and need reform. It is also important to remember that Boomer like services that were not fully paid for by taxes. Tax cuts were and still are popular, but so are the services that are paid for by taxes. Tax cut stimulate the economy, the government took in more money but never enough to cover expenses, and the debt increased. Debt is hard to comprehend and people have low taxes and good services, they are happy. Hard to change. We need to have higher taxes closer to the level to support services. People understand taxes better than debt. It is easier to say you wnat lower taxes, you have to sacifice services. Don’t make my generations mistake, don’t over tax but also don’t under tax.

      1. “Good services”

        SS is a Ponzi scheme and it is failing like every other Ponzi scheme. The problem only IS SS and Medicare (and Medicaid). Wealth redistribution has never and will never work.

        Don’t make your generation’s mistake: don’t think that the government provides any value outside of courts, police, military, and standards.

    3. If Government Almighty is going to spend within its means, then HOW do you expect Government Almighty to protect us ignorant, incompetent, and medically uneducated savages? HOW to protect ourselves (by OURSELVES? WITHOUT help?!?!) from dangerous medical implements of destruction like cheap plastic “lung flutes”? We NEED Government Almighty overspending and Government Almighty protection for OUR OWN GOOD!

      STAY SAFE, in these here dangerous days! Stay SAFE from the flute police, dammit!

      To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

    4. I got news for you. Boomers were only one in a long line of politicians fucking over the country. They weren’t the first, and you can’t blame FDR or Hoover or Woodrow Wilson as the first either, or Abe Lincoln. Boomers weren’t the last, or Gen X, or the current crop of AOC friendlies.

      Blaming it on boomers is an easy excuse for pretending your generation was guiltless and thus free to wage war on the public because we’re all fucked now anyway.

      1. It’s also an easy way to forget how much government has fucked up investments. Think SSA payments would have done better as private investments? Inflation is the government’s tool to punish investors. Rent control is another. Government is the problem, not boomers, not Gen X, not the public, who get no meaningful say in government.

        1. The SS system was created by the Boomers’ parents and grandparents. Most Boomers later voted to continue and expand the program. GenX is already joining AARP, the biggest lobby for refusing to reform SS and medicare. Frankly, everyone who hasn’t been voting Libertarian since 1972 is to blame!
          And, while it is true some recipients of SS have made out well, there are others of us who would be getting 2/3 more each month if our contributions had been put into private annuities.

        2. Ok Boomer.

    5. The best description of Social Security and Medicaid I ever heard was from my college econ professor:

      “Imagine one day soon, after you’ve graduated and gotten your first good paying job, you’re sitting in your living room and you hear a knock on the door. You get up to go answer it and there’s an old man standing on your porch and he starts yelling at you ‘Give me some money, and you better not hold out on me, I fought for your freedoms so you could be free to pay for my retirement, you sorry little ingrate! And here, pay these medical bills while you’re at it, peckerwood!’ as he tosses a bunch of medical bills at you. That’s basically Social Security and Medicare in a nutshell.”

      1. So your Econ professor wasn’t aware that the old man had been paying into those program?

        Ponzi scheme aside.

        1. The old man’s justice might actually depend upon his party association — If he voted for politicians who gave away all his “paying into” payments to Eco-scam artists, communism, and/or bail-outs; he really wouldn’t have much he could legitimately blame on anyone else.

    6. ‘“Ok Boomer” isn’t nearly harsh enough for what that generation has been doing to our fiscal situation. I really can’t stand it when they talk about how no one can touch their retirement benefits because they “paid for them”.’

      As one of those “Boomers,” I couldn’t agree more. But, please do remember, that there are some of us who have been arguing for privatizing social security, for instance, for a few decades. And Medicare? Well, not the ideal solution, but how about needs-based funding instead of age-based funding? Again, I’ve supported those kinds of moves for well over 30 years.

    7. There are almost no GG left. You can blame the boomers and their offspring millenials. The latter morons do their absolute best to keep the welfare state going. They deserve all of the pain coming and then some.

    8. Gen X is the problem. How would they fix it? The Boomers worked and paid into the system but the Gen X are all sucking it dry with disabilities and welfare because they are to lazy to work as the Boomers did. The government programs to support the poor helpless Gen X and Millennials is sucking the system dry. They irresponsibly had children before being married and have become a burden on society. We had to have immigrants come in to do the work they should have been doing. Many never learned how to fly and have returned to live off their poor parents along with their children. Instead of taking care of their elderly parents as previous generations have done they instead sponge off them.

      1. Ok Boomer.

    9. Social Security was enacted LONG before any “boomers” were of any age to see it implemented. We weren’t even the proverbial glimmer in our fathers’ eyes.
      What were we supposed to do, just make our contributions but say, “Oh, never mind, we’re going to just give that money away to government officials, who didn’t use it as promised”?
      I guess your generation is ready to do that, right?
      Are you just too ashamed to collect your benefits?
      When all we “boomers” die off, will you elect politicians that disband the program…and give away all that you’ve contributed?

    10. The think ALL commenters here dismiss… None of this would be an argument without commie social security. Say Gieco held your retirement funds. Say U.S. Bank held your retirement savings.

      It was UN-Constitutional for the feds to take over your healthcare and retirement with the power (of which they don’t have) of law. It will NEVER get “fixed” until the political dictators are put in line with the supreme law. Sell the commie agencies off to independent companies.

      THE FEDS DON’T OWN YOU….!!!!!

  3. Ok and?

    Do we really care about the motivations as long as it happens?

    Sometimes your goals align with those of your enemy.

    1. Of course we care. If they actually manage to slow spending when Dems have power, that’s great, but it would be much better if they would slow spending when they have power themselves. It’s much easier to control spending when in a position of power than when in a position of opposition to power.

      1. You didn’t explain at all why we should care about their motivations vs their actions.

        Did you not understand my point?

        What you said doesn’t actually have anything at all to do with what I asked

        1. Made sense to me — what’s the “goal” here anyways? Steal other peoples stuff until nobody has ownership of anything?

  4. The Trump-era GOP lends credence to the idea that Obama-era Republicans cared about deficits only as a means of hampering a Democratic president.

    Read a history book, kid, your ignorance is showing. It didn’t start with Obama and it’s not simply to block Democratic spending, it’s just meaningless campaign rhetoric. The GOP has been yammering about spending and deficits and the national debt and fiscal responsibility without actually doing anything about for all my life. Google “Gramm Rudman”, for example. They vowed to hide the credit cards from themselves and then wrote a note to remind themselves of where they hid the cards. It’s all political theater for the rubes who still believe they’re seriously trying to catch that roadrunner and it’s just bad luck they fail Every. Single. Time. Or that they’re ever going to overturn Roe v Wade.

    1. I agree. Talk about spending and debt is cheap. The Republican have been spewing it for a long time.

      1. Politicians lie. That this is worth an article boggles the mind.

      2. Funny how you’ve only talked about it when there’s a Republican admin, though.

    2. Anyone who thinks the GOP cared about the deficit doesn’t know squat. Every administration after WW II was paying down the debt until Reagan and his Star Wars fiasco tripled what was left. Nice to forget that. Anyone who blames this all on the Democrats also forgets that Clinton had the closest thing to a surplus we had in a long time, and both sides forget that it was only because Congress and the White House were different parties.

      Government sucks, people don’t have any control over it, and any other lesson in like arguing over the taste of the candles on a birthday cake.

      1. “Reagan and his Star Wars fiasco tripled (the debt)”

        Oh wow, that’s not even remotely true.

      2. No, they weren’t paying down the debt. I know libertarians progressives are innumerate, but there actually is a debt history from Treasury in these United States. Know what it says? The last time we actually reduced the debt was in 1957 and 1947-48. Three, whole years.

        The only reason the debt was “declining” post-WWII was because it was normalized against an increasing GDP. In absolute terms it kept going up. And up. And up. And why was that? Because the welfare state created by FDR and LBJ kept going up. And up. And up. Nice to forget that.

      3. One thing about Reagan’s overspending. He drove the USSR into collapse and the Cold War into oblivion eventually leading to that dividend Clinton enjoyed. Clinton would’ve gone on a full force binge (Hillarycare anyone?) if it wasn’t for Gingrich in 94.
        I specifically mention Gingrich because the rest of the elected republicans were the spineless POSs as they are today.

    3. Article: “With every passing day, the Trump-era GOP lends credence to the idea that Obama-era Republicans cared about deficits only as a means of hampering a Democratic president. ”

      It was also true when Clinton was president. It looks like the only way we control spending at all is to have a Democratic president and Republican house.

  5. uhhhmmmm,

    DUUUUUH!!!

    Republicans have not been fiscal conservatives for over 40 years

    They spend money on things that blow up
    Democrats spend money on things to help people

    Neither has a big interest in paying the tab

    The REpublicans, starting in Feb 2020 will

    Suddenly be interested in balancing the budget

    Slow nominations for President Biden to a crawl

    Suddenly discover that they were never really supporters of trumpski, and start cleaning their collective twitter feeds of all MAGA references

    1. Like you comment. I have to wonder how fast the Republican will flee from Trump. I can think of some leaders in the 20th century who went into the dust bin of history pretty quickly after they were out (usually lost) power. I guessing a large number of books from former supporter on how Trump was wrong, wrong, wrong.

      1. I have to wonder how fast the Republican will flee from Trump

        As quickly as they went from Newt’s Contract with America to G.W. Bush’s Compassionate Conservatism.

    2. “Democrats spend money on things to help people”

      Lol

      1. A whole article could be written about how Democrats only talk about ending wars when they aren’t in power.

      2. Needs a fix, “Democrats STEAL money from productive members of society to help Americans learn (commie education) to be stupid, useless (free-rides), lazy(welfare), drains on society…”

        Nothing better than turning natural consequences into rewards and natural rewards into consequences. Funny how Democratic dingbats don’t see their own end-game of starvation, poverty and death.

    3. Hihn’s got a new sock, I see. Did flibertytruthteller get banned?

      1. Can’t be Hihn, no all caps.

  6. Alico the others, exactly which Republicans are you talking about? Are we just talking about the Tea Party? Those guys have butted heads with Trump fairly frequently. And they still make a bunch of noise about deficits.

    But they’ve never been more than a bunch of rabble-rousers on the back bench. I certainly don’t remember too many fiscally conservative moves over the last 25 years or so.

    Newt Gingrich put together a coalition that did a bit to rein in government excess. But that was really just a temporary diversion. Prior to that, Republicans weren’t in charge of the purse Springs at all.

    And if you were talking at the executive level, Bush jr. did add in an entirely new entitlement program. So he’s got his liberal spending Bona fides well-polished.

    I don’t really remember much in the way of deficit rhetoric from anyone in Washington other than the Tea Party Republicans since maybe 1998? Sure, maybe you’d get a one-off here and there, but Chuck Schumer will even make a Ludacris speech about fiscal responsibility if he thinks it will benefit his team.

    No, I think you have a handful of fiscally conservative Republicans and that’s about it. I don’t think anyone has really pretended otherwise.

    1. The Tea Party was a reaction against the establishment assumptions of both parties about spending and intervention in the private economy. Because of circumstances this occurred during a transition to an even more ideologically Leftist, interventionist minded administration and Congress. Analyzing this as merely anti-Obama is a lazy analysis. The problem is all these social programs have motivated constituencies, which even temperamentally fiscal conservatives see themselves as dependent on in some way. Purest fiscal conservatives are a small minority of the electorate, but the GOP is more welcoming to them then the Democrats. This is not a sustainable situation as government budgets become increasingly disconnected from what wealth can be safely extracted from the productive sectors of society, but I fear the electorate in general will not recognize this until we are past the point of no return.

      1. “Purest fiscal conservatives are a small minority of the electorate, but the GOP is more welcoming to them then the Democrats.”

        This is only true because the fiscal conservatives believe the GOP talking points. It like the Pro-Lifer who believe the Republican are going to stop abortions. Or the anti-immigrant people who believe the Republican will stop cheap workers from Mexico and central America.

        Sadly the Republican Party is an empty shell of what it once was and it is running on rhetoric and little else. Those people who scratch their head and wonder why minorities vote Democrat, could just as well look at themselves and ask why they vote Republican.

        1. Given that the Democrats and libertarians are little more than socialists now, one has to wonder were they ever anything but?

          1. ‘One’ does?

            Oh, you must be referring to the Libertarian-controlled Congress? No, no…probably the Libertarian President! With so many Libertarians in office, enacting socialist policies willy-nilly, it gets confusing as to which of the two dominant parties is truly ‘the most’ socialist. Don’t give up hope yet. Maybe in the distant future (if the LP hasn’t instituted full-blown communism, that is) the poor, unfairly maligned GOP will return and restore fiscal sanity and true limited-government conservatism.

            At least ‘one’ needn’t wonder about whether your pen name is accurate!

    2. Clinton ran a surplus. Obama reduced the deficit by 2/3 over what his despicable predecessor did. What did the Tea Party do? Bitch and moan and then forget about deficits once they got power? Big deal.

      1. Clinton had no surplus. Obama signed off on over 2/3 of TARP. The only reason the deficit started coming down under Obama is because the GOP retook congress and forced the issue. And deficits were climbing again his last 2 years.

        1. That’s the funny thing. When people try to brag about Obama decreasing deficits, they are really referring to the work the republicans did in the House.

      2. LMAO!!! “Obama reduced the deficit by 2/3″… The utter and obvious lies the left will spew over and over and over again.. Who said the population wasn’t stupid enough to believe jumping off a cliff would be detrimental if not lied about a million in a half times.

  7. Who in the world has the excess cash lying around to put in extra trillions of low-interest debt?

    1. I didn’t want to do this… but i have an unopened piggy bank from when I was born…

  8. These discussions are always relative. Gop has been bad on spending, Democrats have been worse. Look at the add ins Democrats keep seeking for things like PPP. So isolating one, and even the less bad one, while largely hand waiving the other as dems will be dems is just dumb.

    The facts are spending types matter. Payroll tax reductions are the best way to stimulate an economy, however with government pushing lockdowns and unemployment naturally skyrocketing, this wasnt really and option. So the next tier unless bad is subsidized loans. I hated TARP initially, but it actually was deficit positive. But then we see what the democrats want with the 40k a year equivalent unemployment, bonuses to everyone including illegals, pension mismanagement paid for, a whole list of goodies for favored industries… and you single put the group whose initial proposal was 1 and then moved to 2. You literally just praised Amash for complaining PPP was capped implying more spending.

    So what is Reasons actual solution here? Many of the writers are for the lockdowns, so what to do with the economic fallout? It is one thing to be against the lockdowns and the bailouts, but that has not been Reasons narrative.

    1. at this point they can’t lower payroll taxes, if anything they will be raised by the states due to the massive crippling unemployment numbers. What’s happened is cataclysmic and I think it’s already too late the wheels are in motion. The longer this goes the worse it’s going to be though,

    2. Reaon’s actual solution is to deflect from any responsibility for this mess due to their progressive values. It’s empirically obvious to everyone that open borders and engagement with China were disasters. Suderman himself has opposed every reform to Obamacase that might actually cut spending. The Uterus was parroting a WaPo lie that stimulus checks were delayed–and here I thought “libertarians” were opposed to this spending. I guess their opposition is only one of convenience and they like their spending just as much as any other progressive. Just remember, the modern “libertarian” is socially liberal and fiscally convenient.

      When your own hypocrisy and failures are out there for everyone to see, your only hope is to try blaming the other guy. Welcome to wokatarianism.

    3. So what is Reasons actual solution here?

      Very astute point. I mean, if you say that shooting yourself in the foot is the best solution, and I say that’s a bad idea without coming up with what you consider to be an actual solution, then obviously shooting yourself in the foot is the best option.

      Brilliant logic.

      1. And yet you find it very compelling when Suderman writes it. Conditional brilliance? Hypocrisy is the freest mind of all.

  9. Republican politicians don’t care about spending and deficits because their Republican constituents don’t care about spending and deficits.

    1. This “Republican constituents” CERTAINLY cares!!!

  10. And in other news, dog bites man. Does anyone believe otherwise?

  11. Conservatives are just Progressives driving the speed limit.

  12. “The Trump-era GOP lends credence to the idea that Obama-era Republicans cared about deficits only as a means of hampering a Democratic president.”

    Dose it really matter why Republicans of the past were fiscally conservative?

    Obama has been out of office for four years now–is it still important to defend him against his Republican critics for some reason?

    It’s not enough to be fiscally conservative–you have to be fiscally conservative for the right reasons? Is Suderman a new convert to Objectivism or something?

    1. Except the Obama-era Republicans were never fiscally conservative in the first place, for any reasons

      The problem is that when they appear to be fiscally conservative, so voters give them both chambers of Congress and the White House expecting conservatism, only to find out they aren’t conservative at all and deficits are worse than during Obama’s second term. Its all just a bait-and-switch

      1. Don’t worry… you guys will find some excuse to vote for the GOP and Trump. AOC!!!

        1. When the choice is between “bad” and “much much worse” bad usually wins

          1. What’s worse that 4 trillion dollar deficits and a wannabe dictator like Dear Leader?

            1. $8TT deficits and an actual dictator like The Lightbringer.

            2. “”a wannabe dictator like Dear Leader?””

              Wannabe, right? Trump could never match the dictator levels of Cuomo and De Blasio. Trump’s not threatening to fine me $1,000 for not wearing a practically useless mask.

            3. What’s worse that 4 trillion dollar deficits and a wannabe dictator like Dear Leader?

              Answer: Brain Damaged Biden

          2. You don’t have to run faster than the bear, you only have to run faster than the guy next to you. Unfortunately, I think the GOP has learned that lesson rather too well – they don’t have to be good, just a little less bad than the other guys. And there’s a lot of room for terrible when the other guys are as bad as the Dems.

            1. +100000000000 — Counter-blame-pointer.. If Democrats weren’t so HORRIBLE maybe Republicans would be even better.

      2. “The problem is that when they appear to be fiscally conservative, so voters give them both chambers of Congress and the White House expecting conservatism, only to find out they aren’t conservative at all and deficits are worse than during Obama’s second term. Its all just a bait-and-switch”

        I don’t think it’s fair to paint all the Republicans of the Obama era with the same brush. Let’s not forget that the biggest victims of the Tea Party movement weren’t the Democrats–but Republicans who were insufficiently conservative on things like budgets. They were largely ignored by the powers within the Republican party. John Boehner hated them–and the feeling was mutual.

        When you’re talking about the Republicans during the Obama years, whom are you talking about? The Republicans in the House before Obama took office and implemented ObamaCare? The Tea Party Republicans whose success brought Republican control of the House–but was insufficient to Boehner out of the Speaker’s chair?

        Boehner lost his leadership role within the Republican party because he was insufficiently conservative fiscally, and I don’t think it’s fair to paint him and the Republicans who got rid of him with the same brush.

  13. “It’s not enough to be fiscally conservative–you have to be fiscally conservative for the right reasons?”

    It’s not about the reasons, right or wrong.

    It’s about acting fiscally conservative when you are out of power and have no control and turning around and being fiscally irresponsible when you are in power and have control.

  14. Raise your hand if you think the deficit wouldn’t be bigger if Democrats had been in power these last few years.

    1. Look at the last 30 years. What does the data tell you about the deficit when Democrats are in power?

      Answer: Deficits go down under a Democratic president. This is not a matter of opinion. It is fact.

      1. And all of our structural debt is due to entitlements enacted under Democrat presidents. That is not a matter of opinion. It is a fact.

      2. “Answer: Deficits go down under a Democratic president. ”

        The president doesn’t control spending. What you should be looking at is control of Congress, bot the House and the Senate.

        I think you will find that deficit reductions correlate more with divided/unified government than with which party controls any one specific piece.

      3. Hey look; another b*llsh*tter.

  15. By 2030, CBO projects the deficit—the annual gap between spending and revenues—will reach $1.7 trillion, which was roughly the size of the entire federal budget in 1999.

    Meh. Hyperinflation will take care of that.

  16. This is a fun game. Can I play?

    And Obamacare highlighted Reason’s debt and socialized medicine hypocrisy. And #RUSSIA highlighted Reason’s concern about the surveillance state hypocrisy.

  17. The way I see it with regard to the GOP is that they are pretty good at making excuses for why the deficit is high and that Democrats are pretty good at actually reducing deficits.

    RR: We ran up deficits to defeat commies by killing a bunch of desperately poor peons in Central America who wanted to nationalize an oil well
    GHWB: We ran up deficits to kill Panamanians and Iraqis. I don’t know why, but after killing hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq people started to hate us. Why?
    GWB: We thought Iraqis would welcome us with open arms, but once we started dropping bombs on them– in order to liberate them,mind you– they ended up shooting at us and calling us imperialists. Shrugs. Who would have thought?
    Dear Leader: I’m too self-absorbed to actually know this but apparently someone wrote a report back in 2003 describing what a pandemic response should look like. I didn’t read it so now we have 16% unemployment and a 4 trillion dollar deficit. Is that really my fault?

    1. Democrats created our deficits in the first place. FDR ran the debt up to over 145% of GDP.

      FDR & LBJ: The Great New Deal will solve all of our problems and only give us $22TT in debt and counting. So what if all of our structural debt is a result of socialism, at least it feels good to spend other people’s money!
      The Lightbringer: Hey, can I get in on some of that action? Oh, and it should be named after me.
      GWB: Here’s a plan for a pandemic and here’s a national stockpile.
      The Lightbringer: We don’t need a plan. I’m the smartest guy in the room. And when I stood on the shores and willed away H1N1 with my magical climate powers, there was no need to restock the stockpile that my predecessor put in place for the next pandemic.

  18. I am shocked, shocked to hear that both parties don’t give a damn about deficits as long as they’re accumulated in service of their own interests.

  19. Yeah- no kidding. They’ll bitch about it again as soon as a Dem president is back in.

    I mean, their whole schtick is hypocrisy. If it wasn’t for double standards, they’d have none at all.

  20. Whence Comes The Money?

    “To relieve the present exigency is always the object which principally interests those immediately concerned in the administration of public affairs. The future liberation of public revenue they leave to the care of posterity.” -Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)

    COVID-19 is not the cause of the present economic exigency. Politicians are. These power-hungry, panic-stricken cowards are forfeiting the financial futures of our young to pander to the demands of the voting old while engaging in the worst power-grab in our peacetime history. No nation that sacrifices its young for its old long can survive. Moreover, we are playing into the hands of the Chinese, who launched this plague.

    We shan’t, but we should ask ourselves the following: As a nation, who are we? What are we? Where are we?

    https://www.nationonfire.com/sciencepolitics/ .

    There is a better way … a scientific way to remedy politics as described in the novel, Retribution Fever. Shall we employ it? Employ science and survive. Trust politicians and perish. The choice is yours.

    1. These power-hungry, panic-stricken cowards are forfeiting the financial futures of our young to pander to the demands of the voting old while engaging in the worst power-grab in our peacetime history.

      “The voting old” generally don’t want this crap. The retirement accounts of “the voting old” are going to be badly hurt by this.

      The current shit fest cuts across age groups and demographics; it is a collaboration between ignorant socialist kids, power hungry authoritarians, certain professions that benefit from government power (academics, teachers, medical professionals, lawyers, government employees), some corporations, and some ultra-wealthy folks, all acting in their self interest.

  21. I remember telling a friend back in 2016 that the nation faced a choice: Either choose a scandal ridden big government liberal democrat from New York or choose Hillary Clinton.

    1. So you were wrong. At least you’re learning.

      1. “Either choose a scandal ridden big government liberal democrat from New York or choose Hillary Clinton.”

        Yep. The primaries of 2016 devolved into the successful search for the worst two people in American public life.

  22. (R) as spending-cutters lasted from the ’94 election to the ’96 election.

  23. Stunned.

    Electing a serial bankrupt, who has based his entire life on debt and fraud enabled by Democrat cronyism, was not the path to limited government and fiscal sanity.

    1. Yeah that Obama really didn’t know what he was doing.

      1. While almost none of my description of Trump fits Obama, yours “…really didn’t know what he was doing” does fit both he and Trump very well. Both you Trumpkins and the Obamunists refuse to see, despite their record debt and deficits, that the problem is not their stylistic differences but Trump’s and Obama’s fundamental similarities. Both grew government to the extent of record deficits and debt, increasing debt more than all past presidents combined, even while increasing and creating new taxes via tariffs and Obamacare.

        Trump is Obama’s third term.

        1. Trump tried to reduce government spending, but Congress overrode him. He could have made that the primary political battle of his first term, but what would the point have been? The battles he picked, regulatory reform, SCOTUS, immigration, trade with China, have a much better return on investment, both politically and for the country.

  24. Claiming Trump proves something about the traditional Reps he’s replacing lends credence to the idea libertarians are so invested in the self-superiority generated by their “everyone else is stupid” mantra they can’t reach any logical conclusions.

    Maybe spend some time thinking about how to make alliances to improve things rather than just attack.

    1. And “traditional Republicans” were a bunch of war mongering authoritarian jerks anyway. Just look at McCain or the Bushes.

  25. Poor Suderman woke up and realized that both parties like to play politics.

  26. Government spending is the problem. Once the government spends a dollar, the damage is done. Balancing the budget through taxation only compounds the problem.

    1. The problem of the Obama and Trump terms have been increases in all of the bad things spending, debt, deficits, and taxes. They set records for spending, debt, and deficits and are historic (Obama 4th and Trump 3rd worst Presidents) for new and increased taxes. Three terms of vastly compounding the problem, as you note; and worse yet, a balanced budget has been pushed out of both sight and the conversation.

      Trump is Obama’s third term.

      1. and worse yet, a balanced budget has been pushed out of both sight and the conversation

        Again, you’re not seeing the problem. The problem is spending. Balancing the budget at current spending levels would be even more harmful than incurring debt. That’s because balancing the budget would be done through even more taxes on productive activities in the US, while incurring debt is a simple implicit tax on everybody who holds dollars worldwide. The latter is far preferable for Americans to the former.

        Trump is Obama’s third term.

        Trump tried to reduce government spending, but that was not a battle he could win in his first term.

  27. Nothing says fiscally responsible like shutting down the economy in your state and expecting someone else to pick up the tab.

    I expect the federal government to make us whole. – Cuomo.

    1. I shook my head at that one too, Vic.

      Cuomo is a schnook in shlubs clothing.

  28. Dear Mr. Suderman,
    Re the headline, you are just now figuring that out?

  29. Suderman makes a familiar claim that Socialist Security and Medicare are the largest component of the budget. I question that. If the DOD, Veterans Affairs, CIA, NSA, large portions of Dept of Energy, and probably more, are added together, national “defense” may be a larger segment of the annual budget than SS and Medicare. I would like to see someone make a study of that.

  30. I guess we can all pretend President Trump hasn’t submitted a budget to Congress every year that would reduce the debt but that is not factual news and only fantasy. Every year the government is faced with either a shutdown or an agreement made with the Democrats to spend more. If you vote and continue to elect these same politicians year after year you have no justification to complain. During the delay by Pelosi to pass the CARES Act she was being lobbied by big businesses and special interest to allow them a piece of the pie of the 2 trillion dollar bill and she changed it just enough to allow it. That is why she delayed passing it for almost 2 weeks. Now the Republicans are forcing them to return the money Pelosi allowed and attempting to change the bill to only allow certain businesses that need help to benefit. Mean while the left’s ally the fake news media will blame it all on the GOP and the sheep will believe and repeat it until they think it is true and continue voting for the same politicians year after year that continue to drive our debt up.

    1. Still find a way to blame everyone else. That is snowflake righties for ya

  31. Hey look frogs — The boiling water temperature is now 97-degree’s.

    Never thought I’d see the day when the voters would elect politicians to the federal government that would do economic wealth distribution (i.e. Communism) right out in the open. Obama really did “fundamentally change” the USA by means of “setting the precedent”. I dare say – We are officially a Communist Country.

  32. Don’t worry about the $2 trillion, only taxpayers and the dead & their milkers collect that.

    We have a census for everyone, but there ought be one for locating people who in theory draw government benefits.

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