Donald Trump

Big-Spending Trump

The GOP is hardly the party of fiscal responsibility these days.

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Last week, I tallied Joe Biden's spending plans. This week, President Trump's.

Which presidential candidate will bankrupt America first?

When Donald Trump ran for president, he promised "big league" spending cuts. Once in office, he again said he'd cut the budget, adding, "There's a lot of fat in there."

There sure is.

Since I was born, spending has grown faster than inflation most every year.

Then, President Obama, as Trump liked to out, "put more debt on than all other presidents of the United States combined!"

It's true. But then Trump increased the debt just as much. Now even more, with the COVID-19 spending.

One of his first biggest increases was the $738 billion defense spending bill. Trump bragged that it was "an all-time record!" He said Democrats had "depleted" our fighting ability, so he "had" to "fix our military."

"The 'fix' looks a whole lot like bloated defense spending," says Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union. "It's more than our rivals around the world could even hope to spend."

Sepp's organization has fought government spending for decades. Sadly, they've had little success.

Now federal spending will grow even faster because:

  1. The COVID-19 "stimulus" will grow.
  2. Both political parties love spending your money.
  3. Old people like me keep living longer.

Sorry about that last one. But I, rudely, decline to die.

Soon, my generation's Medicare and Social Security checks will crowd out everything else in the budget. (No, fellow geezers, we don't just "get back what we put in." We'll get, on average, almost triple our FICA deductions.)

Sadly, no presidential candidate expresses much interest in addressing that: Trump promises to "protect" Social Security. Biden says he'll increase it!

Trump was also eager to spend on special interests. He gave $16 billion to farmers and ranchers, $1.6 billion more to NASA and, despite government's horrible track record at "picking winners," he tried loaning $765 million to Kodak Pharmaceuticals.

After the pandemic hit, Trump joined Democrats in authorizing $6.2 trillion in new spending.

Signing that, Trump joked: "I've never signed anything with a "T" on it. I don't know if I can handle this one!" The politicians standing behind him laughed.

But it's not funny.

Now Democrats want to add even more spending.

Trump at least made some cuts, prepandemic. Sepp acknowledges that he made "important progress in reducing overhead (and) personnel costs."

He also cut the budget of his own office, plus the Departments of Labor, Education and State. Good! The State Department is bloated with 60 subdepartments, and its spending had increased at triple the rate inflation.

Still, media pundits whined about every cut. On CNN, one "expert" called the cuts to the State Department "insanity."

When Trump proposed other cuts, or just slowing the growth of government, Congress wouldn't let him. Trump's 2021 budget would still have increased spending by $39 billion. Rep. Chuck Schumer rejected that, calling it "a blueprint for destroying America!"

To sum up: What's Trump's total budget impact been?

Spending is up by more than $1 trillion a year. The national debt is over $26 trillion.

"Deficits and debt destroy economic growth," says Sepp.

"Nobody's talking about this stuff. You must be frustrated," I say.

"Very," he responds. "After 51 years as an organization, to see this kind of attitude and carelessness…"

When it comes to increasing spending, who is worse, Trump or Biden?

"Biden," replies Sepp, because he promises $1.2 trillion a year in new spending. "We're already trillions in the hole. He's spending money out of an empty pocket!"

And Biden is favored to win.

Of course, some argue that when it comes to Republicats and Democans spending your and your grandkids' money, it doesn't matter who wins.

"Washington just seems to grow at the expense of everyone else, no matter who is in power," concludes Sepp.

So, next week, I'll report on an alternative to Biden and Trump.

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NEXT: Trump's War on Economic Freedom

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  1. Vote like your life depends on it. Vote Trump.

    1. My vote cancels out your vote.

      1. That’s a shame, as you are an idiot and as I am told, a eunuch.

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  2. It will be interesting to see all the so-called fiscal conservatives comment on Stossel’s analysis.

    1. STOSSEL IS A SOCIALIST!

      (Trump cultist)

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    2. And say what? That he’s right? Because he is, and it’s impossible to honestly dispute it.

    3. There really isn’t any way around it: Trump fucked up big time by not telling you lefties to eat shit and die.

      The fiscal situation was already bad enough as it was even BEFORS you scumbags decided to use the Wuhan Flu as an excuse to deliberately destroy the economy and hold the nation hostage.

      Hostage takers and terrorists like you should NRVER be negotiated with under any circumstances.

    4. Republicans do spend too much. Stossel is right. Trump could fight these spending bills harder, but it wouldn’t do any good without more congressional support.

      Not much will happen until the democrats are destroyed.

    5. so-called fiscal conservatives comment on Stossel’s analysis.”

      Stossel’s right.

      …that’s probably not what you were hoping for, huh.

  3. Republicans have never been the party of “fiscal responsibility”. The Republicans have been good at controlling the narrative, not responsible spending. Every Republican President has outspent their Democratic predecessor, and the biggest spenders have always been a Republican President with a Republican Congress. The difference between the Democrats and Republicans is where the money is spent, not how much is spent.
    Stossel must just be waking up.

    1. Nope. The democrats are always worse. A lot worse. Just imagine how much the democrats would be spending during this ‘crisis’ if Obama were still president.

      1. Pelosi pushed for an additional $3.4T for COVID 2.

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  5. The GOP is hardly the party of fiscal responsibility these days.

    They’ve never been the party of fiscal responsibility, they just talk that shit around election time. If you believe they ever have been, it might be time to get that cognitive assessment, because you’re either crazy or senile. All you need do is look at the record, they’re not spending like Democrats but that’s like saying smoking 4 packs of cigarettes a day isn’t as bad as smoking 5.

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  7. The Democrats are the party of “tax and spend”, but at least they tax so you have an understanding of the what something costs. I am very suspicious of the Republican “borrow and spend”. First because we are told the saving will pay for itself, something that never happens. Second because an insidious by-product is that we think services are being paid, which they are not. If we were to bring taxes more in line with spending we could better assess the value of government services. I worry that the political success of Republicans has lead to Democrats adopting “borrow and spend”. I hope that old school Democrats like Biden and Pelosi will be true to the “pay as you go” approach adopted in earlier Democratic administrations.

    Looking forwards to next weeks post.

    1. Whether tax and spend or borrow and spend, the issue is the spend. All spending is taxation of some form. So the Republicans can claim to cut taxes, but without cutting spending they are simply deferring taxes. Their base eats it up, and boomers love it because they’ll never have to pay the piper. That’s why Social Security will never be cut while boomers are a major portion of the voting bloc. But then they’ll be replaced by the next generation who want to get theirs. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    2. Don’t tax, and fuck you, cut spending.

      1. You can not get spending cuts until you understand what the services cost. If you hide the cost in borrowing, people will want spending to continue. You have to tax at a level appropriate to the spending level for service. Then people can see the costs and make decisions on cutting services. Sorry, but it as simple as that.

        1. This is easy, just have government do less. A lot less.

        2. The people that receive services but don’t pay for them don’t care. They just want more.

  8. Stossel is right of course, the Republicans aren’t as fiscally conservative as we actual libertarians would want them to be.

    But the Republicans are still significantly more fiscally conservative than their sole counterpart, the Democrats.

    1. I think you are kidding yourself thinking Republicans are significantly more fiscally conservative. What can you offer to back up that statement?

      1. Well, for COVID part 2, the Democratic House pushed the $3T HEROES Act while the Republic Senate countered with the $1T HEALS Act.

        1. Pelosi said she is willing to compromise and accept $2.5T.

          1. THATS A HALF TRILLION IN SAVINGS!

            1. I got it wrong. Pelosi originally wanted $3.4T, so $900B in savings.

          2. I’m surprised she didn’t try to compromise for $4T.

            1. We’ll compromise. Everything in your bill plus everything in ours.

          3. My compromise would be to not execute Pelosi and let her die in prison instead. Maybe put all the democrat leaders in GitMo for life. Solitary for all of them.

            1. If you’re going to advocate for totalitarianism, you should consider researching its track record first. It’s…not pretty.

              1. I’m advocating for the opposite. The first step towards preventing totalitarianism is to get rid of the people in power who are attempting to impose it.

                They’re welcome to stop at any time. Since they won’t, they have to go.

                1. No, you’re advocating putting people in prison for their politics. Which is totalitarianism. This really isn’t difficult.

    2. Every Republican president has outspent his Democratic predecessor and Republican presidents with Republican Congresses outspend those with Democratic or split Congresses.

      The reverse can be said for the Democrats, of course. That just indicates that they’re both terrible and neither is “significantly” better than the other.

      1. I just ran the numbers for the past 50 years with a chart of control of the House, Senate and White House against the percentage increase in the debt per year. The debt increased the least when Republicans were in control of the House.

  9. I think you are kidding yourself thinking Republicans are significantly more fiscally conservative. What can you offer to back up that statement?

  10. Where are JesseAz, Nardz and Sevo to set the record straight? Obviously this piece is nothing but lies based upon a deranged hatred of Trump (best president ever) because Trump is the best president ever. He’s a fiscally conservative libertarian except on economic and immigration where he’s even more libertarian than libertarian. I mean. Trump is just awesome. He couldn’t possibly be fiscally irresponsible, and even if he is, Obama did it first so it’s really Obama’s fault. Love Trump or get the fuck out of the country.

    1. They’re all out manning the gloryhole booth at the RNC.

      1. How unfair, that’s Tony’s gig.

    2. Jesus, you’re dense. Congress controls spending, therefore Trump has nothing to do with the budget. Except when it’s increasing spending they like or decreasing spending they don’t like, that’s totally Trump. Same with all the wonderful things Trump has accomplished except the things he hasn’t accomplished that are totally not his fault but are somebody else’s fault for preventing him from accomplishing. Or the not-so-wonderful things he’s accomplished, which are an unfortunately necessary compromise to get the half-a-loaf results which would totally be a yugely fantastic unprecedented achievement if only people didn’t maliciously use the Constitution to block him from doing the things that need doing.

      1. Haaa ha ha ha!

        When your guy has the White House and they have Congress, everything good came from the executive and everything bad from the legislative.

        When they have the White House and your guys have Congress, everything good came from the legislative and the executive sucks.

        When your team has both they can do no wrong and everything bad was from the previous administration.

        When they have both they can’t do anything right and everything good was from the previous administration.

        Be honest. That’s how it is. Your team gets all the credit and the other guys get all the blame.

        1. Trump ad congressional republicans not the same thing. Congress is full big spending RINOs. No one here is pretending otherwise.
          The reason RINOs prosper Is because very often the alternative is some Marxist democrat.

          Get rid of the democrats and then we can turn our attention to destroying the progressives infecting the GOP.

  11. As long as democracy can be used to buy votes, government spending will eventually increase to absurd and unsustainable levels.

    How about a constitutional amendment that limits the federal budget to a set proportion of GDP? Maybe 5%?

    Its bad enough when the pols want to run the economy, but significantly worse when they want to BE the economy.

    1. Oddly, I saw just that sort of argument this morning, that we need some sort of brake on the deficit spending, a “debt ceiling” if you will, to prevent government from spending money it doesn’t have. Unfortunately, although you may not know it, we already have a debt ceiling and it works just about as well as you’d expect. Like hiding your credit cards from yourself and then leaving yourself a note reminding you where you hid them. How would you prevent government from borrowing and spending? They’d just call selling T-bills an “investment” rather than “borrowing”. You can’t stop people from investing in the government, can you? And if it’s not linguistic tricks, they’ve got a thousand accounting tricks like “off-budget” spending to claim they’re totally not spending the money. And if it’s not that, it’s claiming that surely this can’t include emergency spending, and it’s an emergency if we don’t have money to buy votes with. And if all else fails, a simple “Fuck you, we do what we want” will suffice for ignoring any law. At this point, the only thing to restrain government spending is going on a precious metals standard, and currently there’s no metal more precious than lead.

      1. The only thing that will restrain government spending is the mob turning against government spending.

        1. If we culled the progressives, of both parties, we cold save the country. Ideally the practice of Marxism should be criminalized.

  12. And now the Fed is forced to continue its magic trick of keeping interest rates near 0%. Imagine the impact on the $4.8 trillion budget if we were paying 1% … 2% … 5% more on that $26+ trillion

    1. Yep, and the day that the rest of the world decides that the U.S. dollar is no longer king is the day we’re fucked for good and it’s all over.

      1. Being the world’s reserve currency has saved our bacon, and dislodging it from that status is a non trivial exercise. Or so the free-spending politicians hope

    2. Silly person. Interest on the debt is an off budget item.

  13. repeal 16th & 17th or it will never end. T has nothing to do with (R) or (D) on spending.

    1. Imagine what could be done with $375B if it wasn’t going to interest payments.

      1. Wait a minute, I want to tack on a rider to that bill: $375 billion of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.

        Speaker: All in favor …

        1. could not would

  14. Election 2020! The big story? GOVERNMENT DEEEEEEEEEEEEBT!!

  15. I’ve come to the conclusion at the end of the day neither party will be for less spending because there is literally no political capital in it. Sure, you actually cut spending and libertarian minded people will be on your side, but the vast majority will be on the side of outraging over the jobs and benefits lost that the cutting caused.

    Unfortunately, there is no political benefit to trying to spend less. That’s not a politician problem, that’s an electorate problem.

  16. I was surprised that a headline like that would accompany a Stossel article. After reading the article, I am forced to conclude that Stossel didn’t write the headline.

    Stossel has too much integrity to try to imply that Democrats aren’t much bigger spenders than Trump is, so the article doesn’t do that. The COVID spending has indeed been enormous, but Trump has been holding it at a far lower level than Democrats would like.

    1. “Since I was born, spending has grown faster than inflation most every year.”

      “Then, President Obama, as Trump liked to out, “put more debt on than all other presidents of the United States combined!””

      “It’s true.”

      Point 1: Trump was not the one who came up with that, I doubt he has the brain power to think of it.

      Point 2: It’s not true, Reagan – Bush I – Bush II topped him.

      Though if not now, soon, Reagan and Trump alone will probably top him.

  17. ‘Soon, my generation’s Medicare and Social Security checks will crowd out everything else in the budget. (No, fellow geezers, we don’t just “get back what we put in.” We’ll get, on average, almost triple our FICA deductions.)”

    Yes, that is how compound interest works. In case you forgot, the money is not just put in a lockbox, but is invested in US federal bonds.

    Then there is the fact that the trust pays out during the life of the retirees, if you die before you collect all the money that was budgeted for you, it goes back in the pot.

    Then there are inflation adjustments. I would bet, if you adjusted the system for inflation you would find a hell of a lot less disparity than you claim.

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