By the time you read this, the United States government will have shut down again. Oh, wait… now it’s open again! Well… sort of. It was a “technical shutdown,” which I suppose means that it’s only technically reopened until the President signs the bloated festival of spending now hopping toward his desk like a poison toad.
We’d heard rumors that it was going to be bad, with some eye-popping figures being bandied about, but in yet another example of the sheltered life I clearly lead, I never imagined it was going to be this bad. And yet here we are. The GOP managed to pass a spending package which includes these figures just for starters. (Government Executive)
The Bipartisan Budget Act, now heading to President Trump’s desk, will place agencies on their fifth continuing resolution of fiscal 2018, giving lawmakers until March 23 to set line-by-line appropriations for agencies across government.
The forthcoming omnibus spending bill would give appropriators an additional $63 billion for non-defense agencies, allocating a total $579 billion for fiscal 2018 for domestic agencies. Defense spending would increase by $80 billion. In fiscal 2019, non-defense spending would increase by $68 billion to $597 billion.
A more than $60B increase in domestic spending. And while we certainly opposed additional cuts to the military and might have even considered some temporary, modest increases for modernization, $80B is neither modest nor temporary. We’re going to go another trillion dollars in the hole this year. Those are figures which would have made even Barack Obama blush.
I suppose we should have seen it coming, particularly after Allahpundit revealed that Rush Limbaugh (!) had thrown in the towel and basically said that $30T in debt by the end of Trump’s first term probably isn’t such a big deal.
I hope all of you who were fighting for fiscal conservative principles realize what this means, not just today, but in the long run. You can forget about ever wagging your fingers at the Democrats on spending from here on out. That ship has sailed. The next time the GOP loses control of Congress and the White House (and that day is coming sooner or later, believe me), don’t bother yelling about what they’re going to do to the national debt. That particular tool is gone from our arsenal. The GOP has finally been exposed as a group of limacine charlatans who talk a good game on fiscal probity but are unable to walk the walk. (With the possible exception of Rand Paul, I suppose, who made a futile last stand around midnight, but was essentially ignored.)
Yes, the debt blew up under Obama, but the deficits were actually shrinking in his last couple of years. When the GOP had control under George W. Bush the debt blew up, but we sort of looked the other way because of the need to fight a couple of unexpected wars. Here’s a bit of irony for our younger readers who were born as recently as the early nineties. The only period in your entire lifetimes when we had a president in office who actually wrestled our spending problem to the ground was when it was… Bubba.
After Obama was elected, the GOP told us that our spending problem was out of their control and we needed to win back the House. Then we needed to control the Senate. But that still wasn’t good enough until we got the White House back. Now we’ve given them all three and this is what they’ve served up to us. There is no longer any reason to sit and argue about fiscal conservatism because it’s only a fantasy. No matter which party is in power, they can’t resist the urge to hand out the goodies so they remain popular and stick their fingers in their ears, pushing our problems off on the next generation.
I’m getting up there in years and my wife and I were never able to have children. That means that we won’t be around to live through what happens when the nation’s credit rating tanks and the curtain comes down on this show. I suppose that’s something to be grateful for.