The Senate is set to vote on the horribly awful, no-good, very bad budget today in a vote which will surely go down as one of the worst fiscally-related bills in some time. This ‘compromise’ bill (which is really politicians in both parties and the White House negotiating on whether domestic or defense spending gets the larger boost) sends the absolute wrong message: spending cuts and whatever promises Republicans made almost a decade ago during the era of the Tea Party no longer matter.
It’s an unsurprising, yet still disappointing, development which was a long time coming. Congressional Republicans have long abdicated any notion of balanced budgets and their voters aren’t doing them any favors. The ones in Washington who could have put forth some sort of sound fiscal strategy have either been consumed by the so-called swamp or mutated into the kind of parasite suckling blood from its host.
This bill would do nothing to put the country back on the right fiscal track. It suspends the debt limit for two years, increases spending $320B (with only $55B in offsets), and contains no sort of plan to put things back on track.
Not that Congress was doing anything to rein in spending in the first place. The Senate Republican Policy Committee reveals politicians try to avoid any sort of spending caps in its summary of the Kick the Can Down The Road-I mean – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (sorry). The committee then makes the farcical claim allowing more government spending would actually help the economy.
A two-year cap deal combined with a two-year suspension of the debt limit would help propel strong economic growth through 2021 and beyond. The cap deal will permit the appropriations process to move forward in an orderly and timely fashion and reduce the threat of a government shutdown. A debt limit deal will prevent echoes of the financial market chaos that surrounded the debt limit impasse in 2011, when stock market declines caused household wealth to fall $2.4 trillion and retirement assets to lose $800 billion in value.
Short-term gain and votes in exchange for long-term pain. Brilliant work by our so-called betters.
The voices in the wilderness are still reminding everyone how horrible this budget will turn into. Retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett wrote in The Hill how things are going to get worse, eventually.
To carry $21 trillion in debt as it grows quickly to $33 trillion means astronomical interest payments each year. The interest payment on the national debt last year (with low interest rates) was a whopping $263 billion, but it would grow to almost $1 trillion dollars a year by 2028, larger than the annual budget for Medicaid and larger than the defense budget. The current economic growth will not solve the problem; it won’t even pay for the tax cuts that just got approved.
He’s right, and so was Neil Cavuto who went at it with Lou Dobbs on Fox Business yesterday on the debt by pointing out President Donald Trump deserves gobs of criticism for out of control spending. This problem cannot be ignored and the country cannot spend itself into prosperity.
There are still politicians with some sort of fiscal spine within the halls of Capitol Hill. Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul has an amendment on the budget, and might get enough support from those who know this budget is a bad idea, to at least temporarily scuttle it. It’s doubtful because no one really cares about the debt anymore but it might happen.
The solution exists. It’s just no one wants to enact it. Cuts in government spending – including the sacred, golden calf of the military – need to be scaled back. The decreases can be done over various amount of time – two years for some places, and ten years for others – to help get the budget balanced and the debt paid off. It’s possible, but only if politicians are willing and their constituents do a better job at keeping them accountable (and not through a phone call or two before every big vote you hear about on talk radio. Freaking hound them!). People need to start thinking more longterm about what is going to happen to this country should the debt markers come due.
U.S. Senators need to reject this so-called bipartisan deal and start over. The deal is getting worse all the time. Unlike Lando Calrissian, there’s no way to just say, “This deal is very fair and I’m happy to be part of it” and move on.
Update (Ed): The final vote should be coming pretty quickly now that it’s gotten past a cloture vote:
BREAKING: The Senate has advanced a budget deal past the chamber’s 60-vote threshold, paving the way for final passage and Donald Trump’s signature https://t.co/mvWLFYE5V2
— POLITICO (@politico) August 1, 2019
Update (Taylor): Bill passes 65-28 with 22 Republicans and six Democrats voting against it.
“As we watch the ludicrously expensive proposals by 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates these days, whether it be free college, Medicare for All, or elements of the Green New Deal, it is clear that Congress agreeing to such spending levels only creates a fast track for the left to put these radical plans into effect. Can we even trust that the Republican establishment has the fortitude to hold the line on spending? Based on the events of the past two weeks, it would appear they do not have the will to do so, to the detriment of the American taxpayer and our national security.”