On the same day Trump was hugging the flag while receiving loud shouts of “hosanna” from the adoring worshipers in attendance at the revival services hosted by the National Church of Trump — aka CPAC — America was preparing to once again deal with the consequences of his and the GOP’s big-government spending.
On Saturday, the temporary extension of the national debt limit that Trump and the GOP included in the “bipartisan” budget act of 2018 expired. While the government can and will buy itself some time until sometime around September by using some creative bookkeeping — government calls that “extraordinary measures” — the countdown to America’s default on the national debt has begun once again.
The U.S. “comes shockingly close on a yearly basis to defaulting on it obligations,” says Shai Akabas, director of economic policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center. “But we keep choosing to roll the dice.”
The “dice” analogy is actually quite fitting when discussing Washington’s handling of the national debt. Just as gambling can become an out-of-control addiction, spending can become one as well. And as our $22 trillion deficit proves, Washington is a case study for what a spending addiction looks like.
Between now and late summer, we can expect a lot of Kabuki theatre from Trump and the GOP as they try to use the debt limit issue as leverage heading into the presidential primaries and the 2020 election season.
For example, just days before the debt limit expired, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) — two guys running for re-election in 2020 — introduced companion resolutions declaring the national debt “a threat to national security.”
Laying aside the amazing coincidence of their re-elections, do their resolutions mean that the explosion in the national debt we’ve witnessed over the past eight years of varying degrees of GOP control of Congress and the White House — increasing from $14 trillion to over $22 trillion — wasn’t a threat?
Biggs and Perdue are simply engaging in the politics of distraction, and we can expect Trump and the rest of the GOP to do the same. As the 2020 election approaches, Republicans will resort to using this worn and tired playbook in an obvious attempt to cover for their lies about reining in spending and reducing the deficit. But we need to be wise enough not to fall for it.
As the self-proclaimed King of Debt, Trump has shown little concern for America’s inevitable financial collapse. He’s already responsible for annual trillion-dollar-plus deficits from now till Jesus returns, and he’s been working with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi since September 2017 to permanently eliminate the debt ceiling.
There’s also very little interest in Congress to address our financial demise. As I stated above, Republicans on Capitol Hill are responsible for $8 trillion in debt since 2011, and their fiscal recklessness occurred despite passing the Budget Control Act of 2011, a law heralded by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell as a “positive step forward in getting government spending under control.”
Speaking of McConnell, he’s notorious for favoring a lift in the spending limit when politically expedient — i.e. always — a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Mickey’s home state. In a statement on the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations, Yarmuth said McConnell’s “primary goal would be to get past the election and avoid any shutdowns or any crises where [Republicans] are going to get blamed for it.”
Big government’s spending addiction has brought back trillion-dollar deficits and another debt ceiling crisis
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His politically incorrect and always “right” columns are also featured on NOQReport.com.
His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.