“Some people have been brainwashed into believing that credit cards and debt are an unavoidable part of life.” – Dave Ramsey
Although I am a social progressive, I’m a proven fiscal conservative. As a County Commission Chair, I successfully pushed for elimination of waste, accompanied by lower taxes. I did the same as Chairman of the Tax Sub-Committee of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia.
There is a hesitancy among my GOP brethren to define “pro-growth” policies in the age of Trump. From my standpoint as a fiscal conservative, here is an accurate real-life definition: unrestrained spending to boost business expansion, regardless of long-term fiscal or environmental consequences or equity.
I recently received correspondence from Rep. Drew Ferguson which stated: “our pro-growth policies are working,” “more jobs are being created,” and “wages are increasing.”
Let’s take an objective look at the long-term effect of these Trump endorsed policies. On the national level, we cannot just keep piling up debt. Think of it this way, in the short-term you can live very well if you charge luxuries on your credit cards, but eventually that credit card bank will want its money and you will be in big trouble.
Similarly, I strongly believe that Federal taxes must equal government expenditures long-term. If they do not, we will end up with tremendous debt which will eventually have to be paid. This is exactly what happened to Greece, which spent with abandon but failed to enact (or adequately collect) taxes. Now, that nation is suffering as they attempt to pay their creditors.
And, that is what concerns me about the Trump administration and its supporters like Ferguson.
The non-partisan organization “Fix the Debt” developed the chart at right based on bi-partisan Congressional Budget Office figures:
As you will note, in order to get us out of the Great Recession, Congress and Obama increased spending to spur the economy which was dead as a door nail after the 2007-2008 collapse. In accepted economic theory, increased governmental spending is the appropriate short-term action that must be taken to avoid having a dire economic situation deteriorate into a depression.
Accordingly, the inevitable result will be increased deficits. This was the case with much higher deficits seen in 2009-2011. By 2012, deficits had begun to fall back to pre-recession levels. They began to rise in 2016 under Obama and 2017 under Trump, despite an economy that had been steadily recovering since 2008 and objectively was in no immediate danger of falling into a recession.
So, why did government spending go up under Trump while taxes were cut? The most obvious answer is short-term political gain. Trump, with the complicity of McConnell and Ryan, wanted to fire up the economy regardless of the effect on the deficit. He could then use job and wage growth to solidify his base, which he has done.
There could be a non-political reason. As opposed to every other modern-day President, Trump does not have his holding in a blind trust. His actions as President have a direct impact on his financial holdings. Is this why he made this ill-advised fiscal move? Because we have very little understanding of Trump’s holdings and financing due to his refusal to provide his tax returns, we may never know.
I have been a Republican because of the historic fiscal position of the party. Up until recently, the GOP believed in a balanced budget and not spending more than the government receives in taxes. Unfortunately, that is no longer true for the GOP or Rep. Ferguson (and never was true for the “Great Bankruptor”Trump). The GOP should be renamed the Trumplican Party, dedicated to short term gains and long-term fiscal disaster.