Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Republicans Abandon Traditional Goal of Balanced Budget

Following-up from Sunday, "U.S. Budget Deficit Could Balloon to $1 Trillion This Year."

It's kinda like when you've lost the battle over waist-size: You say screw it and start wearing sweats all the time. You're never going to lose all those pounds you've packed on over the last few of years. You let yourself go.

That's what it is with the budget. America has let go. Of course, if something can't go on forever it won't. At some point America's going to have a budget reckoning. Bills are coming due. It's going to be a nasty political blowout at that time. We'll all be Mel Gibson in the "Road Warrior" at some point.

At WaPo, "Trump plan will drop GOP’s traditional goal of balancing budget within 10 years":
President Trump is remaking the Republican economic playbook in his own image, abandoning ideological consistency in ­favor of a debt-busting strategy that will upend how Washington taxes and spends trillions of dollars each year.

On Monday, Trump is slated to announce a new budget plan that will no longer seek to eliminate the deficit over the next decade, forfeiting a major Republican goal, according to three people familiar with the document. The plan will call for a range of spending cuts that reduce the growth of the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years, but it will not attempt to balance the federal budget, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the proposal before its official release.

The decision to relinquish the deficit goal comes after Trump pushed a $1.5 trillion tax cut through Congress late last year and signed a two-year budget deal last week that lifts federal spending limits by $500 billion, suspends for one year the ceiling on the national debt and is expected to lead to $1 trillion annual budget deficits.

The Republican turnaround on economic policy stands in sharp contrast to the party’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s stimulus program during the Great Recession. At that time, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), now the speaker of the House, warned of a “debt crisis” and said that “spending is the problem.” Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, then a congressman from South Carolina, derided Obama’s spending plans as a “joke” and backed a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

Now, GOP leaders are largely silent on the two issues that had preoccupied them for the past decade — total spending and the growth of federal entitlements — while Trump has signed legislation that will lavish cash upon both defense and domestic programs far beyond what he had earlier proposed.

On Sunday, amid a backlash from conservative groups, Mulvaney defended the decision, while acknowledging that ballooning deficits are “a very dangerous idea” and that he wouldn’t have voted for the legislation if he were still in Congress. In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” he said that his job now is “to get the president’s agenda passed,” which included Pentagon funding that Democrats would allow only if the administration accepted big domestic spending increases.

On the same show, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said the bargain was unacceptable. “The swamp won,” he said. “And the American taxpayer lost.”

A month and a half before signing the spending legislation, Trump demonstrated similar ideological flexibility with his tax cut, shelving his campaign promise to focus on the “forgotten men and women” and signing a bill whose biggest benefits flow to corporations and the wealthy.

As Trump turns next to plans to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and overhaul U.S. trade policy, his disregard for the traditional Republican economic catechism will again be on display Monday with the release of his detailed spending plan...

Also,  from Matt Kibbe, at Reason, "The Tea Party Is Officially Dead. It Was Killed by Partisan Politics."