We're not breaking any news by reporting that Trump is an erratic, spastic nincompoop who has no business in politics, much less the presidency. When we talk about Trump's dangerous lack of consistency and the fact that he bounces all over the map like a gigantic orange balloon that's been suddenly released to randomly thbthbthbthb! all over the room, there are myriad examples to draw from.
But perhaps one of the most confounding examples of Trump's unsettling lack of message discipline was the time during the campaign in which Trump referred to himself as "the king of debt," only to follow it up with anti-debt rants like this one:
“Alright. Well, what we're going to do, I mean we do, and by the way it's not $18 trillion, it's now $19 trillion. So we have now $19 trillion in deficits. $19 trillion, you know if you look, we owe! When I say that, we owe, this is what you're talking about, we owe $19 trillion as a country. And we're gonna knock it down and we're gonna bring it down big league and quickly, we're gonna bring jobs back, we're gonna bring business back, we're gonna stop our deficits, we're gonna stop our deficits, we're gonna do it very quickly.”
Before we continue, it's important to clarify that he's talking about the national debt -- not "deficits." The budget deficit is a totally different number, but Trump doesn't know that. Simply put: the national debt and the budget deficit aren't the same thing, nor should those terms be considered interchangeable. This is remedial politics here, and Trump's not only all over the map on the issue, but he doesn't know the correct terminology. It's crap like this that makes us feel nauseatingly unsteady about the prospects of his incoming administration. Who knows what'll happen from day to day? I don't think he knows, either.
Nevertheless, let's focus on this line: "We're gonna stop our deficits, we're gonna stop our deficits, we're gonna do it very quickly." There's no gray area there. Trump pledged to "stop our deficits" and, on top of that, to do it "very quickly." Bold move, especially knowing how top economists forecasted that his budget plan would add $5.8 trillion to the national debt, according to The Wall Street Journal.
And then, just last week, moments after the 115th Congress was sworn into office, the newly minted Republican gatekeepers decided, Fuck it -- bring on the debt!
On January 4, the Senate Republicans voted with near-unanimity on a concurrent budget resolution, which, among other things, established a January 27 deadline for repealing the Affordable Care Act. It also authorized literally trillions in new national debt. How much debt, exactly? Well, Trump thought $19 trillion in debt was an outrage. I wonder how he'll explain another $10 trillion in debt to his Pepe-The-Frog disciples because in this resolution, the Senate Republicans voted to authorize a national debt of $29 trillion over the next ten years.
$29 trillion. Here it is in writing:
Furthermore, the Republicans authorized a budget deficit of more than a trillion dollars over the next ten years. And that doesn't include Trump's stupid border wall; it doesn't include the cost of repealing and replacing the ACA; it doesn't include Trump's proposed infrastructure spending; it doesn't include Trump's escalated fight against ISIS; and it doesn't include the unforeseen event of another war or a natural disaster or another major recession. Nothing. So, without doing a damn thing, the Republicans have already ballooned the dreaded national debt by $10 trillion.
Every Republican, except for Rand Paul, voted for this legislation. Even if it's not fully enacted by Trump after January 20, it doesn't matter. Their names are on the roll-call. The same crowd that routinely destroyed President Obama over the size of the national debt -- as if Obama, not Bush before him, was solely responsible for it. This is the same caucus that blocked all of Obama's infrastructure spending and job creation proposals because of the debt. And now, as their first act, they voted in lockstep to authorize trillions in new debt.
To be sure, this is once again an issue of "the hypocrisy stupid." It's okay if you're a Republican. It's also a matter of the "starve the beast" strategy in which the Republicans cripple future Democratic spending by racking up massive deficits then insisting that the Dems are being fiscally irresponsible by seeking more. Further, it handcuffs the Democrats and makes it impossible to seek government solutions to future crises. Hence, starve the beast.
All told, this was the first piece of outrageous legislation among literally hundreds over the next year alone. We can expect far worse, and we can expect the Republicans to rack up huge deficits, just like the Bush years, without explanation or apology -- certainly not from Trump. Get ready.