If any of your Trump-supporting friends or relatives get their news from FoxNews.com, they won’t know anything about this story because Fox News isn’t covering it, so perhaps forwarding this article might help keep them updated on an issue they care deeply about. After all, for eight years, all they did was scream about how Barack Obama was driving up the deficit and bankrupting America. They were wrong, of course. Nevertheless, they still considered high deficits to be a serious crisis facing the country.
We’ll circle back to Obama in a minute, but first, the following news from the Congressional Budget Office broke this morning:
WASHINGTON — A new budget analysis says the combined effects of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and last month’s budget-busting spending bill will send the government’s budget deficit toward the $1 trillion mark. […]
CBO says economic growth from the tax cuts will add 0.7 percent on average to the nation’s economic output over the coming decade. Those effects will only partially offset the deficit cost of the tax cuts. The administration had promised the cuts would pay for themselves.
The deficit would permanently breach the $1 trillion mark in 2020 unless Congress reins it back.
So, as predicted, we’re looking at close-to-trillion-dollar-deficits for the foreseeable future thanks to the first businessman president — you know, because Trump is so excellent at money management. Shocker that a guy who couldn’t make money with a casino is, in reality, terrible with money.
Full disclosure: I’m not entirely opposed to spending on credit if the drivers of the deficits stimulate economic stability and growth. What I’m opposed to are the Republicans who only hate deficits when a black Democrat is president, while conversely embracing deficits (or ignoring them) when an orange reality show goofus is president, following eight years in which they did nothing but crap their cages about government spending.
What exactly was Obama’s impact on the deficit?
In Obama’s first year, the deficit spiked to $1.4 trillion, it’s highest level (so far). Why? It turns out, the spending for 2009 was authorized and signed into law in October, 2008 by none other than George W. Bush — not by Obama, who hadn’t won the election yet. (The Congressional Budget Office noted that President Obama inherited $1.2 trillion of the total $1.4 trillion deficit for 2009.) Consequently, and as a side effect of the Great Recession, the deficit spiked.
In the subsequent eight years, however, the deficit steadily dropped. By the time of Obama’s second inaugural address, the deficit had been cut in half. By the end of his second term, the deficit was close to a trillion dollars lower than it was at the end of 2009.
And yet the Republicans lied to their voters, telling their people that Obama doubled the deficit in his first term. I’ll never forget Mitt Romney’s false accusation during the first presidential debate in Denver: “The president said he’d cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it.” Incidentally, Romney repeated that claim several times eliminating the possibility that he misspoke. He, in fact, lied.
By the time the former presidential candidate spoke those words, the deficit had already improved by nearly $400 billion.
The CBO also noted on Monday that it was the omnibus spending bill, signed by Trump a week or two ago, as well as the tax cut bill signed over the holidays that are collectively giving us all new trillion-dollar deficits. It’s not some sort of poison pill Obama implanted in the system. It’s not budget shenanigans by the Democrats. The Republicans control both branches of government. This is on them. They own the trillion-dollar deficits now.
And, again, I’m not sure they care. Indeed, it’s all part of the “starve the beast” gambit in which the Republicans rack up enormous deficits, then when Democrats take back a little power in Washington, the Republicans suddenly claim poverty, shrieking about how we need to cut the hell out of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, ACA subsidies and any other Dem spending priority.
Most recently they pulled this starve the beast stunt during the Bush years, racking up unprecedented spending so that when Obama took office with a Dem Congress, the GOP declared in unison that the sky was falling, socialism was taking over and the bank vaults were empty. Consequently, the Republicans opposed the stimulus bill, which pulled us out of the recession, and they obviously opposed the Affordable Care Act, even though the CBO reported that the ACA law was deficit neutral.
All told, the Republicans have their hearts set on slashing so-called “entitlements,” and massive deficits will give them the pretext to do exactly that. So, if the GOP miraculously retains its majorities in Congress, you can expect Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block. If the Dems win majorities in Congress, Trump and the congressional GOP will pull their little “we’re broke!” stunt, handcuffing any and all Dem programs.
Make no mistake: the Republicans secretly love deficits, while the Democrats appear to be the only hawks left in town. Don’t let your Fox News-viewing pals tell you anything differently. Numbers don’t lie, but the Trumpers do.