Carnes: When it comes to taxing and spending, there’s no difference between Democrats, Republicans (column)
March 26, 2018
Laying a trillion $1 bills end to end would reach to the moon and back not once, but more than 200 times.
The U.S. Treasury expects to borrow almost $1 trillion this fiscal year, the largest amount of borrowing since 2012 and close to double what it borrowed in 2017. Adding insult to injury, our 2017 trade deficit rose to the highest levels since the Bush administration.
A very blunt Congressional Budget Office report puts the majority of the blame on revenue losses from last year's tax cuts, but put in local terms: We have less snow on the mountain because less fell from the sky.
Hey, we can't control the weather.
Fortunately, we can pull water from Gore Creek to make snow, but alas, that is limited, as well. Others need the water downstream and, of course, the river itself could run dry.
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If that happens, then we're really screwed.
Last week, members of Congress had 1,000 minutes to read a 2,232-page Omnibus Bill that spends $1.3 trillion of borrowed money. I downloaded the entire bill and attempted to comprehend each page in 27 seconds to see what they must have gone through, but I ended up a few minutes behind on each.
Not exactly an easy read.
What is an "Omnibus Bill," you might ask?
Basically, it means a Congressional spending bill that covers anything and everything the writers of the bill wish for lumped together in a single, not-easy-to-read document. And this one lumped everything from $60 million for the House and Senate to increase their own personnel budgets (page 1,050) to $60 million for "breastfeeding peer counselors" (page 59) and about $1.5 billion for fencing upgrades in spots along our southern border (page 673).
An actual border wall is not mentioned.
But why did this all happen so quickly?
There's the old adage, "The less time available to examine and publicize what's in a bill, the greater the chances are it passes."
And I thought I was cynical.
But the truth is, once again, the federal government was going to run out of money last Friday night, March 23, and they did what they always do — borrow more money.
Yes, it is quite the 21st century epiphany to comprehend we cannot cut taxes, fight a few wars, have the largest military budget in history and update our national infrastructure without borrowing. So when it comes to taxing and spending, there really is no difference between the two major parties.
Both sides babble about fiscal discipline and making things better for future generations and then proceed to do the exact opposite.
Both sides share equal blame for the annual fiscal disaster that will eventually crush the American economy.
Both sides are all talk and no action.
And he-who-shall-not-be-named will do anything to distract from the current crop of adult film star and Playboy bunny lawsuits (not to be confused with Vice President Mike Pence's bunny book).
With a total national debt of $21 trillion (now growing faster than ever), which would stretch from here all the way to the sun (93 million miles, give or take) more than 20 times, it's safe to say the only way for it to be eliminated will be a worldwide economic collapse.
Notwithstanding those who can explain away "breastfeeding peer counselors" for $60 million, I am curious how some respond to the question: Tired of all that winning yet?
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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