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Alarming Federal Debt, Little Action

The American taxpayer is getting buried by President Trump's massive federal deficit. And the Republican Party is doing nothing about it.

In the shell game of Trump scandals currently underway, few politicians have publicly addressed the fact that for the first time in history, the U.S. debt has surpassed $23 Billion.

Moreover, increasing deficits have added to the debt at a remarkable rate since the Trump presidency began in 2017.

Alarmingly, the debt is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. How is it possible that the party of fiscal responsibility is at the helm of the federal government during this remarkably spendthrift period and why has today’s Republican Party seemingly abandoned its historically debt-averse ways?

The Road to Ruin

It all started with the 2017 GOP tax law, which is estimated to cost $1.9 trillion over a decade. Add to that bipartisan defense and domestic spending bills that increased outlays each year and a clearer picture of the financial predicament we find ourselves in is easy to understand: lower corporate and individual taxes juxtaposed with higher spending will always will always lead to deficits that over time, which now have accumulated at astronomical levels.

At a time when our elected officials should be addressing the big problems that face our country, like healthcare, housing affordability, the environment and the national debt, much of the nation remains transfixed with the never-ending circus that is the Trump presidency as Washington literally ignores the enormity of the issues we face as a nation.

To be fair, the current impeachment inquiry is warranted and should be completed, but the reality is that even before the whistleblower complaint that led to the inquiry being launched, little had been accomplished on any of the priority issues that present the most difficult challenges for our nation.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change in the coming years, especially with regard to the fiscal policy of the government – at least without a change in administration.

When “Business as Usual” is Treacherous

The ticking time bomb that is the national debt crisis cannot be ignored. Addressing the debt cannot be done without more tax revenue and reduced government spending. While there are many potential methods to address the debt, the most promising include some politically polarizing options that make immediate debt-reduction unlikely.

Forbes Magazine cites several ways the U.S. can get out of debt. One way to increase the tax revenue base is opening the borders to allow workers from all over the world, which would accelerate the creation of businesses that pay taxes. Yet, this is a policy that Republicans would determine to be untenable for the base, which is largely anti-immigrant.

Another way to increase the tax revenue is abolishing $1 trillion in tax breaks for individuals and corporations. Again, this proposal would likely be doomed with a Republican controlled government.

Raising the Social Security Retirement age to 70 could increase the amount of time Americans pay income taxes into the Social Security System, but it’s likely to be unpopular with Americans affiliated with all political parties.

Acting May Take Years

So how and when do we address this encroaching debt burden?

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. With Trump looking to win re-election by any means necessary and Congress embroiled in the impeachment inquiry, the national debt will continue to take a back seat to that process, which could either end before the Iowa caucuses in February or last through the general election in November.

Either way, the ghost of Christmas future, the resulting impact of kicking the debt can down the road, may be slow or no economic growth, higher interest rates and increasing likelihood of a more alarming fiscal crisis.

None of those options would bode well for the nation, or for generations to come.

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