Judd Gregg: The GOP abandons fiscal responsibility


The recent passage of the omnibus appropriation has confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt that President Trump and this Republican Congress have abandoned a core concept of a conservative Republican agenda: fiscal responsibility.

The omnibus bill will add approximately $2 trillion to the debt over ten years. 

This layering of debt on existing debt means that next year the deficit will approach $1 trillion and will continue to grow for as long as can be reasonably predicted.

{mosads}The implication of this explosion of debt funding, which follows the eight years of the Obama administration’s dramatic acceleration of debt, is that within a few years we will have interest costs which will also be $1 trillion a year or more.


Interest costs are the most wasteful of the wasteful. 

You get nothing for them. You simply take people’s hard-earned money, tax it away from them and send it to places like China to pay interest on our borrowed money.

One might assume that the president, who has railed against the inequity of sending American dollars to China in the form of our trade deficit, would be equally outraged at sending them all these American tax dollars to support payments on our debt.

This is not the case, however.

He and the Republican Congress are now on a path that is well trodden by their liberal counterparts in the Democratic Party: running up the debt to pay for the baubles of today at the expense of our children’s future.

It should be called by its actual name: inexcusable, irresponsible liberal spending.

But it is not.

According to the president and his abettors in the Republican Congress, it is called “deal making.”

The Art of the Deal has never been so misdirected and destructive.

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously observed, “consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” Certainly this philosophy has been put on steroids for most of this president’s time in office.

There is one exception.

The president has been unceasingly consistent in his lack of concern for, interest in or, one suspects, awareness of the deficits that his government is running up or their dire implications for coming generations of Americans.

As to the Republican Congress, someone asked if there are no “deficit hawks” left in the Congress? The answer is that there are not even any “deficit pigeons” in this Congress.

One can understand why the president is so oblivious to the results of his actions in exponentially increasing the federal debt.

He does not care.

As a businessman, running up debt that could not be repaid became one of his most successful tactics. Not paying his debts in full or filing for bankruptcy worked for him in his prior role as a hotel builder. It can be assumed that he sees it working in his present role.

Trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, along with $1 trillion interest payments? It is unsustainable, to put it kindly.

Bankruptcy for a nation, however, is not a viable option.

The bill passed by the Congress and signed by the president sets a fundamentally new tone for the Republican Party.

Had this bill been brought forward by a Democratic-controlled Congress, one suspects that every Republican in the Senate would have voted against it.

After you remove the alleged benefits it bestowed on the Defense Department, the bill is nothing more than two thousand pages of profligate spending modeled after the Obama years and built on the precedents of Keynesian economics.

In its values, it is a liberal, Democratic bill. But, in actuality, it is now a Republican bill.

If the Republicans lose control of the Congress later this year, they need look no further then this abandonment of the core purpose of the party.

They have no claim any longer to being the party of fiscally responsible government, or to being good stewards of the government and its fiscal health.

The Republican Congress now represents a party with very few significant defining principles other then the promotion of the president’s impulses at that moment.

There is no discernible difference on the issue of fiscal policy and discipline between President Trump and the Republican Congress on one side, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the left on the other.

The American people in the next election will probably discern this.

They may conclude that, if you are going to have a liberal government, you might as will have a party in charge that admits to it — rather then one than parades about in a charade of tweeted hyperbole.

Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.

Tags Charles Schumer Debt Donald Trump economy Economy of the United States Fiscal policy

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