Trump cannot be 'King of Debt' when it comes to government

Trump cannot be 'King of Debt' when it comes to government
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Voters have important decisions to make this fall. Unfortunately, Republicans have not made enough of a distinction with Democrats on a vital issue, and that is our ballooning national debt and unfunded liabilities crisis. After a hiatus from the Obama years, $1 trillion deficits are back. Even worse for Republicans is that the media is actually on the case this time, with the Washington Post calling the out of control government budget a “big problem” for everyday Americans. Now is the crucial time for President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE and Congress to restrict spending and save not only their political hides, but also the economic future of the United States.

If a Republican Congress will spend almost as much as a Democratic Congress, voters must ask themselves: What is the difference between the two parties on this critical issue? The fiscal 2018 budget boosted discretionary spending by an incredible $143 billion. Much of this funding is above original requests from departments, but agency heads rush to fully spend the money anyways because they know that any cash not spent will be cut from the budget next year. It is a foolish game that winds up being a “heads I win” and “tails you lose” proposition for taxpayers.

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Some budget line increases like boosting Veterans Affairs funding make sense. However, most are general increases and fat packed in by members of Congress. Americans have seen this year after year, and each time the debt grows further unchecked. The president needs to lead. Unfortunately, Donald Trump may not realize the gravity of the situation. As a candidate, he repeatedly promised no cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Medicare spending is projected to increase 60 percent in the next 25 years. By 2042, the program is expected to account for 21 percent of federal spending. Social Security has doubled in total appropriations from $530 billion in 2005 to almost $1 trillion in 2017.

The situation is dire. The national debt is now at its highest levels since the end of the Second World War. Interest payments will exceed Medicaid and defense spending by 2023 and overall debt will eclipse the entire economy by 2034. Meanwhile, unfunded mandates will drive public debt into completely uncharted waters. What should be clear to everyone is that the issue will not be solved through simple finger pointing.

Democrats for years ran up massive debt using the cudgel of the last economic recession. The Tea Party formed as a direct response to that licentious use of taxpayer money. Yet, there are few Republicans in Congress who seem to be serious about spending cuts. Washington chews up and spits out idealists, giving long tenures to politicians who abandon their promises once they take their oath of office. Even worse, the principal deficit hawks are leaving town. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems fight to protect Mueller amid Rosenstein rumors Jordan wants Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee Kamala Harris calls for Senate to protect Mueller probe as Rosenstein faces potential dismissal MORE is exiting with his blueprint for prosperity in place. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard John McCain was a taxpayer hero The White House can — and should — bypass Congress to kill Obama-era spending MORE, the author of the annual wastebook of egregious public waste, retired in 2014.

What about the alternative? Democrats running for Congress this year have, by and large, rejected moderation and are throwing themselves deep into Democratic socialism. It is not just Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersCarbon tax could give liberals vast power to grow federal government Poll: Gillum leads DeSantis by 4 points in Florida Judd Gregg: Two ideas whose time has not come MORE or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDisclosures suggest rebates and insurers responsible for rising out-of-pocket drug costs Democrats keeping GOP from motivating voters with Trump impeachment threat, analyst says Celebrities, lawmakers wear black to support Kavanaugh’s accuser MORE already stated that if the Democrats win, they will advocate for the expansion of government and simultaneously push for tax hikes. If there is anything worse than the exploding debt, it is a faltering economy hobbled by increased taxes. Candidates now freely throw out ideas like free college, which would cost $47 billion a year, Medicare for all, which would cost $3.2 trillion a year, and a proposal by Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenCarbon tax could give liberals vast power to grow federal government Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her More Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren MORE for federal control over large corporations. Democrats are as open as ever about their race to the left. Hold onto your wallet.

There is one immediately available tool that the White House has to crimp efforts to increase the debt. Trump can use his veto power. While he has been loathe to use it as a mechanism to cut the budget, it is there for a reason. Both Ronald Reagan and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFeehery: Are you (October) surprised? Why must everything Rosenstein be filled with drama?   Judge denies bid to move lawsuit over Trump national monument rollbacks to Utah MORE used it as an effective means to curb spending when they were in the Oval Office. If Democrats retake the House, the veto might be the most powerful card the president has to ensure the country does not spiral into a sovereign debt crisis.

Trump may be remembered as the outsider who reshaped Washington and changed the direction of national decline. The economy is booming, Iran and North Korea are contained, and immigration controls are finally being enforced. But if he does not seize this critical juncture in our history, he may be remembered as an unintentional monarch who reigned as the “King of Debt” in both business and government.

Kristin Tate is a libertarian writer and author of “How Do I Tax Thee? A Field Guide to the Great American Rip-Off.” Follow her on Twitter @KristinBTate.