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 TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' 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 RyanIndiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection Inside Biden's preparations for first debate MORE is exiting with his blueprint for prosperity in place. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access 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 SandersBernie SandersButtigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Buttigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' The generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party MORE or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments 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 WarrenJulián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' O'Rourke unveils plan to support women, minority-owned businesses 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 ClintonDems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Former Senate Dem leader: 'No way' impeachment trial for Trump would lead to conviction 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.