By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) Nothing better sums up our country’s dismal long-term economic outlook than cold, hard numbers, and the government provided some this week that are nothing short of alarming.
As noted by CNSNews.com’s Terence P. Jeffrey, who tracks such things:
The federal government spent a record $3,727,014,000,000 in the first ten months of fiscal 2019 (October through July), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.
While spending that record $3,727,014,000,000, the government ran a deficit of $866,812,000,000.
The amount of money spent in the given timeframe has only been surpassed once — in 2009 when the Obama administration and Democrats decided to pay off special interests in big labor and elsewhere with a $1 trillion ‘stimulus’ package that did not stimulate the economy to grow and was based on the myth of “shovel-ready” jobs. Then, the Treasury spent $3,576,745,930,000 (in constant June 2019 dollars, adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator).
But Obama’s spending was prefaced by his predecessor’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, the bank bailout. So clearly, the big spending of late has been truly bipartisan.
And while these figures are disturbing, they don’t tell the whole story. Jeffrey drilled down deeper on the numbers and found that at a time when the Trump administration and Congress are spending like drunken sailors at a brothel, government income is falling (thanks to the tax cut — sorry to say):
Total federal revenues in the first ten months of fiscal 2019 equaled $2,860,202,000,000. That was less than the total revenues the federal government collected in the first ten months of fiscal 2017 ($2,866,978,570,000 in constant June 2019 dollars) and fiscal 2015 ($2,868,253,370,000 in constant June 2019 dollars).
Federal individual income tax revenues in the first ten months of fiscal 2019 equaled $1,428,904,000,000. That was less than the individual income taxes the federal government collected ($1,438,381,490,000 in constant June 2019 dollars) in the first ten months of fiscal 2018.
The difference between the $2,860,202,000,000 in total taxes the government collected and the $3,727,014,000,000 that it spent in the October through July period resulted in a deficit of $866,812,000,000.
Those are mind-numbing numbers, but the gist of what’s happening is clear: We don’t really have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem, and it’s been that way for far too long.
The last time we had budget surpluses was, oddly enough, during the later Clinton years, when a GOP Congress and a Democrat president came together on sensible tax and spending policies that cut the red ink.
Those days are long gone, however. The most recent two-year spending ‘deal’ reached by Congress and agreed to by the president makes a profligate spender look cheap. It will add, literally, trillions to our already multi-trillion-dollar national debt, won’t do anything to curb the fastest-growing entitlement programs (to include the Pentagon, sadly), and will heap massive debt on our kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.
That is, if the economy lasts that long.
To be fair to the president, Donald Trump came into office with the intention of cutting the national debt and eliminating it within a decade. Remember his first budget? It was lean and mean — and pronounced dead on arrival before he even formally proposed it.
In it, the newly-elected president proposed cutting or eliminating budgetary sacred cows like NPR and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“This is the ‘America First’ budget,” then-Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said at the time. “In fact, we wrote it using the president’s own words—we went through his speeches, articles that have been written about his policies, we talked to him, and we wanted to know what his policies were, and we turned those policies into numbers.”
Trump’s first budget contained two campaign promises: 1) An increase in military spending to rebuild a force badly neglected during the Obama years; and 2) Drastic cuts just about everywhere else.
It had no chance of passage.
The Wall Street Journal noted in March 2017:
President Donald Trump called for sharp cuts to spending on foreign aid, the arts, environmental protection and public broadcasting to pay for a bigger military and a more secure border in a fiscal 2018 budget blueprint released Thursday.
The budget proposal is certain to run into stiff opposition in Congress, where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have already signaled they are unlikely to enact Mr. Trump’s deep cuts when they pass spending bills that actually fund the government.
And indeed, a final version of his first bill contained no cuts, only more spending and none of the president’s priorities.
By January of this year, the Republican majority had overseen an increase in the federal debt of about $8 trillion, as we noted:
While there still are some members within GOP congressional ranks and no Democrats who claim to be budget misers, the fact remains that under subsequent Republican majorities between 2010 and 2018, the national debt increased an eye-popping $7.9 trillion.
And this after complaining for years that Barack Obama and Democrats were spendthrifts.
Democrats, of course, are just as guilty if not more so. The biggest difference between them and the GOP is that they would favor higher spending and more taxes.
But clearly, we can’t continue taking in less and less money while spending more of it. A lot more of it. And yet, even rational ideas like W. Bush’s call to privatize Social Security was met with Democrat commercials featuring former House Speaker Paul Ryan pushing granny over a cliff.
If we can’t stop spending, reform benefits programs, and/or raise revenues, then at some point — nobody knows when — even our debt will have reached the point where it will collapse our economy.
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