We’ve previously reported on President Donald Trump’s tax plan, which, despite a Republican majority in Congress, will likely struggle to reach the president’s desk for signing.
There’s much to like about Trump’s tax reform plan, which consolidates the current seven tax brackets down to three, and doubles the standard deduction. There are also negative parts about it, including a possible tax hike for service-based businesses. Overall, the plan cuts taxes for many Americans, and, as Robert Novak said, “God put the Republican Party on earth to cut taxes.” That’s really the only purpose of the Republican Party.
But taxes are only half of fiscal policy, and while Republicans have always campaigned on reducing federal spending, when have we actually seen them do that?
Just about never is the answer.
And history is once again repeating itself. The Congressional Budget Office just released their projections on where the deficit stood at the end of Fiscal Year 2017, and it totaled $668 billion. That’s $82 billion greater than the FY 2016 deficit when Obama took office. How? As Conservative Review summarized, “with control of all three branches for the last three quarters of FY 2017, Republicans have first passed not one but two Democrat budgets this year (in April and September). Then they blew through the stop sign of the debt ceiling and raised it unconditionally until December. Not that anything will change in December.”
In fact, things are only going to get worse. The debt ceiling was able to put a brief halt on the government’s spending, but that’s spending that is now being pushed to the next fiscal year. Had that spending not been pushed into Fiscal Year 2018 (the 2017 FY ended on Sept. 30th), we would’ve seen an $121 billion increase in the deficit.
Government spending only trends in one direction if left unchecked, and I don’t need to tell you which direction that is. Unless Republicans begin practicing what they preach, we’ll see an even greater deficit from the “party of small government.”
So what’s going on? It ain’t a revenue problem. The government took in $3.3 trillion in FY 2017, which was $47 billion more than the year prior. Thus, the entire increase in the deficit can be attributed to spending increasing at a faster pace, having increased $130 billion year-over-year. The single biggest increase in spending was thanks to the Department of Education, which saw spending rise a whopping 45 percent to $35 billion, mainly from student loan subsidies. The Department of Housing and Urban Development also saw a 117 percent increase in spending, or $31 billion.
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As the national debt continues to rise, it naturally becomes more expensive to manage. Interest payments on the debt increased $28 billion, and the federal government paid out nearly $500 billion in 2017 just on interest.
At this rate, we’ll be spending more on interest on the debt than on the military in no time, and once we reach that point, the debt will have reached the point of no return.
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