Senate Reaches Budget Deal That Busts Budget Caps And Massively Increases Spending

With the Federal Government only hours away from another government shutdown, the Senate has reached a deal that would essentially put the budget to rest until after the midterms, but its fate in the House of Representatives is unclear:

WASHINGTON — Senate leaders struck a far-reaching bipartisan agreement on Wednesday that would add hundreds of billions of dollars to military and domestic programs over the next two years while raising the federal debt limit, moving to end the cycle of fiscal showdowns that have roiled the Capitol.

The accord between Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Chuck Schumer of New York, his Democratic counterpart, would raise strict caps on military and domestic spending that were imposed in 2011 as part of a deal with President Barack Obama that was once seen as a key triumph for Republicans in Congress.

The deal would raise the spending caps by about $300 billion over two years. The limit on military spending would be increased by $80 billion in the current fiscal year and $85 billion in the next year, which begins Oct. 1. The limit on nondefense spending would increase by $63 billion this year and $68 billion next year.

But the accord was not without dramatics, and its passage in the House is not a foregone conclusion. As proof of that, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, took the House floor on Wednesday morning in opposition, protesting that the deal did nothing to bring lawmakers closer to protecting young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. She then delivered a record-breaking speech that tied up the House for the entire day and into the night.

The budget agreement, coming a day after President Trump threatened to shut down the government, would effectively negate Mr. Trump’s demands to broadly reorder government with deep cuts to nondefense programs like environmental protection, foreign aid and health research that were to offset large increases in military spending. Mr. Trump is to release his second budget request on Monday, but the deal — championed by the top congressional leaders from his own party — amounts to an unequivocal rebuke of many of the budgetary demands he has put forth.

The deal would give Mr. Trump military bragging rights. “The bottom line is that, thanks to President Trump, we can now have the strongest military we have ever had,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said on Wednesday.

At least for now, it could put an end to the fiscal crises that Mr. Trump has at times seemed to welcome.

Nonetheless, the president threw his weight behind the accord, writing on Twitter, “Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this Bill!”

If the deal passes on Thursday, lawmakers would then put together a long-term spending package over the coming weeks that would fund the government through September, granting a measure of peace to Washington as attention turns to the midterm elections in November. Heading into the midterm elections, it would also enable lawmakers to go home and claim success at delivering funding for pressing needs, like fighting the opioid epidemic.

By setting overall spending levels through September 2019, the deal would ease passage of spending legislation in the next fiscal year, as well.

The agreement will cause federal budget deficits to grow even larger, on top of the effects of the sweeping tax overhaul that lawmakers approved in December. But because the deal gives long-sought victories to both parties, the deficit effect appears to be of little concern. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin both quickly embraced it.

From the increase in domestic spending, Mr. Schumer said the deal includes $20 billion for infrastructure, $6 billion for the opioid crisis and mental health, $5.8 billion for child care and $4 billion for veterans hospitals and clinics. In addition, the deal includes almost $90 billion in disaster relief in response to last year’s hurricanes and wildfires.

The agreement includes an additional four-year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, on top of the six-year extension that Congress approved last month.

If the deal passes on Thursday, lawmakers would then put together a long-term spending package over the coming weeks that would fund the government through September, granting a measure of peace to Washington as attention turns to the midterm elections in November. Heading into the midterm elections, it would also enable lawmakers to go home and claim success at delivering funding for pressing needs, like fighting the opioid epidemic.

By setting overall spending levels through September 2019, the deal would ease passage of spending legislation in the next fiscal year, as well.

The agreement will cause federal budget deficits to grow even larger, on top of the effects of the sweeping tax overhaul that lawmakers approved in December. But because the deal gives long-sought victories to both parties, the deficit effect appears to be of little concern. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin both quickly embraced it.

From the increase in domestic spending, Mr. Schumer said the deal includes $20 billion for infrastructure, $6 billion for the opioid crisis and mental health, $5.8 billion for child care and $4 billion for veterans hospitals and clinics. In addition, the deal includes almost $90 billion in disaster relief in response to last year’s hurricanes and wildfires.

The agreement includes an additional four-year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, on top of the six-year extension that Congress approved last month.

The deal also lifts the debt limit until March 2019, pushing any future confrontation over that issue until after the midterm elections. The Congressional Budget Office recently projected that the Treasury would probably run out of cash in the first half of March if the limit were not raised.

“I hope we can build on this bipartisan momentum and make 2018 a year of significant achievement for Congress, for our constituents and for the country that we all love,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. Schumer was similarly effusive. “After months of legislative logjams, this budget deal is a genuine breakthrough,” he said. “After months of fiscal brinkmanship, this budget deal is the first real sprout of bipartisanship.”

Mr. Ryan urged his members to vote for it: “America will be safer and stronger because of this agreement.” His embrace boosted its chances in the House, where conservatives were cool to it, if not hostile.

While the deal is likely to easily pass the Senate this morning, the deal’s fate in the House remains somewhat uncertain. On the Republican side, the few remaining deficit hawks in the House are saying it’s unlikely that they can support the deal because of the manner in which it busts through spending caps, leads inevitably to a return of the trillion dollar deficits that we saw nearly a decade ago, and opens the door to future massive increases in spending. Many of these Republican doubters are members of the House Freedom Caucus, but it’s unclear whether they constitute a majority of that body and whether there would be a sufficient number of Republicans in opposition to the deal to pose a problem later today. On the Democratic side, the issue of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is posing a problem. While Senate Democrats have essentially delinked DACA and the budget, House Democrats are a different story. Yesterday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi used a somewhat obscure rules of the House of Representatives to hold the floor for nine hours yesterday to talk about DACA and demand that Speaker Paul Ryan do the same thing that Mitch McConnell did in the Senate after the last shutdown and guarantee that he’ll let a DACA deal get to the floor for a vote. Pelosi’s “filibuster” was the longest the House had seen since the beginning of the 20th Century and she used the time to tell the stories of DACA beneficiaries and urge action on the issue. It’s unclear, though, if House Democrats will use the DACA issue to withhold support from a budget deal.

Despite these last minute hangups in the House, I suspect that the deal announced last night will pass before the end of the day and be sent to the President for signature, something that is likely to happen based on Trump’s tweet about the deal yesterday evening. This is the case because it gives both parties enough to go back to supporters with and make the claim that they accomplished something, even though all they’ve really done is bring back the bad old days.

First of all, of course, it will stop the clock on the government shutdown that would have happened at midnight tonight had a spending bill of some kind not passed and been signed into law. After the brief shutdown last month and the polls that have followed, it’s clear that this is an outcome that neither party wanted notwithstanding the threat that President Trump made earlier this week to shut the government down unless he got his way on immigration, an issue that had already been detached from spending issues week ago.

Second, it essentially means that the thorny issues surrounding the budget will be put on automatic pilot until well after the 2018 elections, something that will clear a significant part of the legislative agenda for the rest of the year. While it’s unlikely that this will result in Congress addressing other, more controversial, issues such as immigration or entitlements between now and the election, it will give members of both houses more time for the important (mostly to them) tasks of fundraising and campaigning.

Finally, of course, the deal gives both parties something they want and something they can point out to members of their base as successes. Republicans get massive increases in defense spending that exceed even the substantial increases that President Trump and the Pentagon were asking for as well as increases in social spending that they can use to counteract Democratic attacks claiming that they don’t care about the middle-class and the poor. Democrats get yet another extension of the CHIP program, increases in social spending, and increased spending on things such as community health centers and other issues that they have been championing. For both parties, of course, the fact that the spending caps that were contained in the Budget Control Act of 2011, a deal that was reached after the showdown that summer over the debt ceiling which went a long way toward taming deficits in Federal spending during the remained of the Obama Presidency, will effectively be nullified means that they are now free to massively increase spending on their favorite projects going forward.

While this deal will be hailed as an example of the kind of bipartisan compromise that has seemingly been lacking on Capitol Hill for some time now, there’s plenty to be upset about in this deal. The primary problem, of course, is that the bill massively increases spending to the point where it’s virtually guaranteed that we’ll see the return of the trillion dollar deficits that we saw during the final years of George W. Bush’s Administration and the first couple years of Barack Obama’s Administration, and in the latter case the size of the deficit was largely attributable to massively reduced tax revenue due to the Great Recession. Factor into that the impact that the tax cuts passed in December are likely to have, with the Congressional Budget Office and other independent analysts have estimated to include an additional $1.5 trillion in budget deficits over the next decade, and it’s easy to see where we’re headed.

As The Washington Post’s Damien Paletta and Erica Werner note, this marks a complete reversal by the GOP when it comes to spending:

Republican lawmakers in 2011 brought the U.S. government to the brink of default, refused to raise the debt ceiling, demanded huge spending cuts, and insisted on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.

On Wednesday, they formally broke free from those fiscal principles and announced a plan that would add $500 billion in new spending over two years and suspend the debt ceiling until 2019. This came several months after Republicans passed a tax law that would add more than $1 trillion to the debt over a decade.

With all these changes, the annual gap between spending and revenue in 2019 is projected to eclipse $1.1 trillion, up from $439 billion in 2015. And they are expanding the deficit at an unusual time, when the economy is growing and unemployment is low, a dynamic that often leads to shrinking budget gaps.

“I don’t think there’s any question but that there’s a bury-your-head-in-the-sand view of the deficit and the debt issues relative to this Congress and this administration,” said former senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who once led the Senate Budget Committee.

The debt binge caps off a major reversal for the Republican Party, which has been swept up by President Trump’s demands for more spending and tax cuts at a time when the public seems to care less about debt than it has in years.

In 2011, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), then chairman of the House Budget Committee, proposed a budget-slashing plan that would lead to a $415 billion deficit in 2019. Ryan is now speaker of the House, and the tax and spending plan he is helping advance through Congress would put the deficit at almost three times the amount he envisioned in 2011.

A number of House conservatives on Wednesday said they were mortified about the new spending agreement, but there appears to be little they can do to stop it. The deal was cut between House and Senate leaders from both parties, with the White House’s support.

“It’s the wrong thing to do because it’s not consistent with what we told the American people we were going to do, and what they elected us to do,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “We’re going to run a trillion-dollar deficit.”

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, said that it is spending on other programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, that drive “our long-term debt problem.”

She said spending on programs like these will “continue to be the problem that [Ryan] hopes Washington will finally address.”

But changes to those programs aren’t expected this year. All this new borrowing costs money, and rising interest rates make the widening deficit even more expensive.

The Congressional Budget Office projected last year that annual interest payments on the debt would grow from $307 billion in 2018 to $818 billion in 2027. Interest rates are projected to rise at least one full percentage point over the next 18 months, and Gregg said that could push up borrowing costs by $1.6 trillion over 10 years.

The U.S. government already has more than $20 trillion in debt, and as of last year it was on the path to add more than $10 trillion in debt over the next decade before factoring in the new tax law and spending agreement.

This deal should forever put to rest the idea that Republicans care one whit about controlling either Federal spending or the size, scope, and power and government. They don’t, and the lip service they pay to the idea like “fiscal conservatism” and “limited government” is betrayed by their actions once they actually achieve the power they have asked for since Obama took office in 2009. It’s rank hypocrisy, and it was all entirely predictable. It happened under Bush 43 and it’s happening again.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Donald Trump, Doug Mataconis, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On the Republican side, the few remaining deficit hawks in the House

    Let me guess, these same Republicans voted in lockstep for the “Stealing our Children’s Future Tax Cut”, didn’t they? Please Doug, stop referring to these hypocritical a-holes by the lies they tell about themselves.

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  2. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    Well, they sure don’t seem confident about the explosive growth that will come from the tax cuts making up the difference, do they?

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ditto this. No one is obligated to pretend that these people are deficit hawks just because they say so. Their actions have always, always showed they are no such thing. Anyone who voted for the recent budget is in no way a deficit hawk. Simply saying “I believe magic fairy dust will keep this from adding to the deficit” was a con man’s ridiculous lie, not a principled belief.

    Doug, I challenge you to name one true deficit hawk in Congress. (I’m not being facetious here. There must be a few. But I bet no more than a half dozen in the house, and at most one in the Senate.)

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  4. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    This is governmental malpractice. Classic Republicanism; cut taxes and spend like crazy.
    Spending this kind of money during solid economic times is nothing short of stupid. Combined with the tax cuts this is far bigger than the Stimulus package, which occurred when unemployment was more than twice what it is now, and we were shedding 700,000 jobs a month. (Given their hypocrisy today is even possible to argue that Republican opposition to the stimulus was based in anything but their fear of a black man in the White House?)
    Sure, there will be short-term positive effects. Who knows, the Dow may go to 30,000.
    At the same time everything the Trumplicans have been crying about for the entire Obama administration will now actually happen; higher interest rates, increased inflation, ballooning budget deficits. And when that bubble bursts, we will be ill-prepared to do anything about it because we spent all the money there was during solid economic times..

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  5. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Simply saying “I believe magic fairy dust will keep this from adding to the deficit” was a con man’s ridiculous lie, not a principled belief.

    How ever bad you think Republicans are, it’s always worse. They want the tax cut and the budget proposal to blow up the deficit, so they can use it as an excuse to kill, reduce, and/or privatize SS, Medicaid, and Medicare.

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  6. KM says:

    @gVOR08 :

    so they can use it as an excuse to kill, reduce, and/or privatize SS, Medicaid, and Medicare.

    Yep. This is one of the few cases I’m thankful for angry elderly voters and Boomers – they won’t tolerate that and will absolutely massacre the Repubs in the voting booth. Even single-issue abortion voters will have a change of heart when they have to fork out hundreds or thousands of extra dollars a month to keep Grandma or ill Little Johnny alive. It’s one of the few acceptable “entitlements” they avidly support.

    “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” may end up being more insightful then ironic and a viable slogan in the near future. Sad commentary on our times.

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  7. Slugger says:

    I am curious about the military spending increase. I am not seeing a specific military challenge to our country that this is intended to address. I doubt that China’s plans to grow their nation’s influence is based on warfare with their biggest customer. I don’t think that Putin’s interests in recovering the territories held by Catherine the Great involve direct military actions, and I doubt that our military is likely to be useful in countering his attempts at subversion of the leadership of western states. Once our soldiers are driving around in Cadillac Escalades firing gold-plated assault rifles, will that be useful in the Levant? Will the Norks give up their nukes?

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  8. Ratufa says:

    Anyone who has been paying attention has realized by now that the GOP, except for a relatively small number of fiscal hawks, hasn’t seriously cared about budget deficits since the days of George H W Bush (and look what happened to him). The vast majority of Federal spending is popular with voters and/ or influential interest groups, and politicians care the most about getting re-elected. Some influential Republicans, Grover Norquist for example, see deficits as a long-term positive, because they think that a massive fiscal crisis is the only thing that can force the federal government to rein in spending.

    While Democrats also like to spend, they have two advantages over the GOP that make them less toxic: 1) They are more willing to raise taxes to pay for things, which also creates some anti-spending feedback from voters, and 2) Government nihilists aren’t an influential part of the Democratic coalition.

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  9. al-Ameda says:

    Coming soon to a toxic waste disposal site near you:
    Don’t worry, Republicans will come to Jesus shortly and announce that “entitlement” spending is going to have to be reduced. Get ready for a lot of puerile and facile bullsh** such as: ‘we’re stealing from our children’s future.’

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  10. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    This is even uglier than I thought.

    During the eight years Obama sent the debt up from 10 to 20 trillion dollars, all we heard around these parts was how it didn’t matter, and worrying about the debt was stupid and partisan and racist. Oh, and hypocritical — mustn’t forget that. EIGHT YEARS of that.

    Congratulations, you won. Here’s a bill that says screw it, let’s spend and spend and spend.

    So, where’s the happiness? Where’s the celebrating?

    This site has become a perfect reflection of modern politics — everything is all about finding new and more vitriolic ways of calling other people hypocrites. Because that’s the worst insult you can conceive of — it trumps (pardon the expression) “hater,” “racist,” “white supremacist,’ “sexist,” “xenophobe,” “homophobe,” “Islamophobe,” and all the rest, because it embraces all of them.

    What’s it like to put less value on winning than on watching someone else lose? To gain more glee from someone else’s failure than your own success? To be so insecure and envious that simply getting what you want isn’t enough — you need to see the other side suffer?

    Please don’t answer that — it’s a foreign concept to me, and I think I prefer it that way.

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  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    The last Republican president ran up trillion dollar per year deficits. Obama spent 8 years reducing that deficit 60%. Now as soon as the Republicans are back in power, they’re running it back up to more than a trillion per year.

    This is somehow the Democrats’ fault in your mind.

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  12. Electroman says:

    @Slugger: The military spending increase isn’t likely to result in gold-plated assault rifles or Escalade scout vehicles, although I do appreciate the imagery.

    Much of the increase will probably go to make-work plans like making Abrams tanks that the Army doesn’t want.

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  13. KM says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    What’s it like to put less value on winning than on watching someone else lose? To gain more glee from someone else’s failure than your own success? To be so insecure and envious that simply getting what you want isn’t enough — you need to see the other side suffer?

    Whatever meds they gave you in that hospital, tell them to dial them back. You are clearly out of your damn mind.

    You also better hope lifetime caps don’t come back like Republicans are asking for – you’re in for a world of hurt based off of what you’ve shared. It’s all fun and games to be snarky online but this has the potential to screw people like you over VERY quickly.

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  14. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @KM: Please, spare me your fake concern. I knew when I was in my 20s what decade my life would end, and I just started that decade.

    But you are right — lifetime caps are a bad thing. I absolutely deserve to live my life however I wish, with as many unhealthy habits as I want, and make everyone else pick up the tab for my lifestyle. How DARE anyone deny me my right to spend their money? Screw my ounce of prevention, I WANT MY POUND OF CURE AND I WANT IT NOW!

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  15. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Stormy Dragon:The last Republican president ran up trillion dollar per year deficits. Obama spent 8 years reducing that deficit 60%.

    According to this site, the debt on September 30 , 2001 (they go by fiscal year, apparently) was $5.8 trillion.

    On September 30, 2009, it was $11.9 trillion — up $5.1 trillion, or about $0.65 trillion/year.

    On September 30, 2017, it was $20.2 trillion — up $8.3 trillion, or about $1.04 trillion/year.

    …you were saying?

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  16. Jake says:

    Let’s have that talk, liberals. You keep telling Normal Americans they are bigots for complaining about having to bury their brothers and sisters, their fathers and mothers, their kids. That topic is not hilarious, like your other stupid strategies, but it demonstrates the undeniable fact.

    Trump owns you liberals. He has your pink slips. He holds your strings. You dance to his tune.

    Your unreasoning hate, not just of Donald Trump but of the Normal Americans he champions, and your burning desire to take back the power you have lost, has blinded you to the truth. It’s also made you deaf to the coherent, which is why so much of what you say sounds insane to Normal Americans. And that’s why everything else you say is drown out by the “Whaps!” of you dummies stepping on Trump’s rakes.

    https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2018/02/08/with-enemies-like-this-donald-trump-doesnt-need-friends-n2445675

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  17. SenyorDave says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: You obviously don’t understand the difference between deficits and the debt. Obama’s staring point was a trillion dollar deficit courtesy of the Bush administration. That deficit was basically cut in half by the time he left office.

    The reason for the trillion dollar deficit was twofold, the massive recession and the Bush tax cuts, which created a STRUCTURAL DEFICIT. Since the Republicans told Obama that they would never work with him, he was powerless to even attempt to fix the structural deficit. Now Trump and the GOP have doubled down, with new tax cuts to put the deficit into uncharted territory. The party of fiscal responsibility will have a trillion dollar deficit during good economic times.

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  18. Kylopod says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: The deficit greatly shrank under Obama.

    https://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/us_deficit

    You seem to be confusing the deficit (the annual difference between revenue and spending, assuming the latter exceeds the former) with the debt (the overall amount of money owed by the federal government). You also are making the mistake of not adjusting for inflation. The best way to measure how much debt has increased under a president isn’t by counting the raw dollars, but by looking at the proportional increase. The debt did increase significantly under Obama, but proportionally it was less than that of several previous presidents, including FDR, Reagan, and Dubya.

    https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

    Moreover, nobody here is arguing that deficit increases are inherently a bad thing. According to Keynesian economics, deficit spending is called for during a recession. That means Obama had a sound basis for increasing the deficit early in his presidency, at the height of the Great Recession; there is no inconsistency in suggesting that increasing the deficit now, while the economy is in a period of expansion, is a bad idea.

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  19. Kylopod says:

    Mods: Please rescue my post from the filter. It contains two links.

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  20. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan:

    There must be a few [deficit hawks].

    I’m gonna vote for “no” on even that proposition. A true deficit hawk would not have voted for a however many trillion dollar tax cut over a decade knowing that there are no workable cuts in the budget to pay for it.

    Add to that the fact that these particular *deficit hawks* already knew that they were going to vote for a bigger defense appropriation than even the DoD asked for and draw what ever conclusion you want to.

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  21. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    “…that Republican opposition to the stimulus was based in anything but their fear anger and bigoted animus over the fact of a black man in the White House?”

    FTFY

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  22. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    I am not seeing a specific military challenge to our country that this is intended to address.

    Then you haven’t been paying attention. How many times have you heard someone from this administration intone the following in a speech:

    North Korea represents the greatest existential threat to our peace and security of all time.

    The GOP Congress has heard the call and is answering. (And besides, it keep the pork coming to their districts.)

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  23. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    If you do not understand the difference between debt and deficits then you shouldn’t participate in the discussion.
    Plus you were banned…go away J E N O S

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  24. KM says:

    @Jake:
    You keep telling Normal Americans they are anti-2nd freedom haters for complaining about having to bury their brothers and sisters, their fathers and mothers, their kids with all these mass shootings. Plenty more have died then have been killed by illegal immigrats so you don’t really care about who’s being buried, just about cheap points.

    Clearly you are not a Normal American, Jake which is why so much of what you say sounds insane to everyone around you.

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  25. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    Note: as always I am on shaky ground with math, but here’d how it looks to me:

    Ronald Reagan increased the national debt (which you of course confuse with the annual deficit) from $997,855,000,000 to $2,602,337,712,041 in 8 years. In other words, Saint Ronnie raised the deficit by 260%.

    George HW Bush then took the $2,602,337,712,041.16 deficit and ran it up to $4,064,620,655,521, an increase of 50%

    Bill Clinton went from $4,411,488,883,139 to $5,674,178,209,886, an increase of only 24%.

    George W. Bush came along and managed to go from 5,807,463,412,200 to 10,024,724,896,912, 70%.

    Barack Obama went from 11,909,829,003,511 to 19,573,444,713,936 an increase of 60% in 8 years.

    Donald Trump in a single year has added another trillion, on track for 4-6 trillion in a single term. During which: no war, no recession. Thus no excuse.

    Now, let’s equalize the numbers by years in office, by diving total percentage increase by years served:

    1) Reagan at 32.5% per annum
    2) George HW Bush at 12.5%
    3) George W. Bush at 8.75%
    4) Barack Obama at 7.5%
    5) Bill Clinton 3%

    Reagan raised the debt by 4 times more as a percentage than Barack Obama did. In fact the worst performers were all Republican ‘conservatives.’

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  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    A true deficit hawk would not have voted for a however many trillion dollar tax cut

    Oh, I agree. But I know there were a few Repubs who voted against it. I was just wondering if any of them did it because of the deficit.

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  27. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Just checking …
    Reagan increased the ND from 997B to 2602B … 160%
    on an annual basis ND increased by 12.7%

    GHW Bush increased ND from 2602B to 4064B … 56%
    on an annual basis ND increased by 5.8%

    Bill Clinton increased ND from 4411B to 5674B … 28%
    on an annual basis ND increased by 3.1%

    GHW Bush increased ND from 5807B to 10024B … 72%%
    on an annual basis ND increased by 12.5%

    GW ran his wars off budget and decreased taxes at the same time, he actively created more NB

    Barack Obama went from 11909B to 19573 … 64%
    on an annual basis ND increased by 6.4%

    Obama inherited the Great Recession and an enormous stimulus was necessary to prevent a catastrophic into another Great Depression. Subsequently, steady economic growth required a reduced increase in ND, so Obama actually performed relatively well given the extreme circumstance.

    ____________________
    Bill, GHW and Barack performed best, but as we all know, circumstances …

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  28. As someone on Twitter said, we better hope modern monetary theory is correct. At this point, we will never raise the taxes or cut the spending to get debt down.

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  29. Kylopod says:

    It seems that whenever this topic comes up, I invariably encounter one or more of the following errors:

    1. Confusing the debt with the deficit.

    2. Comparing past and present amounts by counting raw dollars, without adjusting for inflation.

    3. Confusing government revenue with economic growth.

    4. Acting like running deficits has the same impact on the economy whether it’s growing or in recession.

    5. Believing that a government that prints its own currency is in danger of running out of money.

    6. Acting like a bill (such as the Affordable Care Act) that spends a lot of money will inevitably cause the deficit to rise even when it’s paired with deficit reduction measures.

    None of this is arcane or complex. I’m not an economist. This is all very basic. The errors here are roughly on the order of when a creationist says “If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys today?” In other words, it’s massive economic illiteracy. Yet I see these statements crop up again and again, not just among anonymous Internet commenters on blogs such as this one, but even among some mainstream pundits with college degrees.

    And today’s GOP has every incentive to make sure this illiteracy continues.

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  30. Tyrell says:

    More the reason there should be a balanced budget amendment. And a 10% across the board cut, excepting the Social Security and soldiers’ pay.

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  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Somewhat on topic:

    Senator Rand Paul is filibustering the budget bill. It’s highly likely that there will be another shutdown, solely because the senator from Kentucky is a f’king asshat.

    Somebody should take this guy into the Senate cloak room and acquaint him with the business end of a two by four.

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  32. the Q says:

    So the bloated obscene military industrial complex gets a $165 billion increase on top of the trillion or so they already spend and Pelosi is up there for 8 hours droning on about one third of one percent of the population who no one really gives a schite about?

    And you neolibs wonder why old time liberals are thoroughly disgusted with the modern Dem party’s priorities which should be dismantling the military industrial complex, curbing income inequality, destroying the power of finance capital, stopping mergers, reinstating the inheritance tax?

    All tertiary issues for the neolibs. Bathroom choice and metoo are far more important issues to the Dem apparatchiks.

    What’s next, chuck doing 9 hours on the difficulties of lesbians adopting trans-gendered Russian orphans?

    And now with the impending SCOTUS decision to decimate union’s ability to counteract the Koch and other big money goofballs, the Dems are officially a joke.

    Instead of having dreamer Guadalupe who wants a law degree as one of the Dem state of the union guests, how about the 1099 self employed plumber who can’t afford the $12.000 medical premiums with the $8k deductible for him and his family? How about the Walmart worker who goes on gov’t assistance to supplement the meager wages the Walton family (combined wealth of 120 million Americans) doles out to its serfs…I mean greeters.

    Amnesty for illegals and TG rights are all good and noble objectives, but Christ if I have pancreatic cancer I am not really going to care about the pimple on my forehead.

    The Republicans have been unhinged loons since I was born, the Democrats the only thing stopping them from bankrupting and destroying the American way of life.

    To see the Dems become a joke is painful.

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  33. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    Grandpa,

    I think I speak for all of us when I say

    Just STFU already. 🙄

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  34. loaded says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    Says the guy who thought that Trump was going to raise the deficit by $17 trillion.

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  35. Ben Wolf says:

    @Robert Prather: The proof is in the financing. Spending bills don’t stipulate the spending will be done once tax revenues or borrowing raise enough money. The bill is passed and the money appears where it’s directed. They only issue debt after they’ve done the spending.

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  36. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Somebody should take this guy into the Senate cloak room and acquaint him with the business end of a two by four.

    His neighbor in Louisville tried something like that. Doesn’t appear Paul learned anything from it.

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  37. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod:

    According to Keynesian economics, deficit spending is called for during a recession.

    Conservatives think in terms of morality and hard, fixed rules (which they don’t realize they change all the time). Trying to explain that X is bad now, but in other circumstances X is good, only confuses them.

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  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08:

    I’ve only listened to him for a few minutes and I’d cheerfully strangle the guy.

    Other people probably feel the same. Anyone who’s ever met the man, I would suspect.

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  39. Ben Wolf says:

    @the Q: The fundamental difference between Republican and Democrat is how to run capitalism. Democrats think white-collar professionals should implement and administer the policies of the people whom Adam Smith called the Masters of Mankind, with their vile maxim, “everything for ourselves and nothing for other people.” Focus on identity politics aids in this process by reducing the people to competing interest groups incapable of any enduring unity against the Masters. This was predicted by Bakunin, who saw authoritarian left-intellectualism as either creating the red bureaucracies we witnessed in the Soviet Union and communist China, or accomodating itself to become the servants of power that we see in the American professional class.

    Republicans, on the other hand, are now of the opinion that well-credentialled professionals can be dispensed with (which explains the hostility of lawyers, economists, social scientists and others who stand to lose their privileges and status) and the Masters themselves be put in direct control.

    The policies implemented by these groups are different in form but similar in outcome. Hence America’s supposed left is fundamentally regressive as America’s right.

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  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Bob is numerically challenged.

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  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Deficit spending per year. Idiot.

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  42. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @loaded:
    WTF is this troll talking about???

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  43. @Ben Wolf: Why did you make this ridiculous comment? Either the government raises enough taxes or prints enough money to cover its spending or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, it borrows.

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  44. Ben Wolf says:

    @Robert Prather: Government spends, then collects taxes and borrows. You can’t have a reserve drain before a reserve add.

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  45. the Q says:

    Harvard Law, only a pompous, insecure prick puts Harvard Law in their moniker when in reality its probably Harbor Law College. You and Trump have a lot in common.

    As far as substance, its clear that the delusional thinking of the boomers has resulted in a huge schite pile as the GOP has basically run the political show since Reagan.

    Harvard Law, I am sorry that you are such a close minded dense putz that you are incapable of admitting your many errors.

    What I find fascinating is that close minded neo-liberals are so wedded to their shrill orthodoxy that there is never room for self criticism.

    For the record, I am not wrong very much when it comes to predicting the outcomes of Dem strategies. DACA good – 80% want it. DACA bad – 56% say don’t shut down the friggin’ government over it. And I got flamed a month ago for predicting the folly before it happened. Lets not even go over the mutual suicide pact you people have with the Clintons and their single handed destruction of the dem socs (see Sanders, Bernie).

    Fighting over dreamers has seen in one month the Dems going from a 13% edge in the generic congressional poll down to 6% yesterday. I’ve maintained for months that running against Trump won’t be enough to win without substantive polices which help the worker class.

    Geez, what happened to halve that generic edge of 13% down to 6% in only one month? Um, DACA govt’ shutdown, then the Pelosi theater of the absurd.

    I guess trouncing the GOP, restructuring modern capitalism, knee capping the military industrial complex are all quaint ideas that have to go to the back of the line so that dreamer Lupe can get a law degree or 8 year olds can choose the bathroom of choice.

    Harvard Law,, I shcite on you know nothing neolibs who are so pompously out of touch with the common man that not even a sledge hammer to your head named Trump will wake you the phuck up.

    Now, be real boomers, you will go down in history as one of the worst generations in American history. Please list any achievements other than gay marriage that you truly have accomplished?

    Civil rights? Heavy lifting done by non boomer 20 -30 year olds in the early sixties who had their skulls crushed by klanners. Your story? Oh, put nice little sayings on coffee cups. Women’s rights? Uh, we started the equal rights amendment 40 years ago. You boomers still can’t get it passed. Environment? Taxing the rich? Enforcing anti trust laws? Income inequality? Trade union membership? Expanding middle class? Affordable college tuition? Come on dyck heads, defend yourselves.

    What the phuck have you clowns done really? The GOP has never had so many seats in legislatures from the state to the federal level the last 5 years.

    The proof is in the pudding neolibs. Look in the friggin mirror before you vent against the older generation who handed you the keys to the Rolls Royce, only to see you wreck it.

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  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    Run along now, Che. You wouldn’t want to miss Jell-O night at the home 🙄

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