October 31, 2018 Politics Party of Fiscal Responsibility? Think Again It might come as a surprise to conservatives that liberals also prefer fiscal responsibility. Not one liberal I know has ever wanted our country spent into massive debt. In fact, as much as anyone loves a tax break, most fiscal conservatives would rather decrease the national debt than get an extra hundred bucks or so just like liberals. Lots of good people saw and heard Trump on the stump and believed he would be a change from the ordinary politician, someone who would make these awesome deals and somehow fix what ails the folks who have not seen prosperity in a while. I get it. But, economically speaking, Trump hasn’t lived up to his rhetoric. As of October 4, 2018, the official debt of the United States government was $21.6 trillion. The tax cuts that began in early 2018, amount to $1.9 trillion added to the budget deficit. And, since average Americans have seen little increase in their paychecks, the approval rating for these cuts hovers around 36% according to a rolling average polling by RealClearPolitics. Indeed, the tax cuts were targeted to large corporations and people in the top 1% of the economic bracket; it’s no wonder average Americans don’t appreciate such an increase in the national debt for people who don’t need the money. Now Trump is talking about a Phase Two of the tax cuts. He has been vague about what exactly the cuts will include other than to shave another percentage point off the corporate rate. Democrats call this corporate welfare. And what about the middle class? Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post describes the effects of Trump’s tariffs most clearly: “His tariffs on steel, aluminum, washing machines, solar panels, semiconductors, plastics and about 1,000 other intermediate, capital equipment and consumer goods…are taxes! Regardless of who pays them statutorily, the costs of tariffs are passed down the supply chain, with middle-class consumers ultimately footing at least part of the bill. So when Trump threatens a 25 percent import tax on autos and auto parts for dubious ‘national security reasons,’ that’s going to raise the price of cars that American consumers purchase by thousands of dollars.” It’s no wonder Harley Davidson decided to zoom out of the country and take its hogs with it. The reality is that Trump’s deals are really something else in disguise. Remember the $4.7 billion in farm aid to offset losses from retaliatory tariffs? You can spit and shine it, but it really amounts to a big old welfare program. Conservatives in the Republican Party have pretty much abandoned their own fiscal responsibility mantra to hitch their wagons to Trump. It’s a matter of pleasing the base and winning primaries. As long as there is no check and balance on this president, the GOP cannot be the purveyor of fiscal responsibility any longer. That responsibility now goes to the Democrats. Being liberal doesn’t mean throwing every penny into the welfare state. But it does mean fighting to keep people insured (which may be tough once Republicans eliminate pre-existing conditions from the ACA), stopping rampantly outrageous insurance premiums (which are going up after ACA cuts), and protecting Medicare and Medicaid (which have come under treat from the Republican congress again). It means protecting the middle class, to which most of Trump’s base belongs. I scratch my head when people vote against their own self-interest, but they do. Question any late promise to give the middle class a tax break because this is merely a smoke screen for the election. My friends, please VOTE!!