I have no doubt that your first response to the headline above is some combination of “Duh!,” “You just realizing this now?” and “This is what we get from someone whose Twitter handle is @thebudgetguy?”
You need to chill. I first posted about Trump’s federal budget follies more than two years ago and have chronicled his fiscal foolishness since before his inauguration. I am anything but a newbie to this conclusion and this post is not the result of a new @thebudgetguy economic epiphany.
I’m posting this now because this tweet from just a week ago made me realize yet again that Trump’s budget recklessness continues to reach new lows.
The Senate should get funding done before the August break, or NOT GO HOME. Wall and Border Security should be included. Also waiting for approval of almost 300 nominations, worst in history. Democrats are doing everything possible to obstruct, all they know how to do. STAY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2018
As someone who has railed about this administration’s and Congress’s lack of attention to appropriations and budget process deadlines, seeing Trump demand action before the start of the fiscal year was refreshing.
But think about why Trump is asking for rapid action on the 2019 appropriations: He wants even more spending. Even though his policies have spiked the annual budget deficit to a new normal of a $1 trillion (with $2 trillion definitely within view) and interest rates are now starting to go up in large part because of his out-of-sync-with-the-economy stimulative fiscal policy, Trump is demanding that federal spending and the government’s red ink be increased even further.
There was no hint in this or any other subsequent tweet that Trump is going to propose offsetting spending cuts (or, heaven forbid, revenue increases) to compensate for the additional spending he’s demanding.
Trump’s recently-announced rescission package (which is already in a great deal of political trouble with congressional Republicans) doesn’t come close to offsetting the new spending Trump said he wants. It won’t also won’t come close to being an offset even if the first package is followed with that second rescission plan Trump has said is coming, but which so far seems to be totally imaginary.
All of this makes it quite easy to confirm that, less than 18 months into his administration, Donald Trump is the most fiscally irresponsible president at least in recent American history…and quite possibly of all time.
Trump’s behavior on everything and anything having to do with the federal budget has become blatantly predictable and painfully obvious. It always includes some combination of:
1. Proposing whatever he wants on revenues and spending regardless of whether it is the right policy for the economy.
2. Making up his own rules of economics, mathematics and budgeting to justify what’s being proposed and make them politically palatable.
3. Discrediting the facts when they get in the way of what he wants to do and demeaning those that produce them.
4. Ignoring reality when what actually happens turns out very different from what he swore would occur.
5. Paying no attention whatsoever to the budget deficit and national debt.
Trump’s big tax cut demonstrates every ingredient of this witches’ brew.
First, the bill’s $1.5 trillion revenue loss, debt increase and stimulus was the absolute wrong fiscal policy with the economy so strong.
Second, no amount of Trump insistence and bullying about dynamic scoring was going to make that tax cut revenue neutral.
Third, even when they came from Republican-led groups like the Joint Economic Committee, nonpartisan groups like the Congressional Budget Office and Wall Street, the analyses (and those that did them) showing Trump to be wrong were trashed by the White House.
Fourth, now that the tax cut has been enacted, Trump doesn’t seem to care that his promise of a deficit-neutral bill was flat out wrong even though it will cause the budget deficit to reach record heights in good economic times.
But the tax cut is hardly the only example.
Trump’s combination of a big increase in military spending and a very large reduction in revenues meant rapidly growing interest payments both because of higher deficits and debt and fast-rising interest rates. There was also Trump’s “skinny budget” that wasn’t a budget at all; the two full Trump budgets the White House abandoned seemingly moments after they were released; and the health care debate during which the White House scurrilously criticized CBO for daring to produce highly credible analyses showing the president’s numbers were wrong.
The worst thing about all of this is that, even after his policies have done so much damage, neither Trump nor any other members of his economic policy team — Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Kevin Hassett — have even hinted about there being a problem that requires attention and a change in attitude and direction.
In fact, even in the face of interest rates hitting new recent highs and concerns increasingly being raised on Wall Street about an economic slowdown, Trump has said nothing except, that is, to tweet that he wants to make the situation even worse.
More Info: www.forbes.com