Saturday, July 8, 2017

Bill Crawford: Debt? What debt?

So, is reducing the national debt still the priority concern for Republican leaders?

Remember the rhetoric:

"The national debt threatens our way of life; it threatens the value of our national currency; and it threatens our ability to pay for entitlements that millions of Americans depend on," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2009. And that’s why it’s increasingly urgent that we focus on this growing threat — and do something about it."

"We just passed $15 trillion in national debt, making today an infamous day in U.S. history," said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in 2011. "You deserve better than leaders who are unwilling to tackle this problem."

On the campaign trail last year, Donald Trump said he would not only stop annual deficits but would eliminate the entire $19.5 trillion national debt "over a period of eight years."

That's the rhetoric. What's the reality?

In 2014 Republicans took control of the House and Senate. Budgets are the province of Congress, so budget deficits belong to them, not the President. Since 2014 budget deficits have averaged $500 billion per year. The deficit will increase to nearly $600 billion for this fiscal year.

Any day now the national debt will surpass $20 trillion ($20,000,000,000,000).

The Congressional Budget Office, based on current budget data, projects annual deficits will "grow from 3.2% GDP in 2016 to 5.2% by 2027" and the annual deficit will "cross the $1 trillion threshold in 2022."

A 2018 budget proposal released a week ago by House leadership adds $70+ billion to defense spending and would violate the spending cap established by the 2011 Budget Control Act. While the proposal also hopes to cut $200 billion from domestic spending, the resulting budget deficit would still be between $350 and $400 billion. The Senate is unlikely to accept the House cuts to domestic spending, likely keeping the deficit high.

Then there are the President's call for $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending and his plan to cut corporate taxes even if both increase the deficit.

Fox Business News reported in April, "Republicans who slammed the growing national debt under Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday they are open to Trump's tax plan, even though it could add trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade." Some Republicans have begun quoting former Vice President Dick Cheney who said "deficits don't matter" when President George W. Bush proposed tax cuts.

The reality is as this editorial in the conservative Washington Examiner said: "Spending within our means is a simple concept, but the policy has proven difficult to enact. Both Republicans and Democrats have shown no commitment to curb overspending over the last 20 years, with nominal spending levels rising under every single presidential administration, regardless of party, dating back to President Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s."

Meanwhile, the rhetoric will soon soar as Congress must once again increase the debt ceiling. There will be great wailing by Republicans, but bump the debt ceiling again they will so upward spending can continue. 

The lesson here is simple. Watch what leaders do, not what they say.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (


Anonymous said...

hypocrites they are

Anonymous said...

Not true. The Democrats are right about the Republicans and the Republicans are right about the Democrats. Until the stupid ass majority of American people start to understand that they are being played like a fiddle they will continue to be played like a fiddle.

Anonymous said...

They have to raise the debt ceiling to keep on funding the gov. When you start to study how this all works, you then begin to realize that they really can't do squat besides offer a tax break (bc no one really wants to pay for their actions).

The true financial rape started under W, accelerated massively under O, and here we are today. I think the only time in my life the budget was ever balanced was under Clinton and that was probably smoke and mirrors. The political realities have changed so much since then. I miss the 90's.

The Orwellian state, I mean the war on terror and subsequent war on everything else is quite expensive, but it makes the contractors happy.
We still have people that think that the invasion of Iraq was a smart move. Our friends died and it created a vacuum for real terrorists.

The project for the new American century (neo-con war plan) is going to do us in if not war with North Korea. They keep any healthy discussion on these matters at bay by decrying "liberal!"

Anonymous said...

Private central bank owners are reaping huge profits charging interest on their printed money and lobbyist are making a fortune grabbing their share of our tax dollars. No establishment politician wants a small government. They just want goverment to fund their crap. Nobody in power benefits from a small government or paying off the debt. It won't end well.

Anonymous said...

11--the 90's were the tech (internet) boom years-so much more than now. it was easier to balance a budget then.

as long as each and every member of congress has to bring something 'home' from DC, that budget is going to keep on ballooning. it really doesn't matter if there's a R or a D by the name...they all bring home 'something'

Macy Hanson said...

Comments 11:00 and 1:20 are intelligent.

For Those Who Know It All.. said...

"Comments 11:00 and 1:20 are intelligent."

The world I worked in for many years required that for anybody sitting at the big table to bring up a problem (and rattle on about it ad nauseum) required that it be accompanied by at least one possible solution. Two were better.

Neither 11:00 nor 1:20 do that, so they are NOT intelligent. And neither are you, 1:50.

Anonymous said...

@3:38 in addition to raising the debt ceiling, shave the non essentials off the budget off one year at a time. In addition, enact regulatory reform and remove the barriers of protectionism for cronies that prevent the actualization of a true free market.

As far as climate change goes, the free market also has solutions that don't require subsidies or funding from customers before they're built.

Finally, raise all hell with military contractors that deliver overpriced products that don't work as intended.

Also, quit letting them change the rules every year for the "improvement of America" when it does nothing of the sort, but rather increases the need for private contractors and consultants.

If it's all possible, I'd like my rights back as well that the governmnet is supposed to protect--not destroy.

Those solutions make too much sense though.

Anonymous said...

This is not a solution but something to ponder... for a government that can create money at any time, is controlling inflation more important than the national debt? The government could "print" (change numbers in the Federal Reserve system) $20 trillion right now to pay off the debt. Now they wouldn't do that, but it is possible. the national budget is just a political tool to give handouts / favors and fulfill campaign promises.

Anonymous said...

As long as all parties are of the same ilk...., oh, never mind.

Anonymous said...

at the state level, look at what mississippi did with the 2016 legislative "bond bill" --- house bill 1729. $308 million in additional debt burden --- your future tax dollars --- for a christmas-tree-collection of earmarked goodies. tate reeves and philip gunn passed the bill with the support of nearly every democrat and nearly every member of the republican supermajority. jim hood, phil bryant, and lynn fitch rubber stamped the bond bill even though the treasurer (vowed in an open letter to legislative leadership that the bond commission "will not rubber-stamp legislative bond bills."

republican and democrats alike showed no commitment to stop or curb a reckless, pork-laden bond package. at least four of the players partly responsible for this huge debt are top-of-the-ticket possibilities in 2019: the lt. gov. who used the bond bill as leverage to get house members to go along with his massive franchise tax cut; the atty gen who claimed he couldn't substitute his judgment for the judgment of the legislature on the expenditure of $308 million dollars (even though he refused to appeal a court ruling blocking the religious liberty accommodations bill the legislature passed because an appeal could cost "hundreds of thousands" in legal fees); the state treasurer who publicly railed against the bond bill before caving in and voting to authorize the projects once the bond commission finally met; or the freshman house democrat who couldnt get off of his facebook page long enough to figure out the taxpayer money the legislature will have to spend to service the debt for landscaping and ball fields could have been better used on public education or mental health.

whether in jackson or in washington, the debt wont be controlled as long as politicians are unwilling to put the general public's interest ahead of their fellow party members and special interests; and as long as the general public is unwilling to hold those same politicians accountable.

Anonymous said...

HEAR! HEAR! @ 11:23!

Anonymous said...

The solution is not difficult in concept, just in implementation.
Revenues have to increase and spending has to decrease.
We need to raise more taxes with strategic tax reform and reduce spending with strategic cuts.
Not all spending in bad. It is good if it creates a future return on investment. ( If you add a bathroom to your house for $20000 and it adds $40000 to your home market value, that's good spending) . It's bad to postpone spending ( example: infrastructure) if the expenditure is necessary and will cost more in the future. If you don't repair the roof, water damages will add to repair costs.
These across the board tax cuts and spending cuts are ridiculous. It's cutting non essentials and essentials the same.
Budget reform is never mentioned, but it's key. No department of government should be looking to increase on decrease based on last year's budget alone. You have to evaluate whether or not your costs and spending last fiscal year was efficient or wasteful.
To do this requires actual work by our elected officials and their staffs. If they cooperated, they could divide the labor. And, unlike the past, it's not "mission impossible". The computer age has made it mission possible. It's just hard work.
Taxes and spending is math. It's not political philosophy but both parties had led you to believe it is. Math either adds up or it doesn't. It can be demonstrated that the formula works or it doesn't. It hasn't worked to believe in voodoo economics. I wish voodoo worked, but it hasn't. It increases debt and eventually one has to pay the creditors.
Our neighbors in South America should be our poster children. They have always done political philosophies in the extreme.
PS Clinton balanced the budget, he didn't erase the debt.He simply made it possible to reduce the debt and The Contract with America helped..
Please stop this absolutely dysfunctional blame game created by the political parties to keep you from looking at the facts. With the possible exception of George Washington, none of our Presidents were perfect and they made blunders as well as accomplished some good things. None of our Presidents accomplished anything without good help and support and advice and all had problems with bad advice and information.
We are as a country have become the bad neighbors who would rather scream and shout and throw things at each another than have a good marriage! Right fighters destroy themselves and make life miserable for those around them. Get a grip on your emotions!

Anonymous said...

We do not need to raise more revenue. Revenue continues to increase every year at record levels.

Anonymous said...

But sooner or later you will run out of a source for taxes. The half of our working age population that actually works will eventually tire of those who raise their taxes and those who suck at the public tit.

To simplify it, those pulling the wagon periodically look over their shoulders at the growing number riding in the wagon and get damned tired of it. A saturation point will be reached and your 'voodoo taxation' bullshit will be out the window.

Anonymous said...

Revenue increases or Federal contributions is more likely.

Either way it goes, there's a fundamental difference between both party's - that is there's no tax a Democrat doesn't like and there's no tax cut a Republican doesn't like.

That's how it should be, but where we are lost as a nation is how to maintain this country and the way of life we are used to in regards to: military, first responders, education, transportation, healthcare and our environment.

But instead of focusing on those issues year in and year out, our governments choose to focus on legislating morality.

In turn ignoring infrastructure issues, increasing breakdowns and functions in our infrastructure, meaning higher costs to improving and/or building new and improved parts.

All are easy fixes, but Americans are complicit in electing partisan tacticians instead of officials who want to get things done.

As far as Mississippi goes - there's a Republican Supermajority, so there are no excuses for them because they have the voting power, they passed the current fiscal legislation, we are now sitting back and watching the results from the fruits of their labor. And right now we can see that they did nothing to improve Mississippi's economic footing in the American economy. We are still last in education. We are still last in quality of life.

Welp, let's elect Tate Reeves and let him dig us down deeper in the rabbit hole.

Anonymous said...

High wind warning @ 8:08 AM.

Anonymous said...

You are right 5:08. And as long as we remain in 'The Bible Belt' and continue to admire our personal position on morality, we will languish. And we will continue to believe it's our responsibility to elect people who promise their morals resemble our own. That's all that matters.

So we continue to ignore everything other than personal morals and judgment of other people and we keep electing people who will screw us and enrich themselves. Stupid stuff like infrastructure, education and quality of life be damned.

Anonymous said...

9:48 am You seem not to have noticed that costs have increased as well. You seem not to have noticed that it's not just federal debt that increased but all debt including personal debt. You ignore the concentration of wealth and the decline of the middle class.
You haven't noticed apparently that a dollar today buys less than it did in the past.
And, you clearly don't understand that it's not the amount of money you have but whether or not you squander it and fail to invest it in the future so that wealth is increased.
And, you've missed that by not investing in education wisely with attention to curriculum, we have a non-competitive workforce and high tech jobs that unfilled.
I wish the world was as simple as your mind.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:36am

Let me add this. Not saying we shouldn't be moral and ethical citizens, but I look at those things as common sense. We should elect good citizens. But that shouldn't be the only focus and it seems in Mississippi that is usually the only focus.

That's why so many of them push on what church they are a member of and use their family's as props.

Anonymous said...

"And, you've missed that by not investing in education wisely with attention to curriculum, we have a non-competitive workforce and high tech jobs that unfilled."

yada yada from the woman who works at the State Ed Dept. Where are these unfilled 'high tech' jobs?

You must know that if we tinker too much with 'the curriculum', 80% of public school scholars will fail.

Anonymous said...

The literacy rate in Mississippi is abysmal especially in rural areas. One would think that being 'the buckle of the Bible belt' would help literacy in general as the Bible itself is quite a challenging read, but that's not the case.

On another note, financial literacy has been all but abandoned (something every child should be equipped with to tackle the real world), but that's not a goal either that I know of.

All we hear is "fund/ invest in education" when: A) save reading gate, the basics aren't being tackled in any meaningful way & B) most of the money per the status quo never sees the light of a classroom in most cases.

After so many years of compulsory attendance, these kids start to realize what they're truly up against and just drop out. It is an inconvenient truth, but it IS the truth. So, come back with a meaningful way to change the system from within that's not based on using children for the profit of administrators and consultants AND THEN we might be more apt to "invest".

Until then, your plight for funding is falling on deaf ears. Redirecting the focus to STEM is tantamount to asking us to build a bigger house on a really shaky foundation.

Troll Tracks said...

You seem not to have noticed

You seem not to have noticed

You ignore

You haven't noticed apparently

And, you clearly don't understand

And, you've missed that

I wish the world was as simple as your mind.

Fletcher Adams said...

"The half of our working age population that actually works will eventually tire of those who raise their taxes and those who suck at the public tit." --10:01am

43% of American households pay no federal income taxes. This number varies from year to year, obviously. Still, many of those households pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. This drops the rate to around 14.4% of American households that pay no federal taxes. Again, this number varies from year to year. 9.7% of that 14.4% are elderly. Only 4.7% of the working age population pays no federal taxes. [1]

"We do not need to raise more revenue. Revenue continues to increase every year at record levels." --9:48 am

Correct, excepting during the Great Recession. [2] It is estimated that the U.S. Federal Government will collect $3.4 Trillion for FY2017. If we spent the same in 2017 as we did in 2013, we would have a balanced budget with zero deficit. We would still have $20 Trillion in Federal debt.

"You ignore the concentration of wealth..."

I have found it amazing that once you have no debts (either student loans, autos, mortgages, credit cards) by living a frugal life, that the power of compound interest makes one wealthy.

"Where are these unfilled 'high tech' jobs?" -- 11:40 pm

I am the hiring manager on the following two positions. I have five more high tech jobs available, but they are not listed (yet).

By the way, I am happy to sign my real name.

Fletcher Adams


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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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