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Rise Of The Big Government Republicans

The GOP seems to have taken an abrupt turn away from fiscal conservatism toward big government and big spending.

The Republican Party seems to have turned a corner in recent months. After a promising start to the Trump Administration that included regulatory reform and concluded with a long-awaited tax reform bill, the party seems to have taken an abrupt turn away from fiscal conservatism toward big government and big spending policies.

The most obvious sign of the shift is the new budget signed by President Trump this week. The new budget raises spending caps by $300 billion. The first Trump budget raises spending by about $500 billion over the 2017 budget signed by Barack Obama.

The new budget also includes increases to the debt ceiling through March 2019. Previously, Republicans tied spending cuts to increases in the debt ceiling, but no more. The new budget increases military spending by $165 billion and nonmilitary programs by $131 billion. The funds include $10 billion for infrastructure, $2.9 billion for childcare and $3 billion to fight opioid abuse.

Predictably, the massive spending increases will dramatically increase the deficit. Even before the deal became law, the Washington Post reported that borrowing for the 2018 fiscal year was expected to reach its highest level in the past six years, a date that coincides with the Republican takeover of Congress in the 2010 Tea Party wave.

The national debt has already reached crisis levels, as Vice President Mike Pence realized during the campaign. President Obama nearly doubled the debt in eight years, bringing it to more than 100 percent of GDP. The continued increases in deficit are bringing the US Treasury into Greek territory.

There are indications that more increases in spending are to come. President Trump has proposed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure spending plan. Perhaps coincidentally, the price tag for Trump’s plan is almost exactly double that of President Obama’s infrastructure stimulus bill from 2009. All that is lacking are promises jobs from shovel-ready projects.

Similarly, Republicans seem ready to embrace a new family leave entitlement that is championed by both Donald and Ivanka Trump. The plan includes paid time off for six weeks for new parents courtesy of the federal government (i.e. the taxpayers).

Other Republican big government priorities are not new. Trade protectionism was growing in the party even before Donald Trump vaulted to its head. Under President Trump, free trade has taken a beating as tariffs have been imposed and trade deals renegotiated. One of Trump’s first acts was to withdraw the US from the TPP free trade agreement. In the end, trade restrictions hurt American businesses and consumers by increasing the cost of goods.

Immigration policy has long been a big government aspect of the Republican platform as well. Most Republicans support border security, but immigration hardliners favor a crackdown to deport illegal immigrants that would require an expanded federal police bureaucracy.

Deportation of illegal immigrant workers would be expensive and counterproductive. CNN reported in 2016 that it cost more than $10,000 to deport each illegal immigrant. At the same time, deportations can result in labor shortages than increase costs for employers and ultimately for consumers as well.

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that Republicans would jettison their promises of fiscal restraint. After all, the same pattern has been
followed several times in the past few decades. What is surprising is the extent and the speed with which they have done so.

Like you mentioned, this really isn't anything new. The last time we had an actual budget surplus was for the fiscal years 1999 and 2000 under Bill Clinton. G. W. Bush had 9-11, which certain boosted costs, but also involved the unnecessary (and expensive Iraq war) as well as the Medicare Part D plan, which was not offset in costs. And taxes were lowered at the same time, so of course the budget deficit shot up. The way it shakes out these days is that Democrats prefer to tax and spend while Republicans want to borrow and spend.

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My favorite part is that trump used the same line that republicans have used for years to defend no doing what they promised "if only we had more republicans in congress we wouldn't need to add so much waste". As if only the democrats were pushing such an increase to the deficit.

The truth of reconciliation is that it stops laws from being passed that raise the long term budget. But not ones that lower it. The republicans should focus on a reconciliation bill that lowers spending as much as it can within reconciliation.

We still have the establishment Republicans led by McConnell. The blame for the increase will be the tax reform package, not more spending. Revenue should increase with more jobs and companies coming back or new companies starting. The CBO can not project what the cut of regulation and new job creation will do. Continuous vetoes by Trump will accomplish nothing. George W. went to extremes to reach across the aisle because his election was so close. After Vietnam the Democrats became more anti-military and security. The inspectors for the WMDs had to give such an early warning that the weapons could be moved.. We fought the war twice in Iraq twice because of Obama. Obama care and immigration are a major part of the debt. Congress has too many perks.

This was a bipartisan bill meaning the Republicans caved. Trump has always been a liberal and that is why I was strongly against him. I credit him for the many things he has accomplished, but his liberal side is coming out.

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We had a choice between a two liberals, or a liberal and a socialist. The sixty vote rule in the senate has to be killed. Trump was my fourth or fifth choice. Hillary was at the bottom.

It's not new. The GOP hasn't been for lower spending since at least the 90s. We could make an argument that was more tech boom than cutting government, though some was done. True and significant downsizing hasn't happened since Calvin Coolidge.

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When the Democrats spend, the GOP is all against it. When they get control, they spend like drunken sailors too. Shame on Ted Cruz and thanks to Rand Paul.

Trump defenders noticeably absent from the comments.

ok Magared, I will be the token Trump supporter. I am very disappointed by this budget. The POTUS can only do what Congress allows. The voters need to drain the swamp of the GOP Leadership - the likes of McConnel and the other GOP dinosaurs. America won't change if Congress doesn't change. The Tea Party movement of 2010 didn't change leadership, it changed rank and file who seem to have little power to do anything.

"President Obama nearly doubled the debt in eight years, bringing it to more than 100 percent of GDP."

Roughly true, but misleading since most of the deficit occurred during the first 2-3 years of his presidency while the country was in a deep recession. Gov't tax revenue was down since businesses were hurting while expenditures were higher than usual e.g. due to record high unemployment, government subsidies of the car industry and so on.

Since the economy was doing great even before the 2017 tax cut and unemployment is low, Trump & the GOP really have no valid excuse for deficit spending. The economy needs no "stimulus" now although a stronger than usual case could be made for careful belt-tightening to further reduce the budget deficit. Instead, the likely resulting "sea of red ink" will now only make life harder when the next recession invariably arrives.

I'm not really thrilled by this budget, but when given a budget to defend against everything the leftists throw out to have to defend, one has to make a choice. He made the right choice. He did something that Reagan did, also. He voted to build the military back. That is going to prove to be worth the cost in the coming years.

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