No, Stimulus Spending Wouldn’t Be an Economic Vaccine Against the Coronavirus

“as doctors will tell you, administering vaccines to patients with weakened immune systems can be disastrous. Given the United States’ already perilous national debt and rising deficit, the White House and Congress should be cautious about spending additional money to avoid a coronavirus-caused recession—especially since the “vaccine” doesn’t seem like a sure bet.”

Trump’s Budget Follows in the Footsteps of Giant Spenders

“during Trump’s first term, he displayed the same proclivity to jack up spending as his Republicans predecessors. The data shows that Trump increased defense spending in real terms by 18 percent, with an overall spending growth rate of 10 percent. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush increased defense spending by 28 percent and 36 percent, respectively (and overall spending by 9 percent and 24 percent). Compared with their Republican counterparts, Democratic presidents Obama and Bill Clinton look frugal.

Unlike Bush or Reagan, however, Trump has had a booming economy, no new wars, and no terrorist attacks since his term began. This context makes the massive increase in spending, along with the $1 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2020, even more shocking. With no serious changes, the Congressional Budget Office projects that these annual budget deficits will stay well above $1 trillion in the next 10 years.

To be fair, the president does plan to balance the budget eventually—in 2035. To achieve this goal, Trump proposes some $4.4 trillion in savings over 10 years, which is a step in the right direction. For instance, according to Marc Goldwein at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, this the budget would save Medicare $600 billion, reducing national health expenditures by almost $1 trillion. As Goldwein noted on Twitter, “That means lower premiums and out of pocket costs—don’t demagogue these policies!” Unfortunately, judging by the news headlines and reactions by Democrats in Congress, these savings are likely dead on arrival.

To achieve such savings, some very unrealistic assumptions would need to materialize. For instance, while the economy grew 2.4 percent in 2017, 2.9 percent in 2018 and 2.3 percent in 2019, the White House projects that the economy will grow at about 2.8 percent annually for a decade straight. The budget also counts on interest rates staying low, so as to not massively increase the amount of interest payments that will have to be made. The low interest rate, paired with the planned savings, would lower interest costs by $300 billion. Unfortunately, this is a mirage. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “Using more realistic economic assumptions, the budget deficit would be about $1.2 trillion (3.7 percent of GDP) in 2030,” as opposed to the $261 billion projected by the White House.”

“The plan is to cut projected spending on domestic programs by roughly $2 trillion. These “cuts” are mostly to the projected growth of spending increases, not reductions in the actual amount of spending. Still, to make the savings politically viable, the burden should be distributed enough to inspire a sense of shared sacrifice. Instead, the budget plans to extend the 2017 tax cuts at a cost of $1.4 trillion and increases military spending, making the cuts harder to stomach for some.

At the end of the day, and after much spilled ink analyzing the budget proposal, we can count on one thing: This actual budget won’t see the light of day. Instead, Congress and the administration will continue in the footsteps of those who came before them and increase the debt while pretending to be fiscally responsible.”

Uncle Sam Doubles Down on His Spending Addiction

“This fiscal year, 2020, the federal government will collect $3.6 trillion in tax revenues. But due to its spending addiction, the government will expend $4.6 trillion. This means that the government will have to borrow $1 trillion this year alone, in order to cover a deficit of 4.6 percent of GDP. This is the first trillion-dollar deficit not due to a global recession.”

“Thankfully, the economy is doing well for now. This good performance is masking many of the ill effects, not just of the trade war but also of our overall fiscal situation. The reality, however, is that a growing economy during a time of peace should not be accompanied by growing deficits.”

Unlike Rivals, Buttigieg Health Plan Reduces Deficit And Covers 30M

““The four leading candidates would all spend money to expand coverage and they would all raise taxes to help cover the costs,” Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget senior vice president Marc Goldwein said in an interview Friday. “We estimate only one candidate would actually raise enough to assure their plan doesn’t add to the national debt.”

With the higher price tags come lower out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans under the Warren and Sanders plans.”

Congress Repealed Major Elements of Obamacare and Almost No One Noticed

“at the tail end of 2019, Congress repealed three significant components of Obamacare.

The three repealed provisions were all taxes, each of which was included in the initial legislation as a way of raising revenue to pay for the hundreds of billions in spending the law called for. By far the biggest of the three was the so-called Cadillac tax, which was expected to raise about $197 billion over the next decade. Congress also nixed the law’s health insurance tax, projected to raise $150 billion over 10 years, and the medical device tax, projected to raise $25.5 billion. All three taxes were eliminated as part of a $1.4 trillion year-end budget bill that President Trump signed at the last possible minute in order to keep the government open.”

“The elimination of three health care taxes will increase the deficit by $373 billion.”

The 2020s Will Be the Decade of Deficit Doomsday

“After piling up trillions of dollars in deficit spending during the last recession, the federal government took some modest steps towards reducing that red ink during the middle years of the 2010s. But after Republicans took full control in 2017, spending skyrocketed and the deficit inflated again.

Since Trump was inaugurated, Washington has added $4.7 trillion to the national debt—almost entirely the result of a gigantic spending binge, but with a small assist from the 2017 tax cuts, which reduced revenues without offsetting spending cuts.”

“”Debt threatens our economic health and hinders our ability to make important investments in our future. If we want to tackle big issues like climate change, student debt or national security, then we shouldn’t saddle ourselves with growing interest costs.””

“Compare all this with early 2001, at the end of the second-longest economic expansion in history. The federal government was running a surplus. The national debt was falling and amounted to only 31 percent of GDP. That’s what you’d expect to see now, since deficits typically fall when the economy is growing and grow when the economy is rotten.

Indeed, since the end of World War II, the U.S. has seen deficits greater than 4 percent of GDP only in years when the country was either deep in the throes of a serious recession or emerging from one.”

“If we’re running a trillion-dollar deficit in the good years, what happens when the next downturn occurs?”

“The Trump administration and current crop of Republicans in Congress have made the problem worse than it already was. Some of them—like former deficit hawk Mick Mulvaney and former House Speaker Paul Ryan, who made his name in Congress as the GOP’s budget-maker—deserve special ignominy for abandoning their fiscal conservatism when it was most needed. Trump came into office promising to eliminate the national debt in eight years, and that’s even more of a joke now than it was then.

Meanwhile, Democrats’ aversion to spending reductions and their refusal even to consider changes to entitlement programs—the biggest driver of the national debt—are equally large obstacles to any meaningful attempt at fixing this mess. The party’s progressive wing is pushing for Medicare for All and expanding Social Security benefits, while elevating economic theories that say we should ignore the deficit.”