Kevin D. Williamson writes that the congressional GOP has accomplished at least one good thing:
Having been elevated in the 2010 elections and fortified in subsequent elections, congressional Republicans have made a little bit of progress on the deficit, which was reduced from 8.7 percent of GDP in 2010 to 2.5 percent of GDP in 2015. In 2007, before the credit crisis and the subsequent recession, it had been about 1.1 percent of GDP — too high for the liking of many deficit hawks, but arguably manageable.
Another way to look at the spending problem is deficit compared to revenue, i.e., how much we’re borrowing to finance spending vs. how much we’re taking in. This gives you an idea of what the “stretch” is, what we’d need to cover in additional taxes or reduce through spending cuts to bring expenditures in line with income. In 2010, the deficit was 60 percent of revenue ($1.29 trillion deficit vs. $2.16 trillion revenue), whereas in 2015 the deficit was 13 percent of revenue ($439 billion deficit vs. $3.25 trillion revenue). For those of you who habitually ask what it is that congressional Republicans have accomplished, that’s it: Despite having Barack Obama in the White House and a public that clamored for more benefits and lower taxes, the deficit has been reduced substantially in absolute terms, relative to GDP, relative to the federal budget, and relative to revenue, since the height of Democratic power under the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate.
That triumvirate, let’s not forget, was generously financed by Donald Trump, who thinks he should be the Republican presidential nominee…
What congressional Republicans achieved between 2010 and now they achieved in no small part through budget sequestration, which placed meaningful limits on both new military spending and new domestic spending — and was, as a result of that, so enormously unpopular that it was effectively repealed.
Which brings us back to the question: About than 80 percent of federal spending is on Social Security, medical benefits, the military, and interest on the debt. Of that remaining 20 percent that is so-called discretionary spending, much really cannot be eliminated: You can defund the Department of Energy, but the work it does (including the management of nuclear-weapon assets) is going to have to be done by someone, at some expense. So what’s it going to be: Cut popular spending, raise taxes, or live with deficits for as long as the markets will lend us money? We know what answer to expect from the frequently bankrupt Trump, who once financed a casino boondoggle with junk bonds at 15 percent interest.
Cruz and Rubio may not want to answer that question right now, during a hotly contested primary. Fair enough. But somebody is going to have to answer that question, someday.
This excerpt isn’t directly on point but is too good not to share:
Donald Trump’s greatest business innovation thus far has been having the foresight to locate a strip joint inside an Atlantic City casino rather than around the corner from it, and that didn’t stop his daft Taj Mahal project from going bankrupt a few times. If you believe that the business acumen of a game-show host is going to allow the U.S. government to increase health-care access while reducing spending on health care, you are a fool.