The GOP’s new mantra under Trump: Spend, spend, spend—and spend some more

The Trump administration is proposing deeper cuts to safety net programs — including Medicare, which the president on the campaign trail swore he wouldn’t touch — to help fund what it calls a “more lethal” military.

Overall though, Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney told Congress these spending levels were just right.

Mr. Mulvaney, in his letter, said spending at the levels Congress authorized would add too much to the federal deficit. “We believe that this level responsibly accounts for the cap deal while taking into account the current fiscal situation,” he wrote.

Now for a little reality check from the Washington Post:

The Republican turnaround on economic policy stands in sharp contrast to the party’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s stimulus program during the Great Recession. At that time, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), now the speaker of the House, warned of a “debt crisis” and said that “spending is the problem.” Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, then a congressman from South Carolina, derided Obama’s spending plans as a “joke” and backed a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

Now, GOP leaders are largely silent on the two issues that had preoccupied them for the past decade — total spending and the growth of federal entitlements …

Mulvaney went on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday and actually said he wouldn’t vote for Trump’s legislation if he were still in Congress. What a vision in courage—just like Paul Ryan, the Republicans’ supposed fiscal wonk and deep thinker who’s now spending the nation into oblivion.

One of the biggest flash points is likely to be his decision to no longer aim to balance the budget over 10 years. That had been a North Star for the Republican Party for several decades, and GOP lawmakers took the government to the brink of default in 2011 when they demanded a vote on an amendment to the Constitution that would prohibit the government from spending more than it takes in. […]

To some degree, the president and his congressional allies are harking back to the policies of a free-spending, tax-cutting predecessor Trump has long maligned — George W. Bush.

Well, that turned out well, didn’t it?

For real, can we please drop this “North Star” business? It’s nothing but a GOP ruse. They harp on deficits right up until they grab control of Congress. Then they take a hatchet to taxes and spend like drunken sailors—always at all the wrong times.

When the economy was in freefall after President Obama took over in 2009, the nation needed a cash infusion and all the GOP did was decry deficits. Now that the economy is humming along at a decent clip—they’re flooding the zone at the exact wrong moment.

Trump’s tax and spending plan will shower the economy with hundreds of billions of additional dollars in coming years, which is expected to spur growth but risks a cycle of rising prices. Financial markets have been selling off, in part, because of inflation fears.

“The economy appears to be on the verge of overheating and ­arguably needs less, not more, stimulus,” economist Jim O’Sullivan of High Frequency Economics said in a research note Friday.

Let’s all hope it doesn’t “overheat” in any serious way—because the Republicans at the wheel right now have proven exactly one thing since they took over in 2017: They are woefully underprepared to handle a crisis of any sort. 

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