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November 7, 2017

Democrats Are Suddenly Concerned About Federal Debt


One is tempted to say of Democrats’ new-found concern about the size of federal debt, "better late than never"—except it’s the epitome of chutzpah. 

Republicans recently passed budget instructions that will allow them to move tax reform legislation that could increase the federal debt by up to $1.5 trillion over 10 years. 

Democrats are not happy. 

WJLA in Washington quotes Democratic Senator Ben Cardin as saying, “It should not increase the deficit, and by definition, they’re allowing a $1.5 trillion increase in our national debt under that tax bill.” 

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said in October, “The longer we wait to address the debt in a serious manner, the more the safety net frays, and the harder this crisis will be to address.” 

Democrats’ criticisms are so pervasive that CNBC reporter Yian Mui has dubbed them “the new deficit hawks.”  

Really!? Wouldn’t know it from their past actions. 

Federal debt under Barack Obama rose from $11.1 trillion at the beginning of 2009 to $19.9 trillion by the end of 2016, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. That’s a little more than $1 trillion a year for each year Obama was in office.



So if Democrats hadn’t gone on a near decade-long spending binge, would they be as concerned now? Or does their concern have more to do with politics than economics? 

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the tax reform plan would cost just under $1.5 trillion over 10 years—though other estimates that do a better job of incorporating the effects of new hiring and investment will likely produce a significantly lower figure. 

In other words, the Republican tax plan could cost the federal government about the same over 10 years as Barack Obama did in one year! 

And remember, once Republicans took control of the House, they constrained federal spending under Obama, which both he and Democrats whined about constantly. 

IPI would also like to see more fiscal discipline coming out of Washington. But getting weak-kneed on tax reform isn’t the place to do it. The best way to achieve that goal is to cut federal spending. However, Democrats, and even some Republicans, won’t like that option either.


  • TaxBytes-New

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