When 2017 began the nation had a new Congress, a new president and an old problem: debt on an unsustainable path. One year later, the new Congress and the new president have done nothing to address the old problem. In fact, they have made it worse.
The tax cut that was passed with great fanfare just before Christmas and celebrated as a “gift” to the American people will add at least one trillion dollars to the debt we are leaving to our children.
Now Congress and the president may be on the verge of enacting a major new spending deal that would keep the government open, extend many expiring programs and tax breaks, and cancel, delay or modify provisions intended to achieve needed savings, all at a cost of adding at least $300 billion to the debt over just the next two years, and potentially much more.
Some may consider this new bipartisan spending deal to be a breakthrough, but it is a breakthrough only in the sense that it breaks through any semblance of fiscal responsibility.
The government may remain open for now and politicians will pat themselves on the back for accomplishing this most basic of government functions. They should have the guts to acknowledge, however, that the government they are keeping open is on a perilous and unsustainable fiscal path.
Not long ago, Republicans and Democrats debated “hard choices” to put the federal government on a sustainable fiscal path. Those days are gone and they will not return until the American people demand accountability.