Deficit: GOP conservatives must rein in Trump spending

Published 10:25 am Friday, February 10, 2017

The Mankato Free Press

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency

The elephant in the GOP meeting room with members of Congress and President Donald Trump is how Trump’s new spending plans will be greeted by a Republican caucus that has fought nearly every penny of new spending for the last eight years.

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Trump’s wall at the Mexican border would cost an estimated $15 billion. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would cost $350 billion over 10 years. And the conservative think tank the Tax Foundation has said reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent would cost $10 trillion over 10 years. Trump’s plan to repair deteriorating roads, bridges, train tracks and airports was estimated to have another $1 trillion price tag.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated Trump’s campaign promises would cost a total of $5 trillion, without the infrastructure plan.

By contrast, the economic stimulus approved by Obama and Democrats after the 2008 financial crisis cost a total of $800 billion and was fought tooth and nail by Republicans as a waste. While it is largely credited by nonpartisan experts as boosting the recovery, it spurred the fiscally conservative tea party movement whose influence grew starting with the 2010 Congress. Their recent silence is echoing.

The current Republican Congress has so far remained fairly quiet about Trump’s spending plans, with only a brief mention here and there. When Trump touted his infrastructure plan at a Philadelphia Republican retreat, the room fell silent, according to a news report in the Boston Globe.

While the Republican Congress called for spending offsets on new Obama spending even for things like the Zika virus, they are making no such pledges so far on Trump spending proposals. GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan responded to a spending offset question by telling the Globe: “We’ll see.”

Other budget hawks in the Republican caucus also must be scratching their heads about new 20 percent import taxes to help pay for the wall, a protectionist idea that had it been proposed by Obama would have the GOP putting him in the category with socialists the world over.

Without any restraints, a Trump spending plan approved by Congress would cause the federal debt and the national deficit to soar. And Trump’s proclamation that in business he was the “king of debt” should give all members of Congress reason to pause.

We urge the Republican-controlled Congress to begin reining in Trump’s spending ideas and continue with the deficit hawk zeal they’ve had for the last eight years.