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Spending and payday loans

The Congressional Budget Office just advised Congress to raise the debt ceiling earlier than planned because the Trump tax cuts blew a hole in tax revenue coming in. Trump’s Treasury secretary expects revenue to be $10 billion to $15 billion a month less all year than it has been, and says he does not expect to see any additional revenue in spite of Trump’s claims the tax cuts would pay for themselves. Workers who believe they benefit from the tax cuts are like people who feel flush with cash after getting a payday loan. Two weeks later when the loan, plus an unconscionable amount of interest comes due, they likely do not have the money to pay it back.

Congress has been passing temporary spending bills because there is not sufficient revenue to pay for all the programs they are committed to pay for. Congress will do what it always does in this situation — borrow from Social Security and the federal pension funds, and sell our debt to whomever will buy it. That is usually China. The deficit, which Republicans are now ignoring, will become a big deal to them once again when Democrats control Congress. And it will be Democrats who have to figure out a way to deal with it as they did after Reagan took us into horrendous deficits when he cut taxes on those at the top from about 72 percent to 28 percent. Clinton raised taxes a little and took us (finally) to a surplus, but then Bush pushed tax cuts while Congress passed an unfunded prescription drug benefit and took us into two wars, which were supposed to cost $50 billion, and, according to Donald Rumsfeld, last “Three days, three weeks, I doubt three months.” Instead, those wars have become eternal and are costing trillions of dollars. Historically, taxes are raised to pay for wars, but the Iraq War was not popular, and Bush/Cheney were afraid the public wouldn’t back it if they were required to actually pay for it by increased taxation. So they put war costs on a credit card and blamed Obama for the enormous deficits their irresponsible tax cuts made inevitable.

I am happy some middle-class people are getting tax relief. I wish I believed it was real and permanent. But it isn’t. Only the poor and middle class should have received tax cuts, and corporate taxes need not have been cut as deeply as they were, but some Republicans were actually honest enough to admit that if they didn’t pass massive tax cuts for their obscenely rich and corporate donors, those donor’s checkbooks would be closed for future campaign contributions, thereby admitting they do not govern in the interests of their constituents, but rather in the interests of the donors funding their re-election efforts.

Paul Ryan wants to reform social programs now to make up for budget shortfalls exacerbated by these tax cuts. McConnell wants to wait because he knows cutting social programs would hurt Republicans in the 2018 elections.

Lonna Gooden Van Horn

Northwood