Don’t Expect Spending Cuts Until Dems Cry Uncle

Most of us know that U.S. government spending is too high. And the deficit and the debt are going to get us one day. So why doesn’t someone do something?

And why has President Trump done a “$320 billion budget deal” with Speaker Pelosi that kicks the can down the road yet again? How come he’s willing to do a deal with Nancy Pelosi that increases spending and raises the debt ceiling through the 2020 election?

Well, of course. Trump wants to clear the decks for electoral action, and he doesn’t want to be stubbing his toe on a debt ceiling crisis just before the election in 2020.

And, don’t forget, Trump ran in 2016 promising not to cut Social Security and Medicare.

What would it take to get the federal budget under control? It would take a ruling class, on left and right, agreed that debt should be controlled. We did it before, as this chart of the federal debt since 1900 proves.

In World War II federal debt went to 120 percent of GDP. Then, for the next 30 years, our presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, brought the debt down to 30 percent of GDP.

But then the nation divided. Democrats wanted to save the world with the Great Society and, after a pause, Republicans said: Not with our taxes you don’t. And so the debt went up to 60 percent of GDP.

Then the Democrats’ plan for a mortgage in every pot blew up in 2008, and the debt went to 100 percent of GDP.

Okay, let’s look at federal spending in the 20th century.

Looks to me as though federal spending has been running at about 20 percent of GDP since the 1970s. I doubt if the American people are in the mood for a radical increase in spending for Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

Now whatabout federal revenue in the 20th century?

Nobody has been able to budge federal revenue off about 16-17 percent of GDP for 75 years!

So I’d say that, despite all the wailing and the gnashing of teeth, it is steady as she goes until something blows up. Everybody says that the end will come when Social Security runs out of money, or Medicare/Medicaid eats the budget, or the world stops buying Treasury securities. But my prediction is that the explosion will be about something else that nobody saw coming, certainly nobody in the ruling class.

But is there nothing we can do?

I remind you of the truth of the late Andrew Breitbart, that politics is downstream from culture. And John C. Wright’s extension of that truth, that politics is downstream from culture is downstream from religion.

Oh, and pace John Derbyshire, everything is downstream from biology.

If you want to balance the budget then you have to change the religion (or biology?) of the Amerian people, so that an electoral majority believes that big government programs are immoral with the same passion that today’s liberals believe that racism and white supremacy are immoral.

If we use my reductive Three Peoples theory as a model, it is clear that the People of the Subordinate Self -- the workers, peasants, and victims -- believe that the state should provide and they will vote for politicians that promise the necessary loot. Don’t look to them for a solution.

The People of the Responsible Self believe that people should shift for themselves before putting a hand out, and we believe on moral grounds, that to be independent and prudent and save up for a rainy day is right and proper, and that we should organize our lives on that basis. But we are not averse to getting a little handout here and there from the government. After all, why shouldn’t we get a share of the loot that government hands out every day to its supporters? So we could do better.

The problem is the People of the Creative Self, the educated ruling class. Their religion teaches them that they are called by the arc of history and by social justice to create a new world of peace and compassion, to tax you and me, and name and shame us, and shower benefits on the traditionally marginalized, and lead us all to the New Heaven on Earth.

Someone is going to have to teach them a new religion, and it begins with the truth that their ideas led to the horror of socialism, their ideas led to the white working class dying of despair, their ideas led to the dysfunctional mess of Baltimore, MD, their need for an end-of-the-world prophecy that has led to the climate change hoax.

But in general people don’t abandon their religion until way after their prophecies have failed. And so, for a season, we are going to have to apply on our liberal friends the Murdstone Doctrine of “firmness.”

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

Most of us know that U.S. government spending is too high. And the deficit and the debt are going to get us one day. So why doesn’t someone do something?

And why has President Trump done a “$320 billion budget deal” with Speaker Pelosi that kicks the can down the road yet again? How come he’s willing to do a deal with Nancy Pelosi that increases spending and raises the debt ceiling through the 2020 election?

Well, of course. Trump wants to clear the decks for electoral action, and he doesn’t want to be stubbing his toe on a debt ceiling crisis just before the election in 2020.

And, don’t forget, Trump ran in 2016 promising not to cut Social Security and Medicare.

What would it take to get the federal budget under control? It would take a ruling class, on left and right, agreed that debt should be controlled. We did it before, as this chart of the federal debt since 1900 proves.

In World War II federal debt went to 120 percent of GDP. Then, for the next 30 years, our presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, brought the debt down to 30 percent of GDP.

But then the nation divided. Democrats wanted to save the world with the Great Society and, after a pause, Republicans said: Not with our taxes you don’t. And so the debt went up to 60 percent of GDP.

Then the Democrats’ plan for a mortgage in every pot blew up in 2008, and the debt went to 100 percent of GDP.

Okay, let’s look at federal spending in the 20th century.

Looks to me as though federal spending has been running at about 20 percent of GDP since the 1970s. I doubt if the American people are in the mood for a radical increase in spending for Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

Now whatabout federal revenue in the 20th century?

Nobody has been able to budge federal revenue off about 16-17 percent of GDP for 75 years!

So I’d say that, despite all the wailing and the gnashing of teeth, it is steady as she goes until something blows up. Everybody says that the end will come when Social Security runs out of money, or Medicare/Medicaid eats the budget, or the world stops buying Treasury securities. But my prediction is that the explosion will be about something else that nobody saw coming, certainly nobody in the ruling class.

But is there nothing we can do?

I remind you of the truth of the late Andrew Breitbart, that politics is downstream from culture. And John C. Wright’s extension of that truth, that politics is downstream from culture is downstream from religion.

Oh, and pace John Derbyshire, everything is downstream from biology.

If you want to balance the budget then you have to change the religion (or biology?) of the Amerian people, so that an electoral majority believes that big government programs are immoral with the same passion that today’s liberals believe that racism and white supremacy are immoral.

If we use my reductive Three Peoples theory as a model, it is clear that the People of the Subordinate Self -- the workers, peasants, and victims -- believe that the state should provide and they will vote for politicians that promise the necessary loot. Don’t look to them for a solution.

The People of the Responsible Self believe that people should shift for themselves before putting a hand out, and we believe on moral grounds, that to be independent and prudent and save up for a rainy day is right and proper, and that we should organize our lives on that basis. But we are not averse to getting a little handout here and there from the government. After all, why shouldn’t we get a share of the loot that government hands out every day to its supporters? So we could do better.

The problem is the People of the Creative Self, the educated ruling class. Their religion teaches them that they are called by the arc of history and by social justice to create a new world of peace and compassion, to tax you and me, and name and shame us, and shower benefits on the traditionally marginalized, and lead us all to the New Heaven on Earth.

Someone is going to have to teach them a new religion, and it begins with the truth that their ideas led to the horror of socialism, their ideas led to the white working class dying of despair, their ideas led to the dysfunctional mess of Baltimore, MD, their need for an end-of-the-world prophecy that has led to the climate change hoax.

But in general people don’t abandon their religion until way after their prophecies have failed. And so, for a season, we are going to have to apply on our liberal friends the Murdstone Doctrine of “firmness.”

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.