OpinionTrending Commentary

House GOP Must Confront The Federal Gov’t’s Spending Addiction — Before It’s Too Late

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News flash – the COVID pandemic is over. President Joe Biden even said so, on “60 Minutes.” So why are we still spending money at such a furious pace?

The federal government is too big. It taxes too much, spends too much, and borrows too much — all because it does too much, including doing many, many things it just has no business doing. As former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm used to say, we wouldn’t want the government we have now even if it were free.

Federal spending and the national debt are at never-before-seen levels. Both are too high — way too high.

Yet somehow, as debt ceiling discussions begin, Democrats seem to think spending and debt levels are not linked. That’s absurd.

Anybody who’s ever had to try to get out of a debt hole knows that’s preposterous – of course debt and spending are linked. Who ever tried to get out of debt without first figuring out a way to cut his or her spending?

During the last year of President Donald Trump’s administration, fueled by fears of COVID, the federal government increased its spending from $5.14 trillion in fiscal year 2019 to $7.47 trillion in fiscal year 2020, and then kept it at $7.38 trillion in fiscal year 2021.

Put another way, federal spending exploded from 21 percent of gross domestic product in 2019 to 31 percent in 2020, and then remained extraordinarily high at 30 percent in 2021.

Not surprisingly, deficits grew at the same pace. In fiscal 2019, the deficit came in at $984 billion. In year fiscal 2020, it surged to $3.13 trillion, followed by $2.77 trillion in fiscal year 2021.

You might have thought that after such wild spending, rationality would have returned by fiscal 2022. You would have been wrong. Fiscal 2022 spending fell only slightly to $6.27 trillion, representing 25 percent of gross domestic product. The deficit fell, too, to $1.38 trillion – but even then, the deficit was 40 percent more than the deficit had been in the last year before Covid spending kicked in.

And fiscal 2023? President Biden proposed a budget calling for $5.8 trillion in spending, with a $1.2 trillion deficit. Over the first three months of fiscal 2023, however, the deficit was $418 billion, which is on track for an annual deficit closer to $1.7 trillion, almost 50 percent larger than the deficit projected by Biden’s team less than a year ago.

With reckless spending like that, it’s no wonder our national debt has grown beyond $31 trillion. That represents 129% of the gross domestic product, a dangerously high level that the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank helpfully reminds us even surpasses the debt-to-GDP ratio we hit immediately following World War II.

To make matters worse, that reckless spending has led to massive inflation — as we’ve heard repeatedly for the last year, it’s the worst inflation of the last 40 years. That inflation is a not-so-hidden tax, robbing our purchasing power as if the government itself were reaching into our wallets and stealing money.

That inflation doesn’t just reduce our purchasing power. Because it’s so bad, the Federal Reserve must use the tools at its disposal (read: raising interest rates) to get that inflation under control.

Given the size of our government’s annual deficit, those increases in interest rates translate into massive increases in our annual debt service costs: Those debt service costs in fiscal year 2022 rose from $352 billion the previous year to $475 billion, and they’ll be higher next year.

As the decade progresses, those rising interest rates will lead to still greater increases in debt service costs. Within a few years, according to Moody’s Analytics, our debt service costs will rival (and may surpass) our defense budget.

There’s a difference, of course, between debt service and everything else in the budget: Debt service doesn’t buy anything tangible. Those hundreds of billions of dollars in debt service costs don’t buy a single tank, they don’t pay a single Border Patrol agent’s salary, and they don’t purchase a single mile of border wall. They just go to pay back lenders who finance our reckless spending.

We spend way too much money. The GOP House majority must use all the leverage points it has to get that spending under control. The debt ceiling is the first of these leverage points.

We cannot sustain our reckless spending. We need to cut spending so we can balance our budget, and we need to begin that process now.

Jenny Beth Martin is Honorary Chairman of Tea Party Patriots Action.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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One Comment

  1. Politicians in both parties no longer have any desire to balance the budget and have become addicted to the illogical and perverted new “monetary theory” that because the dollar is the world’s “reserve currency” we can endlessly print more money.

    We can watch in real time Europe collapsing and miles long gas lines after decades of their “Green New Deal” policies made them totally dependent on Russian gas and oil. In some places, energy costs have increased 1000% and businesses are closing because they can’t afford their utility bills. They’re clear cutting their forests, desperately digging for coal, and preparing for a brutal and dangerous winter. So even watching that unfold, then Biden and the Democrats pass their 730 billion dollar Green Energy bill, laughably called the “Inflation Reduction Act”, to institute all these proven failed policies here. It’s nothing but a Green New Deal slush fund that includes such insanity as 60 billion dollars for “environmental justice”.

    The Republicans are no better as McConnell and 18 RINO Republican Senators castrated their brothers in the incoming new House to help pass the nearly two trillion dollar “Omnibus Spending Bill”, which is just another pork filled government money printing atrocity. A bill that continues the more than 100 billion dollars funding of the proxy war against Putin and gives never ending and unaccountable billions to the corrupt and decidedly “undemocratic” Ukraine government. Zelenskyy has shut down all but state controlled media, has shut down all Ukrainian Christian churches and jailed priests and gets a standing ovation as he demands more money from Congress while his wife is on a shopping spree in Paris, and Ukrainian oligarchs are buying mansions in Switzerland with our tax dollars.

    The same bill that has exactly zero dollars to protect our “sovereignty and territorial integrity”; while we have a completely open border that let’s in millions of unvaccinated illegals; including criminals, cartels, terrorists, and the Chinese made fentanyl that has killed more Americans than have been killed on both sides in the Ukrainian war. But there is plenty of money for more “Green New Deal ” nonsense and money for LGBQT museums and the “Michelle Obama Trail”, etc., ad nauseam.

    Americans need to wake up before it’s too late and realize that the middle class is being bankrupted by our own government’s never ending money printing (which is the main cause of inflation) and ever increasing taxes and higher and higher energy costs that will result from their idiotic “Green” policies and mandates. It’s worse than just that our Government is failing us. It’s abhorrent and disgusting that they obviously care more about criminals, fringe sexual deviants, Ukrainians and illegal immigrants than their own taxpaying, law abiding citizens.

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