The looming threat of a U.S. government shutdown and temporary layoffs starting on Saturday has lessened with the Trump White House no longer insisting that border wall funding be part of legislation Congress must pass to extend authority for federal spending beyond Friday. Passage of a short-term budget resolution funding the government through Sept. 30 seems likely before the weekend.
Good. For months, President Trump and some of his top aides inexplicably believed that Republicans who control Washington could use fear of a government shutdown to leverage concessions from Democrats instead of grasping that such a shutdown would be blamed on the party in power.
But the reality is this: Lawmakers who try to engineer shutdowns are behaving like juveniles, not demonstrating fiscal prudence or responsibility. Past shutdowns have accomplished nothing.
What’s needed is bipartisan resolve to stop passing kick-the-bucket-down-the-road budgets. Such resolve is hard to find.
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Yet the aging of the population is going to balloon the costs of Social Security and Medicare as the United States enters an era in which there is a 2 to 1 ratio between taxpayers and recipients of those retirement benefits. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that interest on the national debt will go from the present $270 billion a year (about 7 percent of the total federal budget) to $712 billion in 2026.
While the Trump administration’s proposed budget includes some domestic spending cuts, it also calls for substantially more military spending and would add nearly a half-trillion dollars to the U.S. national debt.
It is not remotely the debt-slashing budget Trump promised as a candidate.
Endlessly relying on debt is no way to run a household or a business. It’s also no way to run a country.