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“Barack Obama is dumbfounded. The Republicans harangued him for eight straight years over the federal budget deficit. Now, under President Trump, the deficit is skyrocketing—with nary a peep from the GOP. “This is supposed to be the party, supposedly, of fiscal conservatism,” he said in a speech in September. “Suddenly deficits do not matter, even though just two years ago, when the deficit was lower, they said I couldn’t afford to help working families or seniors on Medicare because the deficit was an existential crisis. What changed?”
The former president is not naive; he knows the answer. What changed was that Republicans, having swept the 2016 election, now fully control the government’s purse strings. By the end of Trump’s first year, the Republicans jacked the military’s budget by $80 billion and approved a $1.5 trillion tax cut. So it was no surprise when the Treasury Department reported last week that the deficit rose 77 percent in the first quarter of the fiscal year over the same period the previous year. This week, in its latest budget proposal, the White House had the gall to warn that we “must protect future generations from Washington’s habitual deficit spending,” but nonetheless projected the deficit would rise substantially over the next three years.
The question many are asking is whether the GOP’s about-face matters, politically speaking. As recent headline in The Week put it, “Will Republicans’ deficit hypocrisy haunt them this year?” The White House is confident that it won’t. Trump’s acting chief of staff, former Congressman Mick Mulvaney, spent years ripping Obama about the deficit. Asked recently why Trump’s 2019 State of the Union didn’t mention the deficit, he replied, “Nobody cares.””
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Thousands of gay rights supporters gathered in heavy rain outside parliament in the capital, Taipei, to watch a live broadcast of the proceedings. Supporters shouted “First in Asia!” after the article was passed."
"It’s increasingly clear that Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision protecting a woman’s right to choose abortion, is in jeopardy. But what is Roe all about? Privacy? Liberty? Women’s equality?"
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being cautious about engaging Israel in the US-Iran tensions, though he would surely not object to an American attack on Iran."
"Hello. I’m a person who has never watched Game of Thrones. You’re a person who has watched every episode. Here is what I have learned about you through the cultural osmosis..."
"The vacation rental industry is mired in claims that it harms neighborhoods and housing markets. Can a nonprofit co-op make the tourist trend a community asset?"
"One of the many important facets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry is his observation that President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter and other mass media could subvert the criminal-justice system."
"Even in a profession where major commissions rarely materialize before a man (and, beginning only recently, a woman) is well past fifty, it is hard for anyone alive today to remember a time when I.M. Pei was not a dominant, commanding figure."
"If you’re old enough to remember the Soviet Union, you’ve probably wondered why so many young people today seem attracted to socialism. One influence is Howard Zinn, who published “A People’s History of the United States” in 1980..."
"Moms and dads may be new to microdosing, but the trend has been bubbling for years in Silicon Valley. The tech set claim that taking 10 to 20 micrograms of LSD every few days makes them more creative..."
"In 1983, the Italian-Israeli professor Sandra Debenedetti Stow stunned the scholarly world with an explosive article that proposed that Jews introduced pizza to the European diet."
"During a military mission, whether in peace or in war, if a pilot or soldier can’t identify an object, they have a serious problem: How should they react, without knowing if it is neutral, friendly or threatening? "
"Wouk, an Orthodox Jew, embodied the new postwar possibilities for American Jews and his writing helped normalize Judaism within the larger American landscape..."