The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023

Another year of gov. expansion

We learned a lot in 2017. We learned that it isn’t just the media that is in cahoots with the Democrats, it is also the upper echelons of the intelligence agencies. We learned that a special prosecutor can be appointed without an actual crime being alleged. And we learned that freedom of speech for conservatives has become as verboten on college campuses as agenda-free history instruction.

But most importantly, we learned beyond a doubt that Republicans in Washington no longer aspire to limit government. In 2016, the last year of President Obama, federal spending totaled $3.54 trillion. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and cuts could have been made, but the GOP hid behind a Democratic president.

By Todd Wolfrum

Outlays for 2017 were $3.98 trillion, an increase of $0.44 trillion. It is projected to increase again in 2018 to $4.09 trillion. None of this falls to President Trump, who did what he could to control spending by renegotiating federal contracts and not filling many federal jobs. But that is a drop in the bucket. The budget and spending are the responsibilities of Congress.

Don’t point at the Democrats, either. They never promised fiscal responsibility and no one expects it of them. Their goal has always been to grow government, and they have dropped any pretensions otherwise over the last several years. Although, it was entertaining last year to hear several of them suddenly become deficit hawks when tax cuts were proposed. No, the left is just the left, and the President is just the executive. The larceny against future generations is entirely the crime of congressional Republicans, the ones who promised to get spending under control if only they were given the power to do so.

The GOP brought no serious proposal for cuts in 2017. No memorable public debate. We are now supposed to accept that the downward spiral is unavoidable. Nothing can be changed, not in the face of ever-expanding entitlements. Even as we reach full employment and the problem is finding workers and not jobs, and as the biggest correlation with poverty is obesity, our hands are still tied by the shaming class, we are told.

American exceptionalism has always included the mandate to create a better world for the next generation. Our entitlement culture is creating a bleak future of insurmountable national and student debt. It is no wonder that over half of Millennials identify as socialists. Not liberals, mind you, socialists. Scary, but socialism is the last bastion of hopelessness, after all.

The financial collapse is inevitable at this rate. When it happens, money will lose its value. Those who will be hurt most will be retirees on a fixed income. Loans will be available only at astronomical rates. The impact will be felt at a local government level as well.

In Ohio this past year, the federal government cut sales tax paid to Managed Care Organizations. The cut in Van Wert County, my small county, was $300,000. The impact on Franklin County was $21 million. The federal government helped manage its own books by cutting local government funding across the state, leaving us to find ways to make up the difference. There will be more of this and the breakdown will begin locally.

The Trump tax cuts may or may not increase the deficit. Likely, they will be close to revenue neutral considering the growth induced by the corporate tax cuts. We are taking in record receipts — money coming in is not the problem. Laffer Curve considered, we are probably maxed out on what the federal government can confiscate from its citizens without prematurely inducing the collapse.

Republicans have controlled both chambers of Congress for three years and spending has increased each year. If they lose either of those chambers in 2018, it will not be because of any dissatisfaction with President Trump. It will be because they were elected to do a job that they didn’t even attempt – cutting government. Of course, Democrats would be destined to do much worse. It’s time to change our Republicans.

Editor’s note: Todd Wolfrum is a Van Wert County commissioner and a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. representative from the 5th Congressional District.

POSTED: 01/22/18 at 9:38 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions