|Rounds And Thune|
Not A Bit Worried About Federal Debt
So just how did Thune and Rounds mount their crusades against unsustainability? They ignored them and voted last week to approve a budget of about $4.1 trillion in spending with revenues anticipated at $3.65 trillion, leaving a deficit of $440 billion through October, 2018. What's more, in the byzantine process of Senate deliberations, this budget sets the stage for deficits totalling $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. So much for unsustainability.
Naturally, there's a Republican explanation for this gush of red ink our Senators support. According to the partisan line, this budget sustains the "unsustainable" in order to smooth the way for the tax reforms that President Trump has been pushing since inauguration day. The GOP line is that the economic growth spurred by Trump's tax cuts will not be budget busters at all. Powerful economic growth will generate tax revenues that themselves are strong enough to cut into the federal debt and bring it more in line with historic levels. Based on the experiences of the last half-century, this is bunk. I have yet to see any data that support that argument. George W. Bush's tax cuts were followed by the 4th largest national debt increase incurred during a president's tenure. Reagan's often-ballyhooed tax cuts were followed by a tripling of the national debt during his years in office.
Bringing that theory down to a more relateable level, the recent Kansas tax-cutting experiment instigated by Governor Sam Brownback has been a disaster, leading to a $900 million deficit. The Washington Times last summer called Brownback's effort a "failed tax experiment" that should be heeded by Republicans at the national level. We South Dakotans can take note of the fact that we don't even have an income tax, which according to Republican dogma should make our state a wonderland of investment and economic growth As we've seen, of course, that's a pipe dream. In the 5 year period that ended in 2016, South Dakota's per capita GDP growth was a fraction of 1%, compared to a national growth rate of more than 6%. Last June the financial data service Wallethub ranked South Dakota's income taxless economy an underwhelming #32 in the country. Much as tax relief would be nice for me and my peers in South Dakota's business community, on the basis of facts and history, I'd like to know how Senators Rounds and Thune can keep pushing the line that tax cuts will make up for the federal deficits they support