The Path to Fiscal Sanity

Posted on Posted in Reflections

President Trump has made positive progress in reducing costly regulations; eliminating 22 regulations for every new one in 2017. However, more work needs to be done in the new year and beyond.

Tax Bill

There are many differing opinions on the impact of the new tax laws. However, its goal is to stimulate the economy by permitting people to spend or keep more of their own money. We need clarity on the new law to address negative opinions vs. actual outcomes.

The Budget

Congress needs to develop a rational budget to address our ever-mounting fiscal debt. The only way to control spending is to cut costs across the board. Government must do what we do when we have less money to spend…Cut Spending!!!

The federal government collected $3.46 trillion in 2017 compared to $3.268 in 2016. In spite of a gain of nearly $200 billion in revenue, the deficit continued to climb. Clearly, we have a spending problem.


To give you perspective, here are some shocking numbers on spending for 2017:
(Numbers are in Billions. Source: U.S. Federal Budget.)

Healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid) $1,130.4
Pensions (Social Security/Disability) $1,006.1
National Defense $ 823.1
Welfare $ 358.7
Interest on Debt $ 262.8

Total $3,580.6 (90% of the $3,980 billion spent.)


Solutions

Both parties need to sit down together and address the problem. We do not need more TV sound bites. We should start with the Bowles/Simpson report from a few years ago that outlined a game plan to address overspending. The report was well written but unfortunately, ignored.

The President needs to start the process with the leadership of both parties. The press should be encouraged to support the process.

Summary

2017 was a great year.

  • The stock market was up about 25%
  • Regulations were reduced
  • A tax cut that benefits middle income Americans
    was approved.

2018 should be another positive year if we can make progress on reducing spending.

Strong leadership will be required to address this nagging problem. The American people are looking for, and expecting, positive results. This task will not be easy and it will require strong leadership from both parties and the President.

We must stop this fiscal insanity before it’s too late.

The problem is not going away. We need leadership NOW!

This month’s column is by Jim’s son, Mark McGraw.