Fiscally responsible?

For virtually our entire life, the Republican Party has been portrayed as the fiscally responsible party, concerned about yearly deficits and the ever-mounting national debt.

It is interesting then to note the direction deficits — and, therefore, the national debt — is moving. In fiscal year 2015, the federal deficit was $438 billion; FY 2016, $585 billion; FY 2017, $665 billion; and FY 2018, $779 billion (Source: www.usgovernmentdebt.us/federal_deficit).

This week, the Trump administration, released its “Budget For A Better America.” In that document, the administration foresees a $1.1 trillion deficit for each of fiscal years 2019, 2020 and 2021. It dips slightly, to $1 trillion in 2022.

That means that during the next four years, the existing $22 trillion national debt will increase to over $26 trillion. That is a 19.5 percent increase.

It is believed that the $482 billion yearly interest on the national debt will increase to $823 billion in the next 10 years.

The sharp tick up in the yearly deficits tracks neatly next to last year’s GOP income tax cut. However, there are no plans to revisit that issue.

In fact, the “Budget For A Better America” has targets for budget cuts that we find a bit improbable. For instance, despite our aging populace, the administration proposes cutting $845 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years. Another target would be Medicaid — cutting $241 billion in the next decade.

And, of course, there would be cuts to the Education Department, the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Transportation Department and on and on.

The only good thing we heard about the “Budget For A Better America” is that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress agreed that it was pretty much dead upon arrival.

By the way, the projected deficits all depend on the cuts to our health programs and the agencies and departments cited above. Who knows how big they’ll actually be.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.