Those who appreciate the Donald Trump presidency for its transparent refusal to apply lipstick to piggish federal policy have a new example to point to. The Daily Beast is reporting that Trump "has repeatedly shrugged" off any concerns about the massive and rapidly expanding national debt, reportedly saying about the day of debt-reckoning, "yeah, but I won't be here."
This sentiment is no surprise for the dwindling number of people in public life who worry actively about the long-term fiscal unsustainability of the United States. Trump campaigned, successfully, on "protecting" Social Security and Medicare, expanding the already-swollen military budget, and cutting taxes. There was no way in hell that that combination would reduce budget deficits and debt, and hoo boy has it not.
In many ways, the biggest surprise in this story is that there are still "aides and advisers" who "have tried to convince [Trump] of the importance of tackling the national debt." That concern is almost nowhere to be found in major-party politics anymore, Paul Ryan's crocodile tears notwithstanding. The only politician of note I saw bellyaching about debt and deficits in the midterms was Gary "Young People Are Getting Fucked" Johnson in the New Mexico U.S. Senate race, and he only got 15.4 percent of the vote in his home state, only half as much as his unknown GOP opponent. Democrats did not retake the House by promising long-term fiscal sanity.
ReasonThe four basic options for Republicans who once professed to care about this stuff are: 1) quit (Ryan, Jeff Flake), 2) embrace the loneliness (Justin Amash, Rand Paul) 3) just stop talking about it (a majority of Republicans on Capitol Hill), or 4) opportunistically profess belief in the Growth Fairy, so you can experience the hands-on enjoyment of expanding government power while pretending you don't want to. The latter is the preferred tack of former House deficit hawk-turned White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and also longtime Washington free-market guy and Trump 2016 economic advisor Stephen Moore, who told the Beast, "when [Trump] was confronted with these nightmare scenarios on the debt, I think he rejected them, because if you grow the economy…you don't have a debt problem."