Heated disagreement over how Trump and company want to spend our money might be our own fault. Poll numbers show we are pretty fickle about what we expect from government. In a recent Pew Research poll 64% of respondents believe the GOP “is too willing to cut programs.”1 On the flip side 61% say Democrats view “government as the only way to solve problems.”2 An April 2016 Gallup Poll reported that 57% of us, the “Most Americans in 15 Years,” say we pay too much federal income tax.
Congress seems determined to prevent our economy from flourishing whether lawmakers are spending to reduce the deficit, raising the federal budget, bumping up the debt ceiling, or killing jobs with bad legislation. Why? The economy isn’t about numbers. It’s about politics and the fundamental struggle between right and left.
Free market battles politics
Is the government responsible for making our economic lives better, or is this the job of free market capitalism? Washington has to fund defense, entitlements, and essential services. The free market doesn’t need politics. It can take care of itself.
Economy survives Obama, turns to Trump
After Obama’s jaw-dropping post-recession deficits and the accompanying rise in the national debt, Trump and the Republicans took over with their own rules for how to spend our money. Tax reform, health care spending, the defense budget, entitlements, and federal benefits are all on the table and look to stay there for quite some time.
Democrats wasted no time blasting the cruelty of the proposed Trump Budget. They don’t acknowledge their own failure to bring prosperity to the middle and working classes or the fact that social spending has turned into a vote getter instead of temporary support for people in need. We’ve heard it for decades. Just spend a little more and things will get better.
It never works out that way.
It’s not all Washington’s fault
When states and municipalities run out of money to prop up expensive employees and their residents who aren’t making it they look to taxpayers and businesses to pay more. The liberal living wage experiment popularized under Obama hasn’t worked very well in places like Seattle, Washington or Cook County, Illinois, where townships refused to buy into county government minimum wage guidelines. Politics demands that businesses pay more, but the free market knows that when businesses shell out too much for goods and services they are harmed and forced to cut back.
The economy category has posts on federal spending, debt and deficit, labor laws and policies, and the tenuous relationship between the government, taxpayers, and the businesses that keep Americans employed. Economics should be all about the numbers, but when politics gets involved the numbers are the least of our worries.
Angry thoughts went through my head as I signed my tax check to Illinois. We don’t have a budget. Legalizing marijuana is seriously being considered to bring in more revenue that will be an excuse to spend more. Every taxpaying 401(k) employee in the state owns a share of our enormous public pension debt. Lawmakers are getting fat and happy while Illinois’ finances deteriorate past the point of recovery.
Like many ordinary people there is nothing different or special about me. I’m white. My parents aren’t immigrants. Neither am I. The gender I was born with is the one I’ll stick to. I’m straight. My job does not make me rich but I don’t make minimum wage, either. I work and pay taxes. Since my home is in Illinois that means lots of taxes that are never enough.
Democrats won’t see the humor in a big U.S. auto manufacturer hanging up plans for production in Mexico. They won’t admit that they have already handed us the solution to manufacturers leaving the U.S. for cheap labor elsewhere. Cheap labor is already here. We can thank ridiculous policies that only make sense to those who are too wrapped up in liberal self-indulgence to see the big picture and question its validity.