As the readers of this blog know very well, I am so upset about our rapidly increasing national debt that I am preparing (in just a few days) to enter the 2018 Nebraska Republican Primary for U.S. Senate against the incumbent Deb Fischer because she just voted (with the new tax law) to increase our debt by $1 trillion over the next decade. Of course, so did all of the other 52 Republican Senators as well but she is up for reelection this year and I live in her state.
The analyst Desmond Lachman from the American Enterprise Institute has a cogent summary of why increasing our debt at this time is such a bad idea:
- With the public debt (on which we pay interest) at 77% the highest it has been since WWII, the U.S. already has a compromised debt position.
- Basic principles of public finance suggest that when the economy is humming along (like now at 3% annual growth) and when unemployment is low (like now at 4.1%), one should try to reduce the public debt.
- By having used up our fiscal space in good times, we run the risk of not having room to increase budget deficits in bad times.
- The very low interest rates today (an artificial product of the Federal Reserve’s extraordinarily easy monetary policy over the past 8 years) are unlikely to last much longer and, in fact, the Fed has already started the process of raising interest rates, as inflation begins to heat up (see chart below).
- Increased budget deficits make us increasingly reliant on foreign financing.
- By our own sowing in joy with unfunded tax cuts, our children are likely to reap in sorrow the fruits of lower long-run economic growth.
Conclusion. By raising our debt by $1 trillion, the new Republican tax law is appallingly short-sited policy. I hope to make Senator Fischer pay a political price by her bad judgment in voting for it.