The federal government experienced a phenomenon in April not often seen in the age of massive budget deficits – a $182 billion surplus – but you can bet not one penny of it will go towards paying off even a smidgen of the $20 trillion national debt because Congress refuses to curb its spendthrift habits.
Reuters reported the surplus Wednesday in a little-noticed story given the hysterical coverage of President Donald J. Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey. But in the greater context of our country’s future economic viability, the story is of major importance.
Part of what created April’s surplus, no doubt, is tax season; the government, over the past few years, has been collecting a record amount of taxes. In fact Americans, U.S. industries and corporations in the Age of Obama paid nearly $20 trillion in taxes, the very amount we now owe, but the government still managed to grow the debt by $9 trillion (after Obama said in 2008 Bush’s doubling of the national debt was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic”).
Reuters also noted that the “adjusted deficit for the fiscal year to date” had grown to $373 billion – more than the $314 billion adjusted deficit the prior fiscal year period. This, despite the fact that receipts in April of this year were up by four percent over April 2016 as outlays fell 18 percent in the same period.
The problem with a one- or two-month surplus is that it’s not the norm; deficits are the norm and have been for decades, hence the massive national debt. (RELATED: Shock Report Reveals 60% Of Countries Will Be Bankrupt Within 50 Years)
So even though the government took in more than it spent last month, that won’t last – and therein lies the problem.
In March Trump released his first budget, which called for dramatic cuts across the board to federal agencies and a myriad of programs. It was Trump’s first opportunity to deliver on a campaign pledge to reduce federal expenditures while boosting revenue – on his way to paying down the debt that threatens to severely cripple our economy and ruin the lives of our children and grandchildren.
Democrats universally opposed it, of course, because it’s something that Trump proposed. But then a funny thing happened: Republicans, too, panned the budget plan for its dramatic cuts – completely out of character for a party that used to believe in small, finite, cheaper and less intrusive government.
“Not our starting point,” one lawmaker said, as reported by Politico.
“Not something that will fly around here politically,” said another.
“Congress will do its own budget,” added another.
Politico noted further:
Democrats, as expected, blasted the 64-page proposal – known as a “skinny budget” – as radical and cruel, especially for its cuts to programs that support the poor.
Yet it’s clear that the Trump budget would gut programs favored by Republicans as well. And key GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate already are signaling they won’t move forward with Trump’s proposal.
Trump learned a valuable lesson – about Washington in general and about the hypocrites in his own party, the same one he learned on for Obamacare repeal and replace: During election time or when it isn’t politically risky, lawmakers will talk a good game about smaller government, paying down the debt and passing legislation they were elected to support and pass. But don’t mess with their pet funding projects. (RELATED: Americans’ Hatred Of Their Government At An All-Time High, Which Explains The Trump/Sanders Phenoms)
The biggest reason why Congress and presidents past can’t stop spending money they don’t have is because they use the federal budget as a means of buying votes and key constituent support. They don’t see the budget as a tool and process used to fund the necessary functions of government.
And yet states must produce balanced budgets, as must American families and businesses. It’s just more proof that Washington exists on a different plane in an alternate universe.
The fact that the government can produce surpluses for a couple months out of the year will be overshadowed by the reality that Congress’ appetite for our money is insatiable. And that is another reason why the swamp must be drained.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.