Share

Opinion: Editorials

Examiner Editorial: Senate Democrats would increase taxes -- and the national debt

|
Opinion,Editorial

Before Wednesday it had been more than 1,400 days since Senate Democrats had produced a federal budget. After only a few hours of Senate Budget Committee testimony, it quickly became apparent why they waited so long.

Now that Obamacare has become law, it is impossible for Democrats to put together a tax-and-spending plan that does not increase taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars yet still add trillions to the national debt.

The Democrats are so eager to raise both taxes and spending that the budget plan they submitted yesterday for the next fiscal year increases spending this year by $46 billion. Then they hike spending another $116 billion next year on their way to a 60 percent increase over the next 10 years.

To put that in perspective, the budget submitted Tuesday by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., increases spending by just 40 percent over that same time frame. The Ryan budget, which returns federal spending to its post-World War II historical average, calls for outlays of $41.5 trillion over 10 years. That's $4.9 trillion less than the Democratic total of $46.4 trillion.

In addition to historically high government spending, the Democratic budget also raises taxes by $1 trillion starting immediately. Thanks to the weakest economic recovery since World War II, federal taxes as a percentage of GDP are still below historic norms. But as the economy improves, Democrats steadily ramp up the government tax burden, reaching a high of 19.8 percent in 2023. Only once since World War II -- right before the tech bubble collapsed in 2000 -- has the nation's tax burden ever been that high.

But all those higher taxes still can't keep pace with the Democrats' big spending plans. Where the Ryan budget adds $1.2 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years, the Democrats' budget adds $5.2 trillion. Under the Ryan budget, the national debt would be just $14.2 trillion in 10 years, or 54.8 percent of GDP. The Democrats' budget raises the debt to $18.3 trillion, or 70.5 percent of GDP.

Those figures assume that the Democrats are able to stick to their current spending plans. During the Senate Budget Committee hearing, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said that spending projections are rarely accurate past their first year. He then asked a committee staffer, "You are talking about a $1.85 trillion deficit reduction over 10 [years], how much of that happens in year one?"

"It's zero in the first year in total because there are spending savings and spending costs," the Democratic staffer responded. "Which confirms my worry," Crapo replied.

If Democrats can't achieve any real deficit reduction now, when the nation's public debt as a percentage of GDP is over 100 percent, then why trust them to reduce the deficit when the real debt crisis hits?

View article comments Leave a comment