EDITORIAL: Trump and fiscal policy

While delusional Democrats chase unicorns in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Donald Trump goes about the business of assembling his Cabinet and prioritizing his early term agenda. One of his primary goals appears to be a multibillion-dollar infrastructure plan that his campaign promised will provide a “golden opportunity for accelerated economic growth and rapid productivity gains.”

With such spending, of course, come principled concerns about ballooning deficits and adding to the debt, particularly from GOP fiscal hawks. “You can’t just like spending that your party wants and dislike spending that the other party wants,” Rep. Rick Mulvaney, a South Carolina Republican, told the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Trump has also promised tax reform and relief. Couple that with an infrastructure spending binge and some members of the GOP worry about the long-term fiscal ramifications. Deficits are projected to trend upward in future years, the Journal reports, and the debt now stands at about 77 percent of GDP, up from 31 percent in 2001.

Such trends are unsustainable.

Yes, it’s possible that the Trump economic recipe will jump-start the country’s anemic growth rate, generating higher revenues and thus mitigating concerns about deficits. In addition, some Trump advisers have floated plans to pay for the infrastructure work through mechanisms — tax credits or one-time revenue sources — that would deflect concerns about red ink.

But the issue of fiscal responsibility mustn’t be brushed aside. It’s a healthy sign that many congressional Republicans insist on keeping spending at the forefront.

Meanwhile, across the aisle, a recent flier compiled by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and titled “Know Your Stuffing: A Guide To Thanksgiving With Your Republican Family” — you can’t make this stuff up — aims to provide partisans with talking points to counter those who support Mr. Trump. Included among the boilerplate rhetoric is that, “Under Trump, it’s estimated that the national debt would rise by $5.3 trillion over the next decade.”

Apparently, Democrats have blanked out the Obama years before they’re even over. Even if Donald Trump adds more than $5 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years, he wouldn’t be in the same solar system as Barack Obama. The one-term senator from Illinois entered office in 2009 when the federal debt stood at $10.63 trillion; he leaves next January with the figure pushing $20 trillion.

Democrats may have legitimate criticisms of Mr. Trump, but it takes mountains of gall to try to turn the soaring debt into one of them.

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