There’s something Democrats, Republicans and independents can all agree on now that the election is over: The campaign ads have ended!
We can sit in front of our televisions now without the fear of being bombarded by ads talking about despicable or deplorable people, crooks or liars. All we have to cope with now are those ads for Viagra, farm weed killers, and Flo, the insurance lady.
Our Republican friends are still basking in the glow from their party’s near clean sweep on election night. Our Democratic friends, after the shellacking their candidates received, are in a funk that will last for several years.
There’s an important cautionary note for Republicans, however.
While they certainly have much to celebrate, the next couple of years will put incredible pressure on the party, especially for those Republicans serving in Congress, to act as a brake on President Donald Trump’s most extreme inclinations.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan tried last week to portray Trump’s victory as a mandate for the party. He conveniently forgets that more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than for Trump — over 1 million more. He also forgets that he and his Republican colleagues did not see Barack Obama’s victories in both popular vote and Electoral College votes in 2008 and 2012 as any sort of mandate.
That means it will fall to Republicans in the House and Senate, rather than the minority Democrats, to be the moderating force when President Trump starts talking again about some of his unreasonable ideas. That includes his gigantic tax cuts, which will send the national debt and budget deficit spiraling higher than they ever were under President Obama.
Republicans pride themselves in being fiscally responsible, but independent experts have said Trump’s tax cuts will lead to a huge increase in the federal debt. The nation’s debt now equals about 75 percent of the United States’ gross domestic product. Trump’s tax cuts will drain so much revenue from the federal government that the nation’s debt will mushroom to 127 percent of the GDP.
And like it or not, when interest rates start creeping upward again, interest payments will consume a much larger portion of the federal budget.
Republicans in Congress will need to help Trump see the folly of trying to build a wall across the entire southern border of the United States.
Some Americans believe that U.S. foreign aid to other countries chews up about one-fourth of the federal budget. Actually, foreign aid is about $50 billion annually, a tiny fraction of the roughly $4 trillion federal budget.
Trump’s wall would cost an estimated $25 billion — or about half of what the U.S. spends supporting Israel and other allies around the world.
Voters who supported Trump and his pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington aren’t going to be very understanding when Republicans in Congress don’t fall in line behind the new president and his promises.
That’s the reason we should send our senators and representatives bottles of Maalox to soothe the ulcers they almost surely will develop. Those ulcers will be gigantic as Republicans in Congress are forced to navigate between long-held Republican principles and the new president’s policy desires.
Trump wants to enact a massive infrastructure program to put Americans to work and to improve the nation’s deteriorating airports, roads, bridges and tunnels. Republicans will want to go along with their president. But they probably will need a swig or two of Maalox because Democrats won’t hesitate to remind the public how Republicans roundly criticized President Obama’s infrastructure programs as he tried to create jobs to end the last recession.
Trump has talked about the need for massive tariffs on goods coming into the United States from places like China and Mexico. He wants those tariffs to be around 35 to 45 percent. Those tariffs are meant to help persuade companies to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.
But instead, the actual effect would more likely be significant increases in prices U.S. consumers have to pay for electronic devices, appliances, clothing and other goods from other nations.
Voters in Iowa who supported the new president may not think he is such a trade genius if they are socked with higher prices for foreign goods and then also find that because of Trump’s tariffs, some of those nations retaliate by not buying agricultural products from Iowa farmers.
And that’s why the coming few years will be anything but a picnic for Republicans. The folks at Maalox probably should think about putting on another shift to keep up with demand.
by Randy Evans
Reprinted from the Bloomfield Democrat