Friday, August 19, 2016

How Ike Really Balanced the Budget vs. Johnny Lawnchair and Faker Ryan.

By David Stockman

……In the improbable candidacy of Donald Trump, the Republican Party got what it deserved. After all, its job in the context of American political democracy is to function as the nation’s fiscal guardian. Yet that role hardly fits the GOP’s new presidential nominee and erstwhile constructor of hotels and casinos, who now promises to build the greatest ever walls, roads, bridges, military and other accoutrements of national greatness.

But then again, the GOP has been derelict on the fiscal front for most of the last for 35 years . Instead, it has become a gang of neocons, social cons, tax cons and just cons. Perhaps Trump is merely the ultimate expression of the latter.

The first two of these contemporary GOP factions—the neocons and the social cons— aggrandize the size and role of the state. This extends from the uninvited policing of the worlds’ neighborhoods and nations to the unjust intrusion into domestic family, religious and social life.

The “tax cons” correctly recognize that private enterprise, not the state, generates prosperity and wealth and that tax barriers and disincentives to production, investment and work should be lowered whenever possible. But they fail to heed the great Dwight D. Eisenhower’s fundamental rule for fiscal governance now that the cat of Big Government is out of the bag.

Namely, that tax cuts must be earned with off-setting retrenchment of the spending and entitlement accounts. That’s how Ike balanced the budget several times during his eight year tenure, even as he struggled to reduce the military budget by 33% in real terms and chisel away at the economically stifling edifice of the Roosevelt/Truman war taxes.

The GOP’s latter day supply siders, unfortunately, did the opposite——especially during the era of Republican rule under George Dubya Bush . The “tax cons” joined hands with the neocons to protect and enlarge the Reagan Warfare State budget, expanding its present day purchasing power to more than twice what General Eisenhower thought was adequate at the very peak of the Cold War. At the same time, they slashed the revenue base by nearly 4% of GDP with two giant unearned tax cuts.
So doing, they replicated the fiscal betrayal of the Reagan years with even less justification. Indeed, rather than pretending as did the Gipper that deficits would eventually go away owing to “growth”, the tax cons of the Dick Cheney schism militantly proclaimed they didn’t even matter.

In this context, the balance of rank and file Congressional Republicans morphed into “just cons”.
That is, they settled into the business of harvesting campaign loot from the K-Street lobbies and the endless racketeering enterprises of the Imperial City. And especially after the Citizens United decision opened the floodgates, the Congressional GOP became a pure fund-raising machine that happened to dispense talking points favored by the neocons, social cons and tax cons—when, as and if convenient.

Good Riddance To Johnny Lawnchair

And that gets us to the startling mid-term upheaval in the House GOP leadership last fall.
Except that “leadership” is hardly the word for the Speakership of the feckless John Boehner or his replacement by the equally spineless Congressman Paul Ryan.

As we will document below, under the faithless leadership of Boehner and Ryan the large GOP House majority has been turned into a dysfunctional, squabbling gang. Notwithstanding the 2010 election’s tea party sweep, the House GOP has accomplished nothing in behalf of free enterprise, sound money and small government.

But worse still, it has utterly betrayed its core historical responsibility to defend the nation’s fiscal solvency. On that score, its record is so abysmal that it might as well embrace the budgetary follies that Trump has so far managed to enumerate—- for all the difference it would make.

As we showed in Chapter 9, the hoary excuse that a divided Senate and hostile Obama White House prevented the GOP House of Representatives from taking meaningful action on the fiscal front doesn’t wash. The House GOP had a huge lever called the “debt ceiling” that time and again it surrendered with hardly a fight.

The fact is, had the House GOP leadership held fast and refused to raise the debt ceiling at $14.3 trillion way back in August 2011, and especially on the heels of its tea party election sweep, it would have forced the unthinkable on the Imperial City. And that would have made all the difference.
To wit, the Obama White House would have been required to prioritize and allocate spending down to the level of incoming revenue. Such an unheard of exercise of Uncle Sam temporarily living within his means would have broken the deadly shibboleth that every dime of Uncle Sam’s bills must be paid once they are incurred.

Instead, payments to military vendors, local governments, student loan recipients, highway contractors and checks to Federal employees and beneficiaries would have been deferred or cutback. The resulting wailing and gnashing of teeth among the legions at the Federal trough would have been a wonder of political history.

In that fraught context, a determined Speaker postured in behalf of the taxpayers and producers of Flyover America could have written his own ticket in terms of the entitlement reforms and spending cutbacks that would be necessary for him to lift the fiscal siege. The back of the Federal doomsday machine—a budget in which upwards of 80% of outlays stem from entitlements, debt service and other automatic or contractual spending—-would have been broken.

Needless to say, Boehner and then Paul Ryan after him took the route of accommodation and surrender in the name of “bipartisan governance”. But the latter is no virtue of high-minded statesmanship; it’s a pernicious invention of the beltway’s permanent ruling class designed to keep the pork and entitlements flowing, the national debt growing and the Fed’s printing presses glowing red hot.

So here’s the truth. The existing GOP leadership is far worse than even the false caricatures that the elite commentariat and ruling class has thrown up against Donald Trump.

In fact, there are few political hacks in Washington more deserving of everlasting ignominy than the retiring House Speaker because he represented in one package all four gangs that have hijacked the Republican Party.

So we now offer a vehement good riddance to the man who has single-handedly destroyed whatever pathetic semblance of fiscal responsibility that remained in Washington prior to his baleful tenure.
The so-called bipartisan budget deal of 2015 that he confected as a parting gesture doesn’t even deserve to be called a farce. It’s actually just an extension of Washington’s pathological lying to the American public about the monumental fiscal calamity now brewing.

More importantly, it’s a case in point of why a confused and desperate Flyover America is turning to a strong man like Donald Trump to fix a system that it can plainly see is completely broken.

The chart below shows Washington’s patented “kick-the-can” formula—– employed for the second time since the phony sequester mechanism was put in place during the debt ceiling crisis of 2011.
The Boehner/Obama deal will increase spending by $85 billion in the here and now by busting the FY 2016 and 2017 caps. This new red ink will then, purportedly, be off-set way down the road with gimmicks, imaginary IRS audit revenues and hazy disability benefit reforms which will never materialize. Never.

Indeed, these people are beyond shame. The big bulge of $33 billion of savings shown for the Neverland of 2025 is due to a sharp increase in assumed discretionary spending cuts and Medicare benefit reductions. That is, the very same programs that are being pumped up during the next three years!

And that’s the same thing the Ryan-Murray bipartisan comprise did two years ago with respect to FY2014-15. In combination these 11th hour bipartisan shams have thus added $143 billion of real money to the national debt for the years through 2021, “paying” for them with imaginary savings to be realized after 2021. That is, until we get there—– at which time anything which bites into the gravy train will be predictably deferred.

Nor is that the extent of Johnny Lawnchair’s odious record of fiscal betrayal since 2011. In the first instance, he broke the will of fiscal conservatives just when they had Washington over the debt ceiling barrel in August 2011 with the promise of $1.5 trillion of entitlement savings via the Super Committee.

What an unrelieved farce that was. After yielding on the debt ceiling increase and then being subjected to endless establishment media hounding about what a political mistake it had been, the rubes from Tea Party land soon discovered that “bipartisan compromise” is no such thing at all; it’s a cover for political surrender.

The so-called Super Committee didn’t even try to reform entitlements and hardly even met. Instead, the Capitol Hill establishment simply faded into another Big Lie.

Not to be troubled, they said, when the Super Committee turned in an empty exam sheet at its due date in November 2011. Why, the very same $1.5 trillion of “savings” will now be achieved from discretionary defense and domestic appropriations accounts via the automatic sequester mechanism.
At length, those sequester caps started to bite in 2013. So Boehner sent out his budget lapdog, pedigreed fiscal faker and now his successor, Paul Ryan, to negotiate relief for the military-industrial complex and to insure plentiful pork for GOP candidates in the 2014 election.

That particular task the fiscal faker from Wisconsin accomplished with alacrity—-just as he did back in 2008-2009 when the GM plant located in his district needed a bailout from the taxpayers.

The 2015 Bipartisan Deal—–Boehner’s Fastest Fold Ever

Soon still another election season was pending and yet another debt ceiling increase had been all used up. So, predictably, as the debt ceiling expiration approached in October 2015, Boehner folded so fast that the mainstream media barely knew he had gone to the White House.

On a lickety-split basis, Johnny Lawnchair not only jettisoned two more years of the discretionary spending sequester, but also blew-away most of the other inconvenient fiscal restraint measures lurking between then and 2017. That included cancelling a perfectly reasonable and long scheduled increase in Medicare Part B premiums for the better off elderly and taking a powder on the impending action-forcing exhaustion of the social security disability trust fund.

In the best kick-the-can style, as we mentioned earlier, the latter was funded by raiding $150 billion from the retirement trust fund, while pretending that Washington bureaucrats at the Social Security Administration will write new rules to prevent abuse of a program that is totally out of control.
And that word hardly describes the scandal of it. The program’s budget cost has tripled in real terms just since 1990, mainly due to an explosion of “back pain” and “mental illness” cases. Those dubious diagnoses now account for fully 55% of recipients compared to less than 15% in 1961.
So here is an entitlement crying out for sweeping statutory reform and faced with a complete cessation of benefits before the 2016 election due to the impending exhaustion of the DI trust fund.  But that kind of rare fiscal leverage is never used when you have the likes of Johnny Lawnchair and Faker Ryan negotiating a “responsible” bipartisan deal.

In any event, sooner or later workers will get socked with another round of payroll tax increases to bail out the entirety of the OASDI trust fund complex, which we demonstrated in Chapter 8 will be insolvent by 2026. But in the interim, the military-industrial complex has surely been tickled pink by Boehner’s parting betrayal of US taxpayers.

In fact, the Boehner/Obama deal of 2015 will increase discretionary spending authority by $112 billion over the next two years. This includes the $80 billion increase in the discretionary spending caps plus another $32 billion increase for war contingencies and other national security programs not subject to the sequester.

Not surprisingly, $72 billion or nearly two-thirds of that budget busting add-on goes to the Pentagon, Washington’s vast intelligence and spy networks and the state department security programs. Apparently all those extra billions were needed to contain the Russian bugaboo.
And that was especially so after Putin showed how you actually fight terrorists in Syria, and not by spending $500 million on 50 trainees—-all of who were captured, shot or deserted within weeks of being placed in the field—as did the CIA.

But the military-industrial complex always needs more. With this further largesse, total US national security spending will touch nearly $800 billion next year, including the military  budget, foreign and security aid and veterans and related spending. That’s two-thirds of Russia’s entire 2015  GDP of $1.3 trillion!

Of course, we don’t have a real industrial state enemy in the world that could actually threaten the security and safety of citizens in Lincoln NE and Boston MA.  But that has not stopped Johnny Lawnchair from folding on the fiscal issue time after time in order to make a deal with liberal big spenders to get more funding for the military-industrial complex.

Can you say post-retirement lobbying, consulting and speaking gigs? Don’t bother. Boehner had been working on that for years.

How The GOP Leadership Ran Out The Fiscal Clock

At the end of the day, however, the former Speaker’s most egregious sin was to run out the clock on the possibility of fiscal retrenchment. After his parting shot which froze policy for another two years, there was no possibility of a true budget deal until the summer of 2017. That means no real impact on the budget  cash flow numbers until CY 2019—-since its takes several quarters to crank-up any meaningful revenue measures or entitlement reforms.

At that point in time (October 2019), of course, it would be exactly 125 months since the so-called Great Recession ended. Have we ever had an economic expansion that long—-even during the years when the American economy was riding high and when the Fed had not yet exhausted its ability to goose credit and spending with easy money?

No we haven’t. The longest expansion in history is 119 months and the average since 1950 is only 61 months.

So, effectively, Johnny Lawnchair and his sidekick Ryan compromised the nation’s fiscal plight right into the next recession and the renewed outbreak of trillion dollar annual deficits. That is, to a point when Washington will once again be paralyzed with fear that actually paying our bills would drive the stumbling US economy further into the drink.

And what possible excuse did Johnny Lawnchair have for delivering the nation into this absolutely certain fiscal catastrophe?

He didn’t wish to demand that the President employ his constitutional powers to allocate and prioritize spending in the event Uncle Sam had exhausted his legal authority to borrow.

That’s why Johnny Lawnchair deserved everlasting infamy—–or at least until Paul Ryan came up with even more excuses for burying future generations in terminal debt.

Speaker Paul Ryan: New Occupant, Same Fast-Folding Lawnchair

It didn’t take Ryan long to do just that—— even though, supposedly, a new era was to dawn under his leadership. In fact, the lawnchair never left—-it just got a new occupant.

After just 51 days in office Speaker Ryan had forced the GOP to walk the plank on what under any honest form of fiscal accounting was a $2.5 trillion addition to the national debt.

Well, make that any form of accounting at all. This whole stinking pile of backroom deals was pushed through so fast that even CBO did not have a chance to fully analyze and score the bill.
In that regard, for the first time in his life, Harry Reid told the truth after this Ryan-Obama midnight special was whisked through the House and Senate at yearend 2015.

Said the man of legendary forked tongue,

“Sometime in the darkness, the bill was finalized…… legislation is perfect, but this is good legislation.”
It should come as no surprise that Paul Ryan is a complete fiscal fake. After all, he has spent years braying about the national debt, but never saw a defense program he didn’t want to fund or a bailout that would help his Wisconsin district that he couldn’t rationalize.

Fiscal conservative?  The man voted for the TARP bailout of Wall Street and the bailout of the GM/UAW thieves, too.

And year after year he had proposed a “Ryan Budget Reform Plan” that was a complete fraud. He did not remove one dime from Social Security spending, ever.

Not even from the wealthy retired duffers who live on golf courses in Florida and Arizona.
Nor did his fiscal plans do anything about the $700 billion in annual cost of Medicare for at least a decade into the future. And he didn’t even bother to balance the Federal budget until 2037!
But what was so obnoxious about Ryan’s latest pork-festooned betrayal of the taxpayers is that it was totally unnecessary.

Ryan could have simply announced that there was a new sheriff in the House and that no one would leave town until New Year’s Eve if need be—–unless the pork was excised first and the bill’s $680 billion worth of tax benefits, gimmicks and loopholes were either removed or off-set with honest “payfors”.

Needless to say, Speaker Ryan had a totally different take. While this year-end fiscal abomination was just water over the damn, there will always another chance tomorrow:

“Congress can now move into 2016 with a fresh start…..”
No it won’t and most assuredly it hasn’t. The Ryan/Obama FY2016 omnibus appropriations bill was just another ruse in a moveable fiscal scam which, as we outlined above, has been underway since the debt ceiling crisis of August 2011.

Back then Congress claimed to cut the 10-year deficit by $2 trillion. That consisted mainly of $1.2 trillion in discretionary savings via the so-called appropriations sequester, which became effective after the super-committee failed to come up with equivalent entitlement and other permanent reforms.
But here’s the skunk in the woodpile. Congress claimed $1.2 trillion in savings from discretionary spending caps over a 10-year period through FY2021, yet appropriations bills are good for only one year. So what it really did was establish a mechanism to have its cake and eat it too.

Because the future year caps are statutory, CBO must dutifully score them as a reduction in the budget baseline every time it does a ten-year projection. At the same time, during each annual appropriations cycle, Congress can modify or bust the caps entirely for the current year, and then either take a “one-time” hit to the deficit or find gimmicks to off-set some or all of the cost.
In fact, every year since 2011 Congress has lifted the discretionary spending caps for the current fiscal year in order to make room for bloated domestic and DOD appropriations. Ryan’s omnibus bill did exactly the same.

To wit, discretionary appropriations for DOD and domestic agencies during FY 2016 and FY 2017 will be upwards of $100 billion per year higher than the annual caps adopted with so much fanfare back in 2011.

Thus, we are now halfway through the ten-year cycle initiated in the August 2011 crisis——so “savings” from the sequester caps on the annual appropriations bills should have totaled at least $500 billion by now. In fact, when you cut through all the gimmicks, ruses, re-estimates and program reconfigurations which have been deployed in the interim the actual savings would amount to a rounding error around the zero bound.

Faker Ryan At Work—–CHIMPs And OCO

There were two features of last year’s bill which exposed the manner in which this moveable scam operates. The first was something called  CHIMPs or changes in mandatory programs. These gems are claimed to be budget authority cuts that offset appropriations which exceed the caps.
In the last year omnibus bill these CHIMPs savings for FY 2016 totaled $18.6 billion, and they permitted literally hundreds of add-ons to be stuffed back into the 12 appropriations bills.

But only $0.6 billion or 3% of these CHIMPs savings will actually reduce cash outlays. By contrast, $13 billion represented savings in FY 2016 that get added back in FY 2017. And the remaining $5 billion are technical cuts to budget authority that will never results in a dime of cash savings during any fiscal year.

Likewise, Congress has stuffed $73.7 billion into the OCO (overseas contingency operations) bucket, which in theory was set up to cover the one-time and unusual cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Apart from the fact that Imperial Washington does nothing abroad on a one-time basis and that wars of intervention are not a contingency but a permanent policy, there was never any justification for exempting these expenditures from the caps in the first place,

After all, spending is fungible. When it comes to allocating the multi-billion annual operating cost of a carrier battle group stationed in the Persian Gulf between it “peacetime baseline” and its “war contingency” elements, for instance, you can get any answer which is convenient.

The point is that the OCO has provided a huge cookie jar for spending increases that nullify even the modified appropriations ceilings that Congress has enacted each year since 2011.

This year (FY 2016) roughly $15 billion of the OCO will go to the State Department for foreign aid and other international security programs, and this figure is up roughly $6 billion from a similar OCO allocation last year.

At the same time, the omnibus bill “cuts” the State Department’s “regular” appropriation by about $5 billion, and re-allocates these funds to a huge smattering of pork and add-ons to the other domestic appropriations bills.

On a net basis, therefore, everybody wins…..except the taxpayers.

That is, the State Department’s available funding will be up by $1 billion as between the regular cuts and OCO bucket adds, while appropriations for the domestic agencies will be higher by $5 billion. Yet none of this will show up in the $1.066 trillion ceiling on discretionary spending.

It’s all backdoored through the OCO!

The Moveable Budget Scam—-Phony 10-year “Baseline” Projections

The larger point is that the Fed’s massive repression of interest rates has spawned a fiscal culture of unspeakable deception, duplicity, lies and dysfunctionality on Capitol Hill.

On the one hand, it means that the $19.4 trillion of national debt can be serviced on the cheap—–currently at a weighted average yield of about 1.8%. Accordingly, debt service costs which would be upwards of $1 trillion under normalized interest rates (5%) are currently only about $350 billion.
So the politicians—even self-proclaimed fiscal hawks like Ryan—- feel no financial pressure, and become accustomed to blithely kicking the can.

At the same time, the moveable fiscal scam described above has resulted in an utterly deceptive 10-year deficit forecasts——even after funding the national debt on the cheap.

The CBO’s so-called baseline projections show out-year spending far lower than what is actually built into the system, and not merely due to the deceptive Rosy Scenario economic forecasts as we exposed in Chapter 9.

The long-term deficit outlook is further understated owing to the phony out-year caps and entitlement reforms that CBO is required by Congress to credit.

That’s right. Congress has no intention of allowing these future year fiscal curtailments to become effective, but still insists on counting them when summing-up completely phony 10-year savings totals. Yet when the “outyears” become the “current year”, they are simply suspended, deferred or covered up with new off-setting out-year savings gimmicks like those in last year’s omnibus bill.

By the same token, baseline revenues are projected to be far higher than will actually materialize under current policy. That’s due to the operation of the same kind of moveable scam on the income side of the budget ledger.

In this case, there are literally hundreds of billions per year of tax incentives, subsidies and loopholes that have been in the IRS code for years or even decades that are made to artificially and abruptly expire a year or two down the road. Accordingly, CBO scores a commensurate increase in the out-year revenue base, thereby contributing to the appearance that the long-term deficit is shrinking.

But when we get to the statutory expiration dates, these provisions never happen and the huge revenue drains continue. The culprit is something called that annual “tax extender” bill, which mostly just rolls forward the expiration dates by a year or two so that the CBO can keep projecting sunny fiscal skies ahead.

This is evident in spades in the $680 billion worth of so-called tax-extendersalso contained in last year’s omnibus bill. One of them is the corporate tax credit for research and experimentation, which costs about $12 billion per year in foregone revenue.

Now that particular item has been “extended” about 16 times over the past decades, meaning that out-year budget projections have always included higher revenue from the expiration of a major tax loophole that the bipartisan majority and their K-Street paymasters never, ever intended to let happen.
In fact, the proof is now in the pudding. In a token gesture to honesty, last year’s bill actually made the research credit permanent, and thereby reduced 10-year revenues by $113 billion.  So, finally, that particular chunk of phantom revenue will be no more.

Unfortunately, that can’t be said for much else in the tax components of the package. For instance, the completely unjustifiable and wasteful tax credits for solar and wind energy have been “expiring” almost annually since they were enacted years ago. This time they were extended effectively for three and one-half years at a cost of $26 billion, according to the Joint Tax Committee.

In truth, the giant lobby behind these boondoggles has demonstrated its insurmountable power so many times over the last few years that there is no chance these “expirations” will ever happen. So the actual 10-year cost of these “renewable energy” provisions is more like $75 billion.

Thanks, Speaker Ryan—–You Didn’t Repeal Obamacare, You Double Shuffled It

One of the most egregious cases of this kind of double shuffle pertains to the three Obamacare taxes, which are deferred by several years at an alleged cost of $28 billion. In truth it’s more like $260 billion.

Here’s why. Recall that the true cost of Obamacare was in the trillions, but it was outrageously disguised as a deficit reducer through a series of huge gimmicks, such as changing the student loan program from an entitlement to a direct loan; and also through a series of stiff taxes on insurers, medical devices and so-called Cadillac medical plans.

However, these so-called “payfors” were backloaded into the middle of this decade in order to pacify the intense political opposition to them and to assemble the razor thin partisan majority by which the program was enacted in 2010.

In particular, core Democrat constituencies like the labor unions were violently opposed to the so-called “Cadillac tax” on expensive, gold-plated employer health plans. That was even after the threshold plan value was raised to $27,000 per year for family coverage before the 40% tax kicks in. So the inception date was deferred into the distance future—to 2018.

Well, the distant future is now getting closer, and like with almost everything else in Obamacare that created intensive political opposition, such as the employer mandate, the time had come time to kick the can.

So the Cadillac tax was deferred two years until 2020. Likewise, the tax on medical devices was “paused” for 2016 and 2017—–an action consistent with previous pauses and deferrals.

That’s right. They had the audacity to say they “paused” the thing that they never intend to become effective. In that same vein, in fact, the health insurers tax that pays for part of the Obamacare subsidies to families up to3X the median income was also paused for a year.
The plain fact of life is that none of these out-year Obamacare taxes will ever be collected. Accordingly, the real hit to future deficits is in the order ofone quarter trillion dollars over the next 10 years.
The above matters do not even begin to itemize the fiscal largesse embedded in the omnibus bill. But they do crystalize the underlying moveable fiscal scam at work——a systematic process by which future spending growth is disguised and future revenue collections are vastly exaggerated.
In last year’s omnibus bill alone, the true impact over 10 years was about $1.2 trillion of revenue losses, not the $523 billion scored by CBO. After the interest carry cost even at the low rates assumed by CBO, the add-on to future deficits is in the order of $1.5 trillion.

Likewise, CBO scores the spending increases at $158 billion over the next decade, but for all practical purposes this bill marks the de facto end of the sequester caps that were enacted in 2011. Accordingly, if you eliminate the phony outyear reductions that are still embedded in the CBO baseline, spending would be about $1 trillion higher after interest carry.

In short, Speaker Ryan’s first turn at bat produced a $2.5 trillion budget buster!
And that’s not the half of it.

As we indicated above, given the lags in the legislative process and implementation schedules, meaningful cash savings and deficit reductions could not be effectuated until FY 2019 or FY 2020 at the earliest.

Still, no one has outlawed the business cycle, and by then this so-called recovery would be 125 months old.

So there is not even a remote possibility that the next President will escape a recessionary downturn in the US economy and Uncle Sam’s fiscal footings—-not in a world that is plunging into a deflationary recession even now.

So here’s the truth. When you addback the trillions of phony spending cuts and revenue increase that are built into the current budget baseline and throw-in the next recession, we have estimated that the real world addition to the national debt will be at least $15 trillion during the next ten years.
And that will be piled on top of the $20 trillion of public debt that will be in place by the time of the 2017 inauguration.

Can this nation manage a $35 trillion public debt at the very time that the baby boom is retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day?

That’s not likely under any circumstances——but most certainly never under the watch of fiscal fakes like Speaker Paul Ryan.

So maybe Donald Trump’s reluctance to support the Speaker’s reelection bid was based on more than what meets the eye.

Yes, The Donald has no plan at all to fix the nation’s fiscal crisis, as we have demonstrated previously. But perhaps he does realize that if elected his job will be to clean-up the crushing fiscal folly bequeathed by those swell bipartisan regulars—-Johnny Lawnchair and Faker Ryan.

David Stockman is the former Director of the Office of Management and Budget during part of the Reagan Administration, from 1981 to 1985. He is the author of The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed.

The above originally appeared at David Stockman's Contra Corner and is reprinted with permission.

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