Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Watchword for 2018 is: UNHINGED!

David Stockman has it absolutely correct when he writes:

The watchword for 2018 is: UNHINGED!

That refers to Wall Street, Washington, the Dems and the GOP, and all the far and near corners of the planet which are implicated in their collective follies.

The latter begins with the fact that Imperial Washington has become so dysfunctional that the most powerful government on earth can't seem to keep its doors open for more than a few weeks at a time.

The next continuing resolution (CR) deadline is January 19 and the route thereto resembles nothing less than kick-the-can-alley. It's strewn with $100 billion of unfunded disaster aid, defense and nondefense sequester caps fixing to be busted by another $100 billion, 700,000 dreamers waiting to be deported, 9 million poor children (CHAPS) facing termination of medical care and millions more ObamaCare recipients who have been promised that cost abatement subsidies to insurance companies will be funded forthwith.

And along with those major bouncing cans are countless more articles of graft and booty cued-up on Capitol Hill looking for a legislative gravy train (i.e. CR) to hop aboard....

Yet the Trumpian-GOP has thrown every shred of fiscal rectitude to the winds at the absolute worse time in modern history. As we explained last week, the front-loaded tax bill will shrink the revenue base by $280 billion during FY 2019 to just $3.4 trillion.

At the same time, upwards of $200 billion in add-ons for defense, disaster relief, ObamaCare insurance bailouts, border control, veterans and law enforcement will drive spending to nearly $4.6 trillion or 20% above Obama's outgoing budget of $3.85 trillion (FY 2016).

That's right. These GOP clowns have left Big Spending Barry in the dust, and that's before they get around to auctioning off votes for what the Donald is now flogging as a "bipartisan" infrastructure bill...

he GOP tax bill and spending spree---when piled on top of the inherited baseline deficits---will result in nearly a $27 trillion public debt by the end of FY 2022 or more than 120% of GDP. And that assumes that the current business cycle does not roll-over from record old age and the crunch of soaring debt yields on an economy saddled with $67 trillion of public and private debt at this very moment.

More importantly, it ignores the demographic-fiscal time bomb of the retiring baby-boom. That is already evident in the projections through FY 2022 when combined spending for baby boomers (including much of Medicaid which goes to the poor elderly and nursing home care) will exceed $2.5 trillion or 63% of total Federal revenues after the GOP tax cut is factored in.

But that's not the half of it. By early
in the 2030s, the number of OASDI beneficiaries will reach 95 million compared to 60 million at present, and then climb steadily higher into the triple digit millions from there.

In a word, the longer-term fiscal condition of the nation's baby-boom driven entitlement monster is so forbidding that not a single dime can be responsibly added to the Federal debt---not for tax cuts, defense, Mexican walls, the rescue of people who choose to live in hurricane ally without setting aside their own stormy day funds---or anything else.

So in the face of bond market collision that is imminently pending, a recession that is not far down the road, and a baby-boom/entitlement eruption that is baked into the demographic and statutory cake, the GOP's current feckless fiscal game plan is truly unhinged.

Moreover, the recent announcement by the Great Fiscal Fake who presides over the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, that the GOP will now turn to spending control and welfare reform is truly laughable. The $70 billion extra they are pumping down the Pentagon rat-hole this year is equal to the entire cost of the Food Stamp program and exceeds spending on family assistance by more than 2X.

Indeed, the heart of the $700 billion means-tested "welfare budget" is Medicaid ($430 billion) and the earned income, child care and similar tax credits. But the GOP has already punted entirely on the former during its failed attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare and it has added tens of billions to the latter in the now enacted tax bill.

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