The RINO-DINO Spending Bill


This week, we have clearly seen that the label “Tax and Spend” no longer belongs just to Democrats. The way I see it, the phrase should become “Tax and Spend Politicians”, because as I pointed out in a previous blog, they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same. I’ll call the massive $1.3 trillion spending bill the RINO-DINO “bi-partisan” spending bill [not to be confused with budget bill, which we haven’t seen for many years].

RINO, of course, is the long-used acronym for Republican In Name Only. You don’t see DINO in the media, I assume because neither Democrats nor their liberal media allies like the potential connotation of “DINOsaur.” The truth is that there is very little if any difference between the two from the perspective of how they think about specific pieces of legislation.

Let’s couple that fact with two other pieces of the legislative process these days: 1) how the two dominant political parties actually operate on a day-to-day basis; and 2) the declining influence of ideological positions.

On the first of these pieces, both parties operate under a seniority system that rewards long-standing membership in the two chambers of the legislature. That, by definition, means the Current Paradigm [which I’ve said in previous posts to this blog is already dead but still hanging on by its claws] is still hanging on. More junior legislators — who were elected to “drain the swamp” and get our government back to some level of sensibility — simply don’t yet have the muscle to change the status quo. Comments from those legislators, and even from some RINOs, indicate that this spending bill was “bi-partisan” only because both RINOs and DINOs in the leadership of both parties developed it in a vacuum and had the power to pressure them into holding their noses and voting for it.

On the second piece, ideological positions seem to matter less and less anymore, and all discussions about priorities end up being about money — how much money do we need to put into this great new initiative [or how much more money do we need to put into this existing initiative]?

Why Am I Keeping The Term “Tax” in “Tax And Spend?”

So since we just passed one of the biggest if not the biggest tax cut packages in our history, why am I keeping the term “Tax” in “Tax And Spend?” You don’t have to be an accountant or a mathematician to figure that one out. I’ve written about this almost ad nauseam in my blogs, and the fact that we are on an unsustainable fiscal path was one of the original pages of this web site [and although I haven’t updated the numbers, what I said on that page is just as valid today as it was a year and a half ago].

In the long term, Government cannot spend more unless it does one or some combination of three things: 1) spend less in some programs to offset the increased spending necessary to initiate new programs or grow existing ones; 2) increase taxes; or 3) grow the economy [increase GDP] rapidly enough to generate revenue sufficient to offset the increased spending [many, but not all, economists say #3 has never worked — i.e.. it is not possible to “expand our way to prosperity” on a sustainable basis].

So if we continue to increase the level of deficit spending and essentially ignore the national debt, a day of reckoning is out there — and the longer we continue on this path, the closer and more painful that day of reckoning will be [see my recent post The Mother Of All Balloon Notes]. Ergo, “Tax” stays in “Tax and Spend”.

Stay Tuned

Despite all the criticism of President Trump’s tax cut initiative, there are some good elements to it, particularly if they are viewed in context with cutbacks in business-choking regulations piled on in recent years. However, I’m inclined to agree at least to some extent with the economists who say that Government can’t “expand its way to prosperity”. I honestly hope that at least some of the success we experienced under President Reagan’s administration from actions of his that were similar in many ways to President Trump’s. If we do, the day of reckoning could be farther out, but it won’t go away.  It will come.

Thanks for reading this post, and if you regularly follow my Blog, for that, too. Please consider sharing this or other posts with your friends, colleagues and associates.

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Charles M. Jones

Author: Charles M. Jones, PE, CPA

[retired — neither license active]

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