Donald Trump’s deregulation, tax cuts, and energy expansion will likely increase federal revenue. That’s the good news. But in what Victor Davis Hanson calls the same old matrix (George W. Bush doubled the national debt and Barack Obama doubled it again) Donald Trump’s “various budget concessions and his own proposed increases in defense spending and infrastructure would likely bleed the budget at a far greater rate than the growing federal revenue.”
Trump may not have run as a budget cutter, but he did campaign against traditional Republicanism that, hand-in-glove with Democrats, had ballooned the national debt to $20 trillion. The populist move would be to protect the public and stop the massive borrowing.
Trump is blasted for not filling federal positions and for his threadbare staff. In reality, he probably gains support for the mere appearance of parsimony. He should press that advantage by enacting a government hiring freeze and a pay-as-you-go philosophy, even if at first it is only symbolic.
If Trump wants to build the wall and “make Mexico pay for it,” why not simply slap a 10 percent tax on the $50 billion in remittances that flow annually to Mexico and Latin America, largely from illegal aliens and foreign nationals? In addition, the government could help fund the wall with fees and fines from DACA qualifiers who seek green cards.
If Trump wants a huge private-public partnership to build infrastructure, why not, at a time of record oil production, increase the federal gas tax for three or four years to pay for the project? What better way to ensure the entire idea does not end up like California’s stalled and ever more costly high-speed rail project? If Trump wants family leave and other popular entitlements, why not calibrate the costs as users’ fees paid out from an individual’s future Social Security payments.
Read more from VDH in American Greatness here.