Government spending is possibly the biggest threat to the future of our country and no one is doing anything about it (click here to see why the national debt matters.) $1 billion here, $50 billion there, the federal budget is mind boggling. In 2019 the Federal Government spent $4,400,000,000,000 that is $4.4 trillion. That budget was 8% higher than the year before. As of now the national debt is $23,689,393,987,524 or almost $23.7 trillion dollars. Why is it that no one is talking about this? Why is it that this is not a major concern to the government? Why is it that cutting federal spending is not on the platform of any major candidate running for President in 2020?
In short, because it’s not sexy. Talking about what the tax brackets should be, going over financial analysis of each department, of the federal government to find out where we can cut some spending does not make for good for good ratings, it does not drive voters out to the polls in droves. When people think of fiscal responsibility they think of their grandparents lecturing them about wasting money on water bottles or on buying Starbucks. That’s not the image that politicians want to portray to their constituents.
The last major presidential candidate that ran on fiscal conservatism was John McCain and he ran on fiscal conservatism lite. John McCain agreed with big spending on the military but was more fiscally conservative else where. In 2008 USA Today printed a piece titled “Is McCain the Return of the Fiscal Conservative?” John McCain running on fiscal conservatism lead to him losing the election handily.
Another cause for lack of fiscal conservatism is the rise of populism on both the left and right. Populism is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as a “political program or movement that champions the common person, usually by favorable contrast with an elite.” We hear is on both sides. We hear Bernie Sanders railing against the evil “1%” as the cause of everyone’s problem. On the other side we hear President Donald Trump talking at his over packed rallies about how the “liberal elites” have been ignoring the common people for too long and that is the cause of all of their problems. Both on different sides of the isle but both with the same solution, big government spending “to boost the common man up.” This is why the federal government has built 3x more debt in the last 20 years than we did in the previous 224 years.
There are fewer and fewer people that care about the budget or the deficit and even fewer politicians that do. The only way that any of this changes is if we tell our politicians that we need more fiscal responsibility and that they need to take charge of the budget.