President Trump will deliver the State of the Union address on Tuesday night. With the economy doing quite well, the president wants more of the same policies. Many Democrats, on the other hand, are proposing the largest-ever government expansion in dollar terms -- a demand completely out of step with the times.
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Historically, significant government expansions have occurred in response to crises, i.e. major economic troubles such as the Great Depression or huge foreign policy challenges like World War II. The combination of those two resulted in our national budget ballooning from $3 billion to $39 billion in just over a decade.
Long before that, our Constitution came into being in response to huge government debts, taxes that were higher than before the Revolution and a depression that plagued the new country.
The current “State of Our Union” is not in any such crisis.
Rather than a Great Depression or even a Great Recession, both of which were brought on by government policies, we have an economy growing at a rate many said was no longer possible.
In other words, we are in relatively good economic times. Current policies of reducing the cost of doing business are paying huge dividends in the form of strong job growth, unemployment lows and higher wages. This economic growth should be viewed as the answer to many problems, not a reason to expand government.
So why are some Democrats proposing the largest-dollar increase in spending in American history?
We know that estimates say Medicare for All alone would cost $3.2 trillion per year, which would take the federal budget from $4.4 trillion to $7.6 trillion. It would require an increase in tax collections just as large.
A massive new spending program is the last thing our state of the union needs. We need to shrink the government percentage of the economy below 30 percent, not raise it above 50 percent.
A smaller government is the key to long-term economic growth. Medicare for All and more big government spending is a recipe for bankrupting the country.
Thomas G. Del Beccaro is the author of The Divided Era.