Thrown Under the Omnibus

So much of the appeal of talking politics lies in its entertainment value. Discussing and debating the latest vagaries of Trump and his staff is fun. However, there are days when these conversations have a “bread and circuses” feel to them. Days like today.

Let’s wind the clocks back. After Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the fall of 2016, the right wing was mostly in a state of euphoria. After weathering an 8-year-long assault on their morality, it’s fair to say we earned it. Was Donald Trump a good candidate? No. Did I vote for him? No. Was basking in the schadenfreude of Hillary Clinton’s career bursting into flames satisfying? Yep. 

But not only did the Republicans seize the White House, they also grabbed control of both houses of Congress. Real change seemed imminent. Unfortunately, as we learned with President Trump’s signing of a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill, when it mattered most, the only change Trump gave us was the kind promised by our previous president.

The 2,232 word-bill was released less than 24 hours before the vote took place, and yet somehow its contents were even more disconcerting than the methods used to ram it into law. Again, with a Republican president and a Republican majority in Congress, the bill included:

  • No cuts to entitlements, social security, Medicare, or Medicaid
  • Full $500 million funding for Planned Parenthood
  • A boost in domestic spending in the next two years by $128 billion
  • Full funding for sanctuary cities
  • No funding for school choice programs

If this bill doesn’t sound like the cornerstone of a new conservative approach to America’s budget, you’re not crazy. If you’re a little surprised, confused, and pissed off, you’re not alone. The GOP not only blew out the budget for spending, but also didn’t address smaller issues they promised to remedy like the funding for Planned Parenthood. 

Obviously, Trump isn’t Obama. He’s done some really great things as president, e.g. Gorsuch, the tax plan, cutting regulations. However, when stacked up against the ever-increasing financial burden that will be placed on future generations, these issues are small potatoes. With the left on the ropes politically for the first time in almost a decade, the GOP has made it clear that they have no intention of pressing their advantage. 

The U.S. National debt recently hit the $21 trillion mark. Our unfunded liabilities as a country measure over $112 trillion. But instead of holding party leadership’s feet to the fire, the public is discussing the credibility of the porn star who peeled Trump’s banana 12 years ago. 

If the government doesn’t start taking the debt seriously, and they won’t, all other political issues, national security and abortion notwithstanding, that are up for discussion are ancillary. They can’t keep turning a blind eye forever, for the longer they leave the problem unaddressed the harder our grandkids are going to have it.

With the midterms rapidly approaching, and Trump’s approval rating hovering around a tenuous 45%, the Republicans are in a very precarious situation. If a blue wave strikes this November, the right is going to have a tough time explaining why they didn’t do anything when the deck was stacked in their favor. 

I’m as riveted by season 2 of Trump: the Show as everyone else. The whole spectacle is compelling. It isn’t every year you get a lying, crass, narcissistic, career democrat with a disturbing sexual history in the White House. But enough about Bill Clinton… 

I’m not saying you should ignore politics (as a 19-year old college freshman I feel perfectly qualified to make that condescending statement), but just make sure you don’t miss the forest through the trees. The elephant in the room can’t be ignored. America can’t afford it.