May 25, 2019

These Are Exciting Times

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

I lost track on whether we are working on the second or third 100 days for President Donald Trump. Things are moving at warp speed. Do you remember the wall on the Mexican border? I am not sure what happened with that issue. There was talk of a border tax and a wall being paid for by the Mexican government. I think it is still being considered somewhere for reevaluation in 2020.

How about the travel ban from the six Muslim countries? This is on again and off again with rotating federal judges ruling against it. It went to the Supreme Court with a vague solution as to who could travel and who couldn’t with Donald Trump claiming a major victory I think?

How about the repeal of Obamacare? The House tried a plan and it fizzled. Then the Senate tried to come up with a solution and that does not appear to work either. Somehow there are just not enough votes to pass it, so there is no resolution in sight. This is sad because the Affordable Care Act will eventually disintegrate. Insurance companies are bailing faster than a tidal wave off Los Angeles. The truth is that Obamacare was built on debt. Debt in the form of Medicaid. Underfunded from Day One. Medical costs are rising for everyone and the little guy pays dearly for mostly poor coverage. Congressmen and women don’t want to touch it with a 10 foot pole. It is easier to go back to your constituents and tell them that you did not vote for it but nevertheless you came up with no solution as well.

And how about that new 2018 Federal budget that adds about $500 billion dollars in more debt to the American taxpayer. Republicans plan to balance the budget in the next decade with most of the members of Congress retired by then. Now word comes out that even with this deficit, Social Security will take a $200 billion dollar hit. There are rumors floating around about a new retirement age of 70 years. If Congress keeps raising the retirement age, most people will actually collect only a few years before they die. And yes, the year 2034 is fast approaching when many Americans collecting Social Security will see their benefits tank. Again, our legislative leaders are doing nothing as most of them hope to be doing something else by 2034.

And yes, tax reform is coming. If you believe that, there are a lot of bridges for sale. What type of tax reform can offset billions of dollars in annual deficits added to trillions of dollars of debt already on the books? Remember the daily rhetoric that the government was running out of money and the Treasury was “cooking the books” to balance spending in the short run? It is interesting how the July 4th deadline came and went and the Federal government kept rolling along with no mention of the looming financial crisis.

But our government is productive and tackling many serious issues like the Russian involvement in the 2016 election. I am not sure that anyone understands the issues as to who met with whom and discussed what and when? Does it really matter? I doubt it.

I think our Federal government is like a speeding runaway train that will eventually derail. We have done nothing about immigration reform or addressing the issues of entitlement spending that devours almost 67% of our “out of balance” Federal budget. The only good news is that President Trump has stopped issuing daily executive orders and the American taxpayers continue to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the First Lady in New York and Washington DC. Who could have predicted all this excitement last year.

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Written by
Donald Wittmer

DONALD WITTMER is a retired business executive who held key roles in the automotive and banking sectors. For a time, he also served as a Fiscal Agency Manager for the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He received his undergraduate degree from Cincinnati's Xavier University, an M.A. in business management from Central Michigan University, and earned certification in bank operations from the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A husband, father, and grandfather, he teaches part-time at the Kent Place School for Girls in Summit, New Jersey.

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Written by Donald Wittmer