As Republican candidates gather for a debate, the skeleton in the closet remains the ballooning national debt, a subject that’s largely been relegated to the shadows of political discourse.
While the candidates may briefly touch upon the issue and offer surface-level solutions, the uncomfortable truth is that addressing the national debt’s growing burden would require difficult, unpopular choices. Candidates find themselves in a precarious position, tasked with both solving the problem and securing votes, all within the constraints of a 90-second debate response.
Since surpassing the $33 trillion debt threshold, the United States has been accruing over $800 million in new debt every hour, adding more than $2 billion daily in interest payments. The most recent debt ceiling bill has suspended any cap on this debt until January 2025, casting a long shadow over the nation’s future freedom and prosperity.
Democrats have occasionally pointed to the “Trump Tax Cuts” as a driver of the deficit. However, the tax cuts did stimulate economic growth and resulted in record-high Treasury revenues, albeit without corresponding spending cuts.
One feasible solution begins with fixing the federal budget process, though it is by no means an easy task. Nonetheless, it would substantially rein in Congress’s control over the spending pie chart. A recent Heritage study revealed that only 10 percent of the $7.5 trillion in COVID-related spending actually went to healthcare. The remaining 90 percent, charged as overhead and other expenses, underscores the need for significant reform.
According to reports from Fox News, while the discretionary budget, including debt interest payments and defense spending, constitutes less than 25 percent of overall expenditures and continues to shrink, the true driver of federal deficits lies in mandatory, programmatic spending. These are expenditures Congress does not address annually but continues unabated.
Furthermore, they encompass popular transfer programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, student loans, and healthcare initiatives like Obamacare, among countless others. Altering these programs involves a political third rail, a risk few presidential candidates are willing to take.
Mandatory, programmatic expenditures are perpetual and don’t undergo annual scrutiny or adjustment. There is virtually no constituency for tackling these fundamental issues, despite their role as the primary drivers of the nation’s fiscal challenges.
Many citizens believe that trimming discretionary spending, such as congressional salaries or foreign aid, or rooting out “waste, fraud, and abuse,” can resolve the debt problem. While these are valid concerns, the real target for reform should be mandatory, programmatic spending to ensure the sustainability of essential programs.
The Republican candidates vying for the nomination face a daunting question: Who among them possesses the courage and leadership to make the unpopular decisions necessary to restore fiscal responsibility to the nation’s future?
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats seem unlikely to embrace responsible spending as part of their agenda, leaving the issue largely unaddressed in their political DNA.
In a political landscape dominated by divisive issues and partisan debates, the national debt looms as the silent crisis that few are willing to confront.
The path to fiscal responsibility requires acknowledging the harsh reality that popular programs must also be on the table for reform. Only then can America hope to secure a stable financial future for its citizens.
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Robert De Niro anti-Trump speech mysteriously replaced in teleprompter at Awards Show
Actor Robert De Niro got a taste of Hollywood’s own medicine when he was reportedly unable to deliver his planned Trump-bashing speech at an awards show. The “Killers of the Flower Moon” actor spoke at Monday’s Gotham Awards, but says when he took the stage he discovered that his anti-Trump remarks had been altered.
The actor said he had not been informed of the changes, which took out any mention of the former president. De Niro, who was on hand to present “Killers of the Flower Moon” with the Gotham Historical Icon and Creator Tribute, criticized the awards show and Apple. “I don’t feel like thanking them at all for what they did,” he said. “How dare they do that, actually.”
According to sources with knowledge of the show, a revised version of the speech was placed into the teleprompter less than ten minutes before the event started. Reportedly the speech was altered at the behest of Apple, the film’s producer.
The source says the company was responding to feedback from the filmmaking team that wanted the actor’s remarks to be centered on the movie. However, a source close to the film denied that there was any censorship involved and said that the incident was a miscommunication.
There had been multiple versions of De Niro’s speech and there was a desire to focus solely on the moviemakers and their artistry, according to the source. Apple and the filmmakers were unaware that De Niro hadn’t signed off on the final draft, the source maintained.
De Niro did however take the opportunity to criticize Trump regardless of the prompter; the actor read his remarks from his phone. “Lying has become just another tool in the charlatan’s arsenal,” De Niro said. “The former president lied to us more than 30,000 times during his four years in office. And he’s keeping up the pace in his current campaign of retribution. But with all his lies, he can’t hide his soul. He attacks the weak, destroys the gifts of nature and shows disrespect, for example, by using ‘Pocahontas’ as a slur” he stated.
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