Patterico's Pontifications


Donald Trump’s Permanent $1 Trillion Deficit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:30 pm

A fella named Stan Collender at Forbes says that Trump is headed for a permanent $1 trillion deficit:

Here’s how the annual $1 trillion budget deficits will happen.

In July, the Congressional Budget Office projected (Table 1) that the Trump fiscal 2018 budget will result in an average annual deficit of about $677 billion between 2018 and 2022. But that took the Trump budget pr[o]posals at face value and assumed Congress would agree to all the spending cuts proposed by the White House, something that the House and Senate have already shown no interest in doing. That makes the average annual baseline deficit over the next five years closer to $750 billion.

While the White House and its congressional supporters insist the tax cut the House and Senate will consider in the next month or so will eventually pay for itself with much higher economic growth rates, the congressional budget resolution passed by the Senate late last Thursday (and highly likely to be accepted by the House) assumes that the deficit will increase by about $150 billion a year over the next 10 years. Nonpartisan analyses show that the deficit will increase by an average of between $220 billion and $240 billion between 2018 and 2027 and even more thereafter. An average of the three estimates results in about a $200 billion increase in the budget deficit for each of the next five years.

That will make the annual deficit around $940 billion.

There’s more.

The “more” includes things like increased military spending, disaster assistance, and the like, all pushing our permanent deficit above $1 trillion.

You don’t have to agree with every aspect of Collender’s numerical analysis to see that Trump is not interested in controlling spending. Remember: former deficit hawk turned spendthrift Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney said: “We need to have new deficits because of that. We need to have the growth.” This is not the language of someone who is going to push for spending cuts. Our biggest issue going forward is entitlements, and Trump promised you during the campaign that reforming entitlements was not on the table.

I got very angry at President Obama for exploding our deficits and our debt:

But on the debt and deficit, he has been an unparalleled disaster.

Barack Obama has exploded our debt and shows no signs of letting up. The damage he is wreaking upon this nation will take decades to recover from — if we ever do. He is certainly making my children’s futures far more miserable.

Trump appears to be heading down the same road. The only difference today is that the GOP will be openly applauding him for it, or at least shrugging it all off like it’s no big deal. And a GOP Congress — which sometimes pretends to act on behalf of limited government when a Democrat is in office — gains zero political mileage out of opposing big spending when it is proposed by a Republican president.

And the apparently small minority of us former Republicans who actually cared about limited government and controlling spending are left shaking our heads in disbelief.

Meanwhile, the too-malleable word “conservative,” which used to stand for the small government envisioned by the Founders, now stands for “Whatever Donald Trump Says.” Which means that, in the view of unprincipled partisan Trump fanbois, I am now “not a conservative” — because I am criticizing the Wonderful Donald Trump. Never mind that I am saying the exact same things I have always said, and truthfully applying my long-held principles to Trump as I applied them to Obama. No matter. Posts like this will earn comments like “You’ve become just like Little Green Footballs” and “this endless Trump criticism is why I barely read you any more” and nonsense like that.

But remaining silent about the debt, while inventing clever and insulting terms for people who care about it and criticize Trump over it, will make someone a very popular and widely read “conservative” columnist.

2017, man. 2017.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Bill O’Reilly Paid $32 Million To Settle Harassment Claim, Fox Offered Him Lucrative Contract Anyway

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:46 am

[guest post by Dana]

What on earth could have compelled former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly to cough up a whopping $32 million dollars to settle a complaint of sexual harassment against him? Oh, gosh, let’s go out on a limb here and make a wild guess: He’s guilty.

Last January, six months after Fox News ousted its chairman amid a sexual harassment scandal, the network’s top-rated host at the time, Bill O’Reilly, struck a $32 million agreement with a longtime network analyst to settle new sexual harassment allegations, according to two people briefed on the matter — an extraordinarily large amount for such cases.

Although the deal has not been previously made public, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, acknowledges that it was aware of the woman’s complaints about Mr. O’Reilly. They included allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter.

Despite knowing about the claim, the company still gave him a lucrative contract. After all, he brought in the ratings and kept the gravy training running. Be it the Weinstein Company or 21st Century Fox, powerful executives and leaders are too willing to look the other way as long as their predatory powerhouses keep bringing in the big money:

It was at least the sixth agreement — and by far the largest — made by either Mr. O’Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against him. Despite that record, 21st Century Fox began contract negotiations with Mr. O’Reilly, and in February granted him a four-year extension that paid $25 million a year.

In January, the reporting shows, Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, the top executives at 21st Century Fox, made a business calculation to stand by Mr. O’Reilly despite his most recent, and potentially most explosive, harassment dispute.

Their decision came as the company was trying to convince its employees, its board and the public that it had cleaned up the network’s workplace culture. At the same time, they were determined to hold on to Mr. O’Reilly, whose value to the network increased after the departure of another prominent host, Megyn Kelly.

One might wonder why O’Reilly was let go by the company. Was it because of his moral corruption, or because 21st Century Fox wanted to protect their talent and other employees from falling victim to the cable news star, or because the company had their own moral and ethical standards to uphold, thus felt compelled to clean house? As if:

But by April, the Murdochs decided to jettison Mr. O’Reilly as some of the settlements became public and posed a significant threat to their business empire.

They let the biggest cable network star go because their dirty laundry was being aired and their bottom line might be impacted. Already the company had lost 50 advertisers and there were calls for O’Reilly to be fired. It became to risky to keep him:

In addition, federal prosecutors who had been investigating the network’s handling of sexual harassment complaints against Mr. Ailes had asked for material related to allegations involving Mr. O’Reilly, according to an internal Fox email obtained by The Times.

“Their legal theory has been that we hid the fact that we had a problem with Roger,” Gerson Zweifach, Fox’s general counsel, wrote in the email, referring to the prosecutors and Mr. Ailes, “and now it will be applied to O’Reilly, and they will insist on full knowledge of all complaints about O’Reilly’s behavior in the workplace, regardless of who settled them.”

He warned the Murdochs that they should expect details from the January settlement to become public. Six days later, Mr. O’Reilly was fired.

Despite numerous claims of sexual harassment and multiple payouts, the ousted O’Reilly was nonetheless allowed back on Fox News just last month to plug his new book on Sean Hannity’s show.

In an interview this past Wednesday, O’Reilly defended himself against the accusations:

“I never mistreated anyone,” he said, adding that he had resolved matters privately because he wanted to protect his children from the publicity.

“It’s politically and financially motivated,” he said of the public outcry over the allegations against him, “and we can prove it with shocking information, but I’m not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it.”

Journalists are pointing their fingers at the right for having been vocal in their condemnation of Harvey Weinstein but remaining silent about Bill O’Reilly. The political persuasion of such offensive individuals matters not one bit to me. For years, both powerhouses worked, to varying degree, to cultivate a public image of standing on the high ground of their respective sides of the political aisle – at least on the surface. And the public bought the illusion. Whether it was Weinstein and his sizable donations to Democrats and visible support for liberal causes and politicians, or O’Reilly and his patronizing We’re looking out for you in the no-spin zone sloganeering as he theatrically railed against the left. Yet all the while, both were masters of deception, surrounded by people who knew (or suspected) what they were really up to, yet chose to look the other way because they needed these two powerful men for financial gain and industry success. Weinstein and O’Reilly are contemptible beings. Any who would defend either of them out of of partisan loyalty reveal themselves as little more than hypocritical fools.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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