Wild fires and hurricanes caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damages this year, left millions of people still trying to put their lives back together and governments trying to figure out how to pay for their part of the bill.

Congress also ran up a $666 billion deficit and is about to approve $44 billion more in disaster relief. So we are off to a bad start for fiscal 2018 when it comes to deficit spending and the Trump administration is looking for spending cuts to make up for this additional spending on disaster relief. They are cutting $20 million here and $100 million there, in an attempt to get their spending under control.

Now stop for a minute and consider what Congress has done in the last few weeks. The House passed the Defense Authorization Act which will increase defense spending by $146 billion during the current budget just for this fiscal year. Both houses are working on “tax reform,” and, if passed, their most conservative estimate is that “tax reform” will explode the deficit by $1.5 trillion during 10 years. That is $150 billion per year.

So, if my math is right, Congress is proposing to add $296 billion to the projected deficit for fiscal 2018 while cutting a hundred million here and a hundred million there. This is absurd. So where are those two Montana fiscal conservatives, our deficit hawks? I’ll tell you where they are. They are standing in line to vote for a huge wealth transfer to the already wealthy and corporations who are experiencing record profits. And they are going to do it with deficit spending. I hope Montana’s voters have long memories.

Art Foeste

Billings

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