Steve Mnuchin can’t seem to move away from a huge economic misconception that I wrote about two years ago called “Living in an Economic Twilight Zone.” At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week, Mnuchin said the White House has started work on the second round of tax cuts even as the budget deficit continues to grow. It would appear that he still believes in this misguided premise that we can “grow” our way out of $23 trillion worth of debt.
Mathematically speaking, that has not been the case since our national debt was more than $9 trillion at the end of 2007. Then, a president came in who was too busy apologizing for American exceptionalism and had no idea how to create an environment for growth. He believed in demonizing profits, regulating small and large businesses, taxing corporate America and increasing public assistance to record levels as the poverty rate grew larger every day. That administration believed that these actions, along with spending and expanding the size of government, was a plan for America’s growth and prosperity.
A strong economy is a great thing. I don’t believe it’s ever been better in my lifetime than it is under this administration. But we cannot—and will not—have sustainable growth, prosperity and economic stability without a strong, detailed, steadfast and unwavering plan to downsize the federal government and cut spending. We are living today in a perfect economic storm. It almost seems impossible for this storm to do anything but continue to circle around and grow in strength. The likelihood of the storm going out to sea and dissipating seems unlikely.
At the same time, we have one of the strongest presidents we’ve ever had; he’s a businessman, not a politician—a president who knows how to get things done and a president whose decision-making is not based on political correctness. Perhaps the most important thing is that we have a president who is willing to make hard decisions for the future of America, its people and its economy. We have never had a greater opportunity to make changes that can begin to peck away at our national debt. But it would appear as though President Trump is surrounding himself with people that believe that growth is the answer to everything and will solve the debt problem for future generations.
We will never be able to cut national debt without growth in our GDP and growth in our economic environment. It is literally impossible to do without growth. It is also unattainable to reduce national debt without cutting spending and reducing the size of our government.
With the Trump administration, there is a great opportunity to heal America’s debt problem. We have a man in office who is willing to do what’s necessary for the good of the American people and who prioritizes growth in our free-market economy. We may never see this perfect storm of growth with the opportunity to cut government again in our lifetime. Cut the size of government, and we will cut the size of our debt as our growth continues. For the storm to be truly perfect, it needs us to do both.
Abraham Lincoln espoused smaller government, individual responsibility and freedom for all. Lincoln established one of the principles upon which the Republican Party was founded when he said, “Let’s have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”
If we don’t start in the next five years, it will be impossible to reduce deficits. Let’s get back to Abraham Lincoln’s ideals and keep government small. Let’s seize the opportunity to grow and strengthen the financial base like never before, to take advantage of this moment and begin completing the circle of America’s future prosperity.
Dan Celia is president and CEO of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries, Inc., and host of the nationally syndicated radio and television program “Financial Issues,” heard daily on more than 660 stations across the country and reaching millions of households on several TV networks, including FISM.TV. Visit www.financialissues.org.