Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, June 22, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 13


Mountain Views-News Saturday, June 22, 2019 



Breaking news: Federal spending is out of 

I’m kidding, of course. Spending, deficits and debt have 
been out of control for years. It’s just that last week we broke 
yet another record.

For the first time in our nation’s history, federal spending 
topped $3 trillion in a fiscal year’s first eight months, 
according to last week’s Monthly Treasury Statement.

How much is $3 trillion? According to Kiplinger, $3 trillion would pay the salaries 
of every member of the U.S. Congress for the next 32,336 years. 

Of course the issue isn’t just what the U.S. government spends. It’s what the 
government spends relative to the tax revenue it takes in. In that regard, there’s 
some good news and some bad news.

The good news: The economy is doing well, causing tax revenue to swell. During 
this fiscal year’s first eight months, federal tax revenues were the second highest ever 
collected (they were down slightly from last year’s record amount). 

The bad news: Our government continues to spend way more than it takes in - 
about $800 billion more during this fiscal year’s first eight months, despite tax 
revenue pouring in. That $800 billion adds to our national debt, which now stands 
at a whopping $22 trillion.

How much is $22 trillion? If you were to repay $22 trillion at $220 million every day, 
it would take 273 years to pay off the balance - on an interest-free loan! In other 
words, we have a massive a spending, deficit and debt problem, but few people seem 
to worry about it anymore.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, “How Washington Learned to Love Debt and 
Deficits,” sheds light on the regrettable lack of interest in taming our growing debt.

“In theory, an increased supply of government bonds - sold to raise funds when 
spending exceeds revenues - should increase government borrowing costs,” write 
Kate Davidson and Jon Hilsenrath. “Theory also says big deficits crowd out business 
borrowing and increase private borrowing costs, too. The opposite has happened.”

What has happened is that the economy expanded by a robust 5.2 percent last year 
while the cost of government borrowing remained relatively low - one reason why 
immediate concerns over spending, deficit and debt concerns have waned.

How long we can get away with heavy borrowing is anyone’s guess. As baby 
boomers retire in big numbers, the costs of Social Security, Medicare and other 
government programs will soar. We already are NOT able to pay our bills. The 
Congressional Budget Office estimates we will begin falling $1 trillion short in 2022 
and keep falling short by that amount annually through 2029. 

Even this English major can calculate that our national debt may stand at $33 
trillion or more by 2030. 

How much is $33 trillion? It’s $30 trillion more than the debt was in 1989, $28 
trillion more than it was in 1999, $21 trillion more than it was in 2009 and $11 
trillion more than it is now. 

It worries me that I’m one of the few Americans left who worries that our deficits, 
spending and debt are out of control. 

So I may as well have some fun with the subject.

If the U.S. government printed $1 million bills, a whole bathtub’s worth of them 
wouldn’t equal $1 trillion. And 33 bathtubs full of $1 million bills won’t be enough 
to cover our national debt in 2030.

Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous memoir 
available at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist.




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 




Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee

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As White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders packs up her 
office and prepares to leave the West Wing at the end of the 
month, it is tempting to wonder how she’ll look back on her 
two years serving as the voice of what is arguably the most unorthodox 
administration to ever lead the nation.

There is no more thankless job in western civilization than 
serving as the spokesperson for President Trump while dealing 
on a seven-day a week schedule with a media whose collective 
persona on any given day ranged from hostile to whiny, 
respectful to belittling, smug to courteous, small-minded to 

Her daily press briefings became steadily more contentious 
and argumentative until she decided to ditch them altogether. Whether the President 
will permit Sanders’ successor to resume the tradition is unclear, but the relationship 
with the media is unlikely to change significantly because the Trump is convinced 
he is his own most effective press secretary. His designated surrogate is expected to 
follow the narrative as laid out on the boss’ Twitter feed, no matter its accuracy, its 
disconnect from reality or its often personally insulting characterization of his critics.

The media also bears some responsibility for the death of the daily briefing, turning it 
into a self-aggrandizing play to the television cameras exercise while playing directly 
into the hands of a president who believes they are “the enemy of the people.”

Sanders’ frustration often came through in her briefings as she defended Trump or 
struggled to explain to a roomful of skeptical reporters the president’s latest rant, his 
frequently cockeyed allusion to historical events or his vague hints at taking unilateral 
action to punish any person or nation which displeased him at the moment. 

The rhetorical contortions Sanders and her predecessor Sean Spicer suffered through 
as they sought to clarify the presidential commentaries and rationalize his actions 
were not only personally embarrassing but seriously undermined their credibility. 
Once lost, credibility is impossible to restore.

More than once, she shaded the truth and tiptoed perilously close to the line separating 
honesty from lying. Her assertion that she’d been contacted by FBI agents 
disturbed over the activities of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was a blunder which 
haunted her and was used by her critics as evidence of lying in the service of her boss.

The acrimonious relationship between the administration and the media clearly 
reached critical mass and Sanders faced no option but to end the briefings. The situation 
was beyond repair and any effort to patch things up, acknowledge the mutual 
antagonism and move past it would surely fail. 

She does not, however, deserve the abuse heaped on her as she heads for the exit. By 
flinging insults at her, reporters, cable news talking heads, columnists and editorial 
writers serve as reminders of the low esteem to which the media has tumbled. Former 
press secretaries eager to regain relevancy and B-list entertainers whose audiences 
deserted them long ago piled on and embarrassed themselves.

Express their differences with her if they must, but display some class by at least 
acknowledging the immense difficulty of the job, the relentless pressures, and the 
self-control necessary to hold tongue and temper when confronted by ill-informed 
and disrespectful self-promoters masquerading as journalists.

To be sure, she chose the arena in which to compete, knowing full well that the environment 
could often be a vindictive, merciless blood sport and she could walk away 
at any point. The line she walked - representing a President who consistently displayed 
a casual appreciation for the truth while striving to maintain her credibility 
- often proved impossible. At some point, departure was inevitable; it was simply a 
matter of when.

The job is one in which scars outnumber medals and anyone who takes it believing 
otherwise, should find another line of work. Sanders has insisted that her tenure in 
the White House was an honor she’ll carry forever, that it was the job of a lifetime 
Doubtless there were times when it was all of that, offset by times when it was not.

She’s headed back to her home state of Arkansas where she should sit in a rocker on 
the front porch, watch the sun sink over the Ozarks, smile to herself and tell CNN to 
go to hell.


Carl Golden is a senior contributing analyst with the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton 
University in New Jersey. 


Is the bulging 
field of Democrats 
seeking the 
2020 presidential 
nomination a 
sign of strength? 
Or is it a troubling 
that wresting the presidency from Donald 
Trump won’t be as easy as it ought to be?

At last count there were 23 “major” candidates 
including seven senators, four 
members of Congress, three mayors, two 
governors and a clutch of other hopefuls. 
The field has something for everyone: 
young, old, male, female, black, white, Latino, 
Asian, gay and straight. They have 
robust resumes, promising platforms and 
meaningful messages. And, believe it or 
not, there are 142 other Democrats who 
have filed as presidential candidates with 
the Federal Elections Commission, among 
them 89-year-old Mike Gravel, the former 
senator from Alaska. 

So what’s the problem? Some Democrats 
think the field is too large, even for this early 
stage. In Iowa, where the actual process 
of selecting a nominee begins for real with 
the caucus Feb. 3, three out of four Democrats 
planning to participate believe some 
candidates should drop out now, according 
to polling by the Des Moines Register. 

As I see it, only three - Joe Biden, Bernie 
Sanders and Elizabeth Warren - have a real 
chance at the nomination. Five others - 
Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, 
Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke 
- have long-shot status. The rest are just 
sucking up oxygen. 

This wouldn’t be so bad if one of the three 
top candidates had the “it” factor of Barack 
Obama. Yes, Hillary Clinton was loved by her 
supporters in 2016, but she was widely disliked 
as well. Her only real challenger, Sen. 
Bernie Sanders, faced the same love-him or 
hate-him division. And the others? A dollar 
says you can’t conjure up the names Lincoln 
Chafee, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb. 

This time around, thinning the roster from 
23 to, say, 10, would make it easier to debate 
- and free up space for lawn signs across Iowa 
- but it wouldn’t change the bigger problem. 
The Democratic field is both crowded and 

Joe Biden is the early frontrunner but you 
have to wonder if that will hold considering 
age (he’ll be 77 next year), baggage (his positions 
have changed on key issues over the 
course of a lengthy career, most recently on 
the Hyde amendment which bars the use of 
federal funds for all but a few abortions) and 
the gaffe gene (he is, after all, Joe being Joe). 
Bernie Sanders, who usually polls second, is a 
year older than Biden. He has also shifted on 
some issues such as gun control, and would 
spend half his time in a general election campaign 
explaining what it means to be a “democratic 

Sad to say, both “Sleepy Joe” and “Crazy Bernie” 
present soft targets for Donald Trump. 
A Biden campaign boils down to “Make 
America Normal Again,” while the Sanders 
angle is “Make America More Liberal 
Again.” These are not broad-based themes, 
and neither moves the presidency away from 
the control of aging, white males. 

Elizabeth Warren is a policy wonk, maybe to 
a fault, but her passion is unmistakable. Yet, 
she is not particularly effective on the stump, 
often getting bogged down in her own position 
papers. She could find herself with the 
type of negative polling that dashed Clinton’s 

On my scorecard, the next five Democrats 
have equal or better profiles but lesser chances. 
Amy Klobuchar is tough, experienced and 
fluent on the issues. Pete Buttigieg is a genuine 
star, super slick in interviews and probably 
the most inspirational Democrat since 
Obama. Kamala Harris is charismatic and 
has broad support among black voters. Beto 
O’Rourke and Cory Booker have sparked 
pockets of interest with their high-energy 
stump styles. 

Still, the odds don’t favor this group. Buttigieg 
is probably eight years away from a real 
shot at becoming the nation’s first openly gay 
president. Harris has equivocated badly on 
straightforward questions, leaving some to 
wonder if she has the depth at this stage of 
her career to be president. Klobuchar, Booker 
and O’Rourke can’t seem to find a lane 
that could carry them through the primary 

Which brings us back to the top three, any 
one of whom would make a fine president 
and all of whom should be able to defeat 
Trump. Then again, no Democrat in memory 
had a better chance of winning the presidency 
than Clinton, who was Trumped in the 
Electoral College. 

Democratic voters might hope that the first 
debates next week will clarify things. That’s 
doubtful. Debating could speed the exit of 
some candidates who never really had a 
chance, but it’s unlikely to change things at 
the top. As Republicans proved in 2016 with 
a field of 17, swaying opinion is difficult on 
an overcrowded stage, and this month’s 
monstrosity will involve 20 of the 23 candidates 
plus five moderators. 

If you’re worried about a repeat of 2016 and, 
like me, long for someone with more charisma 
and fewer drawbacks, then you’re stuck 
with the words of Iowa playwright Meredith 
Willson in “The Music Man”: “Ya got trouble, 
my friend.” 

Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously 
Optimistic,” is available at and 

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