By former USDA Secretary John R. Block
Our economy is booming. Job growth in 2018 averaged 220,000 new jobs each month. 419,000 workers have come back to work. The labor force participation rate is up to 63.1 percent. Wages are up an impressive 3.2 percent. Unemployment for blacks, Hispanics, and women is at historic lows.
Manufacturing added 32,000 new jobs in December and the elite said, “no hope for manufacturing.” Finally, high school graduates without college are being recruited by corporations to come to work. It is about time. Big companies complaining about not having enough qualified workers have come to understand – if you need help recruit and train. I love it. A lot of people that were having a hard time are now in demand.
We should be delighted that our economy is firing on all cylinders. So – what is there for us to worry about? The answer is our national debt. Our debt as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 77.7 percent. Japan is at 155 percent and Italy 118 percent. China’s could be higher than ours. The reckless fiscal policies of Greece all but bankrupted that country. The European Union bailed them out.
Our national debt is 22 trillion dollars and will be rising by at least another trillion each year as we look ahead. Here is what Robert Samuelson, a respected economist that writes for the Washington Post had to say: “It is conventional wisdom in Washington that Republican addiction to tax cuts are mainly responsible for the huge budget deficit. That is, at best, a half-truth. Democrats are equally responsible because they refuse to come to grips with the massive spending on retirement and health care.”
In December 2012 six years ago on my radio program I quoted Samuelson. Here is what his Washington Post column said then: “It’s the welfare state, stupid.” He is right. We can’t afford to keep shoveling money out the door that we don’t have. There are steps that can be taken to control spending and raise more tax money. Won’t be easy. Politicians won’t get elected if they take anything away.
Today all the talk in this town is Green, New Deal, Socialism. That guarantees more debt.
John Block was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill. If you would like to review his radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com.