Here we are: Mexico won’t pay for wall and Hillary won’t be in prison

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To more than a few Americans, the phrase “President-elect Donald Trump” is as incomprehensible as “World Champion Chicago Cubs.”

Worse, these deniers only deepen their denial on being told (and retold) that, yes, the Cubs won the Series and, in fact, Donald Trump was elected president Nov. 8.

These inconsolables continue to take Trump’s victory as a personal defeat; Donald Trump is not my president, they shout.

OK, but he will be the nation’s president come noon Jan. 20, 2017. Until then, he and his “make America great again” cohorts will be engaged 24/7 in planning how to change government as “bigly” and “yugely” as possible on Jan. 21.

Budget

Even before he’s inaugurated though, the president-elect will play a role in negotiating the not-yet-passed 2017 federal budget. Recall Congress and President Barack Obama punted that work to Dec. 9 by agreeing to a temporary patch, a “continuing resolution,” last September.

Now that patch needs to be patched.

Does the new president-elect want another short-term budget deal — say, until Jan. 21 — or will the current president play it tough and threaten to muscle Congress into funding the government, and his signature programs, through next Oct. 1?

Either way, no one in Congress or the current and future White House will sit out the divvying up of this $4.3-trillion pie.

Current odds favor a deal that delivers a spending plan through Oct. 1. After that’s out of the way, another fiscal deadline looms.

By March 15, Congress and the White House must act to raise the national debt limit. Currently, that limit is “suspended,” a neat trick Congress and the White House agreed to a year ago to permit uncapped spending until after the 2016 election.

Debt

Estimates now put today’s total debt at $19.5 trillion. What will the Trump Administration do on the debt ceiling?

No one knows but many tight-fisted Congressional Republicans will not be tight-lipped if he argues for a big boost to fulfill campaign promises of infrastructure spending and tax cuts.

If enacted, those two promises alone will add an estimated $5 trillion to the national debt. Unlike campaign rhetoric, however, that $5 trillion isn’t smoke and mirrors; it’s baked in as soon as Trump signs either idea into law.

Saying you’re for tax cuts is easy; paying for tax cuts is hard. The smart money on Wall Street, however, is already banking on heavy deficit spending.

That, say wary economists, is the key reason every U.S. stock index climbed — some to near-record highs — shortly after the Trump victory: big government spending will fuel big corporate growth and Wall Street loves corporate growth.

No, you didn’t hear that on the campaign trail. It, however, is the odds-on coming reality.

In fact, here’s how the Wall Street Journal, no bastion of economic liberalism, characterized this new reality in the opening paragraph of a Nov. 14 front page story: “The presidency of Donald Trump is poised to usher in a new era for the U.S. economy that forecasters say could boost economic growth, bring higher interest rates and inflation, and a new set of potential risks including international trade wars.”

It’s very doubtful that any of the 61,166,063 Americans who voted for Donald Trump also voted for “higher interest rates and inflation.”

It’s equally doubtful that anyone voted for “international trade wars.” (“Wars,” as in more than one, according to the Journal.)

And yet, here we are —“we” as in rural America because we’re the ones experts agree gave Donald Trump the unforeseen victory. Here we are staring at exactly what no farmer, rancher, or American needs: higher interest rates, more inflation, and multiple trade wars.

Even worse, while that sky is falling on rural America, it’s a very safe bet that Mexico won’t be paying for a wall and Hillary won’t be in prison. An even safer bet is that Donald will still be Tweeting.

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Alan Guebert was raised on an 800-acre, 100-cow southern Illinois dairy farm. After graduation from the University of Illinois in 1980, he served as a writer and editor at Professional Farmers of America, Successful Farming magazine and Farm Journal magazine. His syndicated agricultural column, The Farm and Food File, began in June, 1993, and now appears weekly in more than 70 publications throughout the U.S. and Canada. He and spouse Catherine, a social worker, have two adult children. farmandfoodfile.com

3 COMMENTS

  1. Is this really a worthy article for the Farm and Dairy? It sounds like a political opinion to me that has nothing to do with agriculture. A lot of guessing and liberal slant here.

  2. Why would you publish such a piece of crap??? This opinion has no place in an Agricultural magazine-it says nothing but stirs the pot of political emotions. The president-elect hasnt even had a chance to get in office yet-let alone begin to implement his plans. By publishing this, you have stooped to the likes of ‘National Inquirer’ and other publications that are not worthy of posting on outhouse walls….

  3. Thank you for taking the time to comment. This piece is, indeed, an opinion column, not a straight news article. Alan Guebert is a national freelance writer and columnist, whose views have been published on the Farm and Dairy op-ed page for many years. Farm and Dairy strives to present a variety of viewpoints, even those some readers may not agree with. We agree, however, that it is perhaps not marked as “commentary” online as clearly as it appears in print. We will work to clarify these works online in the future.
    Editor Susan Crowell

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