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Republicans slip into a ‘predictable spiral’

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31.08.2017

Hurricane Harvey has devastated Texas. Now board your windows, evacuate the low ground and watch the damage it is poised to unleash on the nation’s finances.

Harvey makes landfall in Washington as soon as next week, when President Trump is expected to ask for what could be tens of billions of dollars in storm relief. And paying for storm recovery — probably with few offsetting spending cuts — will be but the first blow to fiscal discipline in what looks to be a particularly active, and calamitous, spending season.

After Harvey comes the debt ceiling, and there are rumblings that the vote to raise the limit could actually be used to increase spending. (In the past, such votes were used by fiscal hawks to cut spending.) At the same time come negotiations to fund the government for fiscal year 2018, and indications are that lawmakers will try to avoid a shutdown with a short-term spending deal that will include a Pentagon slush fund worth tens of billions of dollars.

Then, still forming over the Treasury Department is a fiscal Category 4: Trump and Republicans have given clear signs they are moving away from tax reform (a simplification of the tax code that doesn’t necessarily reduce revenue) toward all-out tax cuts, financed by deficit........

© Washington Post