Sullivan predicted deficit would decline with massive tax cut. Not yet.

A year ago, Sen. Dan Sullivan said the giant Republican tax cut would just about pay for itself because of increased economic growth, a standard article of faith among Republican politicians.

It hasn’t happened yet.

The deficit shows no sign of decline. It rose 17 percent in the last fiscal year to $779 billion because of the tax cut and increased spending. The deficit could be $1 trillion this fiscal year.

In arguing for tax cuts last year, Sullivan said that the Congressional Budget Office predictions that the tax cut would add $1.4 trillion to the national debt over a decade were wrong.

He said that economic growth projections by the CBO called for 1.9 percent growth over the next decade, but that was much too pessimistic.

“We can get to 3%, 3.5% economic growth,” Sullivan said in a CNN interview. ”We're going to do that and those deficits won't be such a challenge. We'll have much more of an opportunity for bringing in more revenue.”

We’ll see in the years to come if the challenge gets any easier. I suspect it will not.

Sullivan, along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young championed the idea a year ago of reducing revenue by cutting taxes while ignoring spending, which was the easy and irresponsible thing to do.

Running for office in 2014, when the deficit was $485 billion, Sullivan said “reducing our deficit and debt is a moral imperative. We can't keep saddling our kids with crippling debt to pay for today's irresponsible spending.”

"The debt of the country in the last six years under President Obama, Harry Reid and Mark Begich has gone from $10 trillion to 17-and-a-half-trillion dollars, on our kids' backs. That's not progress,” Sullivan said just before he was elected four years ago.

The national debt is now $21 trillion.

All this has led to predictable Republican calls for reductions in the future benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

The GOP calls it “entitlement reform,” which sounds like something everyone should support.

“I think we need to take care of long-term entitlement reform for the next generation of Americans to really address that deficit challenge,” Sullivan said in February, neglecting to mention his part in raising the deficit by hundreds of billions.

It has been less than a year since the tax cut became law. If Sullivan runs for re-election in 2020, that would be enough time to pass judgment on his prediction.

Dermot Cole1 Comment