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The Budget Debacle: A Preview of What Happens if Trump Wins

Well, we dodged the bullet. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, torn between risking his speakership and putting at risk the economic well-being of the country, did the right thing – after trying everything else. This spectacle provides a graphic preview of how the MAGA Republicans would govern should Trump and his cultish followers return to power.

The British term ‘shambolic’ (“chaotic, disorganized, and confused” – Oxford English Dictionary definition) appears inadequate to describe how we should expect any future MAGA/Trump administration to function. If you vote for Trump next November, you must understand that you are voting to make the U.S. government inoperable.

The willingness of a willful minority with total disregard for the wellbeing of our country, combined with a spineless party leadership, would have deprived American citizens of vital government services at every level of life, increased the national debt burden that they claim to want to reduce, and could well have sent the economy into recession. And for what reason? To posture with their favorite causes, i.e. banning abortion pills, stopping aid to Ukraine (and rescuing Putin from his folly), and cutting funding to the poor.

That the overwhelming majority of the American people oppose these extreme positions does not faze the MAGA zealots. Their professed interest in cutting the deficit is a bad joke; a few weeks ago, the same zealots were pushing McCarthy on new tax cuts. McCarthy failed to win over the hard-right despite starting an impeachment inquiry on President Joe Biden, proposing stricter border security, and slashing the social safety net. In fact, it appears that personal animosity against McCarthy has more to do with the chaos than any policy objective. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), an ethically handicapped member of the extremist camp has made no effort to conceal his personal animosity against McCarthy rather than pushing policy positions.

If the spectacle in the House is any guide, we should expect that the emboldened zealots will continue to disrupt the work of Congress. McCarthy’s attempt to fund the government earlier collapsed because the zealots essentially said, “my way or no way.” In the end, McCarthy prevailed only by reverting to the time-tested method of getting support from both sides of the aisle. For that sin, Gaetz has announced he will seek to remove McCarthy from the speakership. I fear that we will see repeats of the same toxic brinkmanship in mid-November when the new Continuing Resolution expires.

We should expect that extremists will see a Trump election victory as a green light to paralyze the legislative branch if they do not get their way. The recent impasse highlights the challenges of managing legislation in a polarized political environment, an environment that will only get harsher and more polarized as the November, 2024 elections approach.

Anyone who believes that a Trump presidency will bring order to chaos and discipline the crazies in his party needs a reality check.

The environment in a Republican controlled Congress will become even more toxic. For example, the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, led by Representative Jim Jordan – another MAGA crazy – seeks to undermine every investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged wrongdoing by destroying public confidence in the U.S. legal system. No matter what the outcome, McCarthy’s decision to begin an impeachment ‘inquiry’ into President Biden will further deepen partisan hatreds. The political atmosphere by January, 2025 will be too toxic to breathe.

Trump will have no time, nor inclination, to deal with the management of government if he comes back to office. He will be obsessed with recovering his business empire, which a state court has ordered dissolved, and with not going to jail – if he has not already been convicted before his inauguration. He will also be obsessed with pursuing revenge against anyone, Democrat or Republican, who criticized him. Anyone who believes that Trump will rise above personal interest for the common good is deluded; his narcissism will not allow him to do so.

This obsession may very well stem from what looks like a continuing decline in Trump’s cognitive capacity. Fox News characterized some of his recent comments as bizarre and concerning. As examples, Fox cited Trump’s statement “you need an ID to buy bread,” confusing Obama with Hillary Clinton in reference to the 2016 elections, and more recently, confusing Jeb Bush with George W. Bush, (or maybe Bush senior – Trump was not clear). More frighteningly, Trump posted on Truth Social (his personal X, formerly Twitter) calls for the execution of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and investigating media companies he dislikes, including Fox News because “it doesn’t like me over there”.

One can understand his accelerating mental decline. The loss of the 2020 elections after he had deluded himself into believing that he could not lose, compounded by his numerous indictments for absconding with and then concealing thousands of official government documents, including highly classified papers, and civil actions that will probably deprive him of his riches, would have exacted a cost on a far stronger mind than Trump’s.

Furthermore, given Trump’s obesity and lifestyle, a permanent diet of hamburgers with an occasional slice of tomato, and sugar-laden Coca-Cola (he cannot claim he has a ‘sound mind in a sound body’) probably adds to the decline. I would have mentioned Trump’s advanced age, but I do not find that an impediment, any more than it is for Joe Biden or for me.

I suggest readers ponder these facts carefully and then decide if they want government tearing itself apart over culture wars, revenge, and the recovery of great wealth led by a mentally challenged Chief Executive. If so, please be my guest and vote for Trump. Who knows, you might get Vivek Ramaswamy as Vice President.

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