January 16, 2017

With Donald Trump set to be president, it’s clear we need compromise to move forward from the divisive and combative election period.

But there’s a problem. We know we need compromise, but too many of us want several incompatible things at once.

For instance, we want health care. That’s a noble aim – we want people to be covered for care they need. But how will it be funded when we also want tax cuts and a balanced budget?

At best, we can have two of those three things at once, but not the whole trio. It seems too many Americans want it all and don’t see why it can’t happen.

Put another way, we want more than we can afford. If we want everything, we must pay for it somehow – either income increases or the purchases are financed.

Those who don’t get it are likely the same people spending more than they earn every month. Sadly, it is 38 percent of the country, by some estimates.

This mix frames the discussion for any of President Trump’s economic proposals – they must consider governmental debt at all levels.

Currently, federal debt hovers around $20 trillion and state/local debt adds roughly another $3 trillion to the mix. Total debt has risen $10 trillion in President Obama’s two terms.

In order to truly have what we want, our debt has to be reined in. It should be a priority for any president, but often is not.

In fact, spending controls dating back to the 1990’s were abolished under President George W. Bush. That combined with large governmental outlays was effectively the liftoff of our debt rocket.

This isn’t a blame-game, but rather an indicator of a tough situation for President Trump to inherit. As usual, the first 100 days will be crucial…stay tuned.