Remember the good old days when conservatives cared about debt?

Like back in the 1990s, when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Remember? Newt Gingerich became Speaker of the House?

President Bill Clinton wasn’t averse to working with Gingerich back then. Compromise. What a concept.

The results were impressive. Welfare reform, which Republicans liked; an assault weapons ban, which Democrats liked; and a balanced federal budget, which both parties liked.





That bears repeating: A balanced federal budget, with a couple of years of budget surplus to follow.

Can you imagine?

Democrats and Republicans worked together for the good of the country. Congressmen worked together for the good of their constituents.

I’m gettin’ a little misty  over here just thinking about  it. (All right, that was an exaggeration, but it was a good time to be a conservative.)

The good ol’ days indeed.

The federal fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

It was reported Tuesday that the federal debt increased by $1,271,158,167,126.72 in fiscal 2018. This was according to data released by the U.S. Treasury.

The total federal debt started the fiscal year at $20,244,900,016,053.51 and finished the fiscal year at $21,516,058,183,180.23.

The $1.271 trillion in debt accumulated in fiscal 2018 made it the eighth fiscal year in the last 11 in which the debt increased by at least $1 trillion.

It also was the sixth  largest fiscal-year debt increase in the history of the United States.

The worst year was fiscal 2009, when the government ran up a debt of $1.885 trillion.

The Conservative News Service did a little math to put this in perspective.

They noted: “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 155,542,000 people with jobs in the United States in August. That means that the ... federal debt at the end of fiscal 2018 equaled approximately $138,330 for every person in this country who works. The  ...  increase in the debt in fiscal 2018 alone equaled approximately $8,172 per worker.

So I did a little math.

If you made $100 per hour and worked a 40-hour week, how long do you think it would take you to earn last year’s federal deficit of $1.271 trillion?

That would be 6,110,0556 years. Yes, you’d have to work 6.11 million years.

Now, let’s look at revenue collected by the Treasury for the past 10 years. The dollar amounts, of course, are in trillions.

2010    $2.16

2011    $2.30

2012    $2.45

2013    $2.77

2014    $3.02

2015    $3.25

2016    $3.27

2017    $3.32

2018    $3.34*

2019    $3.42*

* estimated

Now, even a dumb Hoosier like me can figure out that the government has been collecting lots of revenue.

In fact, government has been collecting year-over-year record amounts of revenue since 2013.

Tax cuts or no tax cuts, revenues are rising. It begs the question: Are we taxed too little or does government spend too much?

I have another question. Where are all the conservatives? I mean, Republicans have been running the show, with majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives for a couple of decades.

What happened to them?

Why are they spending tax dollars like drunken sailors on shore leave?

Why are they conceding to the fiscal whims of the Democrats? Frankly, Dems get more now out of the budget process than they did when they were in control of the House.

This quote from Demo Sen. Chuch Schumer back in 2015 sums it up pretty nicely.

“If you would’ve told me this year that we’d be standing here celebrating the passage of an omnibus bill, with no poison pill riders, at higher [spending] levels above sequesters than even the president requested, I wouldn’t have believed it, but here we are. Almost anything the Republican leadership in the Senate achieved this year, they achieved on Democratic terms. … Democrats had an amazingly good year.”

Yeah, they did. And it’s continued year after year. Hence, the deficit spending.

The first budget bill for 2019 passed last month. The vote was 377-20. It got very little news coverage.

President Trump agreed to sign the bill, and interestingly, the bill passed with the support of all but five Democrats in the House. That’s right. Only five Democrats resisted. These are the same people that have resisted everything Trump has touched over the past year and a half.

That should tell you all you need to know about the bill.

It completely ignored all Trump’s immigration priorities and increased spending for government agencies above Obama-era levels.

It also increased funding for agencies where Trump sought reductions.

Here’s an excerpt from a story about it in the Washington Examiner:

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the Appropriations panel, called the bill “a bipartisan rejection of President Trump’s extreme budget cuts.”

Many GOP conservatives rejected the measure and called for Republican leaders to push for including conservative policy riders that were stripped out in negotiations with the Senate, where Democrats are needed to pass most legislation. Other Republicans said spending levels are too high.

“House Republican priorities were shut out across the board,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker, R-N.C., said.

What? You have the majority in both houses of Congress and a Republican in the White House and your priorities were shut out?

I’ve asked a lot of questions in the column. I’ll end with one more.

For whom, precisely, is a conservative supposed to vote these days?