Tom Crouser: Mooney must not understand conservatism (Opinion)

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., appears not to understand conservatism. He voted for tax relief in 2017 when we didn’t need it. Now he’s voted against the second Family First Coronavirus Response bill when we do need it. Not only does he appear to be out of touch with “conservative” values, he’s out of step with Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

Here are my thoughts.

In 2017, the economy was rebounding. It grew 2.3% that year. Americans were shopping, businesses were investing and the stock market was strong. Consumer confidence was the highest since 2000. Unemployment was the lowest in 17 years and the country had added jobs every month for more than seven years.

The new president wanted the economy to grow faster and Congressman Mooney supported him. They promoted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as “paying for itself” and claimed overall tax revenue would grow.

Then they increased defense spending to the highest level since the 1970s, adjusting for inflation. That led critics to fear revenue reductions and increased spending would result in a $1 trillion deficit by 2020.

It didn’t take that long.

At the end of the third quarter of 2017, which coincides with the government’s fiscal year, our debt stood at $20.245 trillion, an increase of $672 billion over 2016.

In fiscal year 2018, debt increased $1.271 trillion. In 2019 it grew $1.260 trillion. And it’s projected to grow $1.281 trillion in 2020.

The tax cut that was to pay for itself, didn’t. We’re projected to spend $3.812 trillion more on government than government collected under the watchful eyes of Donald Trump and Alex Mooney.

A real conservative doesn’t cut prices (taxes) to increase total sales (revenue) when they increase expenses. They control expenses and, as a last resort, even raise taxes to pay for the government we consume.

It’s like us refinancing the house mortgage each year to borrow more cash to pay for our overspending. It doesn’t leave us wiggle room when a real crisis occurs.

And, today, we face a real crisis.

As of this writing, coronavirus has shut down five states, California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. As of this writing, Congress is debating the third Family First Coronavirus Respond Act. What will happen is never sure. What has happened in the past, however, is history.

Congressman Mooney broke with the Republican Party, President Trump and West Virginia, and voted against the second Family First Coronavirus Respond Act.

The House passed the bill with broad bipartisan support (363-40-1). Forty Republicans stood alone as a minority opposed to the bill, including Mooney.

While the law mandates small businesses must pay two weeks of sick pay for employees contracting coronavirus or are told to quarantine, and up to 12 weeks of family leave under certain conditions, businesses will be able to deduct all the payroll expenses against their quarterly tax deposits, leaving them whole.

Even the president tweeted his support, “I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES! I will always put ... the health and well-being of American families FIRST. Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!”

He signed it into law March 18, the same day of final Senate passage.

Nevertheless, 40 Republicans stood against the bill, against President Trump and against the Republican Party. That included Alex Mooney.

It’s believed that the Freedom Caucus, considered the furthest-right group within the House Republican Conference, opposed the bill. And while it does not disclose its members, Mooney apparently self-identified as a member of their “Fight Club.” He also was identified as being a member of the group by the Tea Party Express.

Real conservatives aren’t dogmatic. They don’t spend money when it’s not needed only to not spend it when it is. Alex Mooney is out of step with President Trump, Republicans and West Virginians.

Tom Crouser is a business consultant

living in Mink Shoals. Reach him at

tom@crouser.com and follow

@TomCrouser on Twitter. Also connect

via Facebook and LinkedIn.

Funerals for Sunday, March 29, 2020

Clevenger, Ralph - Noon, Hodam Creek Cemetery, Hacker Valley.

Fox, Etta - 2 p.m., Blaine Memorial Cemetery, Cottageville.