The Big Lie and the the Big Deficit
The current Republican and Tea Bag political position is that we can’t afford the government we have, that the United States is nearly bankrupt and the federal deficit is exploding and completely out of control. For example, Senator John Kyl said,
“[Y]ou should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes,” said the Arizona Senator during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “Surely Congress has the authority, and it would be right to — if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending, and that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.”
So what has made the deficit so big?
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, by far the largest contribution to the deficit is Bush-era tax cuts. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy organization working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals. So far as WC knows, the Center is genuinely non-partisan.
The big tickets contributors to the deficit are not the TARP, or the bailout of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) or Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”); you need a magnifying glass to find that portion of the federal deficit in relation to the others. It’s not the other recession recovery measures. They aren’t a significant part, either.
No, there are three big elements to the $1.3 trillion deficit: two land wars in Asia, the shrinkage in government revenues associated with the recession and the largest, Bush-era tax cuts. If you track the graph out to 2019, the impact of the tax cuts is truly frightening.
Under present economic circumstances, there are only three ways to meaningfully reduce the deficit:
- repeal the Bush tax cuts and force the wealthiest Americans to pay their share,
- get us out of Bush’s two wars (and reduce the Department of Defense budget) or
- provide economic stimulus to improve the economy.
But the Republicans oppose all three. Senator Kyl has made clear he’s not willing to make even the very modest effort at economic stimulus that might result from an extension of jobless benefits. And his continuing heartfelt concern for protecting the incomes of the very richest Americans means no effort to reduce the budgetary impact of Bush’s tax cuts. Kyl’s position doesn’t seem to be any different from other Republicans.
So it’s a kind of con game, Hide the Lady at the political level. With a flavor of The Big Lie thrown in. Pound on the table about the deficit and the national debt, use it as an excuse for inaction, while refusing to do anything about the root causes of the problem. It’s trying to trick the voters with shouts of “Fire” while pouring on the gasoline and lighting the matches.
The evidence of Republican plans is crystal clear. The only question is: Are American voters dumb enough to fall for it?