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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Republicans are like pyromaniacs who become volunteer firefighters
Posted by Jill | 7:14 PM
I'm sure you've heard about pyromaniacs who become firefighters -- guys who set fires so they can share in the glory of putting them out.

Would you want a pyromaniac in YOUR town's fire department? Of course not. So I wonder why so many people want to put Republicans in charge of our nation's fiscal house, given that they seem always to create massive deficits and then talk incessantly how they are the ones to fix them:

In January 2001, with the budget balanced and clear sailing ahead, the Congressional Budget Office forecast ever-larger annual surpluses indefinitely. The outlook was so rosy, the CBO said, that Washington would have enough money by the end of the decade to pay off everything it owed.

Voices of caution were swept aside in the rush to take advantage of the apparent bounty. Political leaders chose to cut taxes, jack up spending and, for the first time in U.S. history, wage two wars solely with borrowed funds. “In the end, the floodgates opened,” said former senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), who chaired the Senate Budget Committee when the first tax-cut bill hit Capitol Hill in early 2001.

Now, instead of tending a nest egg of more than $2 trillion, the federal government expects to owe more than $10 trillion to outside investors by the end of this year. The national debt is larger, as a percentage of the economy, than at any time in U.S. history except for the period shortly after World War II.

Polls show that a large majority of Americans blame wasteful or unnecessary federal programs for the nation’s budget problems. But routine increases in defense and domestic spending account for only about 15 percent of the financial deterioration, according to a new analysis of CBO data.

The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former president George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue. That’s nearly half of the $12.7 trillion swing from projected surpluses to real debt. Federal tax collections now stand at their lowest level as a percentage of the economy in 60 years.

Big-ticket spending initiated by the Bush administration accounts for 12 percent of the shift. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have added $1.3 trillion in new borrowing. A new prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients contributed another $272 billion. The Troubled Assets Relief Program bank bailout, which infuriated voters and led to the defeat of several legislators in 2010, added just $16 billion — and TARP may eventually cost nothing as financial institutions repay the Treasury.

Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus, a favorite target of Republicans who blame Democrats for the mounting debt, has added $719 billion — 6 percent of the total shift, according to the new analysis of CBO data by the nonprofit Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative. All told, Obama-era choices account for about $1.7 trillion in new debt, according to a separate Washington Post analysis of CBO data over the past decade. Bush-era policies, meanwhile, account for more than $7 trillion and are a major contributor to the trillion-dollar annual budget deficits that are dominating the political debate.

It's no secret that Republicans have wanted to do away with all programs that help actual people -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, school lunches, nutritional assistance to the poor, libraries, and on and on and on. In the Republican Randian dream universe, people like Donald Trump and the Koch brothers, all of whom inherited their money, are lauded as visionary hard workers, while the rest of us slink off, and in the prescient words of former Rep. Alan Grayson, die quickly.

So it's hardly surprising than when you look at the numbers rather than the talking points, it's Republicans since the dawn of the Reagan Doctrine who create the deficits. It is, after all, the easiest way to generate the kind of crises that have any possibility of winning enough public support to fulfill their dream of a society of the rich and corporations, by the rich and corporations, and for the rich and corporations.

The rest of us don't even qualify as people.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I keep asking myself--given their long and proud history of repeatedly trashing the economy--Gilded Age, 1929, 1987, Reagan Deficit, Bush Deficit, 2008--why are the Republicans called "the party of fiscal responsibility"?