Krugman nails the trap that President Obama has laid for the Republicans (NYT
The point is that when you put Republicans on the spot and demand specifics about how they’re going to make good on their posturing about spending and deficits, they come up empty. There’s no there there.
And there never was. Republicans claim to be for much smaller government, but as a political matter they have always attacked government spending in the abstract, never coming clean with voters about the reality that big cuts in government spending can happen only if we sharply curtail very popular programs. In fact, less than a month ago the Romney/Ryan campaign was attacking Mr. Obama for, yes, cutting Medicare.
Now Republicans find themselves boxed in. With taxes scheduled to rise on Jan. 1 in the absence of an agreement, they can’t play their usual game of just saying no to tax increases and pretending that they have a deficit reduction plan. And the president, by refusing to help them out by proposing G.O.P.-friendly spending cuts, has deprived them of political cover. If Republicans really want to slash popular programs, they will have to propose those cuts themselves.
So while the fiscal cliff — still a bad name for the looming austerity bomb, but I guess we’re stuck with it — is a bad thing from an economic point of view, it has had at least one salutary political effect. For it has finally laid bare the con that has always been at the core of the G.O.P.’s political strategy.
Not a day goes by that I don't thank the Goddess that this country regained sufficient sanity to keep Willard Rmoney out of the White House, to put Paul Ryan back where he can do little damage in the face of other Congresscritters who can't get re-elected in two years if seniors and others turn on them, and to keep the Senate out of the hands of the Republicans.
For eight years, under George W. Bush, Republicans rubberstamped a 48.6 increase in Federal spending
. Borrowed money paid for two simultaneous wars fought with little accountability at the same time that the wealthiest Americans enjoyed tax cuts. While government spending increased by 70%, revenue increased by only 25%. One would think that Republicans deliberately decided to drive the country into bankruptcy in order to end up right where we are now. Gone and forgotten is Dick Cheney's assertion that deficits don't matter
. With a Democrat in the White House, Republicans decided that suddenly deficits DO matter -- especially during a recession, when austerity would be the worst thing to do to an economy in a fragile recovery. What is astonishing is that over 40% of Americans were unable to put this together during the last election and give the Republicans an even MORE serious drubbing. That kind of cynical hypocrisy should be punished more severely than it was.
That the Republican pearl-clutching about the deficit is really about protecting their billionaire masters should not be a surprise to anyone. What makes them so pathetic is that they honestly believe that their slavish devotion to the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and other less-profile people for whom no amount of money will fill the gaping hole in their souls would give them a place at the table with these men as a reward for leaving a scorched husk where a great nation used to be. They have no idea that they too will be tossed in the trash along with the detritus of the lives of those death-eaters.
Labels: deficits, Greedy Republican Bastards, hypocrisy, spending