And The New York Times moves a little closer to accepting that Republicans don't actually care about the deficit:
If there is a single message unifying Republican candidates this year, it is a call to grab hold of the federal checkbook, slam it closed and begin to slash spending. To bolster their case that action is needed, Republicans are citing major legislation over the four years that Democrats have controlled Congress, notably the financial system bailout, the economic stimulus and the new health care law.
But while polls show that the Republicans’ message is succeeding politically, Republican candidates and party leaders are offering few specifics about how they would tackle the nation’s $13.7 trillion debt, and budget analysts said the party was glossing over the difficulty of carrying out its ideas, especially when sharp spending cuts could impede an already weak economic recovery.
"Glossing over" is a bit of an understatement. If elected to a majority, congressional Republicans promise to do two things: spend $700 billion on tax cuts for high earners and repeal the Affordable Care Act, which happens to be the most significant deficit-reduction package since Bill Clinton passed his budget in 1993. Indeed, there is exactly nothing in Republican proposals to account for their plan to spend more than a trillion dollars on tax cuts and health-care benefits. At most -- according to The New York Times -- the GOP plan for deficit reduction will target the smallest programs for total savings of about about $105 billion. A pittance, when compared to what they're proposing.
Simply put, Republicans don't actually care about reducing deficits or even the size of government. The two most noteworthy Republican presidents in a generation -- Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush -- were responsible for dramatic increases in federal spending. As the Times points out, the 2003 Medicare prescription-drug program, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Republican president, will cost $1.1 trillion over 10 years and "add more to the deficit than the combined costs of the bailout, the stimulus and the health care law."
The GOP cares about one thing: removing the "burden" of taxation from rich people. And to that end, they are willing to spend trillions of dollars in tax cuts and other benefits. Insofar that Republicans are ever concerned with spending, it's when Democratic presidents spend a little money to improve life for the other 95 percent.
-- Jamelle Bouie
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