Just a few choice paragraphs about the right’s sudden desire to cut spending, from the New York Times.
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.
The parties share blame for the current fiscal situation, but federal budget statistics show that Republican policies over the last decade, and the cost of the two wars, added far more to the deficit than initiatives approved by the Democratic Congress since 2006, giving voters reason to be skeptical of campaign promises.
Calculations by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent fiscal experts show that the $1.1 trillion cost over the next 10 years of the Medicare prescription drug program, which the Republican-controlled Congress adopted in 2003, by itself would add more to the deficit than the combined costs of the bailout, the stimulus and the health care law.
… most Republicans are calling for the permanent extension of all Bush-era tax cuts, which would add $700 billion more to the deficit over the next 10 years than President Obama and Democratic leaders have proposed by continuing only some of the lower rates.
Republicans say extending the cuts will spur economic activity, but that is hardly guaranteed. And the cost of either plan is astronomical: Mr. Obama’s plan will add more than $3 trillion to the deficit; the Republicans’ plan will add more than $4 trillion.
On the campaign trail, many Republicans are calling for a repeal of the health care law, a step that would actually increase the deficit by more than $100 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, by eliminating some cost-saving provisions — a fact that typically goes unmentioned. Republicans counter that the full cost of the health care law will only kick in later, so that repeal would save money in the long run.[New York Times, October 20, 2010]
The Republican and Tea Party rhetoric this cycle is playing right into the anti-intellectual wave sweeping the country. The same ignorance of finances and mathematics that got us into the fiscal mess we’re in is now being leveraged by the right to gain power. People who can’t balance a checkbook are lining up to vote for conservative morons who don’t know how government works, don’t have a plan to fix our fiscal problems, and can only parrot this year’s familiar refrain: “Government is too big and spending too much!”
We’ve heard that before. From both sides.