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House Republicans’ Totally Serious, Not-Fake-No-Way Concern About the Deficit and Debt

May 2, 2012

Ever hear the phrase “concern troll”? Looks like we’ve got about 242 of them in the U.S. House. Two bits of news this week tell you all you really need to know about Republican priorities where the deficit and national debt are concerned.

Exhibit A:

Coming as no surprise, but notable none-the-less, the House GOP has announced no plan to offset or pay for their extension of the Bush Tax Cuts.

House Republicans say they have no plans to pay for the extension of the Bush-era tax rates, a move that could erase the deficit reduction they have achieved since winning their majority in the chamber in 2010…..

The political problem for Republicans comes from the system used by congressional score-keepers, which projects that extending the 2001 and 2003 cuts and other income tax provisions included in the 2010 tax deal would cost roughly $2.4 trillion over a decade. (The Hill)

Keep in mind, this is the same group who recently pitched a fit over the extension of a payroll tax holiday without “proper offsets.”

Exhibit B: 

GOP golden-child and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has introduced legislation to renege on last year’s Budget Control Act and replace $600 billion in automatic defense cuts with a whole slew of draconian cuts to social programs and financial regulation the GOP would just as soon not have to fund. (You know: like SNAP nutritional assistance, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  — things real patriots can do without, thank you very much!)

Ryan’s Sequester Replacement Act, H.R. 4966, would eliminate language in last year’s Budget Control Act that requires the cut to 2013 spending, known as the “sequester.”

Another piece of legislation, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, is a 187-page bill that outlines the various cuts and savings to mandatory programs that will make up for ending the sequester. Cuts in this bill come from recommendations made by six House committees: Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means. (The Hill)

You must understand, that cutting funding from the Pentagon budget could hopelessly imperil our national security, right? Well, no…Not so much:

In nominal terms, sequestration is not even a cut; it would see nonwar military spending grow by about 10 percent from today, as opposed to the 18 percent the administration wants….

Adjusting for the CBO’s predictions for inflation, sequestration would allow the military budget to remain almost flat. The process would leave the 2021 Pentagon with purchasing power equivalent to what it had in 2006, leaving out the wars. That would be a bigger budget in real terms than what the U.S. spent on the military at the height of the Cold War. (World Politics Review)

To summarize:

When it comes to tax cuts for the wealthy, deficits and debt simply don’t matter. (Because those tax cuts pay for themselves! Or something.)

When it comes to spending on a bloated defense budget, that’s too important to worry about deficits or debt.

But when it comes to food stamps, consumer protection, retirement benefits for people who have served their country, healthcare services, even flood insurance — these are things the U.S. government just can’t afford to provide. Sorry, people – now buck up & all that.

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