When Republicans campaigned for the midterm election they promised to exercise “fiscal responsibility” and control spending as well as creating jobs to get the economy going in the right direction. They started off the 112th Congress by reading a bastardized version of the Constitution, and then started the symbolic effort to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act. They did make some moves on the economic front, but there was absolutely nothing in their first couple of weeks remotely resembling fiscal responsibility.
Instead of reining in “out of control spending,” the Republicans immediately picked up where they left off when George W. Bush was president. They claimed they were concerned about spending, and instead of working on spending cuts, Eric Cantor (R-VA) told reporters that because Republicans didn’t control the government it was up to the president to propose the spending cuts. Apparently, Republicans are not concerned about out of control spending; but it sounded good during the campaign.
The effort to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, if passed, would add $230 billion to the deficit over the next ten years. The health law will save $230 billion (according to the CBO) over the same period but Republicans do not believe that figure. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) does not accept the CBO figure and said; “The CBO is entitled to their opinion.” Although the repeal effort is almost certain to fail, Republicans would rather add to the deficit and deprive 30-40 million Americans of health insurance than save $230 billion. The most offensive act Republicans have committed is a Bush-era practice and it should enrage the American people.
During the lame duck Congress, President Obama worked out a deal to cut taxes in exchange for 13 months of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who lost their jobs. Every American received a tax cut, but the wealthiest Americans benefit the most because not only do they get a tax cut, but they get reduced taxes on dividends, capital gains, and estates. Only the top 2% have substantial investments that pay dividends, capital gains, and have estate income. The tax cut deal was in effect until 2012, but Republicans have, in effect, extended the tax cuts indefinitely. It is no surprise because Republicans have proposed making the tax cuts permanent; it looks as if they accomplished that feat.
The first substantial economic move Republicans made was to change the House anti-deficit rules that keep the existing tax cuts in place. In order to account for new spending, legislators cannot increase taxes. That means to pay for anything, instead of bringing in revenue, Republicans will make cuts to other programs. The move makes any tax cuts in place indefinite and according to the Treasury Department, will add approximately $3.9 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. It is the same process the Republicans used in 2001 under the Bush Administration, and it guarantees the deficit will increase exactly like it did during the Bush-era. The Bush economic policies are responsible for a great portion of the national debt that Obama inherited, and now with unaffordable tax cuts back in place, Americans can be sure the debt will grow.
Republicans always increase spending, but never for social programs that help the middle class and the poor. Under the new rules, to offset new spending Republicans will have to either raise revenue or cut programs. With the prospect of no new revenue, the only solution is to cut more programs, and since Republicans will not cut defense spending or raise taxes on the wealthy or corporations, it is the poor who will take the brunt of program cuts. Americans should be outraged, and the Tea Party should be incensed that they supported Republican candidates only to be sold out by the same people who ran the economy into the ground. All Americans should have seen this coming, and it makes the Republican victory in November all the more mysterious. Although Republicans campaigned on the fiscal responsibility promise, they offered no solutions except to cut taxes, cut spending, and repeal the health care law.
Many Republicans campaigned on the promise that the government should be run like a business, but if a business used the Republican strategy, it wouldn’t last long at all. Any household knows that it has to bring in revenue to cover expenses. Republicans though, just don’t understand basic economics and it is evident that they are deliberately reducing revenue, while spending as if there is an unlimited supply of money. At some point, there will be nothing more to cut. Republicans’ tax cuts for the wealthy is not funded, and the deficit is going to rise to a dangerous level with no end in sight.
There are only so many programs to cut before Republicans attempt to deplete the Social Security trust. As it is now, the money in the Social Security fund cannot be touched, but Republicans are trying to change that. Although Republicans claim Social Security is losing money, the trust is doing quite well and that is why Republicans want to gut the program and give the money to the wealthy and corporations. Republicans want to privatize Social Security so wage earners will pay in to Wall Street so investors and brokers can gamble and lose the money in the next market crash.
The Republican agenda is nothing new. Growing the deficit started with Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and continued through both George Bush presidencies. Now that Republicans control the House, they can revert to 2001 and increase the deficit while they decrease revenue. It is the conservative way of governing and at some juncture the American people are going to have to put a stop to the madness.
Republicans may have promised fiscal responsibility, but they have been irresponsible and they have just begun their failed policies. Americans should be smarter than to elect the same group that ruined the economy in the first place. The only thing Republicans can do to completely follow Bush-era policies is to deregulate the banking and financial industries. Unfortunately for America, that is the next thing on the Republicans’ agenda. They plan to repeal the financial regulations that Democrats and Obama passed into law to protect Americans from unfair banking practices and to stop Wall Street from shady deals.
Some Americans never learn from their mistakes and continue to vote against their own self-interests. Just because Republicans promised financial responsibility, it doesn’t mean they will follow through when they are elected. It is one thing for Americans to be fooled in 2001, but to fall for the same lies and gimmicks from the same players is astonishing. Either Americans are incredibly stupid, or they hate the African-American president so bad that they are willing to lose everything to send him a message. The Tea Party should be most infuriated because they helped elect the bunch of incompetents based on the promise of fiscal responsibility and spending cuts. They were punked because Republicans do not cut spending and are irresponsible for unnecessarily adding to the national debt. Perhaps in the next election they will remember what Republicans mean when they claim to be fiscally responsible. It means less revenue, increased spending, and eventually bankrupting the country.