Deficit Hawks Tell Republicans to Give It a Rest
If you’re looking for evidence of just how far overboard the GOP has gone with its demands to cut all government spending on everything but the military, look no further than this CNN story:
Some top deficit hawks from the left and right are flashing a warning sign: Making too many federal spending cuts now will hurt the economy.
These are the same folks, mind you, who have been preaching the perils of debt long before the cut-now-or-else Tea Party came to town.
“The short-term deficit isn’t the problem,” said former U.S. Comptroller David Walker, who notes that recent annual deficits are the result of temporary problems such as slow economic growth, high unemployment and the cost of various stimulus measures.
He thinks lawmakers should consider spending several hundred billion dollars in the short-run to make strategic investments in areas such as surface transportation, alternative energy and research and development. Even if it adds to the short-term deficit.
Ken Rogoff also believes that economic growth is what we need most right now, and even Pete Peterson drone Alice Rivlin would rather see federal aid to state and local governments than immediate spending cuts or tax increases.
When even the people who hyperventilate about deficits for a living think the GOP’s debt limit ransom demands will do more harm than good, it’s pretty hard to avoid the conclusion that harm is precisely what the GOP intends. Perhaps if the economic slump were seriously damaging corporate profits or CEO pay the Republicans might take an interest in pulling us out of it, but they have no qualms about sacrificing the little people to improve their chances in 2012.
I just want to throw out one more little tidbit to demonstrate just how “serious” Republicans are about the deficit:
Forty-one Republican members of the Senate have signed a promise to oppose “any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”
In other words, the same party that says the deficit is so important that it has to threaten the country with default is also insisting that any cuts in tax expenditures must not reduce the deficit in any way. So, to sum up the Republican position: Anything that might increase taxes on the have-mores must be opposed to protect economic growth, while anything that reduces the spending money available to everyone else must be pursued aggressively to cut the deadly deficit.
And if that should happen to please Republican donors while making Obama and the Democrats look like incompetent failures (not entirely inaccurate) in a big election year, so much the better.
Meanwhile, the bond vigilantes remain unavailable for comment.