In the past, deficit hypocrisy was an important weapon in the G.O.P. political arsenal. Both parties talked about fiscal responsibility, but only Democrats practiced it, actually paying for policy initiatives like Obamacare. Yet Democrats were punished for doing the right thing — remember “they’re taking $500 billion from Medicare”? — while Republicans seemingly paid no price for their cynicism. Voters focused on the extra money in their pockets, ignoring the long-run consequences of big tax cuts for the rich….And the lead proponent of those $1.5 trillion in tax cuts is someone who Krugman has derided for years as “the flim-flam man”, Wisconsin’s own Paul Ryan.
The political background is, however, quite different. For one thing, in 2000 the U.S. had a budget surplus, and debt had been falling relative to G.D.P., making concerns about long-run fiscal impacts seem remote. In fact, Alan Greenspan infamously argued that a tax cut was needed to keep America from paying off its debt too fast.
By contrast, the U.S. ran large deficits in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and the people who yelled loudest about an imminent debt crisis were the same people who pushed through a $1.5 trillion tax cut. And at least some voters seem to have noticed, and even made the connection between tax cuts and Republican attempts to undermine Medicare and Medicaid.
So what is Purty Mouth Pau-lie’s reaction to the people’s concerns over the deficits that will explode in coming years? To blame it on old people getting Social Security and Medicare!
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says that trillion-dollar deficits could not have been avoided by the GOP-controlled Congress, responding to critics within his party who say that leaders have behaved irresponsibly.Which leads to an obvious question. Hey Pau-lie, if we knew that spending had to go up because of Boomers retiring, WHY THE HELL DID WE REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY AVAILABLE?
“That was going to happen. The baby boomers retiring was going to do that,” Ryan said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” of projections that the country will start running trillion-dollar deficits as soon as 2020….
Ryan, a former House Budget Committee chairman, said the Congressional Budget Office projects discretionary spending to increase by only $300 billion over the next decade and for total tax revenues to continue to increase.
“Mandatory spending which is entitlements, that goes to $2 trillion over the next decade. Why does it go to $2 trillion? Because the boomer generation is retiring,” Ryan said.
And the answer is obvious – to kick money back to Ryan’s rich and corporate puppetmasters (who kick it back to GOP puppet politicians), and make the rising deficits the excuse to cut the earned benefits of older people. People are connecting these corrosive connection between big money and bad policies, and it pisses them off even more.
Yeah, of course I'm bought. And I'm getting PAID soon.
On a related note, take a look at who Ryan took time out of his schedule for today
I didn't know you could fit so many self-absorbed, mediocre white men in one room!
Another reason that the Trump/Ryan tax cuts are only supported by the WMC crowd is that it came after a 2000s decade that began with increased outsourcing of manufacturing jobs due to
When the rich and corporate sleazeballs weren’t thrown into prison en masse after the financial crisis, it created a void that led to resentment by former members of the middle-class that had been left behind with stagnant pay and worsening benefits. Some of this anger was taken out on people in other middle class professions, as the resentful people believed those workers needed to be hurt like they had been hurt (which explains Scott Walker’s playing “divide and conquer” with public employees as a way to sucker these resenters).
But the anger behind seeing that the rich and corporate were allowed to play by different rules and escape without much damage from the Great Recession still exists today. As Krugman notes, Republicans tried in 2018 to sell the same trickle-down schemes that they did in 2001 and 2003, but many more people were now skeptical of what the Trump-GOP folks were trying to pull. And the more the GOP talked it up, the less people believed them.
One thing in particular I suspect is registering with voters at some level, even if they don’t know much about the specifics, is the ludicrous optimism of Trump economic promises. Republican claims about the benefits of tax cuts aren’t just out of line with independent estimates; they’re so far out of the ballpark as to be in a different universe.So since the GOP can’t run on tax cuts or fiscal responsibility for 2018, Krugman says the option that is left for the GOPs is push even harder for another form of resentment.
Still, Republicans needn’t despair. After all, they’ll always have racism to fall back on. And with the tax cut fizzling, I predict that we’ll be seeing a lot of implicit — even explicit — appeals to racism in the months ahead.This has always been the two-step behind right-wing Milwaukee talk radio, and the GOP/Bradley puppetmasters that tell them what to say over the public's airwaves. The idea is to stir up weak-minded white people through racism/fear, pushing those weak-minded whites to vote for Republicans who support regressive economic policies that the weak-minded whites would never support as standalone items.
But in 2018, the GOP is seeing the problems that result from that cynciism. When your base strategy is lies and divisiveness, at some point, enough people see through the lies and there aren’t enough people left to hate. Then the façade of the GOP"s game crumbles, and the electoral wreckage that needs to occur can’t happen soon enough to today’s GOP.