Top Republicans Confess They’re Using Deficit As a Hammer

The national capital, Washington, D.C. Sketched from nature by Adolph Sachse, 1883-1884.

The national capital, Washington, D.C.” Sketched from nature by Adolph Sachse, 1883-1884. This is a wonderful color map on its own, but the included commercial ads are a great addition. On the left are some ads that include breweries, a brick maker, an auctioneer, real estate agents, lawyers and insurance agencies. On the right are a ‘Swiss” laundry, a millinery, a soap works, a patent agent, and Uroscopia – a medical office. The last is the “diagnostic examination” of urine. Which qualifies as my something new learned everyday.

I think it was back in 2001 that Eric Alterman made the observation that in addition to some conspiracy theories being true, the conspiracies in which conservatives were involved were relatively easy to see and document. Though in some cases you might have to put the pieces together and ignore the thick layer of  faux patriotic wrapping. And so it is that both those things are true about the deficit and why having a deficit serves the radical conservative agenda,  Republicans: We’ve been lying all along

America owes this debt of gratitude to Boehner after he finally came clean on yesterday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week” and admitted that “we do not have an immediate debt crisis.” (His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who quickly echoed much the same sentiment on CBS’ Face the Nation).

In offering up such a stunningly honest admission, the GOP leader has put himself on record as agreeing with President Obama, who has previously acknowledged that demonstrable reality. But the big news here isn’t just about the politics of a Republican House Speaker tacitly admitting they agree with a Democratic president. It is also about a bigger admission revealing the fact that the GOP’s fiscal alarmism is not merely some natural reaction to reality, but a calculated means to other ideological ends.

Before considering those ends, first remember that Boehner (like Obama) is correct on the facts.

As Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman has pointed out, “Even if we do run deficits, federal debt as a share of GDP will be substantially less than it was at the end of World War II” and “it will also be substantially less than, say, debt in several European countries in the mid to late 1990s.” It is also lower than the 80 percent of GDP level that many economists say starts to put countries in a precarious position. Additionally, citing Congressional Budget Office data, the Center for American Progress notes that the long-term debt outlook is only dire because the projections simply assume without question that “future Congresses will enact huge new deficit-increasing tax cuts and spending hikes.”

Thus programs like Social Security, which as David, Krugman and anyone who can do basic arithmetic can tell you, has nothing to do with the deficit. In reality, if you want to see a one horrendous economic crisis, shut down Social Security tomorrow. In 2009 SocSec paid out about $675.5 billion. The recipients didn’t put that money under their mattress, they paid rent, bought groceries and shoes. Imagine taking $676 billion out of the retail economy. And who are among the endless stream of people claiming that the social safety net – what conservatives like to call the nanny state – people like billionaire Pete Peterson. I’m not sure what Peterson’s problem is. He seems to believe that the safety net is like a rabid dog that is ready to bounce on all his cash – leaving him trying to scrape by on half a billion. Remember in the 2004 election cycle when presidential candidate John McCain’s economic advisory Phil Gramm said that the recession was all a “mental’ thing and we were a nation of “whiners”. There was some truth to that. We have some very wealthy people, corporations and banks complaining about how hard they have it. Now if someone making $9 an hour whines, they must have good reason. When the 10% of the nation who own 74% of the nation’s wealth have nothing to do but cry and whine about how tough things are, that is absurd. Yet for the most part, especially on broadcast and cable news, their voices – through pundit proxies – are the voices America hears. I’m not sure how – maybe the collective noise of bloggers, the few good newspapers that are left and maybe even some Main Str. conservatives see the disconnect when Sarah Palin makes millions as a professional demonizer, yet gets up at CPAC and complains about how tough she has it, the message seems to be getting through, Republicans: People see us as ‘scary,’ ‘narrow minded,’ and ‘out of touch’. Though the strange thing about their own research is that they did not bother with finding out what public policy stances they should change in order to get back in sync with at least some normal Americans.

Note to CNN and other right-of-center news outlets; rape victims do not ruin people’s lives, rapists do that to themselves when they make a decision to act like human scum. Candy Crowley Oozes Sympathy for Steubenville Rapists.

 

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