While proposed Republican budgets always claim to cut the deficit and promise spending cuts and increases in revenue, always with “trillion-dollar magic asterisks” attached, economist Paul Krugman says that today’s GOP is breaking new ground with its “fiscal dishonesty.”
In an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times, Krugman points out that the budgets proposed by Republicans in both the Senate and House claim drastic cuts to federal spending by cutting food stamps, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance subsidies. Both also call for the complete repeal of the ACA, despite the fact that reports have estimated that 16 million Americans have gotten coverage through the program.
Neither budget, however, explains where further cuts would come from – presumably Medicare or Social Security, or how the federal government would “make up for the lost Obamacare revenue.”
“It’s very important to realize that this isn’t normal political behavior,” said Krugman. “The George W. Bush administration was no such slouch when it came to deceptive presentation of tax plans, but it was never this blatant.”
And while the American public might jump to the conclusion that both sides use these deceptive tactics, Krugman shows how this isn’t necessarily true.
“Remember all the ridicule heaped on the spending projections in the Affordable Care Act? Actual spending is coming in well below expectations, and the Congressional Budget Office has marked its forecast for the next decade down by 20 percent. Remember the jeering when President Obama declared that he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term? Well, a sluggish economy delayed things, but only by a year. The deficit in calendar 2013 was less than half its 2009 level, and it has continued to fall.”
“So, no, outrageous fiscal mendacity is neither historically normal nor bipartisan,” he continued. “It’s a modern Republican thing.”
Even if you ignored the “mysterious trillions in unspecified spending cuts and revenue enhancements,” the Republican budget is still terrible.
“What you’re left with is huge transfers of income from the poor and the working class, who would see severe benefit cuts, to the rich, who would see big tax cuts,” said Krugman. “And the simplest way to understand these budgets is surely to suppose that they are intended to do what they, in fact, actually do: make the rich richer and ordinary families poorer.”
“I know that it’s hard to keep up the outrage after so many years of fiscal fraudulence. But please try,” concluded Krugman. “We’re looking at an enormous destructive con job, and you should be very, very angry.”