Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Huge Gap Between Republican Rhetoric And Reality On Spending Cuts

While the Republicans are constantly calling for an end to "runaway federal spending," where were they during the eight years when the Bush administration conducted two wars, cut taxes for the wealthy and ran up the deficit following the Clinton surplus? Do they have a viable plan to cut spending? Which party's agenda actually reduces more of the deficit? David S. Herszenhorn's analysis in the New York Times shows a huge gap between Republican rhetoric and reality:

...while polls show that the Republicans’ message is succeeding politically, Republican candidates and party leaders are offering few specifics about how they would tackle the nation’s $13.7 trillion debt, and budget analysts said the party was glossing over the difficulty of carrying out its ideas, especially when sharp spending cuts could impede an already weak economic recovery.

...The parties share blame for the current fiscal situation, but federal budget statistics show that Republican policies over the last decade, and the cost of the two wars, added far more to the deficit than initiatives approved by the Democratic Congress since 2006, giving voters reason to be skeptical of campaign promises.

Calculations by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent fiscal experts show that the $1.1 trillion cost over the next 10 years of the Medicare prescription drug program, which the Republican-controlled Congress adopted in 2003, by itself would add more to the deficit than the combined costs of the bailout, the stimulus and the health care law.

The House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, has called for immediate cuts in “non-security discretionary” spending to prerecession 2008 levels. Independent analysts say that would require eliminating about $105 billion — or more than 20 percent of spending by departments like Education, Transportation, Interior, Commerce and Energy — a level of reductions that history suggests would be extremely hard to execute...

...At the same time, most Republicans are calling for the permanent extension of all Bush-era tax cuts, which would add $700 billion more to the deficit over the next 10 years than President Obama and Democratic leaders have proposed by continuing only some of the lower rates.

Republicans say extending the cuts will spur economic activity, but that is hardly guaranteed. And the cost of either plan is astronomical: Mr. Obama’s plan will add more than $3 trillion to the deficit; the Republicans’ plan will add more than $4 trillion.

...On the campaign trail, many Republicans are calling for a repeal of the health care law, a step that would actually increase the deficit by more than $100 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, by eliminating some cost-saving provisions — a fact that typically goes unmentioned...

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