Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nicholas Kristof: GOP Reckless With Both Spending And Revenue

Nicholas Kristof focuses on the contradictions of the Republican economic platform in his commentary "The Opposing Party." Since Clinton left us with a surplus, the Republicans have embraced fiscally irresponsible policies. Their sudden alarm about the national debt–a debt they caused–coincided with the election of President Obama:

Politicians in both parties have historically been irresponsible with money, but President Bill Clinton changed that. He imposed a stunning fiscal discipline and set the United States on a course of budget surpluses, job growth and diminishing federal debt — until the Republicans took over in 2001.

In the Bush years, Republicans proved themselves reckless both on the spending side (unfunded wars and a prescription drug benefit) and on the revenue side (the Bush tax cuts). Their view then was, as former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill quoted Vice President Dick Cheney as saying, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”

It may seem odd that Republicans were so blithe about debt in the Bush years, yet now insist on addressing the problem in the middle of a downturn — even though basic economics dictates that a downturn is the one time when red ink is advisable. Well, just another of those contradictions.

… [The Obama health care plan] will help hold down health care costs, even if it’s difficult to know how much — and they are the only game in town.

Yet Congressional Republicans are trying to kill the Obama health plan. Yes, of course: another contradiction.

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