Friday, March 2, 2012

GOP Budget Policies Dishonest and Incoherent

Paul Krugman shows how the GOP Presidential candidates' budget proposals would actually increase the federal budget deficit in The New York Times.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget recently published an overview of the budget proposals of the four “major” Republican candidates and, in a separate report, examined the latest Obama budget. And here’s what it tells us: According to an “intermediate debt scenario,” the budget proposals of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney would all lead to much higher debt a decade from now than the proposals in the 2013 Obama budget. Ron Paul would do better, roughly matching Mr. Obama. But if you look at the details, it turns out that Mr. Paul is assuming trillions of dollars in unspecified and implausible spending cuts. So, in the end, he’s really a spendthrift, too.

Is there any way to make the G.O.P. proposals seem fiscally responsible? Well, no — not unless you believe in magic. Sure enough, voodoo economics is making a big comeback, with Mr. Romney, in particular, asserting that his tax cuts wouldn’t actually explode the deficit because they would promote faster economic growth and this would raise revenue. And you might find this plausible if you spent the past two decades sleeping in a cave somewhere. If you didn’t, you probably remember that the same people now telling us what great things tax cuts would do for growth assured us that Bill Clinton’s tax increase in 1993 would lead to economic disaster, while George W. Bush’s tax cuts in 2001 would create vast prosperity. Somehow, neither of those predictions worked out.

Not only are their budget policies incoherent, there is something else the GOP candidates aren't acknowledging. As Rod Dreher points out in The American Conservative, they differ not at all from those of George W. Bush.

This is an underappreciated point. Can you find a single significant point on which Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum differ substantially from George W. Bush? It’s amazing. If Bush were considered a successful president, they would be bringing him up all the time. That they do not, even as they have an incumbent Democrat they deride as a failure, tells you that they know Bush and his legacy are poison. And yet, they may not believe in Bush, but they sure believe in what he stood for. And so does the GOP base, evidently.

--Ballard Burgher

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