US Monthly Headline News August 2019 Page 1
By Matthew YglesiasLet’s remember for the next time they flip-flop. Republicans used to profess to be extremely worried about the budget deficit. Many of us suspected at the time that they were full of it. And one big thing we’ve learned this week is that they were, indeed, full of it. The budget deal the Senate is passing today will raise spending by $320 billion, split between defense and non-defense measures, in the context of deficits that have already soared to more than $1 trillion per year. In 2012, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the budget deficit “the nation’s most serious long-term problem.” That same year, House Speaker Paul Ryan called it a “serious threat” to the economy. They were full of it. Not just in the narrow sense that they both went on to enthusiastically endorse a $1.5 trillion tax cut in 2017 — a tax cut that the Congressional Budget Office says did little to boost the economy but a great deal to boost payouts to rich shareholders. Nor even in the somewhat broader sense that the real cost of that tax cut is much higher than $1.5 trillion when you consider the various accounting gimmicks and bad-faith phaseouts. Even under the weird linguistic conventions of American conservative politics where deficits caused by tax cuts don’t count as real deficits, this week’s budget deal — a big, multibillion-dollar increase in military spending “offset” by a nearly as large increase in nonmilitary spending — gives up the game entirely. Republicans don’t care, on any level, about the size of the federal deficit.
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