FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Deficit Rises, Hypocrisy Rises Faster

by GERALD E. SCORSE

Over the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency, GOP lawmakers and some Democrats turned a budget surplus into the $1.2 trillion hot potato handed off to President Obama. Suddenly, having gotten fiscal religion, GOP lawmakers and some Democrats speak piously of sparing their grandchildren from crushing federal debt.

What we have here is a form of “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” It’s the Potomac virus, “Hypocrite, hypocrite, pants are lit!” Let’s look at some of the carriers and their symptoms.

Deficit hypocrite No. 1 is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who earned the top spot by introducing the Tax Hike Prevention Act. The co-leader is Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who joined McConnell in sponsoring the Act. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that legislation similar to the McConnell-Grassley bill would balloon the deficit by $3.9 trillion and raise the Treasury’s interest costs by $950 billion over the next decade.

Nos. 3-46 include Rep. John Adler (D-NJ) and 43 fellow Democrats who reportedly co-signed Adler’s letter urging House Speaker Pelosi to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the rich—not only the marginal rate cut, but the cuts on dividends and capital gains too. Keeping just the marginal rate cut for those making $250,000 or more carries a 10-year cost of $700 billion. Adding the capital gains and dividend cuts would push the cost into the trillions and go overwhelmingly to the top brackets. (At 15 percent, the rate on dividends and long-term gains is little more than half the levy paid by middle class Americans on their wages.)

No. 47 is the masquerading moderate from Maine, Senator Olympia Snowe (R). Reprising her famous role in the healthcare drama, Senator Snowe has hinted that she might join Democrats in supporting only a temporary extension of the tax cut for the well-off. Then again, she might not.

Nos. 48-53 are the six Republican members of Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, aka the national debt commission. The commission’s job is to address America’s fiscal challenges, of which we seem to have quite a few. According to reports, the GOP members of the panel oppose tax increases, oppose eliminating loopholes, oppose eliminating tax breaks of any kind, and want more cuts in corporate and capital gains taxes. It’s déjà vu all over again, and proves there’s no escape from the party of “no.”

That’s 53 deficit hypocrites and counting.

We need to add the 35 Republican Senate colleagues of McConnell, Grassley, Snowe and the GOP senators on the national debt commission. Republicans on taxes are bound by a code stronger than omerta. Minority Leader McConnell will be calling the tune, and we’ve already heard the song he’s singing. (In deference to will-she or won’t-she Snowe, make that 34.5 instead of 35).

Likewise, we need to add 174 Republicans in the House—the full GOP complement, minus three nay-sayers we’ve already counted on the national debt commission. Minority Whip Eric Cantor (VA) will deliver all 177 when the time comes, no matter his admission that extending the Bush tax cuts will certainly “dig the hole deeper.”

Finally, add Democratic Senators Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Kent Conrad and Evan Bayh. All oppose ending the Bush tax cuts for anybody.

Our new number is 265.5. The House and the Senate together have 535 seats, so we’re ready to make one last calculation.

On the issue of deficits, the Congress of the United States of America is 49.6% hypocritical. If that sounds low, you can be sure the number will break through to a solid majority on November 2.

GERALD E. SCORSE helped pass a bill that tightens the rules for reporting capital gains.

 

More articles by:
June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
Norman Pollack
Economic Nationalism vs. Globalization: Janus-Faced Monopoly Capital
Binoy Kampmark
Railroaded by the Supreme Court: the US Problem with Immigration
Howard Lisnoff
Of Kiddie Crusades and Disregarding the First Amendment in a Public Space
Vijay Prashad
Economic Liberalization Ignores India’s Rural Misery
Caroline Hurley
We Are All Syrians
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail