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:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail