Deficit Rises, Hypocrisy Rises Faster


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.


November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey
November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
November 23, 2015
Vijay Prashad
The Doctrine of 9/11 Anti-Immigration
John Wight
After Paris: Hypocrisy and Mendacity Writ Large
Joseph G. Ramsey
No Excuses, No Exceptions: the Moral Imperative to Offer Refuge
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS Thrives on the Disunity of Its Enemies
Andrew Moss
The Message of Montgomery: 60 Years Later
Jim Green
James Hansen’s Nuclear Fantasies
Robert Koehler
The Absence of History in the Aftermath of Paris
Dave Lindorff
The US Media and Propaganda
Dave Randle
France and Martial Law
Gilbert Mercier
If We Are at War, Let’s Bring Back the Draft!
Alexey Malashenko
Putin’s Syrian Gambit
Binoy Kampmark
Closing the Door: US Politics and the Refugee Debate