As the sequester looms, Americans should remember something about the party of “fiscal responsibility”. Republicans were allegedly so concerned over spending that they refused to raise our debt ceiling, and yet at the same time, they also frivolously wasted 18.9 billion taxpayer dollars playing debt ceiling games.
The Bipartisan Policy Center, founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, did an analysis of the risks and costs of the debt ceiling standoff. They reported, “The United States hit its debt limit on December 31, 2012. The Treasury Secretary then began tapping into roughly $200 billion of emergency borrowing authority – referred to as “extraordinary measures” – to allow for an additional period of fully-funded government operations.”
“Estimate of the ten-year cost to taxpayers of the 2011 debt limit standoff = $18.9 billion.”
Steve Bell, a former GOP Senate aide who co-authored the analysis for the Bipartisan Policy Center said, “This is what they wasted last year.” Yes, that’s what Republicans wasted over their debt ceiling standoff alone, not including the money they wasted showboating repeal ObamaCare votes.
Read the analysis here:
A few snippets:
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report detailing additional costs to taxpayers as a result of the delayed 2011 debt limit increase.
‒A substantial cost to taxpayers stemmed from elevated interest rates on U.S. Securities issued in 2011 prior to when the debt limit was increased in August.
‒GAO conducted an economic analysis to estimate the resulting change in interest rates.
For Fiscal Year 2011, GAO estimated additional interest costs to taxpayers of $1.3 billion.
The cost of the event to the federal government, however, continues to accrue because many of the bonds issued during that period remain outstanding.
‒BPC extended GAO’s methodology to analyze the long term cost to taxpayers stemming from the elevated interest rates.
‒Estimate of the ten-year cost to taxpayers of the 2011 debt limit standoff = $18.9 billion
To put this in perspective, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the “Doc Fix” to prevent the scheduled 27% cut to Medicare physician payments for 2012 cost $18 billion over ten years.
Instead of chasing John Boehner’s blame game over the sequester, we should be discussing the fact that Republicans wasted $18.9 billion over the next 10 years through their debt ceiling obstruction alone. How do they explain the disparity between their casual abuse of taxpayer money and their claims that we have a spending problem?
I’m waiting for just one of the Sunday shows to address this obscene waste of taxpayer money in the middle of a recession, but it seems they are very busy following Republican distractions down the faux outrage path over the deficit. Meanwhile, “the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the “Doc Fix” to prevent the scheduled 27% cut to Medicare physician payments for 2012 cost $18 billion over ten years.”
So, the very spending that Republicans are pretending to be so upset about when it’s spent on the American people’s health is of no concern when they waste it playing Debt Ceiling Drama for a willing press.
This suggests that Republicans don’t really believe there’s a spending problem. Republicans are looking like Scroogian misers, wasting the taxpayers’ money on partisan games.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.