If you were wondering why Republicans can’t stop screaming hysterically about fictional persecutions and scandals, it’s because the deficit is no longer their Big Thing. The “emergency” of the deficit – so important that Republicans had to risk global fiscal confidence – took a backseat to constantly shifting, hysterical and unfounded scandals du jour recently. It turns out that ‘the President’s policies are contributing to the most rapid deficit reduction since World War II.’ Ouch. Change subject!
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported a continued decline in the federal budget deficit: “The CBO projects a $642 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2013, down more than $200 billion from its February estimate and the smallest annual shortfall since 2008. It is the lowest level of deficit spending to date under President Obama, who faced $1 trillion or more in annual deficits during his first term.”
Here’s a real bitter irony for the GOP. At the same time as their ideology took an ugly beating in the reality department, the man they are determined to destroy has a better record at deficit reduction than any of their recent Presidents. In fact, government spending under President Obama has grown at a slower rate than it did under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to Bloomberg (that’s over 50 years ago, if you’re counting). Ironically, this fact is due in part to their own obstructionism and President Obama’s endless compromises with them.
The White House isn’t averse to rubbing it in. Office of Management and Budget spokesman Steve Posner summed it up in a way that must hurt, “The improvements in this CBO report are yet more evidence that the President’s policies are contributing to the most rapid deficit reduction since World War II.” Is that accurate? Why, yes, actually, it is.
Investors Business Daily reported in November of 2012, “(T)he federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II.” Of course, IBD goes on to say that any more deficit reduction focus and we risk our economic recovery, “If U.S. history offers any guide, we are already testing the speed limits of a fiscal consolidation that doesn’t risk backfiring. That’s why the best way to address the fiscal cliff likely is to postpone it. While long-term deficit reduction is important and deficits remain very large by historical standards, the reality is that the government already has its foot on the brakes.”
You might be asking yourself why Republicans are so good at cracking the whip on others while they are incapable of personifying even the most remote semblance of fiscal discipline when they are in charge. Good question. For that matter, why can’t Speaker John Boehner get anything done in the House without the help of Democrats? Boehner has only been able to pass Sandy relief and the VAWA (finally on both) because Democrats rescued him from his own party’s extremism. Modern day Republicans are keen on demonstrating repeatedly that they can’t govern and aren’t interested in legislating anything other than women’s bodies.
Republican lawmakers are very busy trying to bully the IRS into not looking into whether tea party groups are actively trying to influence elections. Also, Benghazi! And Republicans are very busy embracing a short-lived love for first amendment rights. Have no fear, they are still too busy to get any actual work done. But they do have that 37th vote on ObamaCare because they are the party of anti-discipline and fiscal recklessness.
They just keep wasting our money, as Obama tries to save us all from their childishness.
Ms. Jones is the 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.