The next time a Republican even comes near climbing aboard the deficit cross, you have permission to laugh in their face. The party of paying for things has proposed $310 billion in permanent, unpaid for tax provisions today.
The party of austerity for children, veterans, the elderly, and the sick claimed they were only cutting people off in order to be “Responsible with the Deficit”. This is the same deficit that they told us didn’t matter when they were in charge, but after they fled responsibility in the wake of the 2008 crash as a Democratic President took office to clean up their mess, suddenly the deficit was all Republicans could think about. So sorry about your starving baby, but the DEFICIT.
The DEFICIT is the number one priority, they somberly and relentlessly intoned any time they got near a microphone.
And yet today, Republicans proposed tax provisions without offsets that Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) points out would add “a combined $310 billion to the deficit,” which “represents more than half of the entire federal deficit this year.”
In an opening statement on the Markup of Selected Expired Tax Provisions, Sandy Levin busted Republicans for seeking to irresponsibly add $310 billion to the deficit in order to pass tax provisions that they are providing no offsets for. Now remember, they wouldn’t pass long term unemployment benefits without offsets.
Everything must be paid for, they’ve lectured from on high, whenever Democrats have tried to ease the suffering of the working people. However, even when they got the offsets provided by a bipartisan Senate bill, they still balked. This inaction suggested once again that it wasn’t really about the deficit at all, and today the proof of that suggestion was served.
Levin noted that there are merits to the tax provisions being proposed, “But the manner in which Republicans are proceeding – selecting six of the approximately 60 tax provisions that expired last year to make permanent, without any offsets – is both fiscally irresponsible and fundamentally hypocritical. And its implications are deeply troublesome.”
How troublesome? Oh, gee: “The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that the bills, without an offset, would add a combined $310 billion to the deficit. To put that figure into context, that total represents more than half of the entire federal deficit this year – which I should note is the lowest it has been since President Obama took office.”
PAUSE THIS PROGRAM FOR REBOOT.
Republicans are trying to do exactly what got us into this mess, with unpaid for tax credits and give aways, after years of taking from the poor and the vulnerable in order to pay for their last go at Daddy’s credit card.
Levin was not impressed as he noted this is five times more than we spend on veterans, “The total represents nearly two-thirds of all non-defense domestic discretionary spending in 2014. It is more than three times what we spend annually on education, job training and social services. It is five times more than we spend on veterans. And it is five times more than we spend on medical research and public health.”
“To say that Republican action today is hypocritical is a serious understatement,” Levin charged. He backed this up with a reminder of how some Americas are losing everything because Republicans still won’t act on long term unemployment. He read a heartbreaking letter from a Real American, to no avail.
Levin laid out the hypocrisy, “Mr. Chairman, it wasn’t long ago that you declared that “the path to our economic recovery starts with fiscal responsibility in Washington.’ This approach today flies smack in the face of fiscal responsibility. Fiscal responsibility should not simply be a slogan.”
But of course it is nothing but a slogan. Republicans are the people who drove the deficit up sky high with drunken frat boy charges on Daddy’s card — wars, Medicare Part D, tax cuts, oh my! Nothing needed to be paid for because deficits didn’t matter, then V.P. Dick Cheney smugly tittered when asked.
But when the bills came in, the Republicans wasted no time blaming the American people for them, and promptly began removing the very social safety nets that were put into place in order to buffer bad times like the crash of 2008 brought upon the vulnerable.
Now Republicans want to charge a bunch more on the credit card. $310 billion. Just half the deficit for the entire year. No worries! Of course, Levin points out that in their rush to service certain privileged few, “Left to an uncertain fate are provisions like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the New Markets Tax Credit and the renewable energy tax credits, as well as the long-range status of the EITC and the Child Tax Credit.”
If the Ways and Means Committee passes the proposals, they’ll move on to the GOP led House floor, where they’ll be called anything other than what they are. Think Keystone Pipeline as “Jobs Bill” and you’ll get the picture.
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.