The Washington Post has reported that Congressional Republicans are now suggesting they want to pass a balanced budget amendment. Which is completely ridiculous since the tax bill they passed into law in December has added more than $1 trillion to the U.S. deficit.
Congressional Democrats quickly criticized the Republican proposal, which is more of a PR stunt than a credible attempt at passing legislation that will help the country.
“House Republicans bringing up a balanced-budget amendment now is shameless. They just exploded our debt and deficits with more than $1 trillion of tax breaks for millionaires and corporations,” Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said.
In addition to the tax bill, the GOP Congress also just passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package that was needed in order to provide money to operate the U.S. government through September 30, 2018.
The Tea Party movement that brought many conservatives to Congress in 2010 has often called for a balanced-budget amendment. Many of them who consider themselves conservatives have been very unhappy that U.S. spending has continued to grow at record rates even though Republicans are in charge of both Congress and the presidency.
The combination of lower taxes and higher spending will of course cause the deficit to increase. Government studies project that just the annual interest payments on U.S. debt will hit $1 trillion in a few years. This exploding deficit is all because of Republican actions. Before they took over Congress and the presidency the annual deficits were getting lower each year.
Today’s GOP is formally committed to seek lower and lower taxes on the rich. In fact, they are now seeking further tax cuts to make the deficit even larger. They also continually seek higher spending on the military. Their third stated goal is to balance the budget within ten years, and this has led to the proposal for a balanced budget amendment.
In practice of course it will be pretty much impossible to reconcile all three of these priorities at the same time. The only realistic way for them to try to do all of these contradictory things at once is for the U.S. to run enormous deficits, which we are already doing. As long as Republicans are in power the deficit situation will only get worse.
It is clear that today’s Republican Party is not concerned at all about the size of U.S. deficits. They are no longer the party of fiscal responsibility.
Republicans seem to believe that eventually we’ll run out of money and have to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. When you combine that GOP goal with their perpetual goal of more tax cuts for the rich you have the Republican Party’s dream situation.
We can only hope that the voters in America recognize the cynicism, racism and elitism that is driving Republican policy, and vote Democrats into power this November.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.
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