Cutting Through The Crap

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Idea Men


These are the guys -- and their ideas -- that teabaggers are rolling back into command. Mitch McConnell proposes a tax plan that will add 3.9 billion dollars to the national debt. Says WaPo:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently forecast that a similar, slightly more expensive package that includes a full repeal of the estate tax would force the nation to borrow an additional $3.9 trillion over the next decade and increase interest payments on the national debt by $950 billion. That's more than four times the projected deficit impact of President Obama's health-care overhaul and stimulus package combined.


What signs, I wonder, will the teabaggers stick on their kids when this plan is in effect, and this philosophy becomes the guiding principle of our nation? And, unless these baggers are richer than they appear, they'll be falling even further behind when it happens. But they don't care.

And John Boner's main focus as Speaker, it appears, will be to make sure health care reform never happens, even if it means shutting down the government. Which part bothers him the most, I wonder. Coverage for preƫxisting conditions? Helping twenty million or so Americans? Effectiveness research? EMR? Or maybe, given the relish with which he passed Bush's unfunded Rx coverage, it's the fact that it pays for itself and reduces the national debt. (Okay, even I don't believe those numbers: but it's a hell of a long way forward from the reckless way in which Rs did their irresponsible budget-buster.)

Teabaggers proclaim their revulsion at the national debt. They worry for their poor little kids, as they pram signs down their throats. Why, in the name of whatever god they think is guiding them, would they vote for these disingenuous pushers of past failures? The Bush tax cuts, the holy water for brewing tea, didn't work. THEY DIDN'T WORK!!! On what basis can they possibly argue that the things over which they are so steeped in tea water will get better when the doers of disaster are back in charge?

Seriously. On what basis?

Maybe it's that they like this vision, from The Tax Policy Center:

...Thus, to balance the budget McConnell would have to slash the rest of the federal government in half. If you are tea partier, that probably sounds pretty good. But let’s look at what that would mean.

The biggest remaining program is, of course, Social Security. It happens that projected Social Security spending in 2020 is almost exactly equal to the $1.2 trillion McConnell would need to balance his budget. But the vast bulk of that money would go to those who are already 60 or older and there are no serious proposals to make substantial reductions in benefits for those retired or close to it. The one change that might—slowing annual cost of living benefit increases —would reduce total payments by only about 4 percent by 2040. So there isn’t going to be much dough there, especially as soon as 2020.

What’s left? Well, McConnell would have to abolish all the rest of government to get to balance by 2020. Everything. No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more NIH. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress. No more nothin’.

We’re not talking about a temporary 1995-like government shut-down here. We are talking about a government that exists only to fund national defense, provide benefits to the already- or soon-to-be retired, and pay interest to the Chinese and our other lenders.

[...]

As my Tax Policy Center colleagues Rosanne Altshuler, Katie Lim, and Bob Williams have written, balancing the budget by raising taxes on high-income people alone is unrealistic. But as my little exercise shows, it is equally absurd to try to do it by only cutting spending, especially when you try to work within McConnell’s self-imposed constraints.

McConnell himself won’t say how he’d pay for these ongoing tax cuts. He does back a freeze in domestic discretionary spending—an idea that would leave him about 93 percent short of his balanced budget goal. As to the rest, he says he’ll await Obama’s deficit reduction commission that will report, conveniently enough, after the election.



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