Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Tuesday | February 04, 2003

'Borrow and Spend' Republicans

Can there be any doubt that party roles have taken a 180 degree turn since the Clinton presidency? Once the party of fiscal discipline, the GOP is now the party of borrow and spend -- turning Clinton's record surpluses into record deficits in a short 2-year span.

And all the Dems have to do is reach back into the GOP's bag of rhetorical tricks, circa 80's and early 90s, and wield them as new weapons against Bush's War on the Economy.

  • Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles, R-Okla., insisted during the Clinton administration that deficits stood in the way of prosperity. "When the budget is brought back into balance, jobs will be created, and families of all income groups will benefit," he said then. On Monday, Nickles explained the turnabout: "Democrats were never concerned about deficits when it came to spending. The only time Democrats are concerned about deficits is when it comes to tax cuts."

  • House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, ran for office as an opponent of deficits. When he sought a second term in 1992, he said he would not seek re-election after 1996 if Congress had not sliced budget deficits in half. They did, and he stayed.

    On Tuesday, Nussle canceled press appearances on the budget. Last week, he said the issue was ''a balance of cash flow'' and not the only priority.

  • Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who led the Republican sweep of the House of Representatives in 1994, once called balancing the budget a "moral imperative." Today, former House majority leader Dick Armey, Gingrich's top lieutenant at the time, says renewed borrowing is forced by the economic slowdown and terrorism.
As usual, the Party of Personal Responsibility (TM) can't (1) admit to the economic devastation they have wrought on our nation, and (2) can't admit their hypocrisy on the matter.

To recap, in two short years we went from a projected $5.6 trillion surplus over the next 10 years, to $1.08 trillion in deficits over the next five years alone. The Bush Administration refuses to do 10-year outlooks, as they would have to take into consideration the balance of last year's tax cuts (phased in over 10 years). Those numbers, I presume, probably look hideous.

To the GOP, deficit reduction is a weapon wielded only against Democratic presidents. To the Democrats, deficit reduction has become established orthodoxy (perhaps the most important victory of the party's DLC wing).

The proof? Massive deficits and ballooning national debt under Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. Massive surpluses and shrinking national debt under Clinton.

I rest my case.

Posted February 04, 2003 08:02 AM | Comments (117)


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