The party that’s been blaming Democrats for the $20 trillion national debt caused largely by the failed policies of George W. Bush just passed a budget resolution that will add $1.5 trillion to the debt while cutting Medicare by $500 billion and Medicaid by $1 trillion. Their goal has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility and everything to do with tax cuts for the wealthy. They’ve deceived themselves into believing tax cuts will somehow pay for themselves. They never have and they never will.
Republicans have a long history of driving debt and deficits while they’re in power and complaining about them when they’re out of power. Ronald Reagan gave huge tax cuts the rich and big corporations and created the debt crisis that dominated the late 1980s. It took a tax increase passed by Bill Clinton and a Democratic Congress to get the deficit under control. The boom years that followed debunked GOP predictions that the tax hike on the wealthy would lead to economic devastation.
George W. Bush inherited a budget surplus from Clinton when he took office in 2001. He quickly reverted to deficit spending, launching two wars and creating a prescription drug program for seniors while giving a massive tax cut for the wealthy. The collapse of the economy in 2007 and 2008 under Bush drove the deficit and debt sky high because of the loss of revenue. There was nothing fiscally responsible about the Bush administration.
Even though the Bush administration policies caused debt to increase rapidly, Republicans bashed Obama for eight years for not reducing it. In fact, he reduced the deficit by two-thirds, largely through improving the economy and increasing tax revenue.
Now, Republicans are about to increase the debt despite eight years of carping. They believe that putting more money in the pockets of rich people and corporations will stimulate enough economic activity to offset the cost. It’s the same argument they used when Ronald Reagan created the modern debt crisis by increasing the debt by 186% and the one they used when George W. Bush increased it by 101%. If, as the GOP has claimed, increasing the debt is fiscally irresponsible, then they are the party of fiscal irresponsibility, not to mention hypocrisy.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >