GOP answer to budget shortfall — “Who knows?”

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to CNN Sunday to bash Democrats’ “gargantuan spending spree,” the latest in a long line of Republican attacks over the deficit that began almost immediately after President Obama’s inauguration. But what, exactly, would the GOP do to reduce the substantial budget shortfall–a much of it coming from the sea of red ink President Bush bequeathed to President Obama?

The answer: Who knows?

That, of course is nothing new — talking about belt-tightening in the broad sense is always easier than throwing out specifics.  Since Sen. Jon Kyl’s clarification on Fox News earlier this month that extending unemployment benefits is fiscally dangerous but deficit-financed tax cuts to the tune of $678 billion are just gravy, Republicans have been under new pressure to clarify how exactly they intend to reduce the national debt.  Sen. Pete Sessions’ (R-TX) appeared Sunday on Meet The Press and under persistent questioning from David Gregory, he failed to offer any specific examples of what spending programs the GOP would cut.

This evasion probably won’t keep them from being elected or reelected, it hasn’t in the past.  And if they should regain the majority and are asked to present a budget they’ve painted themselves into a corner.  They’ve signed pledges to not increase taxes, they’ve endorsed an array of new tax cuts that blow a further hole in the budget.

The GOP recently rebranded itself as the holy defender of Medicare during the health care debate, putting another huge chunk of the budget out of play. Let’s assume that Defense Spending is an unlikely target as well. That pretty much leaves Social Security and a handful of popular spending programs like SCHIP on the block, which are as politically disastrous targets as they come.

Pinned down by a conservative base demanding drastic spending reductions AND tax cuts, it seems extremely unlikely a Republican House would be able to produce a workable budget that would get past the president’s desk, leading some observers — most notably Paul Krugman — to predict a government shutdown.



Filed under Financial Rules & Regulations, Republicans, taxes, The Economy

6 responses to “GOP answer to budget shortfall — “Who knows?”

  1. wicked

    I hate to say the obvious, and I have a feeling there may be a few visitors who rail at me, but we have the Bush administration to thank for this. The Republicans never flinched when taxes were cut for the wealthy during “war time,” while ignoring the costs of leaving Afghanistan in a shaky position and heading straight into Iraq with little sensible reasoning.

    What were the Republicans answering when we asked, over and over, just how we were going to pay for the war, and just how much would fall on the backs of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Funny (and not ha ha) how it didn’t bother them one bit when it was them spending money with no plan to fund it.

    They really, really should think long and hard about killing the reforms that have kept this country going for decades. If they think cutting Medicare and SCHIP will get them votes, then they might want to give it a little more thought. It isn’t that far for some of these Republicans who think it could never happen to them to be in the situation to have to need some of these programs they bitch about.

    They really need to keep in mind that Karma is a bitch, and they can’t hide from it forever.

    • indypendent

      Bush and lockstepping Republicans all thought they were so clever by putting the Iraq War costs off budget.

      To these people – out of sight, out of mind – works for them.

      Kinda the way they look at the abortion issue.

      If Roe v Wade was reversed today and abortions returned to the good old days of being performed in the hospital for the women of financial means (or health insurance) and called by a different procedure name. And the poor women would continue to get their abortions (called abortions) in back alleys.

      These pro-lifers would be just fine with that arrangement.

      You see – out of sight, out of mind.

      This tactic works especially well for those so-called Evangelical Christians when their preachers and other high-ranking church leaders get caught with their pants down (literally). Out of sight, out of mind.

      It works every time – if you have a cold heart and an even colder conscience.

  2. wicked

    Not to mention that if those in power should piss off their constituents enough, the votes may not be there the next go ’round.

    • indypendent

      I don’t think their true base will ever get that pissed off. These people don’t care about anything but themselves.

      When they complain about Obama’s massive spending – it is not really the spending they object to – it is the way Obama is spending the money – on all Americans.

      You know that a ‘real’ Republican believes in only spending taxpayer money on the ‘right’ people.

      Obama is not following their playbook.

  3. Whatcha wanna bet the GOP ignores the lack of ideas, lack of answers and reelects all of the same people?

    Then the miracle happens!

    It doesn’t matter that they have no solutions, it doesn’t matter that they increase the deficits, don’t balance the budget, don’t pass legislation, don’t accomplish a thing they promised. They won’t need to work to repeal all the evil libaruhl initiatives they ranted against and promised they would get rid of. It just doesn’t matter. They will be revered, praised, no faults will be found by Republicans and excuses will be provided for those suggested by others. All will be well with the world no matter what the reality.

    It’s either a miracle or it’s magic.

    • indypendent

      Or Republicans will get back to banging the drum for war against Iran and then watch the federal government spending. It will make everyone’s head spin.

      But they can dress it up just like they did for Iraq. You remember – Democracy, American Flag and God was leading their parade.

      I wonder which Republican will be dressed like Yankee Doodle Dandy accompanied by Betsy Ross?