Ezra Klein makes a very generous observation about Republican ideology: “We are about to learn whether Republicans are more addicted to power or to ideas.” The idea in question? Keeping deficit spending under control.
Right after the election, the Tea Party Caucus made some noise about how they were going to still be fiscally conservative. No deficit spending for Trump! Everything must be paid for! It was a tiny spark of hope that House Republicans wouldn’t immediately give Trump and the Senate Republicans a blank check to explode the deficit.
Consider that tiny spark snuffed:
Time and reflection appears to be softening the caucus’s stance. “Their thinking has shifted in the weeks since,” [National Review’s Tim] Alberta reports. “According to several members, there has been informal talk of accepting a bill that’s only 50 percent paid for, with the rest of the borrowing being offset down the road by ‘economic growth.’”
As Alberta archly notes, “It’s an arrangement Republicans would never have endorsed under a President Hillary Clinton, and a slippery slope to go down with Trump.”
Klein’s generosity in wondering if Republicans would still be fiscally conservative stems from his desire to be fair. But let’s be honest, there was almost no chance Republicans would hamstring themselves the way they hamstrung Clinton and Obama. The entire point of the GOP’s screeching about the debt and the deficit was to keep Democratic presidents from spending tax payer dollars on frivolous things like feeding the poor, improving public education and generally making life better for all Americans.
When Republicans are in power, however, exploding the debt and deficit is a feature, not a bug. Tax cuts that go overwhelmingly to the rich and corporations are the core of conservative fiscal philosophy as is wasting trillions on unnecessary military spending. The Tea Party Caucus spent the last 6 years threatening to crash the world’s economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling or allow any kind of spending that increases the national debt. If more than a handful of them maintain that anti-spending posture, it would be stunning.
Remember, these are the same people who worship Ronald Reagan even though he tripled the debt. These are the same people that simply didn’t care when George W. Bush created the first trillion dollar deficit in American history. And these will be the same people that “suddenly” discover that adding billions to the national credit card is no big deal.
When Klein wonders whether or not Republicans will embrace deficit spending, he probably already knows the answer is “In a heartbeat”. A better question would be if the liberal press will even discuss the tremendous flip-flop that’s coming or whether they’ll send the Tea Party’s budget hawkery down the memory hole. Considering how little time they spent calling out Republican hypocrisy on the budget over the last three decades, it seems unlikely they’ll bring it up now and that’s the kind of journalistic malpractice that made Trump possible in the first place.
– This article kills fascists
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.