Sunshine again, but with cooler temperatures this late-afternoon Tuesday here in California’s Central Valley.
The major linchpin cruising through today’s news cycle is the angry debt ceiling reality deadline approaching at the end of this month. Republicans, of course, are still holding the discussions hostage with a desire to sink the country if they can’t get what they desire, and crave — power.
Yet the country seems still unaware of how shitty are Republicans — a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll reveals although there’s a slim majority wanting the debt limit raised, the MAGA-grip on the proceedings is in the deep, dark background (NPR): ‘Respondents were split on whether they would blame congressional Republicans or President Biden if the country does default — 45 percent said Republicans and 43-percent said Biden. But independents said they would blame Biden, by a 47 percent-to-38 percent margin.‘
It’s all Republican. In turn, allows for shit like this:
He sounds frantic, and if so, it's because she is right. The Republicans' tax cuts have never delivered the growth they promised. Remember, Clinton handed George W. a budget SURPLUS, which W promptly blew up with tax cuts and unfunded wars, + Trump's cuts added 20% to the debt. https://t.co/7oAMQ2jpDd
— Heather Cox Richardson (TDPR) (@HC_Richardson) May 23, 2023
Another source of bullshit — Ryan Cooper at The American Prospect this morning makes a must-read, deep-dive into such antics by Republicans as we await the final few days before blowout — some snips:
During the whole of the ongoing hostage negotiation over the debt ceiling, Republicans have repeatedly claimed that they’re demanding massive spending cuts because the government is borrowing too much. “They actually want to spend more money than we spent this year,” Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy recently claimed about Democrats. “We can’t do that. We all know how big this deficit is.”
But all these are bald-faced lies. Republicans do not care even slightly about the national debt. The last time they had the run of the federal government, they passed laws that required tremendous borrowing. If and when they get control once more, they will do the exact same thing.
One obvious piece of evidence here is that the Biden administration has proposed numerous revenue-raisers as part of the negotiations, only to be dismissed out of hand. Jeff Stein reports at The Washington Post: “On a phone call last week, senior White House officials floated about a dozen tax plans to reduce the deficit as part of a broader budget agreement with House Republicans, including a measure aimed at cryptocurrency transactions and another for large real estate investors, two of the people said. They were all swiftly rejected by the GOP aides on the call, the people said.”
If one were legitimately concerned above all with budget deficit, then it makes no sense to categorically rule out reducing it with more taxes rather than benefit cuts. A dollar is a dollar either way—and especially at a time of historically gigantic corporate profits, one would think deficit scolds would conclude that soaking the rich at least a bit should be part of the program. But one would think wrong.
A supporting piece of evidence here is that Republicans’ ransom demands include rescinding the additional $80 billion in funding for the IRS passed in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. Funding the IRS not only greatly improves the agency’s customer service—thanks to that money, phone response time fell by 84 percent during the 2023 tax season—it will also more than pay for itself. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the new funding will produce a net revenue increase of $124 billion over a decade.
And for asshat Bob Good in the clip from the tweet above:
The most convincing piece of evidence that Republicans are lying has to do with the Trump tax cuts. These were basically the only piece of major legislation the GOP passed under Trump (he did sign the pandemic relief bills, but they were designed and written by House Democrats), and despite the usual predictions that they would pay for themselves through supply-side magic pixie dust, they blew up the deficit.
House Republicans didn’t include extending the Trump tax cuts in their debt ceiling ransom note, but Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) sponsored a bill in February to make them permanent, as many of their provisions will expire in 2025. At least 72 other House Republicans joined as co-sponsors, including the Freedom Caucus’s Rep. Perry. McCarthy isn’t on that list, but he did endorse the idea in October of last year.
So it’s interesting that the Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that making the Trump cuts permanent would increase the national debt between 2024 and 2033 by a whopping $3.5 trillion. Sounds like a lot!
It goes without saying that this report did not change any Republican views whatsoever. It’s absolutely certain that if Republicans win control of Congress and the presidency in 2024, they will make the Trump-era cuts permanent, and probably add some more.
This is just the latest in a long pattern of Republican behavior. When a Democrat is president, they scream and cry about budget deficits, demanding sweeping spending cuts, and shut down the government or take the debt ceiling hostage to get them. Those unpopular cuts typically harm the economy, for which the president and Democrats are blamed. Then when it’s Republicans’ turn, they take all the budget headroom created by the austerity and immediately hand it to their oligarch benefactors in the form of tax cuts for the rich, blowing the deficit back up. We saw this cut-and-inflate pattern during the Clinton and Bush administrations, and again during the Obama and Trump administrations. We’re seeing it again today.
Bluster and lie, steamroll reality with bullshit. In the noble, ignoble words of Steve Bannon “flood the zone with shit” — and it works almost most of the time.
And liars screaming lying:
Poker-face lie, or absolutely not, once again here we are…
(Illustration out front: ‘Pinocchio,’ by Enrico Mazzanti, and found here