This blog has been arguing that the Republican Party has over the past thirty years been engaging in deliberately irrational policies. It started with Ronald Reagan’s approval of the enticingly treasonous “Starve the Beast” government spending policy. Starve the Beast condones government spending increases which are not paid for by tax increases or spending cuts elsewhere.The idea is to build up a huge deficit that will ultimately get so big that it will force voters to choose what programs are essential. So for 35 years Republican Presidents have been only to happy to add to the deficit by increasing spending without cutting elsewhere or adding taxes to pay for the new policy and programs. Look at the record of increase in National Debt as % Total US Economic Activity[ GDP]:
Carter lowers National Debt by 3.3% , Reagan increases National Debt by 20.6%, Bush Senior increases by 15.0%, Clinton reduces by9.7% , Bush Jr increases by 27.3%, and to date Obama has increased by 9% to Sept 2010.
Now each President will say that the were compelled by economic distress to increase the deficit as President Obama is claiming . However, when you have Starve the Beast and Trickle Down Economics as guiding light, then no explanation is required – irrational economic policy of increasing the deficit to force tough choices on the public is its own justification. And it is politically expeditious- “we will let you have these spending goodies now but some time in the future the bill will come due. But conveniently, not on my watch.”
In contrast, the Democratic plan of “Pay as You Go” instituted by Bill Clinton worked well during his tenure with the debt decreasing 10% and the budget being in surplus for the final 3 years in office. But Republicans have steadfastly refused “Pay as You Go” – and even a watered down PayGo bill had no Republican support in its passage in January 2010. Instead the Republicans have embraced the Starve the Beast yet again sticking with Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes, even tax reforms” pledges. This is irrational budgeting which takes revenue and tax reform completely out of the budgeting equation.
The result is that deficit ceiling talks have been wavering back and forth because Republicans who have taken the pledge have refused to allow even 4 to1 spending cuts versus tax increases [3.2billion spending cuts for 0.8billion tax increases]. Those Republicans who have attempted to be rational have attacked swiftly and bitterly by Norquist and allies.
So the GOP that brought you the huge national deficits, now have refused Pay as You Go budgeting rules and are making “Absolutely No New Taxes” as their bottom line to avoid a catastrophic debt default. This is the party that claims it knows business and how to govern well; yet they arestupidly irrtional to the detriment of the country.