Just days after the release of data showing that Pres. Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress had reduced the federal deficit by 13 percent — down $103 billion — over the past year, the Republicans have released a tax plan that the Washington Post says would increase the deficit by a multiplier of four, compared with the stimulus and health-care reform, policies the GOP voted against, claiming they were too expensive:
Even as they hammer Democrats for running up record budget deficits, Senate Republicans are rolling out a plan to permanently extend an array of expiring tax breaks that would deprive the Treasury of more than $4 trillion over the next decade, nearly doubling projected deficits over that period unless dramatic spending cuts are made.
The measure, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this week, would permanently extend the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts that benefit virtually every U.S. taxpayer, rein in the alternative minimum tax and limit the estate tax to estates worth more than $5 million for individuals or $10 million for couples.
Aides to McConnell said they have yet to receive a cost estimate for the measure. But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently forecast that a similar, slightly more expensive package that includes a full repeal of the estate tax would force the nation to borrow an additional $3.9 trillion over the next decade and increase interest payments on the national debt by $950 billion. That’s more than four times the projected deficit impact of President Obama’s health-care overhaul and stimulus package combined.
Independent voters should take note. As we all saw recently during the 12 years that the GOP controlled one or both houses of Congress, they trumpet their fiscal restraint and advocacy of smaller government … until they get elected and actually control the government. As soon as they seize power, their high-minded ideals are crushed in their rush to fulfill their true objective: handing over the treasury and governance of the United States to their corporate sponsors.
We saw it in the Bush era when they started two wars and then outsourced war-making operations to Halliburton, Blackwater and their other big donors, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars to taxpayers; when they deregulated the financial, food and health-care industries, allowing them to rake in billions in profit while providing increasingly shoddy, defective and even deadly products; and when they turned a $800 billion surplus into a $1.2 trillion deficit — which they excused, as Dick Cheney said, because, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.”
What this latest deficit-busting tax proposal shows is that Republicans are not waiting until November to abandon their purported principles. In a fit of hubris on a grand scale, they’re tossing fiscal discipline out the window now in order to benefit their true constituent base — and here’s a hint: it ain’t the tea party. Not hardly.