The Republican Party Is to Blame for the Deficit

Peter Beinart:

George W. Bush and his congressional allies pushed through tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, added more than $2 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. In 2002, when National Economic Council director Lawrence Lindsey suggested the Iraq War might cost $100 billion to $200 billion, he was rebuked by Office of Management and Budget director Mitch Daniels and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then fired. According to the CBO, the war has now cost more than $1 trillion.

n 2003, the Republican Congress passed the Medicare prescription-drug bill, which former U.S. comptroller general David Walker has called “the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.” When Medicare’s chief actuary calculated that the legislation would likely cost more than $500 billion, a Bush appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services threatened to fire him if he released the information…

Republicans have every right, of course, to admit their error and work to undo the deficit they helped create. But instead, today’s GOP leaders act as if the Bush years are irrelevant to America’s debt problem, and largely defend the tax cuts and wartime spending that helped cause it…

[Today’s] Republican Party is united behind an antigovernment theology powerful enough to survive virtually any combination of real-world events. It is a theology based, in large measure, on amnesia. Whatever the powers of the presidency, Barack Obama simply cannot get the Republican Party to remember what it so fervently wishes to forget.

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