By now it’s a Republican Party tradition: Every year the party produces a budget that allegedly slashes deficits, but which turns out to contain a trillion-dollar “magic asterisk” — a line that promises huge spending cuts and/or revenue increases, but without explaining where the money is supposed to come from.
But the just-released budgets from the House and Senate majorities break new ground. Each contains not one but two trillion-dollar magic asterisks: one on spending, one on revenue. And that’s actually an understatement. If either budget were to become law, it would leave the federal government several trillion dollars deeper in debt than claimed, and that’s just in the first decade.
You might be tempted to shrug this off, since these budgets will not, in fact, become law. Or you might say that this is what all politicians do. But it isn’t. The modern G.O.P.’s raw fiscal dishonesty…
U.S. Congressman Tom Price, House Budget Committee chairman and lead author of the House budget blueprint, speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)
Revealing their commitment to ravaging critical safety net programs while accommodating corporations and the ultra-wealthy, the Republican-controlled House unveiled on Tuesday a budget proposal (pdf) that would undermine both Social Security and Medicare, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and prioritize tax cuts for the one percent—all while boosting defense spending.
The U.S. Senate, also majority Republican, is expected to introduce similar legislation on Wednesday.
According to news reports, the initial proposals, authored by House Budget Committee chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Senate Budget Committee chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), seek to balance the federal budget over 10 years, without raising taxes. To achieve those goals, the plans are expected to include $5 trillion in cuts to domestic programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Pell grants, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, over the course of the next decade.
It would provide $90 billion in additional war funding—much more than the $51 billion proposed by President Barack Obama—while pushing cuts to renewable energy incentives and climate change programs and repealing parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
And, as Sahil Kapur writes for Talking Points Memo, “the budget sets the stage for a showdown next year on Social Security.”
The New York Timesnotes that the proposal “leans heavily on the policy prescriptions that Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin outlined when he was budget chairman”—prescriptions that were blasted at the time as “a path to more adversity.”
Price, like previous Budget Committee chairmen in both parties, is using his proposal to push an aggressive policy agenda that is far broader than a simple focus on spending and deficits. Like the Ryan budgets of previous years, Price sees government as the cause of economic problems in the country and seeks to rein in federal spending — and power — by shifting programs back to state control or eliminating them outright.
For instance, the Budget Committee notes that there are 92 different anti-poverty programs, 17 food aid programs and 22 housing assistance programs. Similar overlaps have been found in federal job-training progams, it says. Price recommends eliminating or reducing many of these programs. The maximum award under Pell grants would be frozen for a decade, helping slow the huge increases in college costs. Regulations required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial services reform law are also being targeted as needlessly burdensome on the financial services industry and slowing economic growth.
The austere budget plan drew immediate criticism from many corners.
“There should be no compromise from the Democratic minority on any of this,” political analyst Charles Pierce wrote at Esquire. “It should be rejected, root and branch, because it is based on an economic philosophy, and an overall view of the relationship between people and their government, that has failed the country and its people savagely in the past and inevitably will do so again.”
In his breakdown of intra-party budget battles, Dave Johnson of the Campaign for America’s Future noted that despite any splits over specifics, the governing majority has one common desire.
“All of these Republican factions want the government cut back,” Johnson wrote. “None of them care about investing in infrastructure, investing in science, investing in education, expanding health care and safety-net programs for people who need it, or otherwise helping the public.”
Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress joined in calling on Congress to reject the proposal.
“Republicans are talking big with respect to tackling income inequality and wage stagnation, but the House budget proposal does not match their rhetoric,” she said. “Rather than creating jobs with investments in infrastructure and education or strengthening health care and nutrition programs to give families a foothold to climb into the middle class, the House majority has once again prioritized big tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations.”
In USA Today on Monday, journalist Nicole Gaudiano reported that Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who may run for president in 2016, plans to fight the GOP budget plan tooth and nail.
Sanders, she wrote, said he wants to take next year’s budget resolution in a “radically different” direction from the one preferred by House and Senate Republicans, declaring: “I’m going to work as hard as I can with other progressive members of the Senate to do everything we can to make sure this budget is not balanced on the backs of working families and low-income Americans.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
The first hearing on one of legislative Republicans’ Voter ID bills just started in the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee. This bill is the latest attempt by Republicans to make it harder for you to vote. Across the country, Republicans are engaged in a systematic effort to put as many roadblocks to voting as possible. The Koch Brothers and their Republican puppets now know that if they are going to win the White House and keep Republicans in power in Congress and the Nevada legislature, they need to ensure as few people vote as possible.
If you care about protecting the right to vote, contact the members of the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee right now and tell them to oppose AB266:
Republicans in the legislature are determined to make it as hard as possible for minorities, seniors, and military families to vote. Email them today and tell them you want them focused on improving education and creating jobs, not taking away our right to vote.
Though President Ronald Reagan called the right to vote the “crown jewel of American liberties,” many Republicans around the country have begun demanding increased voting restrictions in the name of fighting “voter fraud.” Though actual cases of voting fraud are so rare that a voter is much more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit fraud at the polls, one Republican official in Indiana has proved that lightning can strike himself.
Yesterday, a jury found Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R) guilty on six felony counts of voter fraud, theft, and perjury. The conviction cost White his job, though he plans to ask the judge to reduce the charges to misdemeanors and hopes to perhaps regain the position.
In a statement, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) announced White’s deputy will take over on an interim basis:
I have chosen not to make a permanent appointment today out of respect for the judge’s authority to lessen the verdict to a misdemeanor and reinstate the elected office holder… If the felony convictions are not altered, I anticipate making a permanent appointment quickly.
But a second court case could ultimately give the job to Democrat Vop Osili, who lost to White in November 2010. A judge’s December 2011 ruling — currently on hold, pending appeal — held that due to the voter fraud charges, White’s election was invalid. Should that ruling survive the appeals process, Osili would assume the office.
Ironically, White’s now-removed 2010 campaign website listed election integrity as among his top concerns, and promised he would “protect and defend Indiana’s Voter ID law to ensure our elections are fair and protect the most basic and precious right and responsibility of our democracy-voting.”
NOTE: In 2005, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed “the strictest voter ID requirements in the nation,” and Republicans said at the time that it was “needed to guard against voter fraud.”
Editor’s Note: The irony in this entire situation is that one of their own got caught and now, instead of being outraged and going after Mr. White, instead they want to downplay his heinous actions to mere misdemeanors, slap him on the hand, and put him back in the job that is responsible for policing such actions! Had that been a Democratic Secretary of State committing such actions, they would be attempting to elevate his actions to the equivalent of treason and calling for his execution!
Ted Nugent, the old rocker from the Seventies, is now just plain old. And off his rocker.
A political novelty act for the far right and a front man for the National Rifle Association, Nugent regularly spews venomous, vulgar, race-laced, abusive hate speech about liberals, Democrats, gun laws, and creeping communism.
In January, for example, he tongue-lashed President Barack Obama. Nugent called our commander in chief a “communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel.”
Naturally, Greg Abbott — the Republican candidate for governor of Texas — promptly invited this scurrilous lout to come for a visit.
Abbott is currently the state attorney general. As a dyed-in-the-wool tea party extremist, he apparently thought it would juice up his far-out GOP flock to have the rabidly nutty Nugent come campaign with him.
Ted came. He embraced the gubernatorial wannabe as his “blood brother.” But the brotherhood gambit backfired.
Even Republican leaders wondered aloud why Abbott would, as one put it, “keep company with a noted misogynist and bigot.” In addition to Nugent’s disgusting “subhuman mongrel” slur, the old rocker has also admitted to being “addicted” to underage girls. But if that’s not out there enough, it’s well known to Vietnam Veterans across this country that Mr. Nugent managed to dodge the draft by physically and publicly crapping in his pants.
The issue, however, isn’t Nugent’s sordid character, but Abbott’s.
Hugging an infamous predator and hate-monger for political gain is both morally repugnant and politically stupid. Yet, Abbott continues to cling to Nugent’s embrace, tersely (and cluelessly) saying: “It’s time to move beyond this.”
A campaign aide even tried to paint Nugent’s endorsement as a positive: “We appreciate the support of everyone who supports protecting our constitution.”
Everyone, including sexual predators and overt racists? How about mass murderers?
Shouldn’t a candidate for governor — even in Texas — draw a sharper moral line?