The GOP’s Gimmicks-R-Us shop: Balanced Budget Amendment Redux

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

6a00d8341bf80c53ef017c369b9629970b-320wiI warned you that all that talk about rebranding the GOP was really all about putting the same failed policies into a redesigned box with a “new and improved!” label to try to fool low information voters into thinking the GOP has learned its lessons from 2012 and is ready to make fundamental changes. As if.

The “madmen” of the GOP’s Gimmicks-R-Us shop are out today with the lamest GOP policy idea of them all: a balanced budget amendment redux. (They really don’t want a balanced budget  amendment because it would require (1) substantial tax increases and (2) substantial budget cuts to sacrosanct programs like the military. It is purely political posturing). This is what you do when you’ve got nuthin’ but gimmicks. No end to the GOP’s fiscal gimmickry:

If this is accurate, then you may as well brace for the sequester
cuts to hit, because it shows even more clearly than usual that
Republicans view the sequester — which they themselves say will
devastate the military and tank the economy — as preferable to giving up
an additional penny in new revenues
. The National Review scoops the Senate GOP’s next move, and note in particular the last paragraph:

Frustrated by the months of non-stop budget fights,
Senate Republicans are set to mount a fiscal counteroffensive this week
with the reintroduction of a balanced-budget amendment
.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and minority whip John Cornyn
are leading the effort. They hope to unveil a bill by Thursday with
unanimous Republican support. […]

House Republican aides say most conservatives in the lower chamber
are going to support the Senate’s plan. Speeches and media appearances
are being arranged for later this week. […]

According to a Senate GOP aide, the legislation would cap federal
spending at 18 percent of GDP. It would also require a supermajority for
tax hikes and debt-limit increases
.

This is nothing but gimmickry on every
level
. First, the Balanced Budget Amendment. Republicans pushed this
idea during the debt ceiling fight of 2011. It is terrible and dangerous
policy, as former Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett has usefully detailed.
Bartlett termed the idea, which would cap fiscal outlays at 18 percent
of GDP, as “mind-boggling in its insanity.” Macroeconomics Advisers has said such a proposal would “quickly destroy millions of jobs while creating enormous economic and social upheaval.”

Equally eyebrow-raising is the call for a “supermajority for tax
hikes and debt limit increases.” It’s unclear what is meant by a
“supermajority,” but presumably we’re talking about either 60 or 67
votes required in the Senate and some similar proportion in the House.
Either way, this would literally put an end to majority rule in Congress
on major fiscal matters — at least when it comes to new revenues, and
not when it comes to spending cuts. This is simply unhinged.

Requiring a supermajority on the debt ceiling is the direct opposite
of fiscal responsibility: Since the debt ceiling only constitutes
authorizing borrowing to pay bills already incurred by
Congress, it could set spending by regular majority rule (as it
currently does), while requiring a supermajority to borrow the money
necessary to pay the bills it racks up. It would make default — and
widespread economic havoc — more likely.

Republicans are pushing this only several months after an election
which revealed them to be entirely out of step with the mainstream
American view of the proper balance between new revenues and spending
cuts to solve the country’s fiscal problems, and only weeks after they
were forced to cave in the last debt ceiling fight. The GOP response to
those outcomes is to lurch further to the right, and to double down on
the need to peddle fiscal opium to the GOP base
.

As I keep noting here,
the GOP’s explicit, publicly stated position is that no compromise of
any kind to avert the sequester is acceptable (it must only be offset
with spending cuts). Meanwhile, the Dems’ explicit, publicly stated
position is that both sides should make roughly equivalent concessions
(spending cuts and new revenues) to avert the sequester.

* * *

Rather than agree to a penny in new revenues, Republicans are taking
refuge behind a series of outright gimmicks that have no chance
whatsoever of becoming reality, ever. If this latest round of proposals
doesn’t prove enough to persuade neutral commentators of the fundamental
and dramatic imbalance between the two parties’ approaches to the
sequester battle — one whose outcome could have enormous negative
consequences for the country — than nothing will.

The GOP has not learned any lessons from 2012. They are the same economic terrorists holding the country hostage and threatening to destroy the economy unless Americans acceed to the extortionst demands of the wealthy elite plutocrats whom they represent. The lazy “lamestream” media should treat these Tea-Publicans as the economic terrorists that they are. This is unacceptable behavior and is not to be tolerated.

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