As I’ve said before, this drives me crazy. I’m a fiscal conservative in that I believe in a balanced budget whenever possible. That means having revenues = spending. Republicans cut taxes at every opportunity (mostly to benefit the rich –but whatever) but never, ever make any substantial budget cuts because they would become (even more) unpopular with the electorate. They act as if tax cuts and hugely expensive wars of choice have no effect on the bottom line, or shouldn’t count toward calculating deficit spending. Sorry, but “tax and spend” seems far better to me than borrow and spend.
Sure, but what's a Republican to do these days? They're supposed to be fiscal conservatives, which means they have to pretend to love balanced budgets. So McCain does. Raising taxes is, however, verboten by party fiat, which leaves an aspiring GOP president only two choices: (a) reducing spending and (b) magic. Unfortunately for our hero, proposing actual, concrete budget cuts of any substance is political suicide and he knows it. This leaves magic as the only alternative.In McCain's case, this seems to take the form of blather about eliminating earmarks (a reform that might be worthwhile but wouldn't actually cut the budget); more blather about "wasteful spending" (the political blowhard's best friend); a bit of nonsense about reducing defense expenditures after we've won all the wars we're fighting (sure, you betcha); and finally, every stumped pol's favorite gimmick: an across-the-board one-year spending freeze. This is a standard last-ditch device that gets hauled out whenever there's no actual plan to do anything serious.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Snark of the Day 07/08
Kevin Drum talking about J. Sidney McCain’s balanced budget fantasy: