If This Be Treason

Of  late the Republican Party is  fond of wrapping itself up in true constitutionality and the spirit of the Founding Fathers. And thus one must ask in the spirit of Patrick Henry, if this be treason.. then fear not to say it is so. The “it” is the Republican “Starve the Beast” policy starting with Ronald Reagan and continued under both Bush Presidencies. “Starve the Beast” says the only way to curtail government spending is to do the opposite, engage in unpaid for spending without creating  the offsetting taxes nor making the tough program cuts elsewhere in the budget. As shown in the quote below, that is exactly what Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II again did during their Presidencies:

Brad DeLong is mad at Tyler Cowen, with reason — for Cowen writes about US fiscal irresponsibility, fairly sensibly, without mentioning the elephant, and I do mean elephant, in the room: the role of the post-Reagan GOP.Look: until 1980 or so the United States generally paid its way; the ratio of debt to GDP generally fell over time. Then starve-the-beast came to power, and fiscal realism went away. That’s the story; anyone who glosses over that, who makes it a plague-on-both-houses issue or, worse, makes it seem as if Obama is the villain, is in an essential way misleading his readers.

Bear in mind, too, that the signature initiatives of Republican presidents — the Reagan tax cut, the Bush tax cut, the Medicare drug benefit — have all been unfunded deficit-raisers; the signature initiatives of Democratic presidents — the Clinton tax hike, Obamacare — have all been deficit-reducing. (Yes, the stimulus — but that was intended to be temporary, and has in fact proved too temporary; and Bush I’s tax increase was an exception, but the GOP has made it clear that nothing like that will ever happen again.)

Democrats aren’t fiscal saints. But we have one party that has been generally responsible, and tries to pay for what it wants, and another party that consistently, deliberately, takes actions to increase deficits in the long term. Saying this may be shrill; but not saying it is being deceptive.

So if this be treason, let it be said the Republican party have been the perpetrators of a treasonous fiscal policy. And now having engaged in their treasonous unbridled deficit spending, the party tries to turncoat and in the name of deficit reduction attack such programs and rights as collective bargaining, planned parenthood, educational spending, NPR/PBS broadcasting, Medicaid benefits and their line up of favorite social welfare cuts while steadfastly refusing to consider taxes on the wealthy who have been given a $3.3trillion bailout boon or any tax reforms let alone tax increases. If this be treason, then lay on Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and your Rush-To-Judge Legions.

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