The Party of Fiscal (Ir)Responsibility
For some time now the Republicans have been claiming that they are the party of fiscal responsibility. They openly attack the president for a lack of fiscal responsibility and often say that Democrats do not understand the U.S. economy. I have always found this claim by the GOP to be ingenuous because, in reality, their economic policies are proven to be failures and it would be more correct to refer to the GOP as the party of fiscal irresponsibility.
In the wake of the super committee failure there is no shortage of blame to go around. Republicans blame everything on the Democrats and Democrats blame Republicans. It is important that we examine the claims that are being made about the super committee because this body of legislators was charged with only on task; finding a plan to reduce the national deficit and restoring fiscal responsibility to the government. The failure of the committee shows that there is something wrong with our government when it comes to financial issues and examining the facts shows us that, in reality, there is only one side of the political aisle that can be blamed.
In examining the plan that Democrats promoted in the super committee we see that it is nearly identical to the Bowles-Simpson plan. However, there is one important distinction in that Democrats asked for about half of the revenue increases that the Bowles-Simpson plan called for, which demonstrated that they were willing to compromise on new revenues. Even with this reduced revenue the Republicans rejected this offer in favor of pushing for a budget plan that was created by Paul Ryan. The Paul Ryan budget is widely criticized because of provisions that would privatize medicare and also cut the top tax rates from %35 to %25. This is neither compromising nor is it fiscally responsible. The Bush tax cuts are a major contributing factor to the current deficit and the Republicans focused on making taxes even lower than they currently are. To call for tax rates that are lower than the tax rates that created a large part of the deficit is not the responsible thing for our government to be doing.
This has become standard operating procedure for the GOP. Claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility while pushing irresponsible policies that really only benefit the small percentage of our citizens that have the most wealth. In fact, if we look at the history of the deficit in the U.S. we see that the situation is the exact opposite of what the GOP would have us believe.
Looking at this chart, it is easy to see that Republicans have a history of bad fiscal policy while the Democratic party has a history of decreasing the national debt. Recent debates over the debt ceiling certainly supports this information as we see that Obama’s plan for cutting $3 trillion out of the deficit was rejected by Republicans simply because they did not want to see the rich paying their fair share of taxes. The justification that the GOP uses for these low taxes on the rich is that raising taxes on the rich will hurt job creation but in reality there is no connection between tax cuts and job creation. The only reason why Republicans want us to believe that they know best when it comes to the economy is so that they can cut taxes on the wealthy and attack the social programs that benefit the working classes of America.
If we are to get this country back on a sound fiscal footing we have to realize that the conservative economic policy is a failure. History has shown that the same “trickle down” policies that were followed in three separate presidential administration and continue to be followed by the GOP are, in reality, huge drivers of our national debt. Fiscal responsibility can be achieved through the pursuit of a tax code that is fair and does not offer unjust advantages to those that can afford to buy members of congress. Republicans need to realize that their are people that see through their lies about fiscal responsibility and that we are part of the electorate. The people want a fair economy with a fair tax code. We want fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, Republicans have been unwilling and unable to give us this.