More proof the Tea Party isn't serious about the debt

I always like to start talks about the national debt by reminding readers that the only President in the last 30 years to reduce the national debt was Clinton, in the latter years of his term. It was one of the few things that was accomplished, remarkably, with something called "bipartisanship". The debt nearly quadrupled under Regan and HW, and doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion under W. So while I wholeheartedly agree with tea partiers that we must reduce the debt, you'll have to forgive me for being skeptical that conservatives suddenly are willing to make real sacrifices.

And, as usual, they're not. It's just politics as usual. They'll fuss over millions in annual federal funds for Planned Parenthood, but raise taxes by 3% on the wealthiest Americans, which would save tens of billions annually? Never. And now, Democrats are calling their bluff on the debt ceiling:
WASHINGTON -- Less than a day after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) demanded that the debt ceiling not be lifted unless the government reduce spending by $2 trillion, Democrats are calling his bluff.
Senate Democratic leadership is asking Boehner to reaffirm support for ending tax breaks to five of the top oil companies as part of his quest to achieve federal savings.

Boehner had already declared that tax raises were "off the table". Really? Is anyone really naive enough to believe that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on the top 2% of earners (and saving us some $40 billion a year) would cripple the economy, or that ending tax breaks to oil companies that are making record profits would send us in a downward spiral? Right now, the top 20% of Americans own over 80% of all wealth in country. And in a recent study, even conservatives preferred the Swedish level of income distribution, in which the top 20% owns 36% of the wealth.

Now, this isn't to suggest that we shouldn't address entitlement spending as well. Of course we should. But to suggest, as Republicans are, that we ought to slash billions from programs like Medicare and Medicaid which millions of people depend on in order to keep paying for tax breaks both for the wealthiest Americans and for billion-dollar corporations seeing record profits is not only stupid, it's wantonly unethical. If Republicans are serious about cutting spending, they're going to have to slaughter some of their sacred cows too.

Oh, and can we get out of Iraq already? Geez.


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