An editorial in yesterday’s New York Times, “Republican No-Shows in the Budget Wars”, ridicules House Republican leadership for having the temerity to propose $4 billion in cuts from this year’s budgets for transportation and housing, and expecting Republican representatives to support such “draconian” cuts. “But the House’s skittishness at the decidedly unpopular costs of some of the party’s budget strictures presented a revealing tableau of both hypocrisy and weakness: Republicans could not pass their own cramped vision of the future.”
The underlying problem is that the House Budget for discretionary spending for 2014, at $967 billion, is almost $100 billion less than the Senate’s $1058 billion budget. The House insists on continuing the sequester cuts for the full ten years agreed upon when the sequester mechanism was set up two years ago. The Senate is ignoring the sequester agreement because it wants to replace it by a combination of milder cuts and tax increases. The Republicans would prefer to replace the across-the-board sequester cuts by a more rational budget cutting plan but the Democrats are unwilling to negotiate such a plan.
The Democratic Party, and its media supporters such as the New York Times, simply refuses to acknowledge that the United States has a fiscal problem. $6 trillion in deficit spending in the last five years apparently does not make a serious impression. The mantra is that we’ll worry about our enormous deficits, and exploding national debt, later, after the economy more fully recovers from the Great Recession. But after four years of recovery such an argument makes no sense. There are lots of effective ways to boost the economy but continued artificial stimulus (deficit spending) is not one of them.
Wake up, Keynesians! We need to turn things around and the sooner the better. Stop ridiculing the mostly Republican fiscal conservatives who are valiantly striving to accomplish this herculean task under the most trying circumstances.