Today, the House Republicans narrowly agreed to pass a Senate Budget Resolution that scrapped plans to cut a measly $200 billion in spending (for context, that’s the equivalent of a 275 pound man losing one pound) in exchange for increasing the deficit by $1.5 trillion through tax cuts. Republicans, including the President, have also indicated they want to massively increase the defense budget by $10’s of billions in December, which may require increases in other spending to get across the finish line.
Avoiding the issue of their fiscal irresponsibility, this Budget Resolution is being advertised as the first step towards historic tax reform. Republicans are comparing the movement to the tax reform years of Reagan, the last time there was a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code. But, the agenda based on the Senate Budget Resolution paired with deal making already occurring to preserve loopholes looks a lot more like a return to Bush 43. Cut taxes. Increase spending. Deficits don’t matter.
Worse, instead of starting from a budget surplus, the 2017 version is starting with already historic deficits levels that are projected to get much worse. Republicans are like a single-task robot on an assembly line. Republicans looked at a $236 billion budget surplus in 2001 and responded by cutting taxes and increasing spending. Republicans look at a $666 billion budget deficit in 2017 and respond by cutting taxes and increasing spending. Sure, one can argue that the robot worked for President Kennedy and Bush, but we’re on a different assembly line now. This robot is slashing the tires.
Republicans need to reprogram their agenda by uploading the stark warnings about our fiscally unsustainable outlook from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Better yet, they should look at the Republican Party’s 2016 platform that asserts “the federal fiscal burden threatens the security, liberty, and independence of our nation.”
Republicans ideals are often associated with limited government. The problem is that they only execute half of their plan by lowering revenues, but fail to also lower spending. This half-baked execution means one thing – that 20 years from now the next generation of Americans will not have a choice to have a limited government, especially lower revenues. They will be consumed by paying for the government past generations bought for themselves without bothering to pay for. We cannot afford this agenda. Its time for a programming update.