Monday, August 27, 2012

Debunking The Fiscal Conservative Myth

Sincethe Republican convention has been put on tempoary hold we would like to use this time to debunk a myth that has permeated the poitical conversation.
We have been led to believe that this election is a contest between the fiscally conservative Republicans and the liberal tax and spend Democrats. This myth was further enhanced by the selection of Paul Ryan as the Republican vice presidential nominee. Mr. Ryan is after all the poster boy for fiscal conservatism.
The problem here is that neither the Republican party nor Mr. Ryan has been very conservative when it comes to spending your tax dollars.
It is a matter of historical fact that the Republican Party over the past decade has approved more unfunded spending than any other time in our history.  George W. Bush authorized two unfunded wars and pushed through a perscription drug plan that was one of the  largest unfunded social policies in our history.  They also authored the infamous and unfunded  Bush Tax cuts and gave billions in subsidies and tax incentives to large corporations.  Their policies turned the Clinton surplus into a economic deficit.
But, you say, today’s Republican Party has learned a lesson from the Bush years.  They will return us to the path of fiscal responsibility. 
Not really!
Today’s Republican Party voted to extend the unfunded Bush tax cuts without paying for them.  They want to continue with the war in Afghanistan; an unfunded $2 billion per week.  Their current budget proposal includes massive increases in defense spending AND large across the board tax cuts.    
Yes, you say, but they want to offset those defense appropriations and tax cuts  by slashing expenses and reforming entitlements.
Not really.
The Republican budget proposal will slash discretionary spending.  But discreationary spending amounts to less than 20% of the budget.  These are the programs that middle class and working poor Americans value and depend upon. As as for entitlements..Republicans don’t want to reform entitlemants...they want to push the burden of entitlements off the federal books and onto the states and local communities.  And their “entitlement  reform”  doesn’t even begin until 2022.
M. Ryan was added to the ticket to give substance to Romney’s statement that he is a “severe conservative.”  But Ryan voted for every single unfunded proposal that Bush brought before congress.  And while Ryan was publically criticizing Obama’s stimulus he was quietly appropriating over $20 million in stimulus money for his constituents. Since accepting the VP nod Ryan has spent his time demonizing Obama for cutting Medicare by $716 million.  This from a guy who says that we need to cut Medicare.   And Ryan’s “bold” deficit reduction proposal doesn’t even sniff a  balanced  budget until 2040.
Republicans can talk about fiscal conservatism all they want.  But as they say in are what your record says you are.   

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