The Republican Budget

In the world of budgets, initial proposals are often just fantasy documents.  But there is at least some connection to things like 1) basic reality, and 2) basic math.  Not so the latest Republican House budget.  Dana Milbank goes to town:

It was altogether fitting that Republicans rolled out their budget during a festival of inebriation in honor of the man who magically (and apocryphally) banished snakes from Ireland. What Republicans have done with their budget is no less fantastic: They have employed lucky charms and mystical pots of gold to make them appear more sober about balancing the budget than they actually are.

“We do not rely on gimmicks or creative accounting tricks to balance our budget,” the House Republicans say in the introduction to their fiscal 2016 budget.

True, the budget does not rely on gimmicks. The budget is a gimmick…

It assumes that current tax cuts will be allowed to expire as scheduled — which would amount to a $900 billion tax increase that nobody believes would be allowed to go into effect.

It proposes to repeal Obamacare but then counts revenues and savings from Obamacare as if the law remained in effect.

It claims to save $5.5 trillion over 10 years, but in the fine print — the budget plan’s instructions to committees — it only asks them to identify about $5 billion in savings over that time.

It assumes more than $1 trillion in cuts to a category known as “other mandatory” programs — but doesn’t specify what those cuts would be.

You get the picture.  I assume a group of third-graders could create a more serious budget.  Seriously.

And Krugman adds some context:

Think about what these budgets would do if you ignore the mysterious trillions in unspecified spending cuts and revenue enhancements. What you’re left with is huge transfers of income from the poor and the working class, who would see severe benefit cuts, to the rich, who would see big tax cuts. And the simplest way to understand these budgets is surely to suppose that they are intended to do what they would, in fact, actually do: make the rich richer and ordinary families poorer.

But this is, of course, not a policy direction the public would support if it were clearly explained. So the budgets must be sold as courageous efforts to eliminate deficits and pay down debt — which means that they must include trillions in imaginary, unexplained savings. [emphasis mine]

Yep– I think Krugman nails it.  There may be some actual adults in the Republican party, but they are sure not in the GOP House caucus.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to The Republican Budget

  1. rgbact says:

    Its sad how a supposed intellectual like Krugman usually has the least smart analysis and resorts to nothing but “Republicans are EVIL” in post after post. Oh well, liberals seem to love it.

    At least Dana Milbank tries to analyze. I’m confused what expiring tax cuts he’s referring to. And btw, Obamacare is supposedly deficit neutral, so its a wash to remove it.

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