Metropolitik: Deficit distortions at heart of GOP agenda

Republican John Boehner is planning another big fight over the debt limit.

The Republican party remains unchastened for its political intransigence these past four years, and why would it be any other way? After two years of just-say-no rule in Washington following the election of President Barack Obama — 24 months of rancorous opposition, in which nearly every Democrat proposal was spurned, even those causes originally championed by the right — voters rewarded Republicans with landslide elections in 2010, tilting the balance of power more in their favor. Since then, they’ve continued that vehement obstruction, hoping for similar electoral dividends come November.

Last year, the GOP’s unyielding arrogance came back to bite us all in the form of a lowered national credit rating: Standard & Poor’s dropped the indicator of confidence in U.S. financial security over what it called “political brinkmanship” related to the lack of a debt deal — a political failure to compromise stemming, numerous reports have revealed, from the Republican party’s strict adherence to a no-tax orthodoxy.

Now, House Speaker John Boehner has promised a repeat of that bruising battle. Boehner, speaking at a fiscal summit yesterday, affirmed his plan to once again play hard-to-get over the previously routine bipartisan procedure of raising the debt ceiling. “I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase,” he said.

It sounds good on its face, but Boehner’s talk of “cuts and reforms” is a ruse. In 2011, Obama agreed to more cuts than many in his coalition had bargained for, but Boehner toed the line on the Grover Norquist no-tax pledge and bailed. No compromise, no deal. Meanwhile, the bipartisan framework created to try and force that deal — the so-called supercommittee, which implemented automatic cuts disliked by both parties in the absence of agreement — proved itself without substance last week when congressional Republicans moved to squeeze their way out of their half of the bad bargain, voting to cut social programs as a means of preventing reductions in military funding.

Republicans distort facts to destroy the Obama presidency, by any means necessary. They have effectively marshaled the deficit boogeyman to scare half the country into distrusting the executive — even though most of our current debt burden can be directly traced back to President George W. Bush. (A fact we’ll be skewered for repeating, no doubt, but a fact nonetheless.) What’s more: The Paul Ryan budget proposal, a Republican rallying point, actually does a worse job of reducing the deficit than Obama’s plan.

So here we are again. United in their opposition to President Obama and verifiable economic data, Republicans hold the nation’s purse strings hostage. Break out the champagne, we’ve got some rewarding to do!

Follow Brayden Simms on Twitter @metropolitik


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