Once again, while the Republican Party likes to position itself as “the party of fiscal responsibility,” that slogan is a huge red herring; a phony designation that has n basis in reality. This talking point has been around for almost 90 years; at least since FDR started implementing “New Deal” policies and the GOP tried to kill them. Back then, they were essentially banished from government and would remain so for most of the next 50 years. We need to do that again; this time for 100.
As part of their effort to remain relevant, the GOP adopted that moniker and kept it as a conservative and (later) right wing talking point. Unfortunately for them, the record shows them to be the exact opposite of that. One would think that adopting the fiscal policies that caused the Great Depression would cause them to learn something, but they never have.
Earlier this week, right wing moron Rush Limbaugh repeated the statement made by Dick Cheney during the Bush, Jr. Administration, declaring that “Deficits don’t matter.” The subject occurred when a “Dittohead” caller phoned in and suggested that Republicans nominate a younger “fiscal conservative” in place of Donny Trump. The caller at once showed that perhaps the entire party isn’t as monolithically behind Trump as the right wing press would have us believe and that Trump isn’t really a Republican to some hardcore Republicans.
As usual for Limbaugh, he immediately shot down the idea and proclaimed that “Nobody is a fiscal conservative anymore,” which must have heads exploding all through the Republican National Committee, since that seems to be their primary talking point for the umpteenth election cycle in a row. He continued bye proclaiming that “[a]ll this talk about concern for the deficit and the budget has been bogus for as long as it’s been around.”
If that seems surprising to you, it shouldn’t be. In the past 40 years, only two presidents have overseen a reduction in the deficit, and their names were Clinton and Obama. Of the Republicans who have occupied the White House (almost literally; the last Republican to win an election outright was bush in 1988), all of them have overseen a massive explosion in the size of the deficit. Reagan tripled the deficit and the National Debt was almost 350% higher when he left than when he was elected to “get the debt under control.” After Clinton got control of the deficit and even ran a few surpluses for the first time in decades, Bush Junior and the GOP Congress immediately cut taxes and started two wars, to start us on the road to record deficits once again.
And while the GOP spent eight years calling out Obama for the explosion in the size of the debt, the fact of the matter is, when Obama took office, the fiscal year 2009 deficit was hurtling toward $2 trillion and he was able to oversee a reduction of that by nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars, and kept the deficit below $1.6 trillion, even though the recession wouldn’t actually end until 2010. By 2016, when trump took over, the FY 2016 deficit was $590 billion; still way too high, but nearly as high as it was or would be. The FY 2019 budget deficit is $1.092 trillion and is projected to stay above $1 trillion every year for the next decade or so.
If there is one thing Republicans are not, it is “fiscally responsible.” Their actions at the federal level betray that designation, but when you look at the state level, they;’re even worse. Red states are in much worse fiscal shape than blue states, to the point that many red states couldn’t survive without the subsidies provided by blue states like California, New York and New Jersey. Utah seems to be the only red state that is run in a fiscally responsible manner; the others are most certainly not. They cut taxes to the bone and they run government haphazardly, with no thought about provision of services.
“The Fiscally Responsible Party,” my fat white ass.