[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
[Video via MoveOn.org]
Dean Baker has a question for Claire McCaskill:
Why Does Senator McCaskill Want to Bankrupt Our Children?
That is what people should be asking Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill along with her fellow senators who are advocated strict caps on government spending. The idea being pushed by Senator McCaskill, together with Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and several other prominent senators, would limit federal spending to 20.6 percent of GDP. It would require difficult-to-obtain super-majorities to exceed this cap. Spending would be cut across a variety of programs if the cap is not reached.Robert Reich calls it "lipstick on a pig":
This proposal is hugely deserving of ridicule for a variety of reasons. First, it operates from a blatantly wrong premise -- that government spending has grown out of control.
Those familiar with arithmetic know that government spending had increased by little as a share of GDP prior to the downturn caused by the collapse of the housing bubble. In 2007, the last year before the onset of the recession, spending as a share of GDP was 19.6 percent. That is 1.1 percentage points less than the 20.7 percent share 30 years earlier in 1977. So the idea that there is a long-term trend of out-of-control spending is simply not true, or what they call outside of Washington, a "lie."
Republicans figure that if they can’t sell the pig, they’ll just put lipstick on it and find some suckers who will think it’s something else.Why is it that ConservaDems think that suckering for right-wing voodoo economics is some kind of "bipartisanship," anyway?
That’s the proposal emerging in the Senate from Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee and also Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri. It would get the deficit down not by raising taxes on the rich but by capping federal spending.
If Congress failed to stay under the cap, the budget would be automatically cut.
According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the McCaskill/Corker plan would require $800 billion of cuts in 2022 alone. That’s the equivalent of eliminating Medicare entirely, or the entire Department of Defense.
Obviously the Defense Department wouldn’t disappear, so what would go? Giant cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, education, and much of everything else Americans depend on.
It’s the Republican plan with lipstick. It would have the same exact result. But by disguising it with caps and procedures, Republicans can avoid saying what they’re intending to do.