They're Baaack...

Bob Herbert writes in Monday's NY Times

The fundamental mission of the G.O.P. is to shovel ever more money to those who are already rich. That’s why you got all that disgracefully phony rhetoric from Republicans about attacking budget deficits and embracing austerity while at the same time they were fighting like mad people to pile up the better part of a trillion dollars in new debt by extending the Bush tax cuts.

This is a party that has mastered the art of taking from the poor and the middle class and giving to the rich. We should at least be clear about this and stop being repeatedly hoodwinked — like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy’s football — by G.O.P. claims of fiscal responsibility.

Herbert goes on to observe that the G.O.P. reveres Ronald Reagan not for his "fiscal probity," but because he never tried to balance the budget at all. And he reminds us that it was former Republian House Majority Leader Tom Delay who uttered the famous (and idiotic) pronouncement that "nothing is more important in the face of war than cutting taxes." (See The Dubya Report's 2006 profile of Tom Delay.)

A key component of the "hoodwinking" Herbert refers to is the deceptive claim that tax cuts pay for themselves. Ezra Klein in the just-cited article calls this "economic illiteracy" — which assumes that it's not intentional deception. Data from the Congressional Budget Office — that's the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — show that in 2005 the cost of the Bush tax cuts was three times that of all other domestic programs, and increased the budget deficit by nearly $260 billion in that year alone.

David Stockman, Budget Director during the Reagan Administration referred to the Republican push to extend the Bush tax cuts as Chapter 11 (i.e. bankruptcy) for politicians. Writing in the NY Times in July 2010 Stockman warned:

Republicans used to believe that prosperity depended upon the regular balancing of accounts — in government, in international trade, on the ledgers of central banks and in the financial affairs of private households and businesses, too. But the new catechism, as practiced by Republican policymakers for decades now, has amounted to little more than money printing and deficit finance — vulgar Keynesianism robed in the ideological vestments of the prosperous classes.

Former Federal Reserve economist Ed Lotterman summarizes:

Many in the general public and many Republican elected officials believe lowering tax rates would help reduce the deficit. Virtually all economists disagree, including the most respected ones who identify themselves as Republicans and who have served in Republican administrations. The stakes are high. If we double down and cut tax rates as many want, the deficit will balloon, not shrink. That will compound our economic problems.

Meanwhile, the party that brought you now-convicted felon Tom Delay presents convicted criminal Darrell Issa of CA, the incoming chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Issa will be the subject of his own Dubya Report profile.

Should be a jolly time....