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The Rush to Austerity Begins

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And…here we go:

After yet another Republican government that engaged in massive, procyclical increases in the deficit, have our elite reporters learned any skepticism at all? You probably know the answer:

“It hasn’t been a prominent topic of conversation, I think it is fair to say,” conceded Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania and a longtime fiscal conservative, about the potential hazards of compounding an already spiraling federal deficit in response to a crippling pandemic.

Like others who have long preached fiscal discipline, often to no avail, Mr. Toomey said he saw no alternative to the costly push by the federal government to try to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak. But he and like-minded fiscal watchdogs remain deeply worried about the inevitable consequences of the historic outpouring of cash from a government that was already deeply in the red.

“Why do all of these unfunded upper-class tax cuts force a principled fiscal watchdog like me to keep voting for them?”

Admittedly, the truth does emerge later in the article, although even then with excessive credulousness:

The more than $1.5 trillion in tax cuts that Mr. Trump enacted with the help of congressional Republicans in 2017 were not paying for themselves as promised. And deals negotiated between congressional Republicans and Democrats that traded increases in military spending for added domestic dollars boosted the deficit as well. Republican concerns about deficit spending — once an animating force of the party — seemed to have evaporated when President Obama left the White House.

Better, but 1)nobody actually thinks tax cuts will pay for themselves and 2)concerns about deficit spending have never been an “animating force” in the Republican Party. They don’t care. They’ve never cared. The only bigger marks in American political discourse than reporters who think that Republicans have ever cared about deficits despite a mountain of consistent contrary evidence are people who think that Josh Hawley is the new FDR.

Here’s a tip, applicable to deficit spending, healthcare, anything: look at Republicans do when they actually have power, rather than what they claim to support when they don’t. You have a much better chance of leaving the table with some money that way.

…and as Ian reminds us, for some reason journalists who feel the need to invent “balance” irrespective of the facts are allowed to let their pundit fly free whenever deficit spending is at issue:

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