Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Republicans learned the hard way last week that the tactic of using the debt ceiling to extract further spending cuts is a losing one. And now, thanks to President Donald Trump, they may lose it permanently.
A larger lesson was to be learned if Republicans care to pay attention. Given that we may be in a new weather era (let's not revisit climate-change denial) that requires not only relief programs but also serious attention to infrastructure of coastal area cities, the current budgeting process is inherently dishonest. We wind up spending far more than the budget says because we have emergencies--regularly occurring ones--that point to additional needs only the federal government can afford.
Conservative lawmakers were reminded that now and then, no matter one's philosophy, you need to spend money, maybe a lot of money, to help the vulnerable. The idea that we should spend less each year until we arrive back in the pre-New Deal-sized government doesn't comport with reality. And conservatives really aren't willing to live with the consequences since they know their own states' needs and haven't the nerve to reduce the growth of entitlement programs.
You almost get the idea that the entire GOP economic philosophy is dependent on a never-ending stream of tax cuts for the rich. What else do they have, policy-wise?
If they want to promote self-sufficiency, work, lifelong learning and job training, mobility (physical and economic), and innovation, then they need policies to match, including legal immigration reform, new trade deals, and investment in infrastructure and human capital. But thinking about how to spend wisely and what policies to deploy requires serious study and compromise--two things that Republicans seem allergic to these days.
Editorial on 09/12/2017
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