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Government Shutdown Once Again Shows the Lies Behind Deficit Hysteria

February 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Marshall Auerback, AlterNet

It's just an excuse not to help poor people.

Another day, another temporary government shutdown and then finally a long-term “bipartisan compromise” so beloved of the punditocracy is reached. Early last Friday morning, the president signed a new funding bill that was narrowly passed in Congress only a few hours earlier. All told, the deal authorizes about $300 billion in new discretionary spending over the next two years.

“While neither side got everything they wanted, this compromise provides critical funding that will go towards improving the VA, CHIP, the opioid epidemic, and infrastructure spending,” said Senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican. “I look forward to now working with my colleagues on a solution for DACA, border security, and immigration policy.”

Yes, there were enough goodies to avoid a long drawn-out shutdown. But the most striking thing about the agreement was how few alarms were raised about the estimated increase in the budget deficit, even by the vaunted Tea Party wing of the GOP, whose rise allegedly came about in protest to the “unsustainable” growth in public spending. Certainly, there were a few deficit scolds here and there, who decried the latest “spending spree” and the “unsustainable” growth in the nation’s debt. But for the most part, those voices played little factor in the moves to prevent a lengthy cessation of government operations.

That was clearly not the case a few weeks earlier when the Trump tax cuts were passed and Democrats in particular vociferously sounded off on the dangers of increasing the federal debt to the tune of $1.5 trillion. Nothing from Chuck Schumer; even less from Nancy Pelosi, who several weeks earlier had tweeted, “A GOP tax bill that explodes the deficit by $1.5 trillion means dumping $4600 in debt on every man, woman & child in America.”

Well, it’s great that Ms. Pelosi can do basic arithmetic. But at a time when the Republicans have been (hypocritically) abandoning deficit terrorism to advance their own political agenda, it’s uninspiring that the Democrats could do no better than reinforce the ‘deficits are …read more


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