Our guest blogger is Michael Linden, Associate Director for Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A Republican Senator walks into a bar and goes on and on about how bad the deficit is, and how much money the “Democrat” Congress has been spending and how President Obama has run up all this debt. The GOP Senator is so incensed about the state of the federal budget that he votes against extending unemployment benefits, even though the unemployment rate is at 9.5 percent. $33 billion, says the senator, is just too much to spend on the millions of people who are pounding the pavement looking for work.
Now here comes the punch line. The bartender asks the Senator if he’s in favor of $800 billion in tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans, and the Senator replies that not only is he strongly in favor of more tax breaks for wealthy people, but, “tax cuts should not have to be offset.”
It’s not a particularly funny joke, because, sadly, it’s not a joke at all. This is the position of the Republican party. Senate Republicans unanimously opposed extending jobless aid one day, citing concern over the deficit, but then turn right around and push for huge tax cuts for the very richest people in the country, which would cost more than 20 times as much.
I’ll never understand how a Senator can feign such anxiety about the deficit one minute, push for budget busting tax cuts the next and still keep a straight face. I’ll also never understand how they keep getting away with it.