Despite spending the past year talking about the need to cut spending and reduce the deficit, Republican leaders have proven time and again that they have few real ideas about how to accomplish that. Instead, they turn to gimmicks, like eliminating the Affordable Care Act — the repeal of which would actually increase the deficit — and using unspent stimulus funds. When right-wing CNBC host Larry Kudlow asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) Friday whether he would support using unspent stimulus funds as a “down payment” for a future budget, McCain said he “would absolutely advocate that” and perhaps make it a part of the GOP agenda:
KUDLOW: There’s a couple of hundred billion dollars of unspent stimulus money. Now, can that be stopped? Can that be canceled? Can that save the spending baseline? Would that be the down payment on longterm budget plan?
MCCAIN: I would absolutely advocate that. And maybe if they haven’t spent that all by January, that should be in our agenda as well.
The problem with McCain’s plan is that represents a tax hike for middle class Americans. Despite conservative attempts to smear it, the stimulus package actually cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, providing middle class Americans with valuable tax breaks and credits. There is still $55 billion in unspent stimulus funds dedicated to tax benefits. Meanwhile, other Republicans have gone a step further than McCain, calling for raiding the middle class tax benefits in the stimulus in order to pay for extending the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy.