Seeming to try to claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism earlier this week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) submitted a number of amendments to withdraw federal funding for items such as menopausal research, condom use studies, and an analysis of marijuana use in conjunction with malt liquor.
Today on MSNBC, when host Norah O’Donnell called out Issa for thinking his “set of sex, booze and drugs amendments” will do anything to reduce the budget deficit, the California Republican appeared to suggest that he is open, then, to repealing the Bush tax cuts and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:
O’DONNELL: But you’re talking about cuts in menapause, research for menapause, condoms, malt liquor, video games. I mean with all due respect you well know that is not the cause of our budget problems and our budget defict.
ISSA: Well Norah you know, you and I have known each other about 12 years and in those 12 years we’ve gone from having a budget surplus to a deficit. So everything that’s been added should be the first to be looked at.
Perhaps Issa is unaware of this fact, but — aside from the recession — President Bush’s tax cuts and war spending are responsible for a large chunk of the current deficits as this chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates:
As the New York Times noted in June, 2009, Bush’s tax cuts accounted for about 33 percent of the $2 trillion swing from surplus to deficit. And Bush regularly used accounting gimmicks so that the budget deficit would not account for war spending. But President Obama ended that practice when he took office, and, in fact, has increased war funding “from the $145 billion he inherited” to $162 billion this year and $159 billion next year.
So it seems that Issa has pledged to take a good look at war spending and the Bush tax cuts in order to reduce the deficit. We’re excited to hear what he’ll propose.