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Why the Budget Will Never Be Balanced

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Why the Budget Will Never Be Balanced"

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To review some recent political history, after Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, conservatives enacted budgetary measures that led to large and growing deficits. These were scaled back to some extent on a bipartisan basis in the late 1980s and during the administration of moderate Republican George HW Bush. Then in 1993 under Bill Clinton a bill was enacted that sharply reduced the deficit, conservatives argued that it would destroy the economy and Republicans uniformly voted against it. Then under Georeg W Bush, conservatives enacted budgetary measures that led to large and growing deficits. Then under Barack Obama, congress has been debating a health care bill that the CBO says will slightly reduce the deficit in the future. At the moment, it seems that zero Republicans will vote for such legislation:

Thus the stage is set for today’s David Ignatius column:

The test case this year for Californiazation will be the health-care bill. Democrats’ desire to provide universal access to care is right, but the country has to pay for it. Indeed, we have to lower the cost of delivering health care so that paying this bill won’t be a crushing economic burden.

We should judge President Obama and Congress this year on whether they’re paying for the promises they make — and providing real reform that cuts costs, rather than another political goody bag.

Yes, sir, that’s right—no mention of the fact that the bill contains offsets and is scored as reducing the deficit. Democrats should be judged on that, but Ignatius won’t judge them! Because the judgment would have to be good! And Republicans are not judged at all!

We have in this country one political party that doesn’t care at all about the budget deficit. And we have another political party that gets crapped on by the establishment every time it attempts to deal with deficits. Under the circumstances, how long can it possibly be until we have two parties that evince Bush/Reagan-esque levels of concern for the deficit?

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