Judd Gregg, When Left to His Own Devices, Is an Orthodox Conservative Who Doesn’t Care About the Deficit

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"Judd Gregg, When Left to His Own Devices, Is an Orthodox Conservative Who Doesn’t Care About the Deficit"

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What a strange remark from Howard Gleckman:

Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) is a good guy and, left to his own devices, is serious about deficit reduction. But even Gregg can’t pass the laugh test anymore. This morning he put out a press release entitled “We Need a Game-Changing Budget, Not More of the Same.” This from the top budget-writer of a party that passed an unfunded Medicare Part D drug benefit and massive tax cuts when it controlled Washington, and just last week voted in lockstep to oppose efforts to restore paygo rules for tax cuts and entitlement spending. Oh, and a majority of GOP senators even opposed Gregg’s own plan to create a deficit reduction commission.

This seems confused. Gregg isn’t just the top budget guy of a political party that “passed an unfunded Medicare Part D drug benefit and massive tax cuts when it controlled Washington, and just last week voted in lockstep to oppose efforts to restore paygo rules for tax cuts and entitlement spending.” Gregg himself, as an individual, did all of those things. And he’s retiring from the Senate, so it’s not as if some mysterious forces outside his control have been pulling the strings. He doesn’t owe anyone anything.

It’s just that Gregg is a conservative and conservatives don’t care about the deficit. They care—passionately—about taxes. Specifically, they want lower taxes. They may or may not in some sense “want” a smaller deficit, but they don’t let deficit worries stand in the way of tax cutting and they view deficit-reduction as no excuse for tax hikes. Gregg is very typical, whether left to his own devices or not.

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