Not your grandfather’s Republican Party
My lifelong friend and high-school classmate had an wonderful op-ed on iPolitics today. Please consider Not your grandfather’s Republican Party by David Wise.
Here again is the link to the entire article: Not your grandfather’s Republican Party.One of the most negative things to have happened to the increasingly dysfunctional political system in the United States has been the transformation of the Republican Party over the last generation into the party of fiscal deficits. At one time, the bastion of balanced budgets and no free lunches, 70% of gross public debt through the last fiscal year was accumulated under the last three Republican presidents who ran deficits twenty out of twenty years averaging 3.9% of GDP.
Having inherited a budget surplus from Bill Clinton, George W. Bush presided over a doubling in federal debt, simultaneously cutting taxes while running two wars on credit. Railing against domestic spending, the same administration implemented a large new unfunded prescription drug benefit. Yet now, as the opposition party, Republicans pontificate about the dangerous levels of gross public debt (now at 101.1% of GDP) and last summer set about playing chicken with a possible default on our financial obligations. In now trumpeting national debt as a paramount evil, the Republicans approach the debate by taking tax increases and defense spending off the table – which is somewhat like resolving to set about losing weight by eschewing dieting and exercise.
Conservatives are right to raise issues about what they see as a tendency to throw money at domestic programs, yet refuse to apply the same logic to spending on the military. In a world with no existential threat such as we faced during the Cold War and in which 85% of global defense spending is by the US and its allies, the US defense budget is higher now on a constant dollar basis than it averaged during the Cold War. There is probably no part of the Federal government that is more poorly and wastefully managed than the US weapons acquisition programs where massive cost overruns are common.
The current situation is dangerous and unsustainable. This year the US government will collect taxes equal to 14.4 of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the lowest level since 1950 – yet spend 25.3% of GDP. Serious people know in their hearts what has to be done. ....