Some Inconvenient Truths About the National Debt
How’d We Get Here?
As we draw closer to August 2, the drop-dead date by which the nation’s debt ceilingmust be raised or the U.S. will risk economic calamity by defaulting on its obligations, Republicans continue to play political games with the economy.
Last night, House Republicans staged a political stunt by bringing a $2.4 trillion increase in the nation’s borrowing limit that was not paired with any spending cuts up for a vote. Republicans designed the measure to fail (as it did, with the Democratic leadership also calling for a ‘no’ vote in protest) to try and gain political leverage over President Obama and the Democrats in the ongoing budget negotiations being led by Vice President Biden.
Also tucked into this measure was poison pill language blaming President Obama for the nation’s fiscal woes. Since the GOP continues to have collective amnesia about how we got into this mess in the first place, here’s a handy chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP):
As our friends at CBPP note, “without the economic downturn and the fiscal policies of the [Bush] Administration, the budget would be roughly in balance over the next decade.”
Where the GOP Wants to Take Us: More Tax Cuts for the Wealthy & Big Oil, Less Health Care for Grandma
In order to raise the debt ceiling to pay for the debts we’ve already incurred as a result of these Bush-era policies, Republicans are demanding that the president accept elements of their disastrous — and extremely unpopular — budget plan, which includes:
- A permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts, which (along with two wars) make up almost half of the debt we’ll owe by 2019 under current policies
- A new tax cut for the wealthy that would lower the top rate by almost one-third
- A new tax cut for corporations — including Big Oil
- Ending Medicare as we know it and slashing Medicaid
- A hidden tax increase on the middle class
Missing from the GOP plan? Any new revenue for the government or any serious deficit reduction over the next decade.
Evening Briefing: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
Voters in several states have buyer’s remorse.
South Africa’s Zuma fails to persuade Qaddafi to step down.
The House GOP prefers to keep campaign finance disclosure opaque.
Texas redistricting is underway and it isn’t pretty.
Forcing “forcible” out of federal rape policy.
Matt Drudge’s disgusting race war awareness campaign.
Supposed-Libertarian Rand Paul (R-KY) wants to imprison people who attend “radical political speeches.”
Which major corporations are making huge profits but pay negative tax rates?
News You Can Use: Get Your Go-Bag Ready — Hurricane Season Starts Today
After a spring filled with record floods and killer tornadoes fueled by an ever-warming planet, today marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Scientists predict that this season there will be 18 named storms, including 3-6 major hurricanes. The La Niña effect, which helped steer storms away from the U.S. last year, is expected to ebb by June or July, increasing the likelihood of a major hurricane hitting the U.S during the peak of the season in late August and September. Meanwhile, the GOP’s proposed budget for next year cuts disaster preparedness funding by $1.5 billion.
Lie of the Day: Palin’s Magical Mystery Tour Marches On–Complete With a $7 TRILLION Lie on Fox News
In between saying how much she “loves the smell of emissions,” playing hide-and-go-seek with the media, and eating dinner with Donald Trump, Sarah Palin sat down with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. As is customary for Palin’s appearances on Fox, her interview included a ‘pants on fire’ lie about President Obama. She claimed that the president has increased the national debt by “more than all other presidents combined.” As ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum notes: “this is flatly false,” as the debt was $10.6 trillion when Obama came into office and has increased by $3.7 trillion since then — mostly due to Bush-era policies, as noted above. That leaves Palin’s accounting off by a mere $7 TRILLION.