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Robert J. Elisberg

Robert J. Elisberg

Posted: February 24, 2011 10:22 AM
Read More: Democrats , Gop , Politics News

Let's be clear: When Republicans announce what cuts are needed because of America's budget deficit -- they do not actually care about the budget deficit.

Before people can have a rational discussion, they have to agree on certain basic facts. And that's one of them.

Republicans in Congress do not care about the budget deficit.

Yes, I know there's going to be a lot of squealing now. How that's not true at all, how only Republicans care about fiscal responsibility. How this is just typical liberal blather. So, as a public service, there, it's been said.

But of course, what is said out of one side of the mouth doesn't mean it matches the reality and facts of the other side. And just because Republicans, conservatives and members of the "Tea Party" corporations have been convinced by what they've been fed, that doesn't make it true either. The reality remains:

Republicans in Congress do not care about the budget deficit.

Consider reality:

During the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the national debt increased a combined 35.6%. It was the largest debt increase in U.S. history. Mr. Reagan alone tripled the national debt from $997 billion to $2.85 trillion.

Yet Republicans didn't complain, didn't rise up in anger, didn't revolt. In fact, what Republicans did do was lionize Ronald Reagan as a patron saint, the near-God of conservatives.

Under George W. Bush, the national debt increased by a combined 27.1%. The U.S. budget went from a $128 billion surplus to a $482 billion deficit. The national debt doubled from $5.7 trillion to $10.7 trillion.

And there was no outcry by Republicans. Republicans didn't complain, didn't rise up in anger, didn't revolt. Even when Vice President Dick Cheney was quoted, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Republicans didn't complain.

Consider, as well:

In Bill Clinton's administration, the national debt decreased. It went down by a combined 9.7%. Further -- he balanced the U.S. budget.

And yet Mr. Clinton didn't become a hero to conservatives, even the vaunted fiscal ones. The mere mention of his name still today causes body twitches.

Consider, too,that in every full administration since Nixon-Ford in 1973 up through George W. Bush in 2008 -- EVERY national debt increase in America has occurred during a Republican administration. And EVERY reduction of national debt has occurred during a Democratic administration.

To this day, Republicans -- that party of supposed "fiscal responsibility" -- slam the Jimmy Carter presidency for incompetence. Yet the national debt went down 3.3% during the Carter administration.

Republicans in Congress do not care about the budget deficit.

Republicans in Congress do not care about the budget deficit.

And it's probably fair to say that Republicans, conservatives and members of the "Tea Party" corporations don't care about budget deficits either. Regardless of the words from their mouths.

Because the reality is: when Richard Nixon/Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George Bush all skyrocketed the national debt, there was no outcry from Republicans and conservatives. They didn't complain, didn't rise up in anger, didn't revolt.

And when Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter decreased the national debt, Republicans held only hatred for them.

Whatever reasons Republicans may have for disliking Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, fiscal responsibility and budget deficits can't be among them.

Can't.

Because Republicans in Congress do not care about the budget deficit.

It's just a convenient cover for what they do care about:

Corporations. Corporate tax breaks. Tax cuts for the wealthy. Protecting the insurance industry. Getting rid of Social Security. Cutting Medicare. Dismantling healthcare. Removing unemployment insurance. Abortion.

None of these have anything to do with the budget deficit. Because as we have clearly seen -- Republicans in Congress do not care about the budget deficit.

And House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made it abundantly clear last week, when talking about Americans losing jobs from Republican budget cuts.

"So be it.

There you have what the Republican Party leadership actually thinks about budget deficits and job and you.

"So be it.

But it's worse than that. Because there was something else John Boehner said, even worse, which got much less attention.

John Boehner also said, "I don't want anyone to lose their job" - and then added: "But..."

"But." We all know what "But..." means. It means, "Please disregard the previous statement."

"But," he said. "We've got to make tough decisions."

We've got to make tough decisions.

But John Boehner and Republicans are no more interested in actually making tough decisions than they are in budget deficits. Because clearly, we all know that one way you can decrease a budget deficit is to eliminate tax breaks for the wealthy, or eliminate tax breaks for the most hugely-profitable industries. It may not be the best way, or even the preferred way. But if you really, truly, madly, deeply, actually cared about getting rid of the budget deficit -- We All Know That It Is One Way.

But Republicans in Congress do not care about the budget deficit. Or else it would at least be on the table. And not filibustered.

They care about corporations. Corporate tax breaks. Tax cuts for the wealthy. Protecting the insurance industry. Getting rid of Social Security. Cutting Medicare. Dismantling healthcare. Removing unemployment insurance. Abortion.

And yet that statement of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was not the "even worse" one. It's what he said after he left the microphone and walked off stage.

"I can't believe I just said that."

Even John Boehner knows that what comes out of his mouth is a sham.

Republicans in Congress do not care about the budget deficit.

Or you.