Republican Bruce Bartlett and the NYTimes On the Debt Ceiling Facts vs. Fantasy

The House Republicans have just finished a 48 hour marathon debating amongst themselves whether to pass a flawed bill that would only extend the debt limit six months, so the GOP could continue to not govern, but spend all their time in finding new, creative ways to demand compromise from President Obama, then reject his offers, all of which now read like every proposal made by the Republicans for the past 50 years; fix nothing; and which in any case would be dead on arrival in the Senate because not a single Democrat in the Senate would vote for the bill.

Just one more exercise in drama queen hysterics and theatrics, rather than actual governance by the GOP. In fact, from the statements of some of the Freshmen GOP members of the House, they honestly do not seem to understand that just because they pass a bill does not mean it is now the law of the land. Helpful hint: it has to be passed by the Senate, also, and then has to be signed by that guy in the White House, you know, the President. That is what is called ‘the legislative process’.

The rank hypocrisy and lies of the Republican Party know no limits, it seems. The consequences of defaulting on the debt held by the United States seem to be something that many of them actually think is something good, when what it means is destabilization of the world’s economy, loss of faith in the United States government and economy, and not just another round of the current Great Recession, but as Paul Krugman, Nobel Economist pointed out this week, a good shot at triggering the Second Great Depression.

What is most disgusting is that the sham of claiming this is to stop spending is simply a lie. This is not a spending question. This is a debt question. The spending has already occurred, the future commitments have been made. The problem is, the Republicans do not believe in honoring commitments. We are seeing that in their willingness to steal the accumulated savings of everyone from the unions to the American People and their life long investment and payments into Social Security and Medicare. The Republicans are perfectly willing to steal that money, and laugh at those whose lives they destroy by doing so, as long as it preserves the wealth of the few, and power of the oligarchy.

The issue is whether or not the United States will keep good faith with the debt it incurred, and pay its bills. The only reason Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are being threatened is because the government has been borrowing against the future to pay for the present, while at the same time thinking that dramatically cutting the taxes of the wealthiest and the corporations would not affect the revenue that pays the bills

The mindless adherence to failed strategies of the past is the surest sign of an irrational mind. The mindless mantra of cut taxes has proven to be a total failure. This is not a debt problem, it is a revenue problem, triggered by the wealthiest being unwilling to pay their fair share, and the fact that they no longer are, because Congress has basically sold out, lock, stock, and barrel, to the the plutocratic corporate oligarchy that now runs this nation.

71% of current national debt happened during GOP presidencies; only 28% under Democratic presidents.

The debt limit has been raised 49 times under Republican presidents, and 29 times under Democratic presidents.

From the main graphic on today’s New York Times article charting who holds the debt, and where it came from:

$14.3 trillion in Total Debt: When the Debt Was Accumulated

How much and when the Debt Was Accumulated?

$2.4 Trillion: President Obama (2009-11) Stimulus spending, tax cuts, and the effects of 2007-9 recession in lost revenues and automatic spending, like unemployment compensation.

$6.1 Trillion: George W. Bush (2001-9) Tax cuts, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, economic downturn in 2001 and recession starting in 2007.

$1.4 Trillion: Bill Clinton (1993-2001) Despite two years of on-budget surpluses, deficit spending in other years added to the debt.

$1.5 Trillion: George Bush (1989-93) The first gulf war and lower revenue from a recession.

$1.9 Trillion: Ronald Reagan (1981-89) Peacetime defense spending and permanent tax cuts.

$1.0 Trillion: Before Reagan (1981 and earlier) Deficit spending from wars and economic downturns.

How the U.S. Got $14 Trillion in Debt and Who Are the Creditors

As far as I am concerned, the past few weeks have demonstrated that the majority of the Republican Party, and the so-called Tea Baggers in particular, simply do not understand the consequences of defaulting on the debt, and they do not care, they will do simply ANYTHING to destroy the Obama administration in an effort to regain power next year. The do not want to make the government work, they want to destroy the government. They do not care if they destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Old, the Poor, and Middle Class in the process. All they care about is the power and wealth of the top 1% who own the majority of wealth now, and the corporations, at whose trough they feed daily.

The Republican party truly appears willing to further destroy the economy and the lives and safety of the American people for one reason, they hope that it will get them elected next year, because they assume the majority of the American people will blame Obama. All the GOP cares about is their power, and continued veritable flood of money from the Koch Brothers and the rest of the right wing corporate wealth machine that is destroying his nation.

This whole fake crisis over raising the debt ceiling is nothing less than an act of domestic terrorism by the GOP.

Bruce Bartlett is former Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary under the first George Bush and a policy adviser to Ronald Reagan. He appeared on Chris Matthews Hardball TV Show. He pretty much destroys/dismantles/eviscerates, you name it, every lie and talking point of the current Republican party.

Transcript as reported at the link provided below.

CM: Bruce Bartlett is former Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary under the first George Bush and a policy adviser to Ronald Reagan. Bottom line, let’s look at the numbers right now. We’ve got a chart coming up. This shows the Bush tax cuts were responsible for increasing the debts. Now, we have about a $14 trillion debt right now, half came out since the turn of the century, and more than 40% of that has been from tax cuts.

BB: That’s right. When Bush took office, we had a debt of about $6 trillion. The projections from the CBO were that we were going to run a $6 trillion surplus. By this point, if we had done nothing, we would have paid off the dead debt, but we added about $3 trillion of tax cuts. We lost about $3 trillion of revenue because of the slower economy and added about $6 trillion of spending, largely due to two unfinished wars and a Medicare drug benefits and a lot of other things. So, instead of getting — paying off the debt–we ended up with about a $14 trillion debt.

CM: Some of these clowns, not all of them, running around saying Barack Obama is a Socialist, he drove up the national debt to $14 trillion and dance around in a circle and congratulate each other. That’s not true.

BB: No, i think the dirty secret is that Obama is a moderate conservative. If I were a liberal democrat, I probably would be upset.

CM: The point is a $1 trillion debt, and another poring (?) is from the prescription drug bill. The whole rest of that is from a lousy economy under Bush and these two wars he came up with.

BB: That’s right. The Republicans keep saying the tax cuts are the key to prosperity. The 2000s are evidence that that is not true. We had booming economies in the 1980s and ’90s. If we went back to those taxes, we would be better off.

CM: What is the argument against the kind of tax policy– let’s just say it again. It seems like a heck of a great economy with the tax rate of about 39.6, as opposed to 35?

BB: Right.

CM: That’s the ones the rich bitch about, to use a crude term. That helped balance the budget.

BB: That’s right. Don’t forget that Ronald Reagan raised the capital gains rate, and now it’s only 15%, and of course the wealthier you are, the more of your income comes from capital gains.

CM: We showed the 400 richest people in the country. They pay about the same as a poor person pays, about 18%.

BB: That’s right, of income taxes, that’s right.

CM: Whereas the middle class, who think they are the majority of the country, they’re paying a higher rate.

BB: That’s right. I don’t see think any question we would have positive economic effects if we went back to the tax rates.

CM: How come I need to drag you on the show — the fact is, just a simple math, we have a $14 trillion debt, half came from the Bush era, almost, and the rest came from the prescription drug bill, and with a terrible economy and the two wars that he promulgated. That’s simple math there.

BB: That’s right, but in the Republican playbook, of course, the deficit is never caused by tax cuts–

CM: or wars.

BB: They go around saying they did not lose any revenue. A number of prominent officials, Mitch McConnell included, have said this. It’s just mathematically ridiculous.

CM: And it’s not Socialism, but if a Democrat says it, you can’t go into the ER anymore for free, you have to kick in something, which to me is pretty conservative. The Republicans call it socialism, they would rather you go to the ER and get treated free. That’s what’s going on now.

BB: The Obama plan, the Affordable Health Care Act was essentially the same thing as the Reps themselves —

CM: Richard Nixon pushed an employer mandate. He wanted the individual not to pay any costs, all bosses had to pay the health care cost. That would have been the Nixon rule.

BB: The Heritage Foundation, much more recently than that, proposed an individual mandate, now all of a sudden —

CM: I feel like sanity has just walked into the door. Bruce, so great, now that I realize you’re smart and have the numbers, give me two seconds. Any way to solve this kerfuffle?

BB: I think at this point, there’s nothing that can pass the House of Representatives.

CM: Because it’s too much of a zoo?

BB: Yeah, i think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards, who are desperately afraid of the tea party people, and rightly so.

CM: I love it. Thank you. i can’t add to that. Bruce Barlett. You use tougher words than I use. I just say a zoo.

Hardball: Bruce Bartlett desroys every Republican fiscal talking point in 5 minutes. +

As I have said before, and will repeat, and these are simple truths:

1. The need for rational government will not go away. Republicans right now are irrational.

2. The need for revenues will not go away. The 50% tax decrease on the richest Americans that has happened in the past 12 years MUST expire.

3. Corporations MUST start paying their fair share of taxes, by ending all loopholes, subsidies, and hiding profits in off shore accounts.

4. Hedge fund managers and others in the financial industry must see their tax loopholes, which tax them at capital gains rates, ended. They should be paying at the same salary rates as the rest of us working class (or retired, in my case) peons.

5. The criminals on Wall Street, the mortgage banking industry, and the hedge fund managers must be investigated and brought to justice. That their criminal acts are being ignored and swept under the rug is driving the final nail in the coffin of the rule of law in this nation. Firm regulation of these industries must be put in place, to prevent future criminal acts against consumers. The deregulation of the past 20 years was the cause of the criminal acts that have led to our current financial crisis.

Faxed to: Rep. Todd Young, IN-09, Sen. Richard Lugar (IN), Sen. Dan Coats (IN), Pres. Barack Obama, Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. John Boehner, Rep. Eric Cantor


Author: Ron