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McCarthy Has One Goal - Bring About A Recession To Hurt Biden
It's Time To Stop Pretending Republicans Have Ever Cared About Debt and Deficits
Do Republicans care about debt and deficits?
The deficit went up every year of Trump’s Presidency
It went up under the last 4 Republican Presidents
Every Republican voted against the Clinton, Obama and Biden budgets which significantly lowered the annual deficit
So, no Republicans don’t care about debt and deficits. What McCarthy and Trump care about is pushing the economy into a recession to weaken Biden. As we’ve discussed the two options McCarthy gave us - deep cuts or default - would have both resulted in deep recessions. That is McCarthy’s goal. What Biden is trying to do now is to avoid default and get the level of cuts down to a number that won’t push an already slowing economy into recession.
Almost everything Kevin McCarthy is saying now about the economy and what he wants to do is red wavy fabulation. The economy is strong, not weak. The inflation we’ve seen is not Biden’s fault and has come way down in recent months. Americans aren’t falling behind but getting ahead. Our recovery has been the strongest of any G7 nation - the “comeback” DeSantis talks about has already happened. Biden has lowered the deficit not increased it, and McCarthy voted against those budgets. What Democrats have failed to do over the past few weeks is to turn the GOP’s fiscal conversation - cuts - into an economic one that talks about growth, jobs, incomes, and deficits. Historically, Democrats focus on smart economic strategies which is why the economy does so much better when we are in power. Republicans approach the economic conversation largely through a fiscal lens because their goal isn’t to create growth, it is to stop “tax and spend.” Their central policy goal is to ensure that people they view as undeserving get as little as possible.
Since the advent of the GOP’s Southern Strategy in the mid-1960s - the race-based strategy which Republicans used to dominate Presidential politics from 1968 to 1992 - the central domestic offering of the Republican Party has been exploitation of racial fear. Their “economic policy” - tax cuts and slashing spending on domestic programs - is not grounded in sound economics, but is a construct emanating from this deeper Southern Strategy project of protecting whites against “them.” Their lack of a sound economic grounding is the primary reason Republicans have repeatedly brought recession and higher deficits while also voting against Democratic budgets which brought sustained growth and lower deficits. The conversation Kevin McCarthy is having with all of us right now isn’t about economics or deficits, it is about making sure “those people” have less.
In this case, the cuts the extremist GOP leadership are advocating are so extreme they would push the US economy into a recession, a deep one, and would do enormous harm to the US, the West, Biden and our efforts to defeat Putin in Ukraine. So again, this is a political strategy not an economic or fiscal one. In fact by pushing the US into recession the deficit would most likely rise not fall under the McCarthy plan. The only reason we are even entertaining these reckless policy ideas is that McCarthy has, in what has to be the most venal and illiberal act by a Speaker of the House in all of our history, decided to put the entire American project at risk in order to do something which makes no economic sense and thus would never get Democratic support. Making big cuts as the US economy is slowing makes a recession far more likely.
As I wrote the other day the reason Republicans are having to resort to such extreme tactics is that Joe Biden has been a good President; the country is better off; we keep winning elections; the GOP’s two leading candidates for President are ugly extremists and will struggle to win next year; and unless something changes - like a big recession or a failure in Ukraine - Biden is likely to get re-elected. So none of this is about debt and deficits. It’s all about one thing - hurting Joe Biden and the Democrats. Kevin McCarthy wants a recession. He wants to hurt the war effort in Ukraine by undermining the US and our alliance. That is what the Speaker has said he wants through the options he has given us, and that is what he is fighting so hard to bring about. None of it is about debt and deficits, and we need to stop pretending it is.
Onward - Simon