Often when a party is swept from power, it goes through a period of soul searching and redefining itself, dropping old bits of dogma found to be unreliable. Not so with the modern GOP. Missouri’s Seventh Congressional District is a district so Republican that the Democrats failed to field a challenger and where few Democrats can be found at any level of elected office. It’s fair to say that candidates here do not have the slightest inclination or incentive to approach a middle ground or guard what they say, except to make sure they hew to Republican orthodoxy.  Via Randy Turner, every single candidate has shown that they lack a basic level of understanding of the federal budget.

In order to balance the budget, they all want to cut taxes, cut corporate income taxes, or go to a flat tax. They want to reform earmarks to make them more transparent, or cut Social Security, or eliminate the federal Departments of Education and Agriculture along with the EPA, or do away with the stimulus and health care reform.

When you broadly cut taxes, you lower revenue and increase the budget deficit. A flat tax is besides the point, because it’s really just a tax cut for the wealthy combined with a tax increase for lower and middle income Americans. Earmark transparency is beside the point – I would argue that making sure that Americans know about their representative’s earmarks for the district is only bound to increase the amount of goodies brought home – and in any event, earmarks make up a tiny percentage of the budget. Social Security is not a serious long term problem – if you removed the cap at which income is taxed and benefits are disbursed, the “problem” would be solved entirely. And if you eliminated those federal departments (probably the most realistic way of approaching a balanced budget suggested here), you would save 1.77% of the budget, which does not even nearly approach closing the deficit.

There you have it. Republican economic policy in its purest form. When asked to name specific policies to balance the budget, they rehash non sequiturs.