Freshman GOP House members Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, back in Missouri last week after their grueling first few weeks of playing cut the tail off the donkey (a.k.a. blindfolded budgeting), had a chance to visit the Teople and pat themselves on the back. Miss Vicky declared cutting spending was fun, and ol’ Billy showed off his GOPer creative accounting skills when, speaking of the $61 billion in proposed GOP spending cuts, he observed that “We got the $100 billion cut!”
What they didn’t tell anyone, though, was that the magically mushrooming $61 billion worth of cuts was directed at discretionary spending which comprises only 14% of the budget, and as far as cutting the deficit or ongoing spending goes, will have as much effect as swatting a gnat – although it will worsen the situation of many of their poor and middle class constituents. It will cost our fragile economy 700,000 jobs, while Goldman Sachs economists predict that it will depress GDP by as much as two points – seriously endangering our economic recovery.
Nor should you expect our otherwise garrulous Missouri GOPers to say much about one of the first votes taken after the House went back into session this week. After spending time back home squawking about how they all ganged up to beat back the dire deficit threat, each and every member of the Missouri GOP voted to retain massive subsidies that support the oil industry – oddly enough, an industry that pours tons of shekels into GOP campaign coffers.
So whaddya think? Is the GOP serious about deficit cutting? Steve Benen answers:
For the typical American, I suspect this will seem hard to understand. In the face of fiscal challenges, Republicans are ready to slash funding in education, health care, job training, and national security, but they’re not willing to end taxpayer subsidies — our money — for the oil industry? An industry that’s already enjoying extraordinary profits?
Also note, ending the subsidies would save the federal government tens of billions of dollars, making a significant dent in the deficit-reduction campaign that Republicans pretend to care about. It’s a reminder that the GOP’s commitment to fiscal responsibility is shaped in large part by who’ll suffer as a result of the cuts — working families can feel the brunt of the budget ax, under the GOP vision, but ExxonMobil can’t.
Personally, I just want to make sure, when the economy tanks again, that everybody knows who’s responsible: Todd Akin, Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Billy Long, Blaine Luetkemeyer.
And, to give credit where credit’s due, here’s the list of folks who think that shared sacrifice means the fat cats
share ante up as well: Russ Carnahan, Lacy Clay and Emanuel Cleaver.
UPDATE: Perhaps the GOPers were so fearless in their votes defending oil subsidies because they knew they could depend on FOX news and other conservative outlets to obfuscate the issue and give them cover.