Daily Outrage: 13 July, 2010
On Sunday, John Kyl made a strong bid to be Arizona’s political embarrassment of the week. The junior senator hasn’t taken the crown lately, but an epic example of deficit hypocrisy gives him an early lead. Still, the week is young, and competition in the desert can be tough.
Senator Kyl was appearing on Fox News when interviewer, Chris Wallace, asked a question which linked deficit reduction to the end of Bush era tax cuts. Passed through reconciliation, these lower rates mostly benefited a wealthy few. They were designed to distribute surpluses in the final Clinton budget, surpluses refunded and spent half a dozen times under Republican rule. Unless renewed by the next Congress, the first cuts expire in 2011.
Kyl’s response sounded a bit confused, considering that the issue is sure to come before the senate next year. The kindest distillation of his remarks is that subtracting revenues and increasing expenditures have different budgetary effects. Apparently, high school economics is not a requirement for U.S. Senators.
The most curious part of the incident is the question. Why did a Fox reporter ask a sitting Republican such a loaded question? The answer is simple; conservatives, confident of victory in November, are already fighting over the spoils. The hard right neo-cons and the extreme right deficit-cons are sparring over the agenda for the next session. If either one wins, the American people are guaranteed to lose.
Mr. Wallace has added his voice to a growing cadre of fiscal hawks on a quest to rebrand conservatives in their more traditional image. They are publicly distancing themselves from the excesses of the Bush administration, hoping that the electorate have a short memory. Kyl’s somewhat sputtering reaction clearly indicates that he hasn’t gotten the memo.
The Republican lie for this summer is that the deficit is the fault of Obama and democrats in Congress. Like the “death panels” lie of last summer, this is a convenient untruth by which the right wing hope to confuse voters. The U.S. suffers from eight years of mismanagement under conservatives compounded by their tireless efforts in the minority to block progress and provide more of the same. The President is finally sending that message; Americans should believe him.
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