Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Homer Simpson Doctine of John Boehner

It is funny to me that once Republicans finally convinced Democrats that they actually have to address spending why the Republicans take everything substantial off the table. Oh, but there is a method to this, of course. The Republicans are not really interested in cutting spending. They are only interested in cutting social and entitlement programs. Put a tax cut for wealthy people on the chopping block, and they quickly remove it.

Here is a graph from Ezra Klein of the Washington Post showing deficit numbers with an without various factors, like the wars in the Middle East, various economic considerations, TARP funds, other recovery giveaways, and the Bush tax-cuts.

It should be clear very quickly that all the recovery giveaways, including TARP, are not bankrupting the U.S. as the Republicans once claimed.  And economic considerations are pretty much plateaued as well.  What is of concern that really could be dealt with easily would be tax-cuts to the wealthy.  And $1.3-Trillion isn't a small number.

Here is an analysis of the Bush tax-cuts.

Again Republicans argue that letting the Bush tax-cuts expire would strangle small businesses and kill job-creation. I don't know that I buy that argument, as job growth didn't have any problem occurring during the Clinton administration.  Also, job growth is fundamentally tied to demand for goods and services, and probably shouldn't be incentivized artificially by tax-cuts in the first place.

What does this have to do with Homer Simpson?  Ezra Klein wrote the following on his blog:

John Boehner's new line on the deficit negotiations is that raising taxes -- by which he appears to also mean closing tax expenditures -- "is off the table. But everything else is on the table." This is a bit like telling your doctor, who's worried that you've gained weight and are out-of-shape, that exercise is off the table, but everything else is on the table. Well, it's nice that you're prepared to diet, but you need to exercise, too. Otherwise, you're not going to get where you need to go.

Homer Simpson quote from a recent Simpsons episode:  "As long as it doesn't require losing weight or changing my pants."  Of course he was talking about luxuriously washing and styling his wife's hair, but that is beside the point.