(Cross posted at Nontrivial Pursuits)
There is one time when you can be absolutely certain someone is lying to you, and that is when their words are directly contradicted by their actions.
The Republicans have been blaming the Democrats for excessively high levels of government borrowing in recent years, but it was actually their own actions during the Bush Administration that were/are responsible for virtually all of the borrowing that they decry.
The single biggest reason why the federal government had to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars during Obama's first term was not because the Democrats had increased government spending dramatically---they did not---but was only because the Republicans under George Bush had reduced the tax 'burden' of America's wealthiest income-earners dramatically.
If the Republicans had not cut the tax rates of rich Americans a decade ago the total amount of revenues the federal government would have collected since that time would have been so substantial (one estimate: $5.9 trillion) that very little borrowing would have been necessary to cover the government's spending throughout Obama's first term.
The 'Debt Crisis' that Congressional Republicans complain about with such passion was created---without any doubts whatsoever---by the tax cut gift that The Republican politicians decided to give to themselves and their wealthy friends in 2001 and 2003. It was the drop in revenues that this stupid move caused which forced the federal government to begin borrowing billions of dollars in order to pay it's bills.
That is where the Debt Crisis started, with the irresponsible behavior of self-serving Republican politicians. Since the government needed to continue its spending levels (and even increase them after Bush started a war with another country), the tax cut gift to rich people was 'paid for' by borrowing from the Chinese, among others.
This is the reason why, when Republican politicians say they are opposed to the government piling up huge debts for the next generation to pay off, we can know with certainty they are lying...because it is more than obvious that if they were really concerned about 'excessive' levels of government debt, they would never have agreed to cut the taxes of people who never needed a tax cut to begin with.
If they were actually serious about the concerns they claim to have, they would unquestionably have agreed to repeal the tax cuts they passed in 2001 and 2003, once it became clear in Bush's second term that the cuts were not stimulating job growth.
That is the ONLY way a tax cut could conceivably lead to an increase in tax revenue, if it directly led to more jobs being created. More jobs means more people paying taxes and more tax revenues collected. It is the way that tax cuts are supposed to 'pay for themselves.' But it didn't happen. The Grand Republican Tax Cut Experiment was tried, and it failed.
Once it became clear that their promises were little more than wishful thinking, the Republicans did not do what we would expect honorable, responsible politicians to do: restore the higher rates that they had slashed.
They did not do such a rational thing because the truth about these people is that they really don't care if the government has to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars, so long as the lion's share of those borrowed billions is put into the pockets of their wealthiest financial contributors.
And throughout this debate, we're not talking about restoring the top tax rate to a level that is so onerous and 'incentive-shattering', businesses would no longer have any reason to hire people. The last time the nation enjoyed those higher tax rates was during the Bill Clinton Presidency, when a long period of economic growth and prosperity lowered the national unemployment rate below 4%.
Listening to a Republican politician complain about government borrowing is like listening to a stage-three alcoholic complain about 'drug users.'
Could someone please inform Harry Reid and all the other Congressional Democrats that the appropriate way for a Democratic politician to respond to Congressional Republican complaints about government borrowing is with laughter & ridicule?
Absolutely no legitimacy whatsoever should be granted to these people. We're not talking about an honest difference of opinion. We're talking about an utterly discredited economic philosophy that is deserving of only laughter and scorn. Joe Biden knows what I'm talking about.
Their screwball ideas are actually a Great Threat to the American People. They want to talk about the government's Debt Crisis? Let them first undo what they did a decade ago to create the crisis and then come back to the Democrats to talk about what government spending levels are actually appropriate.
If Barack Obama has learned anything from his first four futile years of trying to compromise with the Masters of Hypocrisy, it should be that they never intend to negotiate in good faith with any sitting Democratic President.
Every time the Republicans bring up the federal government's debt burden, Obama must use it as an excuse to once again remind the electorate that the Republicans created the Debt Crisis through their irrational and extremely irresponsible use of the government's power.
Different Republican voices will articulate those phony concerns again and again, but every time they do, Obama should welcome it as another opportunity to review the actual record of Republican stupidity and irresponsibility.
If we can make Congressional Republicans the object of constant ridicule, increasing numbers of Not-Rich Republicans will no longer see anything they want to identify with...