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Monday, May 28, 2012

Paul Krugman: Big Fiscal Phonies

Fake budget hawks:

Big Fiscal Phonies, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: ...Until now the attack of the fiscal phonies has been mainly a national rather than a state issue, with Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, as the prime example. As regular readers of this column know, Mr. Ryan has somehow acquired a reputation as a stern fiscal hawk despite offering budget proposals that, far from being focused on deficit reduction, are mainly about cutting taxes for the rich while slashing aid to the poor and unlucky. ...
The same can be said of Mitt Romney, who claims that he will balance the budget but whose actual proposals consist mainly of huge tax cuts (for corporations and the wealthy, of course) plus a promise not to cut defense spending.
Both Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney, then, are fake deficit hawks. ... Still, Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney are playing to a national audience. Are Republican governors, who have to deal with real budget constraints, different? Well, there have been many claims to that effect; Mr. Christie, in particular, has been widely held up, not least by himself, as an example of a politician willing to make tough choices.
But last week we got to see him facing an actual tough choice — and aside from the yelling-at-people thing, he proved himself just another standard fiscal phony.
Here’s the story:... Mr. Christie has been touting what he calls the “Jersey comeback.” Even before his latest outburst, it was hard to see what he was talking about... Yet Mr. Christie has been adamant that ... this makes room for, you guessed it, tax cuts that would disproportionately benefit the wealthy.
Last week reality hit:... the state faces a $1.3 billion shortfall. ... New Jersey, then, is still in dire fiscal shape. So is our tough-talking governor willing to reconsider his pet tax cut? Fuhgeddaboudit. ... So much for fiscal responsibility.
Will Mr. Christie’s budget temper tantrum end speculation that he might become Mr. Romney’s running mate? I have no idea. But it really doesn’t matter: whoever Mr. Romney picks, he or she will cheerfully go along with the budget-busting, reverse Robin Hood policies that you know are coming if the former governor wins.
For the modern American right doesn’t care about deficits, and never did. All that talk about debt was just an excuse for attacking Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and food stamps. And as for Mr. Christie, well, he’s just another fiscal phony, distinguished only by his fondness for invective.

    Posted by on Monday, May 28, 2012 at 02:08 AM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (47)

          


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