NEW DISCOVERIES

There are bad narratives in the media, and then there's this:

That's the headline on Damian Paletta's Washington Post piece on Monday, and until I read how bad the piece is I was willing to cut him a little slack on the headline (which often is written by someone else). The amount of credulity it requires to write in 2018 about the "longtime Republican goal of eliminating (the) deficit" can scarcely be conceptualized. I know the writer probably thinks he took a nice dig at the GOP here – Look, they've flip-flopped on deficits! What hypocrites! – but it is flat out misleading even to play along with the narrative that they ever, at any point, gave a shit about the deficit. You don't even need to pay attention very closely to politics to understand that the deficit grows every single year and the GOP differentiates itself only by talking about how they want to reduce it.

They talk about it so much that some percentage of the public must believe that under GOP control the deficit goes down. Your Man in the Street can hardly be blamed for believing it, given how often he has heard it. Reporters for major media outlets certainly have to know better.

The deficit and debt are and have always been nothing but a stalking horse for eliminating things Republicans don't like from the budget. The budget and deficit grow every year like clockwork, even (and perhaps especially, given the cost of the 00s wars) under GOP control. If any meaningful difference between the parties exists on that point, it is that they prefer to spend money on slightly different things. One wants to spend a lot on the military and the other wants to spend a shit-lot on the military. Differences like that.

Deficit hawks are a mysterious bird, appearing only at certain times like when the president is black and then migrating to calmer islands when there's a Republican in the White House.

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21 Responses to “NEW DISCOVERIES”

  1. geoff Says:

    "… longtime Republican goal of eliminating [the] deficit…"

    HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! You guys are KILLING me!!

    "You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due." Richard "Darth" Cheney, 2004

  2. Mike R Says:

    So, the republican north star is debt reduction and Paul Ryan had a plan to reduce the deficit in 10 years. Well the republicans must be looking south and Paul Ryan has never had such a plan, unless magic asterisks count as a plan.

  3. JustRuss Says:

    I notice Paletta writes for the business section, and "Republicans want to fix the deficit" is doctrine amongst the business class. No excuse, but it explains how you can get to be a writer for the Post and be this clueless.

  4. errg Says:

    It's even worse than you say, because the last two Democratic presidents have reduced the deficit over the course of their administrations. Clinton created a surplus. Obama inherited the Great Recession, but over the course of his 2 terms the deficits dropped to around 3% as a percentage of GDP.

    Don't worry though, because as soon as a Democrat becomes president the Republicans will rediscover fiscal rectitude.

    Paletta should be laughed out of serious journalism for this piece, but of course he won't be…

  5. Mo Says:

    Reading the completely revised 2nd ed (2016) of Larry Bartels' The New Gilded Age

    And it's even worse than the even worse than you think.

    Just getting through the recap of the Bush tax cut made me want to bite the head off a lizard.

  6. Mo Says:

    Bartels's book title is, of course, Unequal Democracy: the Political Economy of the New Gilded Age

    But that's harder to remember.

  7. Tim H. Says:

    Vote GOP = vote for human misery? Could we now illuminate Chicago if we could tap the energy of Lincoln spinning in his grave? (This being a perfect day to think about how far the GOP has gone.)

  8. c u n d gulag Says:

    Speaker Paul "Privatizin'" Ryan's plan to reduce the deficit is simple:

    Do away with ALL social programs and "earned benefits" by either outright elimination, or by bleeding them dry and giving the money to GOP cronies by privatizing them!

    The benefit of the latter, is that the conservatives can enjoy the slow-motion deaths of people they loathe over a longer period of time.
    After all, many a psycho serial killer enjoys the torturing of his victims even more than the act of killing them.
    It kind of intensifies their climax, if you know what I mean….

  9. defineandredefine Says:

    Judging by his speech on the senate floor, poor Rand Paul actually believes the "GOP wants to reduce the deficit" himself.

  10. Hazy Davy Says:

    "You know,… Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."
    – Dick Cheney

  11. doug Says:

    Where is our R troll comment today? Come on I know you read it…

    The R plan now is to wreck it all. A glorious return to feudalism…

  12. BLOZAR Says:

    Serious Hairdos on TV foist patently false narrative regarding GOP brand being identified with fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction?

    Another fine iteration of WASF from Ed.

    What can be done about it?

    We can take to Twitter and angrily tweet 'LIES!' + a bunch of angry hashtags then hope someone validates us with some likes/RT.
    We can take to Gin and Tacos and angrily reply 'LIES!' + giant bloviating diatribe with questionable spelling, punctuation, grammar, and logic (contrasted with Ed's original post which has a higher standard of quality control).
    We can take to Social Media and angrily post 'LIES!' … and depending on the site we can see from the bellowing tumult of insanity comprising most comment sections that our comments are about as useful as screaming into a couch pillow.
    The previous item goes double for anyone bothering to leave a comment at any corporate 'News' web page/comments section.
    We can vote every chance we get and encourage others to vote and pray that it will somehow make a difference while evidence accumulates that our votes don't seem to make much of a difference and our bleak cynicism is justified.
    Believe that there are many people like you who are not falling for the GOP normalizing narratives either. Seek them out and commiserate.
    Alcohol (caveats: only as needed, don't drink & drive, don't lose your job, don't be an asshole)
    keep your sh%t together FFS!

  13. Brian M Says:

    What could we do? Develop a highly, highly desirable skill, be 25 years old, of the proper ethnicity, and emigrate a LONG LONG WAY away from this festering failed state (New Zealand is beautiful)?

    Sadly, I fail on several of these points.

  14. Ten Bears Says:

    There's any number of cliche` that apply: the pendulum swings, blowback is a bitch, for every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.

    The longer it takes to put a stop to this the uglier it will be when we do.

  15. mothra Says:

    I love the last paragraph. I have heard a few reporters start to mention that it seems that Republicans only seem to care about deficits when a Democrat is in office. So maybe some are waking up?

  16. jcastarz Says:

    Also observe that now we'll have infrastructure investment – provided the state governments pay for most of it. (sarcasm)

  17. Major Kong Says:

    I can remember being told back in 2000 that we needed a big tax cut because otherwise we might pay down the debt too quickly.

    Yes, really.

  18. Katydid Says:

    @Major Kong; yes, I concur. I also heard that (and made fun of it).

  19. Brian M Says:

    Read the New York Times article on Hungary last Sunday. Connected and corrupt cronies will get all the infrastructure money. The key change is profit. If an investment makes a profit for a private business, that is what will get the government cheese.

  20. Bernard Says:

    Deficits only matter when it is Social Security, Medicaid, the VA system, Education, etc.. all things not in the MIC

    I remember Jon Stewart trying to get a Republican he had on to define what is "bad" government vs. "good" government spending.

    The Military is the only "Good Government" that Republicans will allow or admit exists. That's their goal in governing. Military or Nothing, really the Military and "Nothing" else. it is amazing to see how they "cut" the VA system, endlessly. lots of money for the wars, but tight as all hell for the Vets who just might need some Assistance. Sad, but that is the way of our Military. needing more recruits, and discarding those who have, when it comes to the funding the VA system.

    oh well. that is America. the Military and the Republican who shill for them.

    and they are good. the Deficits only matter when Democrats complain or Social Security and underfunding the Social Security Trustfund, Medicaire and "the General Welfare".

    that part of the Constitution is ignored by Republicans, and Vichy Democrats. The Nazis only lasted 12 years in power. The Republicans since St. Reagan have shown what and how matters to a Republican. Military, Wars and how to keep the Wars going. The War on America/Drugs/Blacks, the Wars on Brown People/OIL.

    you know, the America Way to keep Americans focused on Russiagate, Putin. The Republicans know what they are doing. and they do it well

    Just don't ask for Healthcare, Parental Leave, Good Roads, Clean Air and Clean Water. that costs more money than any Republican is willing to spend money on, much less incur deficits. lol. That'll be the day.

    When Republicans care for Americans, more than they care about the MIC.
    Peace will return to the rest of the World when that happens

  21. Ekim Says:

    @ Bernard:

    The reason why the GOP ignores that "General Welfare" bit is that it's in the preamble, in essence the US's mission statement, and since when have the Republicans actually read the mission statement of any company, except as empty words to be ditched the moment they might lose money or power in following it?

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