Via TPM: “The jig is up. Republicans are going to increase the debt limit. Probably for free.”
First, the “Hastert rule” isn’t actually all that big a deal (it’s not really a rule). Republicans are now saying that the principle that legislation shouldn’t come to the House floor unless the majority of the GOP conference supports it only applies when there is a Republican in the White House.
Both the “fiscal cliff” deal and a relief bill for victims of Superstorm Sandy recently passed the House without a “majority of the majority” voting for them.
Second, the so-called “Boehner rule,” which requires a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar increase in the debt limit, is really, truly dead.
Third, Republicans’ big talk about forcing a partial government shutdown to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debts has faded away.
The Deficit Has Grown Mostly Because Of The Recession
The deficit has ballooned not because of specific spending measures, but because of the recession. The deficit more than doubled between 2008 and 2009, as the economy was in free fall, since laid-off workers paid less in taxes and needed more benefits. The deficit then shrank in 2010 and 2011.
The Stimulus Cost Much Less Than Bush’s Wars, Tax Cuts
Republicans frequently have blamed the $787 billion stimulus for the national debt, but, when all government spending is taken into account, the stimulus frankly wasn’t that big. In contrast, the U.S. will have spent nearly $4 trillion on wars in the Middle East by the time those conflicts end, according to a recent report by Brown University. The Bush tax cuts have cost nearly $1.3 trillion over 10 years.
The Deficit Grew Under George W. Bush
When George W. Bush took office, the federal government was running a surplus of $86 billion. When he left, that had turned into a $642 billion deficit.
The Deficit Is Shrinking
Last year’s federal budget deficit was 12 percent lower than in 2009, according to the Office of Management and Budget.The deficit is projected to shrink even more over the next several years.
Investors Are Paying Us To Borrow Money
The interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds is negative, according to the Treasury Department. Investors are even paying us for 30-year Treasury bonds, when adjusted for inflation.
Investors Are Not Running Away
Conservative commentators have been warning for years that investors will run away from Treasury bonds because of the national debt. So far it’s not happening. Interest rates on Treasury bonds continue to hover at historic lows.
Health Care Reform Reduces The Deficit
Republicans have blasted the Affordable Care Act as “budget-busting.” But health care reform actually reduces the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The U.S. Is Borrowing Less From China
The U.S. government is borrowing much less from foreign countries than before the recession, according to government data cited by Paul Krugman. That is because the U.S. private sector is financing our bigger deficits.
We Spend A Lot On Defense
Defense spending constituted 20 percent of federal spending last year, or $718 billion, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. This adds up to 41 percent of the world’s defense spending.