News & Politics

Slumbering GOP Deficit Warriors Awaken to Do Battle

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

Something has been missing from Republican politics for the last four years. It wasn’t anti-abortion activism– we had plenty of that. It wasn’t the culture war — goodness knows we had plenty of that.

This was something important, but I just can’t put my finger on it. It was, like, in the DNA of Republicans or something.

Got it! It was expressing any concern whatsoever that federal spending is out of control and causing a massive deficit.

In truth, Republican lawmakers may have grumbled about appropriating $2.3 trillion in the CARES Act, but they passed it anyway, along with a couple of trillion dollars in other measures to deal with the pandemic. A few old fuddy-duddies like Rand Paul and Mike Lee warned about the massive government spending contributing to the national debt, but no one wanted to listen.

But soon, it will be a new year with a new Congress and a new president. That they’re Democrats is entirely beside the point, right? You opposed all that spending but fell asleep and forgot to set the alarm, right?

Well, alarm bells are going off, all right, and by the sounds of it, it’s a four-alarm blaze.

The Hill:

GOP senators say they expect to refocus on curbing the nation’s debt and reforming entitlement programs starting in 2021, as the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the debt has surpassed the size of the American economy.

“I think that’s kind of getting back to our DNA. …I think spending, entitlement reform, growth and the economy are all things that we’re going to have to be focused on next year and, yeah, I would expect you’ll hear a lot more about that,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican.

I’m sorry to say, John, that you and your fellow “deficit hawks” don’t have any DNA — at least not the DNA of vertebrates. Jellyfish, maybe.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is poised to become the chairman of the Budget Committee if Republicans keep the Senate. He said he wants to create a new commission to propose ways to reduce the deficit and address the country’s debt.

“I think we’ve got to understand that we’re going to be raising the debt ceiling in perpetuity if we don’t find a way to bend the curve,” Graham said.

I bet Joe Biden is quaking in his moccasins fearing a Lindsey Graham Budget Committee chairmanship. Whenever Congress is preparing to do absolutely nothing about a problem, they create a “commission” or a “board” or, when they’re really unserious, a “Congressional Committee.”

The long and short of it is that the so-called deficit hawks are going to be getting a lot of ink and face time on TV, but as far as “bending the curve” and getting the U.S. out of this hole, you can forget it. There’s no grassroots groundswell to fix the deficit. There’s certainly no bipartisan consensus to cut the deficit. This is an emergency! It’s a crisis! Grab the women and children and head for the hills.

But first, stick your head in the sand and pretend the problem doesn’t exist. That’s what we always do, isn’t it?