Mar. 09, 2018

TITLE: The debt and deficit kings and queens

It takes slightly less time for an electron to complete one orbit around the nucleus of an atom than it has taken the GOP to switch from eight years of incessant howling and chest-thumping about how deficit spending will destroy our children's and grandchildren's futures to “Defi-what? Debt-huh?”

Or, perhaps more correctly, the amount of time it took an obedient stream of electrons to wend their way from the Fox News’ CLINTON IS WINNING Chyron to TRUMP WINS! on election eve 2016.

Let’s be honest. Righties have rediscovered the joys of debt for one simple reason: they perceive that after eight torturous years in which one of "those persons” somehow slipped through a back door at the White House, the honey is finally flowing again in THEIR direction.

They were right the first time; deficits DO matter. Thanks to the Dec. 2017 tax cut for the rich, $1.4 trillion has been added to the debt over the next decade and in just the past month another $300 billion was tossed on the pile, raising our annual deficit to well-over a trillion dollars.

To paraphrase a quote widely attributed to former Sen. Everett Dirksen, "A trillion here, a trillion there. Pretty soon you're talking about real money." Only the term Dirksen used was billion. And it wasn't that long ago.

All of that debt – and far more -- was supposedly to be offset by the massive economic growth the cuts would spur. But, now, surprise surprise, we’re seeing that even projections by the White House’s own Treasury Secretary belie that claim.

“Their argument was you need to get growth up to help deal with the deficit,” said economist Jason Furman in a Mar. 1 Politico piece. “It turns out everything they are doing for growth isn’t going to help the deficit at all. It’s just going to repay the cost of the tax cuts.” And NOT reduce the deficit.

And while we're on the subject: Seriously? $650+ billion for the military in 2018 and we can't find a few (hundred) billion in "waste, fraud, and abuse" anywhere but in social programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid?

And before you righties start trotting out the old canard that Obama also ran up huge debt, don't forget that Obama INHERITED the tab for George W's pointless war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and the tow truck bill after Republicans ran the economy into a ditch in 2007.

How much control of the government does the Republican party need before it stops clutching its pearls and pretending it's still the helpless damsel being held hostage by the mean old Dems? It’s part of the right wing media machine’s endless hit parade of liberal conspiracies: Benghazi!, Bill Clinton and AG Loretta Lynch's Secret Shame on the Tarmac!, the Susan Rice "Unmasking" Outrage!, the Deep (Blue) State!, Hillary's Uranium One Treason!, Pizzagate!, and on and on. Each of these, in rotation, is touted in terms such as "so big it will make Watergate look like stealing a Snickers bar from a drug store" (Sean Hannity).

Right-wing media operates like an oil drilling company (or the world's worst dentist), drilling dry hole after dry hole until they eventually hit even the tiniest of gushers -- not very often, just often enough to keep the faithful watching commercials and unquestioningly toeing the corporate line -- people who've gotten so used to being in the proverbial pot of boiling water they think it's a hot tub.

Once and for all, America has to shake off the notion that the GOP is conservative about anything other than social policy. NO ONE runs up debt and deficits like Republicans.

As we approach the Nov. 2018 midterms, we libs must keep ourselves busy getting center-left candidates on every ballot, in every race, in every borough. We've got an excellent shot at taking back the House and perhaps even the Senate. And, of course, if/when we DO regain even a modicum of power, get ready for the panic chorus of GOP voices reprising their comic opera of faux-fiscal austerity.

And the electron will have completed another orbit around its nucleus.

Hopefully Americans will remember the GOP's egregious hypocrisy on debt (and quite a few other things), acts so flagrant they reveal a cynical certainty that voters can be counted on NOT to remember. Which is why, come November, every American – left, center, and RIGHT -- must prove them wrong.

Until then, we libs will have to take cold comfort that, at least so long as MSNBC is running “Lockup” on weekends, the world didn't go to complete and total hell Friday night.


Multiple award-winning author Charles Carr has written thousands of columns and articles for many of So Cal's most well-known publications. Carr is also a noted playwright with his next show in pre-production at San Diego's Balboa Park. More info at