How Republicans blew the surplus

Tick, tick, tick …

While the Doomsday Clock draws ever closer to the Aug. 2 debt limit deadline to to prevent a potentially disastrous default on U.S. obligations like interest payments and Social Security checks, the Democratic Senate and the Republican House keep rejecting plan after plan.

At least they are working on a Saturday. If you can call bumbling bluster work.

Listen up, class. While this nonsense persists, time for a little history lesson.

Bill Clinton’s 1999 budget was the first balanced budget in decades. It wasn’t supposed to be the last. Experts at the time projected $5.7 trillion in surpluses, a long arc of surpluses that by 2009 would wipe out our entire national debt.

The last time Uncle Sam didn’t owe a dime, Andy Jackson was president.

So what the hell happened?

Well, the Republicans screwed the pooch.

A Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican president squandered the surplus.

Plain and simple.

As Paul Begala explains in the quoted sections below:

“In full possession of the federal government for the first time since Eisenhower, the GOP systematically dismanted the economic and fiscal policies that produced the strongest economy and largest budget surplus in our history.”

How?

“A four-step process to disaster. They cut taxes (with a heavy tilt toward the rich), waged two wars on the national credit card (one of which was against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no serious threat to America), passed a prescription drug benefit with no pay-for — the first entitlement in American history without a revenue source, and deregulated Wall Street — which transformed the American economy into a casino and triggered the Great Recession.”
Of course, Republicans are trying to cover up the blood on their hands by spreading the myth that the surplus went poof! because Washington went on a spending binge under a radical young president in Barack Obama, Which is total nonsense. It’s just a fabricated GOP storyline.
And the Republicans still are trying to screw the pooch.
“As the economy teeters on the precipice of a double-dip recession, as millions of Americans search in vain for a job, as tens of millions of homeowners are underwater, as poverty soars and the middle class is hammered, John Boehner is pushing a proposal that could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship in modern U.S. history.
“Deep cuts in every domestic priority — from education for disabled children to food safety to homeland security to clean air and water. Followed by painful cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
“But not a dollar in new revenue. Not one corporate loophole closed, not one billionaire asked to pay one penny in higher taxes.
“The Boehner-GOP plan is tantamount to class warfare.”
Begala finishes his piece by concluding that “the GOP seeks a banana republic: a toxic blend of right-wing populism, anti-intellectualism, debt defaults, and an end to the ladder of economic opportunity.
“Which would divide us into a few Haves and a lot of Have-Nots. And the Republicans would slowly crush the heart of progressive America — the rising middle class created by Democratic economic policies of education and empowerment.
“All the while preserving, protecting, and defending a tiny oligarchy of millionaires and billionaires.”
Of course, I realize that all you Republicans will dismiss all of this as pure delusional liberal rhetoric and skewer Begala and myself for picking up his narrative.
Sadly, such blind allegiance by conservatives to a misguided cause has all of us stuck in an economic quagmire, destined for a desolate future.

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