Politics: CBS News: Republicans 'too focused on spending cuts'

Published by: Dan Calabrese on Thursday January 3rd, 2013

Dan Calabrese

By DAN CALABRESE - Dream the impossible dream.

Yeah, you know those Republicans. If they would just stop carping about this spending cut nonsense we could all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Of course, they were all forced to vote on a bill that had no spending cuts at all, but was loaded with tax increases and special interest giveaways, but this is the way of Washington and it really upsets the natural order of things when these unsophisticated clods show up and start talking about fanciful notions like spending cuts:

Anyone who thought Republicans were too focused on spending cuts in the "fiscal cliff" negotiations should brace themselves for what's next.

Tuesday's votes on the "fiscal cliff" deal divided the GOP: More than half of House Republicans voted against it, primarily complaining about its lack of spending cuts. Yet on the Senate side, all but three Republicans supported the measure.

A couple of the Senate's most conservative Republicans say they understand why their House counterparts opposed the bill -- it's littered with special-interest giveaways, was secretly drafted in the dead of night and extends spending on programs like unemployment insurance without paying for them. At the same time, those senators say, those House Republicans may have been too concerned about their outsider, tea party reputations to accept the overwhelming upside of the bill -- making the Bush-era tax rates permanent for nearly all Americans.

Actually I'll give you that one. Yeah, it is good that most of the Bush tax rates no longer have a sunset date. But you know what? That could have been done any time. It could have been done when they were first passed in 2001 and 2003 but there were too many skittish Republicans who wouldn't go along without an expiration date so they could tell the media they were "fiscally responsible" or whatever.

So on we go to the fiscal cliff talks, where a nation whose credit rating is already in danger of a downgrade will be asked by its president to increase its borrowing limit with no conditions whatsoever. And if Republicans refuse and try to insist on any sort of spending discipline as the price of their support, Obama will denounce them for threatening the nation with default, when all he has to do is agree to restrain spending - which he should do anyway. And the media will parrot his talking points with artistic precision, prompting pundits to opine that the GOP has suffered yet another humiliating political defeat.

Ah yes, what's with these strange people who won't stop yapping about how we somehow spend too much? You know, spending 25 percent of GDP still leaves the other 75 percent, although by the time you pay for government at every other level (state, county, local, school districts, etc.), you're lucky if you've got half the economy left for the private sector.

But Obama told us the private sector is doing fine, and the nation that heard him say it re-elected him, so ante up and quit complaining about the spending! The sooner you relax and let yourself get assimilated, the easier it will go for you.