The Big Lie at the Core of the GOP's Economic Argument

This essay is cross-posted at the Huffington Post.

The foundation of the Republicans' "return to power" argument is a promise to reduce the federal budget deficit and rein in government spending. But in a major speech last week, the Republican House leader John Boehner made clear that this promise is at best a false one, and perhaps even qualifies as the "big lie" of campaign 2010.

In an updated new analysis, first reported by Sam Stein in the Huffington Post last week, NDN has shown that the plan Rep. Boehner outlined in his speech would increase the deficit by more than $4 trillion over ten years. Not only does his plan explode the deficit, but it only identifies $67 billion in cost savings over ten years, an amount less than the new interest on the debt his budget would generate. Billed as a major address by the man who would be Speaker, Rep. Boehner's speech, taken at face value, shows that the entire argument the Republicans are making this year is built upon a huge set of lies.

That the Republicans have no real plan to deal with the most difficult economic circumstances the US has faced in 70 years should come as no surprise. When the GOP was last in power, wages and incomes for everyday people dropped, surpluses became historic deficits, global support for economic liberalization weakened, the world experienced a true global financial collapse, US automakers failed and the US entered into its worst recession since the Great Depression. By any measure the Republican's stewardship of the US economy in this past decade was among the worst performances by a party in power in all of US history.

The new Boehner plan is a direct challenge to those who care about the future of the United States. It makes clear that those who did so much damage to the US economy and the US national interest have not learned from their mistakes, and are approaching our difficult economic challenges with an appalling lack of seriousness and the same reckless approach which did so much to contribute to our current economic troubles. In an essay published earlier this week, the renowned economist Jeff Sachs wrote:

The Republican strategy, if it can be dignified by that word, offers us a complete collapse of the federal government (and state governments supported by federal taxes) and of course even more explosive deficits.

Friends, the Boehner plan is a call to action. But what can an average American do? I have a simple idea. In September, work with allied groups and other friends to get every Republican candidate running for federal office to answer a simple question:

"If the federal budget deficit is such a threat to our economy and our future, can you produce an economic plan which reduces the federal budget deficit at all, even by a penny, over the next ten years?"

The answer, remarkably, is no. Despite their very public commitment to fiscal prudence, not a single GOP candidate running for federal office in 2010 can produce such a plan. By campaigning to extend the Bush tax cuts as Rep. Boehner proposed last week, they are guaranteeing to explode the federal deficit in the coming decade, not shrink it. These very same Republicans have warned that doing so would slow economic growth and lessen the life prospects of Americans to come.

There is little doubt that the GOP will gain additional power this fall. But before they do, the nation needs to know more about their plans, and the big lie that is at the very heart of their irresponsible pitch. You can do your part today by sending this post on to others, and doing all that you can to confront our potential representatives, and get them to answer this simple question. The American people deserve to hear every Republican's effort to explain away this little inconsistency, for it does so much to expose the ideological and moral rot at the very foundation of their 2010 election argument.

Good luck. A lot is at stake here.


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