This is What a Republican 'Deficit Hawk' Looks Like

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Republicans won't vote to renew benefits for jobless families because it adds to the deficit. However, they would vote to extend the Bush tax cuts indefinitely because, evidently, those tax cuts pay for themselves.

How much sense does that make? Not a lot of sense. Here's a graph from Tax Policy Center data on the revenue effects of extending unemployment benefits versus extending the Bush tax cuts (a) in their entirety and (b) for everyone besides richer families.

change_in_federal_revenues,_2009-2017.png


So, it's not even close. Unemployment insurance is a relative drop in the bucket. The Bush tax cut is the bucket.

Republicans embrace each tax cut like a religion. They treat unemployment insurance like a puzzle. They ask how it fits into the budget. They identify offsets. I don't agree with some of the offsets, but at least it evinces an approach to public financing that treats money like it's finite. This nonsense about trillion-dollar tax cuts paying for themselves -- and then some! -- is such an insult to Americans' intelligence. It's impossible to have a bipartisan discussion about the deficit and tax levels when one party pretends that the red line doesn't exist.

(via Ezra)

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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