Stan Collender has some deservedly bitter words for the Republicans in Nassau County whose fiscal irresponsibility is putting a rich county into quasi-receivership. He draws some lessons from the situation, not the least of which is that the tea parties have to be as serious about cutting spending as they are about cutting taxes . . . and so far, they haven't been very effective at either advocating, or achieving, the former.
1. A promise to cut taxes by a candidate for office is not the same as a promise to do what's necessary to balance the budget.
2. Even in the face of conclusive evidence that tax cuts don't automatically pay for themselves and will lead to more government borrowing, GOP office holders will continue to insist both that the tax cuts are the right policy and that they are in favor of lower deficits.
3. As has been proven time after time, "Starve the Beast" doesn't work if the assumption is that higher deficits will lead to spending cuts. This is true even when, as in this case, a Republican is in the position of power and could propose the spending cuts.
4. The GOP claim that it is the political party of fiscal responsibility is simply not true.
5. The existence of tea party types does not change #4.
6. Voters don't like spending cuts as much as they don't like tax increases.
However, I think that Collender's post makes it sound like this is some sort of unique vice of the GOP, which is far from the case. Notice that the Democrats have also proved a lot more effective at delivering goodies than at delivering fiscal responsibility, at both state and national levels--the states in the worst shape during this crisis are blue, not red. Yes, they faced an opposition who bitterly opposed any attempt to balance budgets the way they'd promised. I'm sure the Republicans in Nassau would say the same thing.
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