That’s the conclusion reached by Bruce Bartlett in a column about the forthcoming budget confrontation which ran in the Fiscal Times on Friday. He says the GOP clearly understands this new paradigm and that the Dems, most especially the White House, just can’t seem to wrap their minds around a changed reality.
At its core, the Republican position is based on several falsehoods:
- First is that the budget deficit is 100 percent a spending problem that has nothing to do with revenues.
- Second is that the American people are grossly overtaxed and taxes must never be raised at any time for any reason.
- Third is that tax cuts have magical properties; they starve the beast and hold down spending, while at the same time so massively stimulating growth that revenues will actually rise, based on numbers from the right-wing Heritage Foundation and here.
Unfortunately, Democrats and the media have really made no effort to refute these lies. Indeed, they appear incapable of even making the simple logical point that the deficit is the difference between outlays and revenues; therefore, tax cuts will necessarily increase the deficit. The Bush tax cuts, to which Republicans are obsessively devoted, reduced federal revenues by about 2 percent of the gross domestic product annually. This can be seen from the fact that revenues were 20.6 percent of GDP in 2000 and 18.5 percent of GDP in 2007, at the peak of the business cycle before the recession reduced them to 14.9 percent of GDP, where they have been for the last two years. (The postwar average is about 18.5 percent of GDP.) Without the Bush tax cuts – and those added by Obama – revenues would likely be more like 17.5 percent of GDP, which is where they were at the trough of the last three recessions.
He characterizes what is to come as “trench warfare” and argues that President Obama must be willing to do the heavy lifting with a constant reinforcement of the truth that will make the public understand what a bill of goods his opponents are trying to sell them.
Sadly, it is difficult to picture that happening at this point.