Americans got their first hint of what the new Republican Congress will focus on over the next two years yesterday: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sketched out their plan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed
Boehner and McConnell have mentioned three proposals that have any significant fiscal effects: 1. "renewing our commitment to repeal ObamaCare." The Congressional Budget Office confirmed last year that repealing Obamacare would increase the budget deficit by $109 billion over a decade. 2. "a proposal to restore the traditional 40-hour definition of full-time employment." The CBO measured this, too. It would increase deficits by $73 billion over a decade. 3. Repeal the medical device tax (a proposal missing from the op-ed, but reported to top the list of Congressional priorities). This would increase the deficit by $29 billion over a decade.
Yes, it's literally the same week as the election, Republican control of Congress won't actually start until the new year, but already the top two GOP lawmakers have announced their plans to add $211 billion to the nation's budget deficit.
And while all of that amusing, it's not the really funny part. Rather, the true gem comes towards the end of the Boehner/McConnell piece:
"A national debt that has Americans stealing from their children and grandchildren, robbing them of benefits that they will never see and leaving them with burdens that will be nearly impossible to repay."
During the Bush/Cheney era, Boehner and McConnell voted for massive tax cuts, two wars, Medicare expansion, and a Wall Street bailout, and put the costs for all of this on the national charge card. Then President Obama took office, at which point Boehner and McConnell decided they suddenly care deeply about deficit reduction.
That is, until their party took over Congress, at which point Boehner and McConnell decided they're eager to pursue new policies that would increase the deficit, even while they pretend to raise concerns about the debt.
All the while, Obama's largely responsible for the fastest deficit reduction since World War II -- a detail Republicans usually prefer to ignore.
I mean, really, who writes the op-eds for the Republican leadership?