Why Republicans Won’t Actually Reduce The Deficit

A curious David Brooks column today touting the virtues of moderation says the wise moderate is “probably going to have a pretty eclectic mix of policies: some policies from the Democratic column to reduce inequality, some policies from the Republican column to reduce debt.”

For my part, I don’t think Democrats have put any particularly compelling anti-inequality ideas on the table. What they have done is offered the only politically viable way of reducing the deficit—higher taxes on the rich. I’m not a deficit hawk myself so I don’t spend a great deal of time freaking out about this, but the idea that the GOP has some anti-borrowing plan is totally absurd. The way Paul Ryan’s budget works is that in the short-term it creates a much higher deficit with large tax cuts, and then claims that Medicare spending will begin falling starting ten years from now.

Meanwhile, here’s the Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania:

Now on one level this is just hypocrisy. But on another level, I think it’s quite genuine. Republicans are really upset about the way the Obama administration has reduced income streams for Medicare providers and for private insurance companies administering health care plans. What’s more, elderly people who are disproportionately white and disproportionately socially conservative are a key GOP voting bloc. They don’t want to hurt those people or those companies.