Not too predictable: this morning’s Intelligencer editorial wants us to rein-in spending
It’s been a while, but we now have editorial #3 on the national debt since the Republican tax cuts were passed last year. If you remember, our local “newspapers” couldn’t write enough great things about the tax cuts while they were being debated. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and various think tanks warned that the cuts would cause a huge deficit while Democrats and liberal bloggers pointed out that the deficit increase would be used to justify cuts to social programs. Not an editorial word was spoken. But now that the tax cuts are firmly in place, the Intelligencer tells us that it is time to worry about the national debt.
From today’s Intelligencer editorial, “$100 Trillion Debt Just Over Horizon”:
The $21.2 trillion national debt today is worrisome enough. But it is going to get worse, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
You may want to sit down for this: Within 30 years, the national debt will top $100 trillion, if nothing changes, the CBO is predicting.
Wasn’t this $100 trillion debt just over the horizon last December? Where was the Intelligencer when the tax cuts were being debate? Unlike Representative McKinley, who told us that the tax cuts would pay for themselves (how’s that working out, congressman?), Wheeling “newspapers” ignored any talk of deficits during the tax cut debate. Their first editorial on the deficit came after the tax cuts were passed. Their second editorial came a month later and lied about when the first editorial was published saying that they had warned about deficits as the tax cuts were being debated. (See here for documentation.) With today’s editorial, enough time has passed that they figure their hypocrisy will go unnoticed; it’s time to push for domestic spending cuts.
As the Republican tax cuts passed, several of the critics noted that spending cuts would be next and were a part of the Republican plan all along. Here’s Danny Westneat, for instance:
See how this works? Spending cuts are notoriously unpopular. So Republicans are instead slashing taxes, which people tend to like except that it obviously worsens the government’s fiscal position. But then the worsened fiscal position can become the rallying cry to slash spending — on health programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and also on Social Security.
They are counting on this working even though they are now the proximate cause of the ballooning deficits.
The Republican dream is to shrink or dismantle the social-safety net. It doesn’t take much of a prediction to bet that’s what’s coming next.
Rest assured, this will not be last Ogden editorial about the deficit.
The CBO is back!
Through eight years of the Obama administration, the Congressional Budget Office was a mainstay in local editorials and Mike Myer columns. During those years, Ogden opinion writers were not particularly partial to the use of evidence but if the CBO said anything negative about an Obama spending plan, you knew an editorial was on its way. As a 2014 editorial explained:
That assessment comes from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which has an excellent reputation for objectivity and accuracy.
That reputation remained “excellent” until Donald Trump became president and then guess what happened? Important AP stories about CBO reports on Republican health insurance and tax cut proposals never got published and mention of the CBO all but disappeared from the editorial pages. Consequently, local readers did not learn that the CBO believed that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance under Trumpcare or that the Republican tax plan would cause huge deficits. A simple search on the Intelligencer’s website supports that point; the only recent headline with “CBO” in it was from a 2017 syndicated column:
Don’t Rely on CBO Health Care Data
Obviously, the locals did not want us to know what the government office that “has an excellent reputation for objectivity and accuracy” had found on those matters. It’s back, however, now that the Intelligencer wants to cut social programs.