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"Red Ink Republican" Candidates Denounce Debt Limit Deal

October 31, 2015

During Wednesday's GOP debate on the economy hosted by CNBC, Ohio Governor John Kasich offered a rare moment of truth. Referring to his Republican rivals' tax plans as "fantasy," Kasich mocked the notion that any of them had a prayer of reducing the national debt, let alone balancing the federal budget:

"You can't do it with empty promises. You know, these plans would put us trillions and trillions of dollars in debt."

But Kasich's candor tells only a part of the deception his party has been promulgating for years. It's not just that the next Congress and the next President will have to repeatedly raise the debt ceiling over the next decade in the face of $7 trillion in projected deficits. Yet with their massive tax-cut windfalls for the wealthy, virtually every one of the 2016 GOP presidential contenders will add trillions more in red ink. Nevertheless, these supposed fiscal hawks oppose hiking the debt limit, ensuring a default by the United States which former House Speaker John Boehner warned would be "financial disaster, not only for our country but for the worldwide economy."

Now, you'd never know that from the reactions of the GOP's best and brightest to this week's budget deal. As Bloomberg reported:

"This is not a 'grand bargain' or negotiation--it is complete and utter surrender," said Texas's Ted Cruz. It's a "severely flawed deal" that "irresponsibly increases the debt ceiling" without cutting safety-net programs, said Florida's Marco Rubio. "Horrible," said Kentucky's Rand Paul, adding, "It's hard for me not to use profanity describing it."

Of course, the real obscenity is that these default deniers would themselves drain trillions of revenue from the United States Treasury. As Zach Carter explained in the Huffington Post:

Republicans on debate night are all promising to slash taxes and unleash economic growth. Many of them, of course, haven't actually presented a specific tax plan. But those who have are peddling economic fantasies. Even the conservative Tax Foundation believes these plans would balloon the national debt.
Donald Trump's plan would cost over $10 trillion.
Bobby Jindal's plan would cost $9 trillion.
Rick Santorum's would cost $1.1 trillion.
Jeb Bush's plan? $1.6 trillion.
Marco Rubio? More than $1 trillion over the next decade.

Carter is actually understating the havoc Ted Cruz and his ilk would wreak on the federal budget. These plans all rely on the "dynamic scoring" scam to inflate tax revenue by predicting wildly amped-up economic growth the cuts themselves would magically produce. Dropping the Unicornomics and sticking to far more trustworthy "static" analyses, Rubio's 10-year plan tops $6 trillion in new red ink, Bush's $3.7 trillion, and Cruz's some $3.7 trillion.
As last night's debate watchers learned, new frontrunner Ben Carson's flat tax has a multi-trillion dollar leak, too. Judging by his reaction to this week's budget proposal raising the debt ceiling through March 2017, Dr. Carson may simply not understand how the federal budget works or what the debt ceiling even is:

"If I'm elected, in January of 2017, we will begin to address the budget immediately," Carson said. "We're not going to wait until October or November to do it, when we're backed against the wall. And I will make it very, very clear that there will not be any budget signed that increases our debt ceiling. It will have to be done."

At best, Ben Carson is ignorant. At worst, he's a shameless liar. Ultimately, he'll have to explain to the American people whether he's a dope, a deceiver or both. And when it comes to coming clean about their budget-busting tax plans, that's something every one of the 2016 Red Ink Republicans will have to do.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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