So let me get this straight. Republicans are currently blocking the extension of lower student loan interest rates because they insist on cutting a health care fund to pay for its cost. But when it comes to the Bush tax cuts, they continue to believe that no budget offsets are necessary to pay for them.

The Hill reports: “House Republicans say they have no plans to pay for the extension of the Bush-era tax rates, a move that could erase the deficit reduction they have achieved since winning their majority in the chamber in 2010.”

In other words, Republicans intend to do exactly what they did when they passed the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in the first place, which (along with not paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or for Medicare prescription drug coverage) is exactly what created our budget mess in the first place.

Welcome, again, to the GOP War on Budgeting. You really couldn’t ask for clearer evidence that Republicans are not only wholly uninterested in reducing federal budget deficits, but even oppose the whole notion of considering individual spending and taxing decisions in the context of an overall budget.

Here’s how the GOP War on Budgeting actually works. If Republicans are seeking increased spending on one of their priorities (such as defense), or are looking to cut taxes and decrease revenues, there’s no need (in their view) to offset either; whatever they’re demanding is simply an urgent national priority, end of story.

If, however, Democrats want a tax cut (such as on the payroll tax) or spending increase on one of their priorities, then suddenly it must be paid for — by more spending cuts in programs that Dems favor, which Republicans are always for, regardless of the budget situation. That’s why Republicans have twice eliminated “PayGo” budget rules that would require tax cuts to be paid for.

All of this is accompanied by loud wailing about the deficit, which is apparently enough to fool some deficit idealists and quite a few reporters.  But there’s little question about it: any party that truly believed that the budget deficit is the major threat to the nation Republicans say it is would absolutely insist on paying for tax cuts. Anyone who pays close attention to these things already knows that Republicans have little if any real interest in cutting deficits, but you really couldn’t ask for a clearer example than this one.