The Washington Post

Nothing becomes the official GOP position

Nothing. That’s what Mitch McConnell promises to do about the economic crisis if he becomes Majority Leader of the Senate in the 113th Congress.

McConnell, talking to National Journal’s Chris Frates, made it clear that as far as he’s concerned there’s absolutely nothing that the government should be doing right now that’s any different from what he would want if the economy was booming. His agenda? Repealing health care reform (and not a word about replacement); cutting the deficit; and reducing regulation. He offered even less in his Sunday CNN appearance.

For better or worse, that’s clearly the Republican agenda for long-term growth. But, as Jamelle Bouie pointed out last week, there’s just nothing at all there that’s a reaction to current conditions. The official Republican position is increasingly that the government should just let hard times run their course.

And it’s even worse than that. McConnell said in the National Journal interview that there’s nothing more important than the deficit, which is entirely responsible for (in his view) slow growth. But of course repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit, as would locking in the Bush tax cuts. And McConnell offered not one word, either to National Journal or to CNN, as to anything specific he would do to make up for those deficit-increasing measures he supports — let alone anything beyond that to actually lower the deficit.

Both of these interviews took place before Barack Obama began his new push for bringing tax rates back up for upper-income taxpayers; naturally, not only do all supposedly deficit-hating Republicans oppose that plan, but you can be sure that McConnell — and Mitt Romney — will never propose any specific spending cuts to offset their proposals to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. It’s hard to believe that “nothing” would be a very popular program if it were properly understood by voters.


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