As I read the reviews around the blogosphere this morning of the latest work of science fiction known as the Republican alternative budget there seems to be 2 recurring themes. Questioning the sanity of the authors of that document, and a reference to the date on which it was released—April 1st.
Josh Marshall of TPM:
“I realize that it doesn’t afford me a lot of opportunities for personal or spiritual growth. But I’m nonetheless comforted by the fact that the Republicans running things in the House GOP caucus are still as clinically insane as in years past.”
Steve Benen at Washington Monthly:
“It’s one thing to offer bad ideas. It’s another to offer bad ideas without doing your homework. But House GOP lawmakers are offering proposals that are just insane. Reading through the party’s new report one notices that we’d get just as serious a proposal from a group of children with crayons.”
Ron Beasley at Newshoggers:
“The Republican leadership was selected for a lack of independent thought and the ability to blindly follow the leader. There is no leader and they are unable to come up with any new ideas. They can’t even do sane politics.”
Kenneth Baer, OMB communications director:
“If you expected a GOP alternative to the failed policies of the past that got our country into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, then I have two words for you: April Fool’s.”
Bob Cesca at Huffington Post:
“It only makes sense that a party currently being wagged by fringe crazy people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann would release it’s alternative budget on April Fool’s Day.”
Here are just a few details that might help explain this reaction.
First, the massive tax cut reducing the top marginal rate from 35% to 25% and the explosion in the deficit that would cause. But here’s the rest of the story. The revenue predictions in this so-called budget are based on a top rate of 35%. So Republicans are assuming that wealthy people will choose the higher rate over the lower one.
The proposed 5 year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending. This means trivial things like education, health care, infrastructure, law enforcement, and medical research. All things we can do without, right?
The proposed privatization of Medicare.
“This is an idea that’s been kicking around in conservative circles for some time, and it’s an expensive one. Well, it’s expensive unless you’re an insurance company, in which case it’s extremely lucrative. The goal is to phase out Medicare over time by providing new seniors with the same health insurance options available under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.”
And last but not least there is this chart which presumes to track Democratic and Republican budget policy for the next 70 years.
Seventy year projections from the same people who didn’t see this recession coming. Now tell me the one about Goldilocks and the bears.