G.O.P. ‘Balance’ Just More Pain for Average Families

A crisis in our state’s capitol: Too many Republicans.

A crisis in our state’s capitol: Too many Republicans.

The Tennessee House Republican Caucus released this week a movie trailer-style campaign video to highlight their members’ vote to support a federal balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and every Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives support this measure. Mitt Romney campaigned on it in 2012.

When Republican politicians say “balanced budget,” they’re using coded special interest-speak for slashing investments in America so the rich can get more tax breaks.

A so-called “Balanced Budget” proposal sounds nice, but this reckless scheme would mean our government couldn’t take action during bad economic times.

For instance, if this idea had been in place before Bush’s Great Recession, 15 million more Americans would’ve been thrown out of work and our unemployment rate would have doubled.

It is already Congress’ job to pass a budget and make sure our nation is living within its means and making responsible choices.

The last thing we need is an amendment that gives Republican politicians an excuse to do nothing.

Our budget should be built on sound policy, not sound bites.

“Balanced”

To me, a “balanced” budget makes adjustments to both expenditures and revenues. That means a balanced approach would trim spending AND ask the wealthy to do their fair share.

But even modest (and popular) proposals to eliminate tax expenditures receive a full defense from Republican politicians and their big corporate backers. A complete expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? Nope. Unnecessary tax breaks for Big Oil? Forever. Tax breaks for U.S. companies that ship jobs overseas. You betcha.

In 2011, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said a balanced budget amendment without any tax increases “would necessitate deep cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”

Not only are Tennessee Republicans proud to support a measure that would devastate the wealth and health of Tennessee families, this joke of a video production suggests that Tennessee Republican policy should be a model for replication.

After several years of GOP tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, this year, Tennessee has a more than $200 million budget shortfall.

And not one Republican is suggesting we return millionaire tax rates to their former levels.

For Tennessee Republicans, all the budget “balancing” will be at the expense of the working families and the poor.

If Republicans stopped putting millionaires and special interests ahead of everyday Americans, we could have a balanced budget.




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