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"We Didn't Know What We Were Doing"

From the New Democratic Network blog:

"We Didn't Know What We Were Doing
As we wrote Wednesday in a memo about Republican economics, the 21st century Republican Party has been relentlessly pursuing a perilous fiscal strategy of reduce, borrow and spend - unwarranted tax reductions, reckless borrowing, and more spending. Faced with the inexorable and unpleasant consequences of their strategy – historic, growing and dangerous deficits – Republicans have begun to understand that their strategy is no longer tenable. Their answer of course: cut spending from programs for the middle class and poor (see EJ Dionne’s strong piece today).

As Bush said yesterday: The House budget “closely follows my budget proposal and reflects our shared commitment to be wise with the people's money and restrain spending in Washington.”

And so yesterday the House of Representatives voted to cut as much as $20 billion from Medicaid, the primary program offering health care to poor Americans (earlier in the week the House granted the President’s emergency supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan at $81.4 billion for this single year).

But the Senate also did two additional, and remarkable things. First, again facing our worsening fiscal crisis, the Senate voted to nearly double the tax cuts, largely for wealthy people, to $134 billion. The final amount was ten times the $14 billion of the “fiscally responsible” cuts in Medicaid proposed by the Senate Republicans, clearly offsetting any of the deficit reduction “gained” by the Medicaid cuts, and sending a loud and clear signal to the world that America has lost its fiscal mind.

The second act was courageous and unexpected. 52 Senators, including 7 Republicans, voted to restore the $14 billion in Medicaid cuts, rebuking the President and the leadership of both Houses. As some like to say, they called “bulls---” on the out of control Republican fiscal strategy, and showed there are elements even in the Republican Party who understand how dangerous and, now at times, immoral their leadership has become.

And this leads us to the quote at the top of the piece, "We didn't know what we were doing." It comes from seasoned budget warrior, Republican Pete Domenici. And he is exactly right. Drunk with power and a simplistic and dangerous fiscal approach, the Washington Republicans have become a fiscal and moral wrecking ball. Their strategy of reduce, borrow and spend must be stopped at all costs, and a more serious approach to managing the economy of the most powerful nation on Earth found with great haste.

I applaud the work of Senator Harry Reid this week as he delivered through Bill Nelson's Social Security amendment and then the Smith-Bingaman amendment yesterday on Medicaid, two well orchestrated, bi-partisan rebukes to a wild and dangerous fiscal approach that is endangering the national security and prosperity of the United States."

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