Ezra Klein writes that Republicans are in the “odd” position of opposing a temporary middle-class payroll tax cut that would cost a hundred billion dollars or so while enthusiastically endorsing plans that would permanently slash taxes on the rich at a cost of trillions of dollars. Paul Krugman has the right response:
But it’s not odd at all, once you realize that the GOP is not now, and never has been (at least not since the 1970s) concerned about the deficit. All the fiscal posturing of the last couple of years has been about using the deficit as a club to smash the welfare state, with the secondary goal of frustrating any efforts on the part of the Obama administration to help the struggling economy.
The entire debate has been fake. If you don’t understand that, or can’t bring yourself to admit it, you’re missing the whole story.
Yep. Tax cuts for the rich, spending cuts for everyone else. The deficit is just a character actor in this little melodrama.