Budget shell game

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In the Washington Post today, E.J. Dionne has a must-read column about, of all things, arcane budget details. Republicans in the House and Senate are trying to fiddle with their schedules so that they don’t have to consider tax cuts and spending cuts at the same time—precisely so that the two don’t get linked in the public eye. The reasoning goes like this: tax cuts get made because, well, that’s what happens, and then much later on, spending cuts must be made because of that huge, yawning deficit that somehow magically appeared out of nowhere. It’s a neat trick, and this way the trade-off between dividend tax cuts for investors on the one hand, and cuts in health care for low-income mothers and children on the other, never gets made explicit.

Meanwhile, Mark Schmitt points out the odd hypocrisy of some of the so-called “responsible Republicans” who are voting for free tax cuts one moment, but then refuse any unpopular spending cuts the next. Precisely where do they think the money comes from?

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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