Let’s talk about who spilled the milk

LET’S TALK ABOUT WHO SPILLED THE MILK…. Asked about the upcoming fight over the federal debt limit, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) suggested he just doesn’t much care about avoiding a global economic catastrophe.

“It’s their debt,” Mulvaney said, referring to Democrats. “Make them do it. That’s my attitude.”

That attitude is surprisingly common.

Leaders in both parties view this as must-pass legislation. The White House is urging passage of a debt limit increase with no amendments, but officials acknowledge privately that they may need to make concessions, perhaps in the form of substantial spending cuts, to win support from House Republicans.

“We’re here mopping up their spilled milk, to be honest,” freshman Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said.

Well, “to be honest,” these guys have no idea what they’re talking about.

Let’s put aside for a moment the extremely dangerous game the GOP is playing with the debt limit. Let’s also put aside, for now, the fact that there is no debt crisis, and policymakers should be focusing on job creation, not slashing public investments and the safety net.

Let’s instead take a moment to correct the record. If Republicans want to talk about how the debt reached its current level — who “spilled the milk,” to use Grimm’s metaphor — there’s no real mystery here.

It was Republicans who supported the Bush tax cuts, and added the costs to the national debt. Republicans then chose to finance the war in Afghanistan by adding the costs to the national debt. They then put the costs of the war in Iraq onto the national debt. The GOP supported a massive expansion of the government’s role in health care, Medicare Part D, and piled all of its costs right onto the national debt, and then backed the financial industry bailout, and added the bill to the national debt.

In December, Republicans refused to allow for a middle-class tax cut unless it included more expensive breaks for the wealthiest people in America. The entire package, backed by the GOP, cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and by Republican design, all of the costs were added to the national debt.

Indeed, GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch, reflecting on the last decade when his party added trillions to the debt entirely on their own, recently said it was an era in which “it was standard practice not to pay for things.” It was, of course, the Republican Party that came up with this “standard practice.”

All the while, GOP policymakers had no qualms about voting to raise the debt limit.

If Republicans want to pretend to care about fiscal responsibility, that’s up to them. But there’s no reason to shamelessly lie, while claiming to be “honest,” about which party’s responsible for the “spilled milk.”