‘HERE IT IS’…. When House Republicans unveiled their not-really-a-budget budget this morning, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) sounded like he had something real to offer.
“Two nights ago, the president said, ‘We haven’t seen a budget yet out of the Republicans.’ Well, that’s not true, because here it is, Mr. President,” Boehner told reporters. “Today, we’re introducing a detailed ‘Road to Recovery’ plan and our plan curbs spending, creates jobs, and cuts taxes while controlling the debt.” (The House GOP leader liked this so much, his office posted the comments to YouTube.)
It’s only three sentences, but can you count all of the errors? It’s not a “budget.” It’s not “detailed.” And it doesn’t actually do anything of the thing Boehner assures it does.
Ryan Grim noticed one key proposal from the document: “a huge tax cut for the wealthy.”
House Republican leaders called a press conference Thursday to unveil their “alternative budget.” While it was thin on specifics, it does include one major policy proposal: a huge tax cut for the wealthy.
Under the Republican plan, the top marginal tax rate would be slashed from 35 to 25 percent, facilitating a dramatic transfer of wealth up the economic scale. Anyone making more than a $100,000 would pay the top rate; those under would pay 10 percent.
No, seriously, that’s the plan. It’s right there on page 10: “Republicans propose a simple and fair tax code with a marginal tax rate for income up to $100,000 of 10 percent and 25 percent for any income thereafter.”
So, Bush/Cheney lowered the top rate from 39.6% to 35%, which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and helped create the largest budget deficits in American history. Now, the very same GOP lawmakers want to send the top rate from 35% to 25%, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, all in the name of deficit reduction.
How much would this cost? The “detailed budget” doesn’t say. What it would do to the deficit? The “detailed budget” doesn’t say. What would Republicans cut to pay for this massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans? The “detailed budget” doesn’t say. How much would Republicans raise or spend over all? The “detailed budget” doesn’t say.
When might GOP leaders flesh out the details in their “detailed budget”? Boehner told reporters today that some numbers will probably be available sometime next week. So, right around the time House lawmakers are voting on the budget, the minority party will offer an alternative budget that no one’s seen.
If Republicans aren’t going to take their own ideas seriously, why should anyone else?
Update: Some emailers are suggesting GOP leaders deserve some slack because they’ll get to the details eventually. When Obama first sketched a budget outline, his plan didn’t include a lot of numbers, either.
It’s a weak defense. First, Obama’s initial bluerpint had plenty of budget estimates (i.e., numbers). Second, Republican leaders promised specifics today, but didn’t deliver. Indeed, while offering no details, they patted themselves on the back for offering details.
Even the National Review concluded: “I was not the only reporter in the room during the delayed press conference who had expected to see some numbers, at least ballpark. Today’s press conference did not provide further details.”