WHEN AN ENTIRE POLITICAL PARTY MOVES TO BIZARRO WORLD…. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) probably didn’t realize the impact his remarks would have. The right-wing Arizonan was asked on Fox News how his party would pay for $678 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy, which Republicans are currently demanding. Kyl said what he actually believed: Republicans wouldn’t pay for them, and thinks it’s a mistake to even try. Spending should be paid for, Kyl said, but tax cuts shouldn’t.
Kyl later said his bizarre views are endorsed by “most of the people in my party.” As Brian Beutler discovered, that’s apparently true.
“That’s been the majority Republican view for some time,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told TPMDC this afternoon after the weekly GOP press conference. “That there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), considered by much of the media as a credible voice on budget issues, is singing from the same ludicrous hymnal. “When you’re spending money, you’re spending money that is — it’s not the same thing because it’s growing the government,” he told Brian. “So I tend to think that tax cuts should not have to be offset.”
Honestly, what’s to be done when an entire political party buys a first class ticket to Bizarro World? It’s one thing when right-wing blogs and Fox News hosts spout such nonsense, but how does our political system function when “virtually every Republican” believes reckless tax cuts for the wealthy that created huge deficits actually “increased revenue”? How can we have an intelligent conversation with those who use the word “vibrancy” when describing the economy in the Bush years?
Republicans aren’t just wrong about this; they’re pathologically confused. The evidence isn’t ambiguous — Bush’s tax cuts led to massive deficits, and if existing policies are left in place, those tax policies will be the single biggest factor in our budget deficits for many years to come.
As far as “virtually every Republican” is concerned, the incontrovertible evidence just isn’t real. They see reality, but prefer to replace it with a fantasy they find more ideologically pleasing. It makes meaningful, substantive debate quite literally impossible — there’s no foundation of reality to build upon. It’s like trying to teach algebra to someone who believes arithmetic is a scam.
It’s also a reminder that, as conservative as Republicans have been in recent years, they’re not done moving off the right-wing cliff. Just a few years ago, the Bush/Cheney Office of Management and Budget and the Bush/Cheney Council of Economic Advisers fundamentally rejected the notion that tax cuts can pay for themselves. Now, “virtually every Republican” accepts as gospel an argument even Bush’s economists found to be devoid of any policy seriousness.
Paul Krugman laments the Republicans’ “invincible ignorance.” That’s as good a label as any.