by Max Brantley
It won't bestir the 'baggers and similar true believers, but Talking Points Memo offers some useful reminders about the emptiness of the Republican talking points on budget problems. The key items:
1) SPENDING: It is NOT discretionary spending that is the problem. It's defense and health care. Adjusted for population and inflation, discretionary spending hasn't increased in 10 years. Defense spending: up 74 percent. Health spending: up 32 percent.
2) TAXES (REVENUE): Who was it who said tax cuts increased revenue? Unadjusted for anything, including our increaed population, revenues are DOWN a half-trillion dollars in 2011 compared with 2001, when we had a balanced budget. As a percentage of GDP, taxes are down from 19.8 to 14.5 percent. Really boosted the economy didn't it? And Republicans want to cut still more.
And still Republicans want to attack the small sliver of the budget in discretionary spending as the cure for all ills. Revenues? Who needs revenues? Remedial arithmetic needed.
Josh Marshall notes further the broad support for increasing taxes on the rich and protecting social programs. Where's the president?