Wait A Second.

Politico reports that Republicans are protesting that the Democrats are refusing to help them undo automatic cuts to the defense budget agreed as part of the previous debt ceiling deal. Apparently, allowing these automatic cuts to government spending to take effect would risk plunging the US economy back into recession:


Sen. Harry Reid’s refusal to “back off” looming cuts to the Pentagon won’t just harm the nation’s security, Republicans say. It could plunge the fragile U.S. economy back into a recession next year.

GOP defense hawks struck back at the Senate majority leader Thursday for insisting he won’t stave off or delay $600 billion in automatic defense cuts unless Republicans budge on new revenues.

President Barack Obama’s top military advisers, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have warned that the so-called defense sequestration would weaken national security, Republicans said. And a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office this week handed the GOP more ammunition: It concluded that spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect in January would stall the economic recovery — at least in the short term.
Yes. Republicans, who have been busy blaming Obama’s stimulus package and increased government spending in general for the current slow rate of economic growth in the US, now say that cutting government spending would put the recovery in jeopardy. Hmm.


Okay, so what do we learn from this snazzy little pirouette by congressional Republicans? Wait, “learn” is the wrong word, let me rephrase. What tired, depressing old certainty is reinforced upon our weary souls by this latest spat?

1. When Democrats expand or maintain government spending for their pet projects (infrastructure, public services, welfare), it increases the deficit, adds to the national debt and is a grave mistake, but when Republicans expand or maintain government spending for their pet projects (like defense), they are taking vital steps to prevent a double-dip recession.

2. People will invoke the Congressional Budget Office to win an argument whenever the CBO pronouncement supports what they want to do, and they will ignore it or trash it if the CBO pronouncement suggests that what they want to do may be unwise.

Neither party exactly makes a serious play for the fiscal responsibility trophy here, but for sheer, barefaced hypocrisy on the matter, it is definitely the Republicans who flunk this round.

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