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boehner liesIn an interview with George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday, Speaker of the House John Boehner told almost too many lies to catalog them. Among the lies were two worth mention.

There was the now familiar “we want to negotiate” lie, which only common sense and a grounding in the reality of negotiations can prove a lie. Saying “we will fund the government if you do only one small thing that will prevent the benefits of the ACA (Obamacare) from becoming evident” is not in the spirit of arms-length negotiation.

He did of course not admit that the Republicans are afraid that the Benefits of the ACA will become evident. He did however say, “I don’t want to shut the government down.” Now, since he did shut the government down—and refuses to bring a “clean” continuing resolution (CR) on the budget up for a vote—what he is actually saying is “give us what we want, or we will make sure we get what we say we don’t want.”

This would be very confusing if it were not so evident that he was lying. Referring to his “233 Republicans,” Boehner tried to make the ACA an issue of fiscal responsibility. Positioning them as a “dedicated group of people who are thoroughly concerned about the future of this country,” and saying, “they believe that Obamacare . . . is threatening the future for our kids and our grand kids.”

The statement flies in the face of what we know about the benefits of the ACA, and the reality of what could happen to our here and now, as well as the future for our kids and grand kids.

Boehner framed all this within a historical claim of Republican fiscal responsibility, saying, “we’ve spent more than we’ve brought in for 55 of the last 60 years,” and here’s where the lie buck’s history. Dismissing the fact that the deficit has been reduced this year, he continues to go on as though he and the GOP were the party of fiscal responsibility.

Are they, really? History says, “NO!”

chart historical deficits
By the numbers, history shows us:

  1. Revenue during WW I were not adequate to reduce the deficit during Woodrow Wilson’s (D) administration. While Calvin Cooledge’s (R) tax reductions did not appreciably hamper reducing the deficit, because the economy was booming during most of his administration . . .
  2. The 1929 stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression, consequent to the Cooledge administration policy of deregulation of securities, the lower tax rates allowed revenues to fall behind spending—allowing deficits to rise uncontrolled.
  3. War again drove up deficits during WW II, despite tax increases late in the war under Franklin D. Roosevelt’ administration. Following the War, the combination of high taxes through 1964, and unprecedented prosperity drove the deficit down during the administrations of Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson with only a slight increase due to the Vietnam War under Johnson.
  4. Tax reductions coupled with increased defense spending under Ronald Reagan, and . . .
  5. An economic downturn and War in the Middle East (the Gulf War) under George H. W. Bush, each ushered in mounting budget shortfalls and deficits. Albeit William Jefferson Clinton was saddled with a recalcitrant GOP Congress throughout most of his administration, he had been able to get a tax increase through early in his administration—on top of the “read my lips, no new taxes” increase by Bush—and a new wave of economic prosperity rode the high tech boom to combine in reducing the deficit.
  6. All the gains were lost when George W. Bush took office—with the help of the majority of the GOP Representatives still sitting in Congress today. Between two wars and Medicare Part D—each of which were unfunded while fulfilling campaign promises of lower taxes—deregulation again caused the collapse of the financial markets, which parallels the Coolidge policies that lead to the Great Depression.
  7. Subsequently, under Barack H. Obama, the rise of the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party has imposed a program of austerity that has cost billions in revenue by ham-stringing the economy, resisted the tax increases and reform otherwise needed to stabilize the economy, defeated jobs bill after jobs bill, and squandered tax dollars on over 40 attempts to repeal the ACA. The economy is however beginning to recover, and this year’s deficit is projected to be the lowest in five years.

Now, Boehner wants us to believe he and the Republican cabal are being fiscally responsible, and just want to enter into good faith negotiations. Give it a break, Mr. Speaker!

Clearly nothing about the history of the GOP demonstrates they ever were fiscally responsible. Nor does his intransigence on calling for a vote on a clean CR give us any reason to believe anything has changed in the past week. It would be the height of irresponsibility to allow the government to go into default on its debt. But it would be even more irresponsible for the American public to believe the Republicans are seeking good faith negotiations—or forget that they have engaged in gamesmanship over the budget twice.

America needs to remember that the GOP is the enemy, an enemy so insidious that they cannot be allowed to retain any power.