DiA: More generally, which party do you find more credible when discussing America’s fiscal challenges?
Mr Bartlett: The Republicans donâ€™t have any credibility whatsoever. They squandered whatever they had when they enacted a massive UNFUNDED expansion of Medicare in 2003. Yet they had the nerve to complain about Obamaâ€™s health plan, WHICH WAS FULLY PAID FOR according to the Congressional Budget Office. The word â€œchutzpahâ€ is insufficient to describe how utterly indefensible the Republican position is, intellectually.
Furthermore, Republicans have a completely indefensible position on taxes. In their view, deficits cannot arise from tax cuts. No matter how much taxes are cut, no matter how low revenues go as a share of GDP, tax cuts are never a cause of deficits; they result ONLY AND EXCLUSIVELY from spendingâ€”and never from spending put in place by Republicans, such as Medicare Part D, TARP, two unfunded wars, bridges to nowhere, etcâ€”but ONLY from Democratic efforts to stimulate growth, help the unemployed, provide health insurance for those without it, etc.
The monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party is something amazing to behold. And their dimwitted accomplices in the tea-party movement are not much better. They know that Republicans, far more than Democrats, are responsible for our fiscal mess, but they wonâ€™t say so. And they adamantly refuse to put on the table any meaningful programme that would actually reduce spending. Judging by polls, most of them seem to think that all we have to do is cut foreign aid, which represents well less than 1% of the budget.