Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

August 19, 2013

LYONS: Rhetoric versus reality for Republicans

(Continued)

Quite the opposite: True Believers in utopian right-wing crusades evaluate politicians according to their fervor, not their coherence. Did Ronald Reagan ever pay a political price for describing Medicare as the death knell of freedom? He did not.

Indeed, the best possible outcome for senatorial rabble-rousers would be what now appears likely: a minority of GOP House moderates voting with Democrats to pass a continuing resolution, avoiding a party-line government shutdown that could doom the Republican Party's national electoral chances. Speaker Boehner won't have much choice but to allow it.

See, there's nothing the Southern wing of the GOP loves more than a heroic defense of a lost cause. Save your Confederate dollars, boys, because ...

Well, you know the rest.

Lately the party's adult leadership has also taken to signaling the need for restraint regarding the national debt. According to the Washington Post's Greg Sargent, congressional Democrats scrutinize Wall Street Journal columnist Stephen Moore for signs of Republican establishment thinking.

Recently, Moore informed readers that "the biggest underreported story out of Washington this year is that the federal budget is shrinking and much more than anyone in either party expected." Overall Federal spending that peaked at $3.598 trillion in fiscal year 2011 due largely to recession-related costs will drop to $3.45 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2013. "The $150 billion budget decline of 4 percent," Moore writes, "is the first time federal expenditures have fallen for two consecutive years since the end of the Korean War."

Also dropping is the annual federal budget deficit. Projections by the Congressional Budget Office show a $642 billion shortfall this year — less than half of the $1.3 trillion shortfall the Obama White House inherited from George W. Bush. It's forecast to drop to $560 billion next year, and $378 billion in 2015.

Moore: "Already the deficit has fallen from its Mount Everest peak of 10.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2009, to about 4 percent this year. That's a bullish six percentage points less of the GDP of new federal debt each year."

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