CBO Predicts US Deficit Will Plummet but Republican Austerity Obsession Shows No Sign of Waning

Hal Rogers

Republicans are determined to "fix" everything except what is really wrong with America. While they try yet again to repeal Obamacare and capitalize on every imagined scandal in the book they refuse to pass a jobs bill that provides relief to working Americans. Worse yet is their obsession with the deficit.  

Sadly for Republicans, that "crisis" is over:

The budget deals of the past two years and a recovering economy are rapidly mopping up the tide of red ink that swept over Washington after the 2007 recession.

After four years of budget deficits in excess of $1 trillion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast Tuesday that this year's deficit will plummet to $642 billion, or 4 percent of the nation's total economic output.

That's $200 billion lower than the CBO forecast in February. Analysts attributed the sunnier outlook to higher-than-expected tax revenue and about $95 billion in higher payments from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are profiting from a recovering housing market.

The forecast puts the nation on track for its smallest deficit since 2008, before the recession hit in full force. And the CBO predicts that the gap between revenue and spending will continue to shrink through 2015, when it will fall to just over 2 percent of the economy - well within the bounds of what economists consider to be economically sustainable.

This should make the Republicans happy, should it not? Our deficit is shrinking and Republicans have been able to avoid giving anything up. How do they celebrate? By socking it to working America yet again, this time led by Kentuckian Hal Rogers:

House Republicans late Thursday began circulating new spending targets for appropriations bills for the coming year with Labor, Education and Health and Human Services facing a nearly 20 percent reduction on top of the cuts already made in the March 1 sequestration order.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) appears to be backloading the larger reductions in order to salvage a few of the 12 annual bills this summer.

Discretionary spending for the departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services would be capped at $121.8 billion - or about $28 billion below the best available estimates for post-sequestration appropriations.

As always with Republicans, some people are getting even more money:

Pentagon spending would rise to $512.5 billion, a roughly 6 percent increase over the reduced levels allowed under sequestration. But elsewhere, the landscape is bleak for most core domestic priorities for Democrats and the president.

What you will not hear is how Republicans themselves plan to sacrifice. You will not hear one word about cutting corporate welfare or raising taxes on the wealthy. You will not see a jobs bill or minimum wage increase to help working Americans now that the debt crisis has abated.

It is business as usual for Rogers and the Republicans. Punish those of us who work for a living, gut programs that help the most vulnerable in society, and cut taxes further at the top.

Is this the America we really want to pass on to our children? 

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