“The Dog That Caught The Bus”

[UPDATE]:

The hits just keep on coming:

LOS ANGELES — After years of grueling battles over state budget deficits and spending cuts, California has a new challenge on its hand: too much money. An unexpected surplus is fueling an argument over how the state should respond to its turn of good fortune.

The amount is a matter of debate, but by any measure significant: between $1.2 billion, projected by Gov. Jerry Brown, and $4.4 billion, the estimate of the Legislature’s independent financial analyst. The surplus comes barely three years after the state was facing a deficit of close to $60 billion.

Governor Moonbeam did what Ah-nuld was unable to do in two terms. Brown is a Democrat, but a fiscally responsible one. Which just goes to show: if you want to actually balance budgets, not harp and moan about them, elect Democrats.

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Ruh-roh. Republicans have made budget deficit alarmism the main reason for their existence, but facts and math have thrown a wrench in their political plans:

Republicans who have made the deficit their central ideological focus are, in some sense, the dog that caught the bus. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated this month that the deficit for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, will fall to about $642 billion, or 4 percent of the nation’s annual economic output, less than half the 2011 deficit and about $200 billion lower than the agency had estimated three months ago.

The agency forecast that the deficit, which topped 10 percent of the gross domestic product in 2009, could shrink to as little as 2.1 percent of the G.D.P. by 2015, a level most analysts say would be easily sustainable over the long run.

In fact, Republicans’ insistence on chasing the “exploding budget deficit” fairy tale has been problematic for their political strategizing:

House Republicans had envisioned a plan to reach a comprehensive deficit reduction deal predicated on a showdown in July over the debt ceiling. That showdown was supposed to drive both sides back to the bargaining table, but a rapidly falling deficit, rising tax payments and huge infusions of cash from the newly profitable, federally controlled home financing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have scrambled those plans. Now, the debt ceiling may not have to be raised until October or November, in the next fiscal year.

Awwww…. Meanwhile, the Tea Party is digging its heels in, continuing to call for cuts and refusing to negotiate with the Senate on reconciling the two chambers’ differing budget proposals. This is all because the Republicans are in utter disarray. I’m not sure an image of a Republican Party unable to find its own ass with a map and a compass is how the GOP envisioned going into the 2014 midterms.

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14 Comments

Filed under budget, deficit, Republican Party, Tea Party

14 responses to ““The Dog That Caught The Bus”

  1. democommie

    “I’m not sure an image of a Republican Party unable to find its own ass with a map and a compass is how the GOP envisioned going into the 2014 midterms.”

    To be fair, they’ve never envisioned that their lies would be seen as, well, lies.

  2. Roadmaster1968

    OR a GPS.

  3. Ariando

    So this is what happens when we raise taxes on the richest two percent by a 3% margin? Imagine if that was extended to even the next eight percent. Better yet – how about just returning to the Clinton era tax rates so we can worry about what to do with all the excess money – like actually funding the social security trust fund rather than lending it to the spendthrifts at the Defense (no bid contract) Department.

  4. democommie

    The SKKKrotalMurKKKanPatriotiKKK Front is right, you know; our heirs inheritance–and their lives, actually–have been mortgaged. What they’re not real upfront about though is that THEIR guys wrote the mortgages, took some bodacious “fees” and then sold the paper to the Chinese and anyone else who would buy it.

  5. If my memory serves me correctly, us pinko liberal Californios voted ourselves a higher sales tax. Brown is a ruthless budget balancer.

  6. ThresherK

    I’m sure someone on the right will find the way to fix this the way they did for all Americans did c. summer 2001. Without invoking the memories of the least popular, lowest rated president in a century, that is.

  7. Glidwrith

    I gleefully await the ginormous chuck of cash coming to California for high speed rail development, especially the part that the govenor morans in Florida and Midwest turned down. We’re gonna boom and those assholes will be left munching our dust. “Government spending doesn’t create jobs!” Ha!

  8. deep

    See? This is the reason I used to vote Republican in my early 20s. I thought it was the party of fiscal responsibility. Needless to say, eight years of Bush cured me of that misconception. Too bad I voted for him twice.

    I’m really sorry. :(

    • deep

      though, admittedly one thing about that California quote bothers me:

      An unexpected surplus is fueling an argument over how the state should respond to its turn of good fortune.

      Uh… how about pay off the debt? Haven’t I heard somewhere that CA’s debt is larger than the budget of all 3rd world countries combined?

      • But that’s what Gov. Brown’s plan is. To pay off the debt more aggressively and start a rainy day fund. And the other side says, let’s restore some of the social services that were cut because this surplus isn’t a one-time deal.

        So … which do you think????

      • deep

        That’s cool, I was just afraid it was one of those things where the legislature (both parties) can’t find anything to “spend” it on that they can agree upon.

      • deep

        I seem to recall a lot of these “spending” debates back in ’05 and ’06 when state and local governments had a ton more cash than they do now.

  9. GregH

    In an apolitical universe of pure economics, government would CUT taxes and INCREASE spending (even deficit spending!) in an economic downturn, and RAISE taxes and CUT spending in an economic boom. Unfortunately, we do not have access to that distant realm of bright daylight and clear, rational thought. LOL

  10. Jim in Memphis

    Got to give credit to Obama. His sequester plan is bringing the budget deficit down. Nice to see.