The congressional Republicans’ demands for supporting an increase in the federal government’s debt ceiling are hypocritical and their arguments disingenuous – even more so than most people realize. For example:
- The Republicans only care about the budget deficit and the accumulated debt when Democrats are president.
- The Republicans’ argument that federal government spending is out of control and is the cause of the increasing debt is simply false, as well as hypocritical.
- The Republicans are protecting tax cuts, as well as growing incomes and wealth, for their already wealthy campaign contributors and benefactors, both individuals and corporations.
- The Republicans are more than willing to cause all this anxiety, risk, and harm because they think it will help them politically in the next election.
Therefore, I urge you to do whatever you can, at all levels of community and government, to oppose Republican candidates for elected office.
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As you probably know, the congressional Republicans’ demands for supporting an increase in the federal government’s debt ceiling are hypocritical, but it’s important to underscore just how hypocritical they are and how disingenuous their arguments over the budget and the debt ceiling are.
This is a manufactured crisis because it is over whether to pay the bills of the budgets that have already been passed by Congress and how much room to give the government to pay for future budgets that will be passed. Increasing the debt ceiling, which is the total accumulated debt of all the deficits and surpluses in the budgets that have been passed to-date, does not authorize or change any spending; only the budgets that Congress passes can do that.
It is also a manufactured crisis because the Republicans only care about the budget deficit and the accumulated debt when Democrats are president. The have no problem passing budgets with big deficits or increasing the debt ceiling when Republicans are president. Under President Trump, for example, they approved four budgets with total deficits of $7.7 trillion and voted to increase the debt ceiling three times by roughly $11 trillion (about 65%) without concerns or objections.
The Republicans’ argument that federal government spending is out of control and is the cause of the increasing debt is simply false, as well as hypocritical. Under President Trump, annual federal spending grew by $3.25 trillion (roughly 82%) with no objections from Republicans. Over the last 50 years, federal discretionary spending as set by each year’s budget has fallen from 11.0% to 6.3% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP, the total of all goods and services produced by the U.S. economy), a 43% decline. 
Furthermore, based on international comparisons, U.S. spending is far below the average of the other 37 wealthy nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). If spending were at the average OECD level, the U.S. would be spending about $2.5 trillion more each year, a 40% increase. If the U.S. spent at the European Union average, it would be spending about $3.5 trillion more each year, a 56% increase.
Tax cuts under Presidents Trump and George W. Bush are what have driven the increase in budget deficits and the debt. They will have added $8 trillion and $1.7 trillion, respectively, to the debt by the end of fiscal year 2023 in September. These tax cuts will add another $3.5 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years. Nonetheless, the Republicans oppose any reduction in these tax cuts.
The Republicans’ have argued since the 1980s and President Reagan’s time in office that tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations would improve economic growth, job creation, and the well-being of everyday Americans. People’s experiences, basic economic data, and multiple academic studies have all shown that none of this has happened. 
Instead, economic inequality has grown dramatically. The tax cuts and other policies have shifted $50 trillion from the 90% of Americans with middle or low-incomes to the richest 10% of Americans, with much of it going to the richest 1%. In 2020 alone, the incomes of the top 1% increased by 7.3% from already astronomically high levels, while the incomes of the 90% of Americans with middle or low incomes increased by just 1.7%.
There are two key takeaways from all of this. First, the Republicans will protect tax cuts, as well as growing incomes and wealth, for their already wealthy campaign contributors and benefactors, both individuals and corporations, at any cost. For them, these ends justify the means, which include generating significant uncertainty and risk in the U.S. economy and globally too. The means also include demanding budget cuts that will hurt many middle and especially low-income workers and families. For example, cuts in funding for nutrition and food programs will increase hunger in the U.S., including for many children and babies, which will have lasting effects on their health and development.
Second, the Republicans are more than willing to cause all this anxiety, risk, and harm because they believe it will help them politically in the next election. Causing chaos, disruption, and hardship when a Democrat is president, they believe, will improve their chances of winning the next presidential and congressional elections. Again, for them, the ends (political gain and power) justify the means.
When I started this blog over eleven years ago, my intent was to focus on policy and to include the politics of policy change but to avoid getting explicitly partisan. The developments of the last seven years – the actions of Trump and what the Republican Party has become with him as its leader – have convinced me that I have to be explicitly partisan.
When the Republican Party is willing to take the well-being of our country and the majority of its people hostage in order to gain political advantage and benefit the wealthiest Americans despite their already incredible wealth, the time to speak out in a partisan fashion has come.
I urge you to do whatever you can, at all levels of community and government, to oppose Republican candidates for elected office. Yes, there may be a few decent Republican candidates out there, but unfortunately, they are part of a party infrastructure that is actively undermining our country, our democracy, and our fellow human beings. We must do all we can to stop this.
 Cox Richardson, H., 5/24/23, “Letters from an American blog,” (https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-24-2023)
 Cox Richardson, H., 5/24/23, “Letters from an American blog,” (https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-23-2023)