Paul Krugman gazes into the future if the budget proposed by the GOP gets passed.
The new House majority promised to deliver $100 billion in spending cuts — and its members face the prospect of Tea Party primary challenges if they fail to deliver big cuts. Yet the public opposes cuts in programs it likes — and it likes almost everything. What’s a politician to do?
The answer, once you think about it, is obvious: sacrifice the future. Focus the cuts on programs whose benefits aren’t immediate; basically, eat America’s seed corn. There will be a huge price to pay, eventually — but for now, you can keep the base happy.
Once you understand the imperatives Republicans face, however, it all makes sense. By slashing future-oriented programs, they can deliver the instant spending cuts Tea Partiers demand, without imposing too much immediate pain on voters. And as for the future costs — a population damaged by childhood malnutrition, an increased chance of terrorist attacks, a revenue system undermined by widespread tax evasion — well, tomorrow is another day.
Actually, it all fits in quite well with the Republican philosophy. They really don’t care about the future of the country all that much except in one area, and it has nothing to do with child nutrition, education, or even defense. It’s all about winning the next election. Once you understand that imperative, then it all makes sense.
PS: Based on this post from The Reid Report, it looks like the non-tea-party Republicans are closer to the Democrats on their spending priorities. Should make for some interesting primaries.