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A 'Pledge to America' … to keep screwing things up

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

(Read caption) The Republicans' agenda, 'A Pledge to America,' as seen at the Sterling, Va., lumber yard where on Sept. 23, House Republicans announced their intention to end policies championed by President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress.

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I was going to point out that the GOP’s new “Pledge to America” isn’t going to do the fiscal outlook any favors. But Ezra beat me to it:

Take the deficit. Perhaps the two most consequential policies in the proposal are the full extension of the Bush tax cuts and the full repeal of the health-care law. The first would increase the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and many trillions of dollars more after that. The second would increase the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next 10 years, and many trillions of dollars more after that. Nothing in the document comes close to paying for these two proposals, and the authors know it: The document never says that the policy proposals it offers will ultimately reduce the deficit.

This has been a winning political strategy: promise the vague concept of “fiscal responsibility” and deficit reduction, get specific on cutting the parts of government spending that no one thinks of as a “benefit” to them, assure people that taxes will only continue to be cut and not paid for, know that most people (the most riled up ones in particular) don’t see the logical inconsistencies and don’t want to check the math. It’s a winning political strategy but a losing economic one.

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(UPDATE 9/24: See the Washington Post’s online survey of readers, asking “Which GOP ‘pledge’ would most likely sway your vote?”)

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