One of the main arguments the Republican obstructionists (and their Blue Dog Democrat helpers) offer against health care reform is that the trillion-dollar program would increase the deficit. You can argue the numbers, but the Democrats have clearly tried to cobble together spending cuts and tax increases to offset the costs.
Compare this to 2003, when the Republican majority in Congress passed the half-trillion-dollar Medicare prescription drug benefit and funded it 100% with deficit spending. 24 current GOP Senators voted for that massive increase in the deficit.
One of those erstwhile big spenders, Senator Olympia Snowe from Maine, now says, "Dredging up history is not the way to move forward." Funny—I thought dredging up history was the way to move forward without repeating past mistakes (even if Santayana didn't say it).
Well, at least it took just six years for Republicans to get religion on deficit spending. It's too bad they couldn't have learned it during eight years of Bush rule. (Debt when George W. Bush took office: $5.7 trillion. Debt when he left: $10.6 trillion.) I just wish I could believe their newfound deficit-hawkishness is more than a smokescreen for a lack of ideas and a convenient anti-Obama political posture, which they will shed the moment they are back in the position of actually governing and making hard fiscal choices.
At least Senator Thune can claim immunity from this hypocrisy: in 2003, he was busy working as a lobbyist.
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