Give Louisiana’s Republican governor Bobby Jindal one thing. He understands the problem for the Republicans inherent in the so-called “fiscal cliff” well.
In an op-ed for Politico on Thursday, he laid out why just about every poll shows that the GOP will be blamed if we go into 2013 without some deal to avoid the ending of the Bush tax breaks and a series of automatic budget cuts:
At present, any reading of the headlines over the past week indicates that Republicans are fighting to protect the rich and cut benefits for seniors. It may be possible to have worse political positioning than that, but I’m not sure how.
The man who said that the GOP has to “stop being the stupid party” went on to demonstrate that he doesn’t understand why the fiscal cliff is actually a problem by proposing a “balanced budget” amendment as solution.
New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait explains:
But of course if we had a balanced budget amendment in effect, we wouldn’t be implementing half a trillion in immediate deficit reduction. We’d be implementing a trillion in deficit reduction. And such fiscal cliffs would become a regular feature of American budget policy.
We’re in a crisis, according to economists, because the cuts and tax increases would immediately put us in a recession. The deficit would be shrinking too fast and Jindal is talking about the problem of having too big a deficit. His solution would turn nearly any future recession into a depression by demanding instant cuts whenever a sour economy required the safety net to kick in.
This why the “fiscal cliff” debate beautifully demonstrates the hypocrisy of the GOP.
If we go off the cliff, the deficit would be automatically cut in half, which should be a fiscal conservative’s dream. But it would end tax breaks and cut defense. So clearly we see their goal isn’t a balanced budget. It’s shrinking the good government can do and tax cuts, especially for the richest.
Jindal — as a possible contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination — has made a point of criticizing the tone of the Republican Party over the last year. He, like Paul Ryan, then ends up proposing the same policies that made the Tea Party even less popular than the Republican Party.
Jindal is still very popular in his very red state. But his voucher program, which funds schools that say the Loch Ness Monster is real, was just ruled unconstitutional.
This doctor-turned-politician should probably recognize that his specialty is diagnosing problems. But he probably should leave prescribing treatments to someone else.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com