Mitch McConnell Blames the Poor for Trump’s Trillion-Dollar Deficit

Mitch McConnell Blames the Poor for Trump’s Trillion-Dollar Deficit

In a life filled with uncertainty, there are a few things you can always count on. First, that death comes for everyone. Second, that the current president of the United States will call an adult-film star he paid to keep quiet about an alleged affair “horseface” on social media. And third, that after passing a $1.5 trillion tax cut they insisted would pay for itself and then some, Republicans would blame social services like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security for exploding deficits and debt and insist that such “entitlements,” sadly, have got to go.

As a reminder, the Grand Old Party put on a big show of pretending to care about “fiscal responsibility” when Barack Obama was in office and mouth-watering tax cuts weren’t on the line. “Only one thing can save this country, and that’s to get a handle on this deficit-and-debt issue,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted after the 44th president won his second term. “The federal fiscal burden threatens the security, liberty, and independence of our nation,” the Republican Party platform warned in 2016. “You’re bankrupting our grandchildren!” was a common refrain, as were proclamations such as, “I won’t endorse a bill that adds one penny to the deficit!” Then Donald Trump won the election, and all those worries about crippling the next generation and the country going to hell in a handbasket vanished overnight—almost as though it was feigned in the first place!—with Republicans not only demanding that Congress pass a deficit-busting piece of legislation so that the president and his children could pay even fewer taxes than they already do, but maintaining—laws of math, physics, time and space be damned—that the bill once known as the “Cut Cut Cut Act” would actually help shrink the deficit.

But as the G.O.P. surely knew, that was never going to happen. Instead, as we learned this week, the U.S. budget deficit increased to $779 billion for the fiscal year, a 17 percent increase from the year prior, which is extra bad considering the economy is doing well, a scenario in which the federal deficit typically falls. Luckily, Mitch McConnell knows exactly who and what to blame:

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg News when asked about the rising deficits and debt. “It’s a bipartisan problem: unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future.”

The “real” drivers of debt, according to McConnell, are “Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid,” “entitlements” from which the Senate majority leader would cut off the old and poor if only he could get Democrats to sign on. (That’s probably unlikely to happen, given Nancy Pelosi’s statement today that, “Like clockwork, Republicans in Congress are setting in motion their plan to destroy the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that seniors and families rely on, just months after they exploded the deficit by $2 trillion with their tax scam for the rich,” and Chuck Schumer’s that suggesting cuts to “middle-class programs like Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid as the only fiscally responsible solution to solve the debt problem is nothing short of gaslighting.”)

McConnell’s take on the situation echoes that of the White House, whose National Economic Council director, Larry Kudlow, said last month that he doesn’t “buy” the argument that tax cuts increase the deficit, and that the real problem is “principally spending too much.” (Kudlow, who has a penchant for never being right about anything, also claimed in June that the deficit was “coming down rapidly.”) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was even more blunt while telling his assessment to CNN last week, “People are going to want to say the deficit is because of the tax cuts. That’s not the real story.” (The report out of his own department suggests otherwise.) Incidentally, in June, reports circulated that the Trump administration was trying to figure out a workaround to cut another $100 billion from the tax bills of the wealthiest Americans, and in late September, House Republicans passed a piece of legislation that would add more than $600 billion to the debt over the next decade. Neither measure will come to fruition, but on the off-chance that one does, we’re sure McConnell stands ready to blame the poor and elderly freeloaders who clearly hate America.

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Mitch McConnell Blames the Poor for Trump’s Trillion-Dollar Deficit

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