Sen. Rand Paul calls his col­leagues out for hypocrisy. And he’s right.

Calhoun Times - - OBITUARIES -

Sen. Rand Paul was right to put his foot down and call hypocrisy by its name. The Ken­tucky Repub­li­can briefly forced a govern­ment shut­down early Fri­day by de­lay­ing a Se­nate vote re­quired to ad­vance the govern­ment’s spend­ing au­thor­ity. Paul was mak­ing a point that needed to be made.

“I ran for of­fice be­cause I was very crit­i­cal of Pres­i­dent Obama’s tril­lion­dol­lar deficits,” Paul stated. “Now we have Repub­li­cans hand in hand with Democrats of­fer­ing us tril­lion- dol­lar deficits. I can’t in all hon­esty look the other way.”

He added: “I didn’t come up here to be part of some­body’s club. I didn’t come up here to be liked. … The hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes any­one with a sense of de­cency or in­tel­lec­tual hon­esty.”

The hypocrisy he re­ferred to was mainly on the Repub­li­can side of the aisle, but the la­bel ap­plies equally to any Democrats who be­lieve the govern­ment’s deficit is out of con­trol and that the time is long over­due to im­pose fis­cal dis­ci­pline. Paul’s party spent eight years com­plain­ing and moan­ing about Demo­crat deficits, Demo­crat so­cial spend­ing and Demo­crat eco­nomi­cres­cue mea­sures. The GOP largely owes its 2016 elec­tion vic­to­ries to the party’s de­mo­niza­tion of Democrats as spendthrifts.

Now that Repub­li­cans con­trol both houses of Congress and the White House, the party fi­nally has an op­por­tu­nity to im­pose the kinds of fis­cal dis­ci­pline that the Repub­li­can plat­form calls for. In­stead, on Fri­day, they emerged with a 600- page plan that winds up out­spend­ing the Democrats at every turn and push­ing the fed­eral deficit to lev­els not seen since the height of the re­ces­sion.

Ar­guably the deficits run up dur­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion were nec­es­sary to coun­ter­act the most se­vere eco­nomic cri­sis since the Great De­pres­sion. Obama’s $ 787 bil­lion stim­u­lus pack­age was de­rided daily by Repub­li­cans, but it launched the na­tion on the pos­i­tive eco­nomic tra­jec­tory that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump now falsely claims as his own.

If ever there were a time for fis­cal dis­ci­pline, it’s now, when the na­tion stands at full em­ploy­ment and the econ­omy needs no ar­ti­fi­cial stim­u­lus mea­sures. But the na­tion al­ready faces a cash crunch be­cause the GOP in De­cem­ber forced through a $1.5 tril­lion tax cut ( which Paul sup­ported).

The two- year, $ 300 bil­lion pack­age ap­proved on Fri­day and signed by Trump will force the an­nual deficit be­yond the $ 1 tril­lion mark by fis­cal year 2019. The plan busts the spend­ing caps that Congress im­posed in 2013 specif­i­cally to avoid adding to the deficit.

Repub­li­cans ra­tio­nal­ize in­creas­ing deficits if it means tax cuts for rich peo­ple and bol­ster­ing Pen­tagon spend­ing. Democrats jus­tify it to en­sure so­cial wel­fare pro­grams are ad­e­quately funded. “I love bi­par­ti­san­ship, as you know,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R- Ariz. “But the prob­lem is the only time we dis­cover bi­par­ti­san­ship is when we spend more money.”

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