Myths About the Debt Ceiling

This Q&A with former Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett is a must read. Some choice items:

Q. Why are the Republicans so militant now while they voted seven times to raise it during the tenure of George Bush ?

A. Bruce Bartlett : Obviously, because there is a Democrat in the WH.

Q. Why have you rejected conservatism in the last few years?

A. Bruce Bartlett : I still consider myself to be a conservative in the tradition of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley. I don't think most of today's conservatives have any idea who those people were.

Q. Mr. Bartlett, Your book about the huge Medicare drug costs that President George W. Bush pushed the Congress to accept was very interesting. Do you believe that Obamacare will really save any money for the US taxpayer or just add more levels of bureaucracy to the system?

A. Bruce Bartlett : The Affordable Care Act was not designed to reduce spending. It's purpose is to expand health insurance coverage without increasing spending.

Q. I think that's a factor but not the only one. From my reading about the GOP freshmen, the tea partiers, a great many of them seem to have little experience in any sort of lawmaking, and little knowledge in economics beyond the home or small-business level. They don't seem to realize that government economics doesn't work the same way. Instead of a coherent philosophy on the size of government, they espouse simple reactionary stances as if they ran for office as protest candidates. That's my impression, anyway, and whatever the cause, it's sad that this faction is holding the mainstream GOP and the government hostage to prove a point.

A. Bruce Bartlett : I think the vast bulk of Tea Party members are ignorant fools when it comes to understanding how government really operates. I have thought so for 2.5 years and see no reason to change my opinion.

Q. "Specifically" who benefits from failure to raise the debt ceiling?

A. Bruce Bartlett : Those who shorted government bonds, like Eric Cantor.

Q. Do tax cuts truly stimulate? If 10 years of tax cuts are supposed to stimulate the economy and create jobs, where is that economy and where are those jobs?

A. Bruce Bartlett : The Bush tax cuts were economically worthless.

Just a small sampling. Upshot: the Republican Party is controlled by uneducated, ignorant hooples who are willing to destroy the economy in order to score political points.