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The Democrats’ Budget Pickle Is Also the Republicans’

Some unsurprising comments this morning from Rand Paul, a Republican candidate to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R) in Kentucky. From the halls of Nashville’s National Tea Party Convention, Paul told CNN that “the number one reason why I run for office is because I’m worried about the debt.”

And that’s what you find at these tea parties. They don’t want more taxes, but they’re mostly concerned about the fiscal insolvency of our nation and that we could be ruining or bankrupting the nation, that we’re passing on a great debt to our children and grandchildren.

Unmentioned is how he (and Republicans in general) would do it. That is, by ruling out tax hikes of any kind to raise federal revenues, fiscal hawks like Paul mean that they could balance the budget solely with program cuts. But what would they cut? Medicare? We’ve recently seen the GOP reaction to the Democrats’ proposed Medicare cuts. Social Security? Over’s AARP’s dead body. Agriculture? Not with Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) atop the Finance Committee. Defense? Don’t even think about it.

In other words, all federal spending — even the most worthless — creates a job for someone, and therefore has a champion on Capitol Hill. It’s not a new trend, but it is easier to recognize in the middle of a jobs crisis when the federal government has become the spender of last resort.

All of which goes a long way to explain why it’s all incumbents — and not just Democrats — being threatened in November’s midterms.

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