"You should be very, very angry": Paul Krugman torches GOP's new budgets

In an increasingly cynical age, it can be hard to summon outrage -- but these budgets deserve it

Published March 20, 2015 12:45PM (EDT)

Paul Krugman                                                                                                                                                                       (Reuters/Anton Golubev)
Paul Krugman (Reuters/Anton Golubev)

Denouncing the Republican Party's "outrageous fiscal mendacity," Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman slams the House and Senate GOP's new budgets in the New York Times today, arguing that even in a cynical age accustomed to political duplicity, the budgets merit our vociferous outrage.

To be sure, Krugman notes, the budgets are up front about a few of the GOP's designs, including repeal of health care reform and deep cuts in programs like Medicaid and food stamps. But while the budgets claim massive savings in both non-discretionary spending (on programs like Social Security and Medicare) and discretionary expenditures, neither budget document specifies the form such cuts would assume.

Moreover, though the Republicans demand wholesale repeal of the Affordable Care Act, their budgets assume that the U.S. would continue to collect $1 trillion in revenue from taxes imposed by the health reform law.

Why the GOP's need to engage in such chicanery?

"Think about what these budgets would do if you ignore the mysterious trillions in unspecified spending cuts and revenue enhancements," Krugman writes. "What you’re left with is huge transfers of income from the poor and the working class, who would see severe benefit cuts, to the rich, who would see big tax cuts. And the simplest way to understand these budgets is surely to suppose that they are intended to do what they would, in fact, actually do: make the rich richer and ordinary families poorer."

"We’re looking at an enormous, destructive con job," the economist concludes, "and you should be very, very angry."

By Luke Brinker

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Affordable Care Act Budget Economic Policy Fiscal Policy Paul Krugman Republicans Tax Revenue