For years, the GOP has spun the narrative that their party is the party of fiscal concern. Democrats, who support increasing meager SNAP benefits, are accused rampant spending. Calls for greater funding to public education are met with outrage about the U.S. budget deficit.
However, with the passage of the Trump tax plan this December, the GOP killed the myth of Republican fiscal conservatism. The narrative of their party as the budget hawk party must die, too.
Some talking points:
- The Congressional Budget Office has suggested that the tax overhaul passed in December will add over $1 trillion dollars to the nation’s deficit. While this number does not take into account offsets from economic growth, most economists agree that the economic growth projections for the plan are overstated.
- Congress then passed, in early February, a spending plan that increases government spending by over $400 billion dollars. A portion of this money will be allocated to military expenses, which already accounts for 57% of federal discretionary spending and 16% of the federal budget overall.
- While a Republican Congress refused to deliver a large stimulus package after the recession, now that it is in their favor to do so, they have permanently cut taxes for the wealthy without increasing any funding for America’s crumbling infrastructure.
- And in the midst of a debate about whether to save 1.8 million DACA recipients from deportation, immigrants who (while this is not the point, the point is that they are people) are highly educated and have a strong positive impact on the economy, Congress seems to have no difficulty allocating almost $25 billion to a physically and legally impossible to build border wall.
With all of the spending and deficit growth with which the GOP appears to be comfortable, it is confusing why the house would still be considering entitlement cuts in the name of fiscal responsibility. Particularly when taking into account the role that welfare plays in limiting the severity of economic recession.
As Republicans rack up the national deficit and engage in rampant spending of taxpayer dollars, Democrats are quietly offering up fiscally conservative policy approaches.
On abortion access, for example, University of California researchers found through analysis that access to safe and legal abortions could save taxpayers up to $12 billion dollars per year. And when it comes to healthcare, most economists and health professionals agree that the overall costs of health coverage decrease significantly under a single-payer system.
When it comes to gun violence, a Johns Hopkins study found that the costs to taxpayers for emergency room visits due to firearm injuries alone is $2.8 billion per year. The overall toll may be much higher, pegged at up to $229 billion per year with indirect costs included.
Supporting emerging renewable energy markets, legalizing marijuana and decreasing nationwide incarceration rates would also drive down state and federal costs, saving hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on medical treatment, law enforcement, and subsidizing high-cost industries.
To those voters for whom nothing rings truer than, “do it ‘cause it’s cheaper,” listen here. Keeping educated immigrants in the United States is good for the economy. Legalizing marijuana is good for the economy. A strong solar energy market is good for the economy. Whether or not you’re swayed by the morality of keeping young women healthy or preventing kids from being murdered at school is irrelevant. Vote for Democrats because it’s cheaper.
Remember: Republicans are earmarking billions for a wall that we do not need and cutting taxes for the super-rich. On almost every issue, Democrats are the ones supporting fiscally conservative, economically sound solutions. Why would we let the GOP tell a story that says otherwise?