[T]he GOP is not now, and never has been (at least not since the 1970s) concerned about the deficit. All the fiscal posturing of the last couple of years has been about using the deficit as a club to smash the welfare state, with the secondary goal of frustrating any efforts on the part of the Obama administration to help the struggling economy.But this also had me scratching my head. Klein notes the contradiction, with "Washington Republicans say[ing] their reticence to pass a larger payroll tax cut is explained by the deficit" while "on the campaign trail, the Republican candidates seem unburdened by any similar concerns". But when describing how the various would-be nominees are proposing various deficit-expanding tax cuts for the wealthy, usually with associated tax increases for the middle class, Klein contends,
The only major Republican candidate who hasn't proposed a massive tax cut for the wealthy is Mitt Romney. His plan mostly just extends the Bush tax cuts, wipes out the estate tax, and makes some vague noises about tax reform. He does propose a new tax cut on income from capital gains and dividends -- but only for taxpayers making less than $200,000.What a world we live in, when somebody can argue with a straight face that "extend[ing] the Bush tax cuts" is not a massive tax cut for the wealthy, and follow it up with the claim that "wip[ing] out the estate tax" isn't also a massive tax cut for the wealthy.