Email #314: “we’re being fiscally irresponsible”?

“What happened to him? He used to be the fiscal hawk.”

That’s what Republican Senator Corker said of your former House colleague, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. But Corker could have been talking about almost anyone in the GOP right now. After decades of a seemingly principled stance against deficit spending, many Republicans are suddenly abandoning that position in order to push through what apparently has always been more important to them: tax cuts.

Former fiscal hawk Rep. Womack said: “In order to make good on our campaign tax promise, there probably are going to be some sacrifices made from an ideological perspective.” Do you agree that abandoning your career-long opposition to deficit spending is a necessary “sacrifice”?

Some of your Republican colleagues are rationalizing it with predictions of extraordinary tax-cut-triggered economic growth, even though economists disagree. Senator Johnson said: “Just agree we’re going to lose money on a static scoring basis. I’m happy to live with a $2-3 trillion static loss.” Are you also “happy” with the national debt rising to $2-3 trillion?

At least some of your colleagues are resisting these optimistic predictions. Rep. Dent said: “I don’t want to be overly optimistic about how much growth will be generated.” And Senator Young said: “we can’t assume unreasonable rates of economic growth or we’re being fiscally irresponsible.”

But other former fiscal hawks now think fiscal irresponsibility is okay. Rep. Meadows said: “you have to mitigate the damage by being as aggressive as you can be on tax rates, which would lessen the damage of our lack of fiscal responsibility over time.” Do you also hope to lessen the damage of your lack of fiscal responsibility?

I wrote to you in September that your staff hasn’t updated the “Fiscal Responsibility” page of your website since President Trump took office. It still refers to Obama as our President. I guess you and your staff are too busy trying to pass deficit-expanding tax cuts to even pretend that you still care about your career-long commitment to eliminating the deficit?

Term limits and fiscal responsibility were your defining positions when you entered office a quarter century ago. What other core values are you willing to “sacrifice” next?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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