I generally align myself with the liberals in the country. See, e.g., my ties to the wondrous Momos. However, the one place where I'm ardently centrist is in things financial. I'm a bit more free market than the standard liberal, and I'm very VERY fiscally responsible. The thing I hate most about Washington D.C./federal government is basically the national debt. I find it beyond reprehensible that we've come out of 3ish decades of steady growth with over $10 trillion of debt.
Which is why I could not be the messenger against the most recent GOP strategy to block the Obama stimulus. As much as I disliked their aggressive tactics and on the whole believed that there was a role for a stimulus, I just couldn't pick a fight against a message centering around the ideas of fiscal responsibility. Luckily, there are others who can. From Andrew Sullivan (bold mine):
This Manzi post would be their argument going forward. Here's why they are not being intellectually honest, and Manzi's post includes the relevant facts. The GOP has passed what amounts to a spending and tax-cutting and borrowing stimulus package every year since George W. Bush came to office. They have added tens of trillions to future liabilities and they turned a surplus into a trillion dollar deficit - all in a time of growth. They then pick the one moment when demand is collapsing in an alarming spiral to argue that fiscal conservatism is non-negotiable. I mean:seriously.
The bad faith and refusal to be accountable for their own conduct for the last eight years is simply inescapable. There is no reason for the GOP to have done what they have done for the last eight years and to say what they are saying now except pure, cynical partisanship, and a desire to wound and damage the new presidency. The rest is transparent cant.
There is a way to spend and borrow enough to mitigate the sudden downdraft - while working to mend long-term fiscal problems. Manzi sets it out here:
2. Make an at least off-setting change in future liabilities under entitlement programs. This would include things like means-testing benefits, increasing the retirement age and making this sustainable by linking it to a longevity measure and so forth.
3. Reduce the military budget by reducing military commitments. The United States is increasingly a nation among nations. This will likely become ever truer as the economic rise of the Asian heartland continues. We need to recognize this, and scale our expenditures accordingly.
The great tragedy of the Gregg withdrawal is that this was precisely what he had been selected to achieve. The chance of real entitlement reform - the one thing that can indeed put the US back on a path to fiscal sanity - is real in the first year of an Obama presidency. But it will require bipartisanship; and if a decent fiscal conservative like Gregg is simply forced by his own party to have no role in it, then it will not happen. My sense is that this is indeed why he felt it necessary to withdraw.
The GOP is not interested in the long term fiscal health of this country. Their reckless stewardship over the last eight years proves that. They are not interested in helping this new president, who has done everything he can to create a civil atmosphere, to use this moment to prevent the worst in the short term and move to improve matters in the long term. Instead,they spin.
Or, as I mentioned in a tweet last week: so much of US politics abt positioning for next election. Well, politics can #suckit #fucktheppl.