JONATHAN CHAIT SEPTEMBER 14, 2010
Benjy Sarlin reports that Rand Paul and some Tea Party activists are serious about their demand for a balanced budget:
For some in the Tea Party movement, the standard they plan to judge the party’s progress by is sky high. A spokesman for Rand Paul, the Tea Party-backed Senate candidate in Kentucky, said Paul “will vote against and filibuster any unbalanced budget proposal in the Senate.”
Let me ruin the suspense and explain how this movie ends. It involves the Tea Party activists deciding that, by "balanced budget," what they really meant is "a large regressive tax cut."
Now, to be sure, Paul seems aware of the basic dynamic:
Paul is already warning conservatives not to be fooled if Republicans opt only for the more popular tax cuts while punting on the spending side.
“We as Republicans have taken the easy way out a lot of times,” Paul wrote in a recent Facebook post. “We vote to cut taxes but we don’t ever vote to cut any spending. Because as soon as you do, as soon as you bring up a program, it’s somebody’s program and they love it.”
Right. That's why any spending cuts will be small and concentrated on programs that benefit the poor rather than the middle class.