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It's been an amusing 30 years watching Republicans cling to the mantle of "fiscal responsibility." Their great saint Ronald Reagan was the king of the Drunken Sailor Method, raising spending to untold heights while simultaneously cutting taxes. Think of it as the Washington version of the guy who decides to go part-time, then max out his credit cards.
But now that they're in the minority again, it appears our heroes are trying to reestablish their fiscal street cred. Yesterday, they unanimously voted against the Obama stimulus package.
There are legit reasons to oppose the bill. It contains a helping of questionable expenditures that may not produce quick new jobs. Besides, Republicans have never been keen on supporting things like the National Endowment for the Arts (though the arts are statistically a major economic engine). And after the no-strings-attached Wall Street bailout, it's fair to regard any bailout as a sucker's play.
Yet the party's essentially been an economic terrorist organization for three decades. It ran up huge deficits, allowed the treasury to be raped by the likes of Halliburton and Blackwater. It diluted financial regulation, blunted consumer protection, busted unions, and turned a blind eye to the racketeering of Countrywide and Ameriquest. If Satan had a fiscal policy, this would be it.
But now we're to believe Republicans care about the public wallet. It's like casting Osama bin Laden in the role of Gandhi.