One of the worst groups operating in Washington today is Fix the Debt. As Matt Yglesias has pointed out repeatedly, Fix the Debt is a fraudulent organization which claims to care about debt and deficits for their own sake but, when pushed, turns out to only care about a specific kind of deficit reduction – the kind that leaves rich people’s interests wholly intact, while dumping the entire burden on the poor and middle class.
And it’s only inside that political house of mirrors that the list of “Fiscal Heroes” they released this week makes any sense at all.
The key thing to understand about the federal deficit is that it’s primarily driven by the Bush tax cuts, the two Bush wars, and the economic downturn.
But Fix the Debt includes on their list names like John Boehner, Mike Johanns, Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham – people who have never met an unpaid-for tax cut they didn’t like.
And they also include Democrats like Jim Himes of Connecticut’s 4th District, who actively defended the single largest cause of the federal deficit…on Fox News.
Here’s Himes in 2010 telling Neil Cavuto why we need to extend all the Bush tax cuts – even the ones for people on the very top of the income scale:
Himes represents a pretty safe D+5 district, although one that contains very rich areas of Connecticut. But clearly not every Democrat in CT talks like this, so we don’t think this is a passable excuse. This is about Himes’s personal priorities.
So shame on Himes, but more importantly, shame on Fix the Debt. Debt and deficits aren’t this blog’s top priority by a long shot, but we also don’t think blowing up the budget to lavish tax cuts on the people who need the money least is a good idea. And if we ran an organization that actually cared about debt and deficits, we sure wouldn’t embarrass ourselves by constantly giving political cover to lawmakers who plainly have no credibility from the perspective of our stated mission.