From an editorial Friday in the New York Times:
The leaders of the Republican Party, in full flight from their disastrous and juvenile shutdown stunt, now want to restock their ranks with grown-ups. Lets face it: It was not a good maneuver, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah told The New York Times recently. Youve got to have the adults running the thing.
Hatch and other establishment senators believe that grown-ups would not threaten the countrys full faith and credit, or keep the government closed, in order to get their way. Thats true, but its a rather pallid definition of maturity. A mature and responsible political party would do more than prevent a government default; it would offer serious solutions to the nations most pressing problems instead of running from them.
At a time when the economy is desperate for federal help and 11.3 million people are unemployed, the party and not just its far-right wing is still pretending that cutting spending and lowering the deficit remain the countrys most urgent priorities. Republicans wont acknowledge that tax increases, along with spending cuts they have forced on the country, have driven the deficit down to 4 percent of the aggregate economy, from 10 percent in 2009. Their appetite for billions in further cuts has only grown.
This will become obvious next week when the budget committees of the House and Senate gather for their first conference on the budget for fiscal year 2014. The conference is a moment to finally set aside the sequester cuts that have hobbled the economy and begin needed investments in education, infrastructure and the lives of those left behind.
But Republicans wont hear of it. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, ostensibly an anti-shutdown adult, wants to use the conference to cut social-welfare entitlements and relieve the tax burden on corporations. We have to make a down payment on the debt and deficit, he told Congressional Quarterly.
That down payment has already been made, many times over. What ails the economy now is not corporate taxes but the iron lid on spending, clamped tight for two years.
Sen. Lamar Alexander says his party needs to convince the public that it can be trusted with government.
To do so, Republicans will have to do much more than simply reopen the governments doors.
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