Why a government shutdown would help the GOP

After the fiscal-cliff fiasco, Republicans have almost nothing to lose

Edward Morrissey

Now that we've moved past the tax portion of our never-ending series of fiscal cliffs, we're heading to the spending portion. Or at least that's what most of us thought after Barack Obama largely won the tax debate and got rates increased for those making more than $400,000 a year, along with a permanent Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch that protects the middle class from the LBJ-era equivalent of the Buffett Rule. But in a rare press conference marking the upcoming end of Obama's first term in office, the president insisted on Monday that he would refuse to agree to any deficit solution that didn't present balance.

"Over the years," Obama told the White House press corps, "I've signed into law about $1.4 trillion in spending cuts." That may be news to most Americans, who see the federal government on track for a fifth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits under Obama. As these deficits show, Obama hasn't done anything to bring the government in line with its revenues. In the FY2009 budget that Democrats kept out of Bush's hands and which Obama approved in a final omnibus bill in March 2009, Bush proposed a spending level of $3.1 trillion, but Washington ended up spending $3.5 trillion instead, thanks in large part to the economic crisis.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.