I guess Republicans did not learn the lesson from the mid-terms: Deficit Hypocrisy It was not long ago that Republicans succeeded in holding unemployment benefits hostage to a renewal of the high-end Bush-era income tax cuts and — as a little bonus — won deep estate tax cuts for America’s wealthiest heirs. Those cuts will add nearly $140 billion to the deficit in the near term, while doing far less to prod the economy than if the money had been spent more wisely. That should have been evidence enough that the Republican Party’s one real priority is tax cuts — despite all the talk about deficit reduction and economic growth. But here’s some more: On Dec. 22, just before they left town for the holidays, House Republican leaders released new budget rules that they intend to adopt when they assume the majority in January and will set the stage for even more budget-busting tax cuts. First, some background: Under pay-as-you-go rules adopted by Democratic majorities in the House and Senate in 2007, tax cuts or increases in entitlement spending must be offset by tax increases or entitlement cuts. Entitlements include big health programs like Medicare and Medicaid, for which spending is on autopilot, as well as some other programs for veterans and low-income Americans. (Discretionary spending, which includes defense, is approved separately by Congress annually.) The new Republican rules will gut pay-as-you-go because they require offsets only for entitlement increases, not for tax cuts. In effect, the new rules will codify the Republican fantasy that tax cuts do not deepen the deficit. It gets worse. The new rules mandate that entitlement-spending increases be offset by spending cuts only — and actually bar the House from raising taxes to pay for such spending. More at the link. Read the rest, then try to defend these new rules.