At times, a deficit makes sense. When the economy slumps, government spending can provide a stimulus to keep it on track. The Obama administration had a $1.4 trillion deficit its first year and similar deficits the next two years, as the nation tried to stay afloat during the Bush Recession. By 2016, Obama’s last year in office, the deficit had been reduced to $587 billion, according to the Treasury Department.
And then Republicans took control of the White House, adding it to both chambers of Congress. They passed tax cuts that primarily benefited the wealthy, and then they bought stuff with money they didn’t have by passing a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, voted in favor of both bills. This is curious because Herrera Beutler previously had supported a balanced-budget requirement. In 2011, she wrote: “If Congress doesn’t stop the overspending, America will cease to be the ‘land of opportunity’ we all know. I am supporting this strong measure because our current national debt is crippling businesses, hurting families and stifling the growth of new jobs.”
If a politician is in office long enough, it is not difficult to find hypocrisy. Their words land in the public record for easy reference, and the strange bedfellows of politics can lead to changing positions. John Kerry famously said of funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.” Joe Biden has had to defend several positions from 30 years ago that don’t match with current liberal orthodoxy.
But Herrera Beutler’s acquiesce to President Trump’s economic policy is particularly hypocritical. Not much has changed since 2011 except for which party is in the White House, and Herrera Beutler was correct in asserting that America might cease being the “land of opportunity.”