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Ben Cline had no problem with billionaire tax cuts: The national debt is different, though

Chris Graham
ben cline
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Ben Cline had no issue going along with tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires as the national debt rose under former President Donald Trump by nearly $8 trillion during Trump’s one and only term in the White House.

But now that Republicans have the slimmest of majorities in the House, he’s back to being a committed fiscal conservative.

“Our national debt is over $31.4 TRILLION. We cannot green light borrowing MORE MONEY without spending reforms to repay what we ALREADY owe. Families have to balance the budget, Washington should too,” Cline tweeted this week.

The caps are his.

I hate when people write in all-caps.

Why are you yelling at me, is what comes to mind.

Cline’s tripe here on national debt is just him repeating talking points handed to him by the money people who long ago bought his vote, though I don’t doubt that he believes this nonsense deep down, akin to the concept of the Stockholm Syndrome.

I’ve known Ben for 20 years. I know there’s a smart guy in there somewhere, smart enough to have once known that the family budget analogy is not the one that he should use to try to make his case.

Looking at my family budget as a case study, let’s start with, there’s the mortgage on my house.

That’s debt.

Fortunately, I was able to pay off the balances due on both of my cars, so those are mine, free and clear, but both had been purchased, originally, with loans, which are debt.

You might sense a pattern here.

When you need work done on your roof, you may take out a second mortgage, or tap into your equity.

Almost everybody has a credit card.

That’s debt.

Now, we try as best we can not to use debt to finance everyday things, right? Because that’s unsustainable long-term.

Some of us – OK, more than some of us – get second jobs when necessary to get more income coming in.

Government can do something similar.

Those tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires that Cline had no problem with? Reverse those, and there’s a source of income.

House Republicans, for some reason, are pushing not for a reversal of tax cuts for rich people who didn’t need them, but rather a massive tax hike on regular working folks, in the form of a proposed 30 percent national sales tax, that hits working- and middle-class people infinitely harder than those who are wealthy, because working- and middle-class people have to spend a higher percentage of their income on basic things like groceries, gas, healthcare, etc., than rich people do.

Cline hasn’t come out on the record on that 30 percent sales tax proposed by his House Republican colleagues, but his silence on that speaks volumes.

Just as Cline’s new post as chair of the Republican Study Committee’s Budget and Spending Task Force also speaks volumes.

The Republican Study Committee is the outfit that is trying to push the age at which seniors can claim Social Security and Medicare benefits to 70, which is one solution to the fiscal woes we face with both programs.

Another would be to raise the cap on Social Security taxes for high-income Americans, but of course Cline can’t support that.

Because of the money people who own his vote.

This is why we get the pithy Cline whining to us about the national debt, like the only way we can meet our obligations is to slash spending on entitlements that are often the last line of defense to working- and middle-class seniors falling into full-out poverty.

Not that people like Ben Cline have to ever worry about falling into full-out poverty when they retire. Whenever he’s done in Congress, he’s eligible to receive a federal pension that currently averages around $41,000 a year for former Members of Congress in the system.

Think about that, as you’re struggling to make ends meet.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].