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GOP cries budget wolf

Republicans are lining up to predict doom, gloom and disaster as a result of President Obama’s proposed budget. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) has said the budget will lead to “bankruptcy for the United States.” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) says the budget would put the country on “the fast road to financial destruction.” No doubt much more of the same will be forthcoming.

Given this spin, it’s instructive to go back to 1993, when another Democratic president managed to enact an economic recovery plan in the face of fierce Republican opposition. While Bill Clinton’s Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 led to years of economic growth, job creation and budget surpluses, that certainly wasn’t what Republicans predicted at the time. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Rep. John Kasich (R-Ohio), 7/28/93: “This plan will not work. If it was to work, then I’d have to become a Democrat.” (N.B.: Kasich remains a Republican, despite the economic boom and surpluses of the Clinton years.)

Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.), 3/17/93: “[This] will stifle economic growth, destroy jobs, reduce revenues and increase the deficit.”

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), 3/17/93: “It will be the kind of impact that this country can’t absorb. It will slow economic growth, contribute to the massive federal deficit.”

Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), 5/27/93: “This is really the Dr. Kevorkian plan for our economy.”

Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas), 8/2/93: “The impact on job creation is going to be devastating, and the American young people in particular will suffer a fairly substantial deferment of their lives because there simply won’t be jobs for the next two to three years to go around to our young graduates across the country.”

Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), 8/4/93: “[This] will raise your taxes, increase the deficit and kill over 1 million jobs.”

Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), 8/5/93: “I believe this will lead to a recession next year. This is the Democrat machine’s recession, and each one of them will be held personally accountable.”

Rep. Armey, 8/5/93: “The economy will sputter along. Dreams will be put off and all this for the hollow promise of deficit reduction and magical theories of lower interest rates. Like so many of the president’s past promises, deficit reduction will be another cruel hoax.”

Rep. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), 8/5/93: “It will not cut the deficit. It will not create jobs. And it will not cut spending.”

Rep. Robert Dornan (R-Calif.), 8/5/93: “The problem with our economy is that there is too little employment and too little growth. This plan will do nothing to improve that condition and will actually make it worse.”

Rep. Thomas Ewing (R-Ill.), 8/5/93: “This bill is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.), 3/18/93: “[This bill is] a recipe for economic and fiscal disaster.”

And finally, Kasich again, 8/5/93: “Do you know what? This is your package. We will come back here next year and try to help you when this puts the economy in the gutter.” Of course, such help wasn’t needed with a booming economy.

Republicans are very good at alarmist rhetoric, and they’re very good at pretending they never said such things when their dire predictions prove wrong. What they’re not good at, as they have proven consistently over the years, is any inkling of economic competence — either in governance or in critiquing Democratic approaches.

Incidentally, John Kasich, fearmonger-in-chief during the ’90s, recently spent six years as a managing director of the now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers. Now he wants to be governor of Ohio. Some things never change.

Moulitsas is founder and publisher of Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com).