Minnesota Republicans endorsed State Rep. Kurt Bills to challenge Democratic Senator Amy Kloubachar in November. His nomination win was an impressive feat, fueled by support from delegates supporting Ron Paul, the libertarian presidential candidate who promises to legalize heroin, cocaine, and prostitution under the banner of “the party of traditional family values,” which makes perfect sense.
Republican Convention delegates seemed particularly smitten with Bills’ anger at the federal debt. Anger is the coin of the realm at party conventions, and, make no mistake, Bills is hopping mad about the debt. (Not the debt that he put on Minnesota schools as a member of the State House, a different debt.)
In summary, to address the causes of the skyrocketing debt, the answer is pretty clear: Undo what Bush did. If you do that — cut off war spending and the Bush tax cuts — the debt trend line very quickly flattens.
What are Rep. Bills’ positions on these issues? Well, I couldn’t tell a lot from his slim website position paper or media clippings. There looks to be a good reason why MinnPost’s Erik Black recently wrote a piece called “Guessing Where Kurt Bills Stands on The Issues.” (Black can’t get an interview.) So guess we must, along with a little help from his website. From what I can tell, it doesn’t look like Rep. Bills is too keen on putting the breaks on the primary drivers of the debt increase:
- BILLS WON’T CUT BUSH’S TAX CUTS. It doesn’t appear Rep. Bills supports eliminating the Bush tax cuts, the largest cause of the debt increase.
- BILLS WON’T CUT BUSH’S FOREIGN WARS. If Rep. Bills is for immediately withdrawing from the middle east wars, another big driver of the debt increase, he doesn’t mention it in his website foreign policy section.
I imagine Rep. Bills was opposed to the Recovery Act. But you can see the Recovery Act cost is a much smaller contributor than the Bush wars and tax cuts. Moreover, the up to 2.4 million jobs the Recovery Act created prevented additional debt that would have been caused by an even more severe economic meltdown. Finally, the Recovery Act is now done, so in terms of Rep. Bill’s future debt reduction plan, it is a mute point.
Instead of undoing what Bush did to create the debt, Rep. Bills seems to want to double down on Bushonomics — tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation of high flying industries and aggressive use of the military. If that’s true, “Bills” could end up being a prophetic name.