The Yoho Flip-Flop

by Mae Shields and Bill Radunovich and other volunteers of Indivisible Gainesville

Dizzy and disoriented by Trump’s daily attempts at gaslighting the American people, we admit we occasionally indulge in a moment of nostalgia for our pre-2016 lives.

Back in 2016, politics had a certain predictable feel. GOP congressional representatives could be counted on to rail against whatever President Obama was up to. And nowhere was this GOP opposition more feverish than when it was directed at budget deficits.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, back to when our GOP representative Ted Yoho raised consistent, impassioned rejection of budget deficits. We won’t have to travel far. Here is Yoho in response to President Obama’s 2017 budget request:

Once again, President Obama has presented a budget that doesn’t balance…That being said, I am grateful this is the last time Congress will receive what amounts to a blueprint …for increasing the size of our government and our national debt.

We may not have agreed with Ted Yoho’s relentless opposition to budget deficits, but at least we knew where he stood on the matter. But that was 2016, and this is now.

The election of Donald Trump has ushered in a surreal reality, with GOP representatives acting as if recent history has disappeared down the pneumatic tubes of George Orwell’s too-relevant classic, 1984.

Remember Yoho crowing about no more blueprints for increasing national debt? Well, apparently, Yoho has already forgotten. Because Trump has submitted a fresh blueprint for raising the national debt even more, and Ted Yoho eagerly voted for it. Those of us who still remember 2016, are scratching our heads, searching in vain to follow Yoho’s logic.

What could the difference be between the Yoho of yesterday and the Yoho of today? The Trumpian budget must be awfully compelling; why else would Yoho execute that most dreaded of political maneuvers, the flip-flop?

Surely Yoho has his reasons for flip-flopping. Could it be the new extravagant tax cuts to the richest of the rich? According to an analysis of the Brooking Institute, the tax cuts will raise deficits by about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

From a fiscal perspective, we should be running surpluses when the economy is strong. Instead, we are already running substantial deficits and the tax cuts would add significantly to fiscal shortfalls over the next decade. The proposed tax cuts would add to an already unsustainable long-term fiscal situation.

Gracious! That Brookings warning reminds us of pre-2016 Ted Yoho himself! But the tax-cut boon to the ridiculously wealthy must be a kind of panacea to Yoho, for it seems to have cured his lifelong addiction to balanced budgets.

Yoho also flip-flopped on current budget legislation. According to Votesmart, Yoho initially voted yes on HR 195 – Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018, which would exempt the budgetary effects of this bill from Pay-As-You-Go rules (Sec. 5001); voting for it is effectively voting to raise the national debt. Eventually Yoho voted against it, but only once it was clear that his vote wasn’t needed to pass the bill. Until the bill’s passage was a lock, Yoho was all in with a grand ole GOP “yes.”

Perhaps Yoho suddenly found his time-travel button and flip-flopped himself back to 2016, recalling his fond pastime of decrying President Obama’s budget deficits. As we fast-forward to elections of 2018, everyone, including Yoho, will discover whether voters will respect, much less elect, a politician whose most consistent trait has become his flip-flopping.

 

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