Jonathan Chait at New York magazine has a column about the GOP Congressional leadership with a funny crack I have highlighted.
The Republican Congress follows certain budgetary principles that have been in place long enough that they have faded into the backdrop of the political debate and are not the subject of open debate, or even acknowledgement, but taken as a given. The rules hold that if Congress votes to cut taxes or to increase military spending, it can disregard the costs. (Though military-spending hikes have to be added year by year, to preserve some accounting fiction that they are not permanent.) Domestic spending, on the other hand, can only be increased if Congress “pays for it” with offsetting measures.
Obviously, this makes it extremely hard to increase domestic spending. Republicans oppose tax increases for any reason at all, because, as Grover Norquist has taught them, raising taxes even a tiny amount makes the baby Reagan cry. In theory, they like cutting spending, but in practice, the only spending programs they actually specify for reductions are the ones aimed at poor people, which Democrats don’t like to cut, creating a stalemate.