Rep. Bruce Poliquin must think the people back home just aren’t paying attention.

The 2nd District congressman sent out a peppy news release last week, cheerleading a balanced budget amendment that would make deficit spending unconstitutional.

The reform is necessary, Poliquin said, “to ensure a financially sustainable future for our nation.” But what Poliquin left out is his role in making that future unsustainable.

In December, Poliquin voted for a tax reform bill that will borrow $1.9 trillion to dole out to the most profitable businesses and wealthy families.

In February, Poliquin voted for a spending plan that adds $300 billion to $400 billion to the annual deficit, creating permanent $1 trillion annual deficits starting in 2019.

Apparently, Poliquin doesn’t let his commitment to fiscal restraint doesn’t stop him from lining up when they’re handing out the goodies in Washington.

Poliquin is hardly the only one to engage in this hypocrisy. This yawning chasm between rhetoric and actions has been the official policy of the Republican Congress for years.

Deficits only matter when there is a Democrat in the White House.

When the president is a Republican, empty talk about balanced budgets is all you need.

If Republicans wanted to pass a balanced budget, they could do it. They control both houses of Congress and the presidency. The reason that they don’t ever try is because it would be a self-inflicted political disaster.

Cutting spending by more than $1 trillion a year would require massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, veterans health benefits and the military. It would also require tax increases.

Last year’s failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act showed how difficult it would be to attack the social safety net. Imagine the pushback if alleged deficit hawks like Poliquin started to attack programs that keep millions of senior citizens out of poverty.

So instead of submitting balanced budgets and voting for them, Poliquin and other Republicans just blame the poor for wasting resources, talk about pie-in-the-sky amendments, and pass bills that require the government to spend more money and take in less.

It’s easy to see why they would do it: They’ve been getting away with it for so long.

But Poliquin’s constituents would have to be on another planet to miss what’s going on here. He’s trying to have it both ways, and he’s betting that no one in Maine is paying attention.

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