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Sen. Tom Tiffany, a Republican from northern Wisconsin.

If nothing else, you have to give "Toxic Tom" Tiffany credit for chutzpah.

The Republican state senator, often referred to as Wisconsin's most anti-environment legislator, is running for the 7th Congressional District seat recently vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy.

That probably explains why out of the blue, he co-authored an op-ed column earlier this week proclaiming that something needs to be done about the burgeoning national debt.

It's unsustainable, Toxic Tom insists.

"But in the swamp of DC, it's just business as usual," he and state Rep. Dan Knodl wrote. "The federal debt has reached more than $22.5 trillion, which amounts to about $183,000 per taxpayer. Meanwhile, there is no sign that Washington politicians are anywhere close to solving the problem. They just kick the can down the road."

The two GOP legislators' conclusion is that we need to have a Convention of the States and pass an amendment that the federal budget must be in balance, just like the Wisconsin Constitution requires of state government. (Wisconsin two years ago passed a resolution joining 27 other states in calling for a Constitutional Convention. A total of 34 are needed to make it happen.)

But, Tiffany and his colleague failed to mention what really has been causing the national debt's explosion these past two years.

Not a word about President Donald Trump's and the Republican-controlled Congress' "tax reform" law that significantly lowered taxes for the wealthy and corporations and has caused the federal government's revenues to plummet.

Not a word that the budget deficit had been declining for several years until Trump and his allies decided to blow a $2.1 trillion hole in the budgets over the next 10 years.

Indeed, Tiffany just three months ago gave a speech in Milwaukee praising the Trump tax cuts, insisting they had revived manufacturing and lowered unemployment rates.

Let's not forget Tiffany's role in the Legislature, where he's voted for every tax break — most of which have resulted in outright giveaways to the wealthiest of corporations and individuals, the so-called manufacturing and agriculture tax credit being one of them.

Tiffany is one of those legislators who would OK handouts to profitable corporations while figuring out ways to keep the poor from getting health care coverage or food stamps.

As many predicted when the Trump tax cuts were passed at the end of 2017, the same members of Congress who voted for them will realize how they ballooned the national debt and then demand that everything from Social Security to anti-poverty programs be cut to get it under control.

If he's successful running for Congress, he will fit right in.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.  

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