Fun: Let’s ask a Democratic leader if we have a spending problem

posted at 7:01 pm on February 12, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

A fitting amuse bouche for tonight’s meal, which is officially so desperate for a sense of mystery and import, the president briefly appeared today to announce that there would be no announcements about the content thereof. You big tease.

Expect to hear a lot more of this in this vein tonight. Denial: It ain’t just the first of five stages in the progression of the grief process. Isn’t that the saying? Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, of CNBC, is actually able to make Rep. Steny Hoyer wander into some mixed messaging here as he desperately clings to the idea there is no spending problem:

“Sir, does the country have a spending problem?” Caruso-Cabrera asked.

“Does the country have a – the country has a paying-for problem,” Hoyer replied. “We haven’t paid for what we’ve bought.”

“Are we promising too much?” Caruso-Cabrera pressed.

“Absolutely,” Hoyer agreed. “If we don’t pay, we shouldn’t buy.”

“How is that different from a spending problem?” She followed up.

“We spent a lot of money when George Bush was President of the United States,” Hoyer replied.

“So, that’s eight years and now another eight years of a lot of spending, so we’re going on 16 years of a lot of spending now,” Caruso-Cabrera shot back.

“We need to stop it,” Hoyer agreed.

“Any day,” Caruso-Cabrera agreed.

“We need to stop it,” presumably with tax hikes and “investments.” Notice Hoyer lists tax cuts as the first thing that government must “pay for,” ignoring the government’s responsibility to make sure anything it takes from its citizens is spent wisely.

And, all of this is just pre-game for our national political Pro Bowl— the most notoriously useless and unenjoyable spectacle of the year!

[A]s any football fan will acknowledge, the Pro Bowl is a quasi-necessary event that is executed in a fundamentally flawed fashion. For starters, it occurs at the end of the season, instead of at the halfway point of the season like in other sports. This is because of players’ legitimate fear of injury in a game that has only pride on the line; as a result, everybody plays at about half-speed. Selected players decline to go, so you get the second, third, and sometimes fourth-best players at each position. The NFL moved it to the week before the Super Bowl, to make it less of an afterthought to the season, but now the players on teams in the Super Bowl skip the game.

My friends, the president’s State of the Union Address is our national pro bowl — a simulation of the art of persuasion and politics featuring all the big stars, played at about half speed, with no real consequence.

Thank you, Jim Geraghty, for an analogy that perfectly encapsulates my feelings for this ridiculous event, better watched drunk, best not watched at all. I dislike the SOTU so much, I’ve started caring about pitchers and catchers. I swear I might vote for the first guy or gal who promises to just drop off a letter for Congress because what was good enough for Jefferson is good enough for me, dangit. And, as if we needed further proof of how contemptible the modern SOTU tradition of “kingly boredom” is, it was brought to you by Woodrow Wilson. That guy.

A modest proposal: the length of the SOTU could really be tamed by putting the entire Congress on treadmills for its duration. They start droppin’, you stop talking. Let’s Move!

I leave you with the CBO, which is not in denial:

Under current law, the aging of the population, the rising costs of health care, and the scheduled expansion in federal subsidies for health insurance will substantially boost federal spending on Social Security and the government’s major health care programs, relative to GDP, for the next 10 years and for decades thereafter. Unless the laws governing those pro- grams are changed—or the increased spending is accompanied by corresponding reductions in other spending, sufficiently higher tax revenues, or a combination of the two—debt will rise sharply relative to GDP after 2023.

And, this laugher: What do you think? Excerpt from tonight’s speech or one from 6 dozen others where he told the same whopper:

“Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime,” he’ll say. “It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”


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Thank you, Jim Geraghty, for an analogy that perfectly encapsulates my feelings for this ridiculous event, better watched drunk, best not watched at all. I dislike the SOTU so much, I’ve started caring about pitchers and catchers. I swear I might vote for the first guy or gal who promises to just drop off a letter for Congress because what was good enough for Jefferson is good enough for me, dangit.

God, I love me some MKH.

peski on February 12, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Rep. Steny Hoyer

…a complete and TOTAL A$$!

KOOLAID2 on February 12, 2013 at 7:10 PM

I think the whole GOP caucus should stand up and yell “You Lie”.

What are they going to do – hand slap them all?

gophergirl on February 12, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Not a single dime….

Nope. Sixty Trillion Dimes, maybe… but not a single one.

Noncentsical on February 12, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Better yet, they should walk out en masse, at the first lie.

SMACKRUNNER on February 12, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime,” he’ll say.

Please, his proposal will be to increase spending by x and taxes by x+y which leads to a shrinking deficit.

Idiots think that just because they plan to tax us more than they plan to spend on us that it’s a net plus.

Charlemagne on February 12, 2013 at 7:14 PM

We don’t have a spending problem.

We simply have a problem with reallocating funds to the companies, unions and looters that make sure we stay in office without you proles making a big deal about it.

Shut Up, he explained.

BigWyo on February 12, 2013 at 7:14 PM

“We spent a lot of money when George Bush was President of the United States,” Hoyer replied.

Yeah, how much was during the last 2 years when you $hitheads controlled congress???

BigWyo on February 12, 2013 at 7:20 PM

It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government

So he and Biden are resigning?

rbj on February 12, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Of course we have a spending problem! You see, if the government let’s you keep anything, that’s spending. Tax cuts are spending, get it? Now if you greedy people would simply surrender all of your possessions to the government and all future possessions as well, then the spending problem is solved! This solves the wealth gap, equalizes everyone and creates the Social Justice utopia we’ve all been pining for.

trubble on February 12, 2013 at 7:25 PM

if Rs are to win again, I do think they’ll have to repudiate a lot of the Bush stuff. The further away we get the worse he looks. And the wrongheadedness of some of his policies (NCLB, etc) will be an albatross for a long time…and in the hands of the left will do significant damage to the country

not only that, but he was weak in defending conservative principles and weak in bringing reason to the national conversation (probably because he’s a lib)…for example the horrible shape our culture is in.

i don’t know who that person is…or if even that person can plausibly get elected, or nominated. the conveyor belt can maybe be slowed down, but that’s about all (yes, and I Love Lucy did flash thru my mind there)

r keller on February 12, 2013 at 7:28 PM

“We spent a lot of money when George Bush was President of the United States,” Hoyer replied.

Average Outlays, as percentages of GDP, during four all-Republican budgets, FY 2004-2007:
19.8% of GDP

Average Outlays, as percentages of GDP, during two all-Democrat Fiscal Years 2009-2010:
24.7% of GDP

Data Source: Budget numbers directly from the White House Office of Management and Budget

Yes, it’s a Democrat spending problem. And Nancy Pelosi promised “no new deficit spending”, then tripled deficit spending in her 1st budget, and then tripled it again in her 2nd budget. The last Republican-majority budget had a deficit of less than $161 Billion in FY 2007. Now Democrats want to pretend that a deficit under $1 Trillion ($1,000 BILLION) would be some great accomplishment.

Nancy Pelosi, 2006:

Over the past decade, the Republican controlled Congress took our nation in the wrong direction. Too many Americans are paying a heavy price for those wrong choices: record costs for energy, health care and education; jobs shipped overseas; and budgets that heap record debt on our children. For millions, the middle-class dream has been replaced by a middle-class squeeze…

Democrats are proposing a New Direction for America…

With integrity, civility and fiscal discipline, our New Direction for America will use commonsense principles to address the aspirations and fulfill the hopes and dreams of all Americans. That is our promise to the American people….

Our federal budget should be a statement of our national values. One of those values is responsibility. Democrats are committed to ending years of irresponsible budget policies that have produced historic deficits. Instead of piling trillions of dollars of debt onto our children and grandchildren, we will restore “Pay As You Go” budget discipline.

Budget discipline has been abandoned by the Bush Administration and its Republican congressional majorities. Congress under Republican control has turned a projected $5.6 trillion 10-year surplus at the end of the Clinton years into a nearly $3 trillion deficit– including the four worst deficits in the history of America. The nation’s debt ceiling has been raised four times in just five years to more than $8.9 trillion. Nearly half of our nation’s record debt is owned by foreign countries including China and Japan. Without a return to fiscal discipline, the foreign countries that make our computers, our clothing and our toys will soon be making our foreign policy. Deficit spending is not just a fiscal problem – it’s a national security issue as well.

Our New Direction is committed to “Pay As You Go” budgeting – no more deficit spending.

And Nancy Pelosi January 4, 2007 when she became Speaker of the House:

After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending. Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.

- New Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 01/04/2007

ITguy on February 12, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Charge It!!!! – Wilma and Betsy Lib

Electrongod on February 12, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Bark will do his impersonation of Damon Wayan’s nonsensical janitor, and the libs will collectively crap their pants in rapturous joy.

Meanwhile another 11,000 people went on food stamps today, and an equal number will join them tomorrow and the next day and the next and the next.

Bishop on February 12, 2013 at 7:36 PM

The SIX WORST DEFICITS in the history of America have all come while Democrats controlled a majority of Washington, D.C. (holding 2+ of the House, Senate, and Presidency): FY 2008 – FY 2013.
1) FY 2009 $1,413 Billion Deficit Democrat Majority
2) FY 2012 $1,327 Billion Deficit Democrat Majority
3) FY 2011 $1,300 Billion Deficit Democrat Majority
4) FY 2010 $1,293 Billion Deficit Democrat Majority
5) FY 2013 $901 Billion Deficit (assuming sequester happens) Democrat Majority
6) FY 2008 $459 Billion Deficit Democrat Majority

And the FIVE BIGGEST SURPLUSES in the history of America have all come when Republicans controlled a majority of Washington, D.C. (holding 2+ of the House, Senate, and Presidency):

1) FY 2000 $236 Billion Surplus Republican Majority
2) FY 2001 $128 Billion Surplus Republican Majority
3) FY 1999 $126 Billion Surplus Republican Majority
4) FY 1998 $69 Billion Surplus Republican Majority
5) FY 1948 $12 Billion Surplus Republican Majority

ITguy on February 12, 2013 at 7:39 PM

If the country wasn’t producing so much privately created energy from fracking right now, we’d have food riots, tent cities and degraded state and municipal governments. Well, more degraded than we have already.

Despite all this, Democrats, who are evil people, want to make it worse. They want ideology to triumph even if we all starve in the process. Hence, we don’t have a spending problem, we have a ideological unwillingness on the part of some Americans to toe the line, we have Republicans who won’t pay for the Soviet central plan as devised by our betters.

MTF on February 12, 2013 at 7:54 PM

I think the whole GOP caucus should stand up and yell “You Lie”.

What are they going to do – hand slap them all?

gophergirl on February 12, 2013 at 7:10 PM

No, what the entire GOP caucus should do is not show up. Instead they should meet in the rotunda with a big screen tv broadcasting the speech and down a shot every time the dog-eater mentions anything to do with money (spending, taxes, revenue, savings, investment, etc). No way anybody makes it through fifteen minutes without being totally plastered.

HiJack on February 12, 2013 at 8:03 PM

It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government

So he and Biden are resigning?

rbj on February 12, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Why did you stop with just those two?

HiJack on February 12, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Notice Hoyer lists tax cuts as the first thing that government must “pay for,”

If Hoyer thinks that tax cuts have to be paid for, where is his plan to pay for the $3 trillion tax cut he voted for this year for everyone making less than $400k?

Mark1971 on February 12, 2013 at 8:07 PM

The power of the media: How many people remember that the country -according to initial projections- is currently in contraction?

BKeyser on February 12, 2013 at 8:13 PM

Not watching the liepalooza tonight.

PappyD61 on February 12, 2013 at 8:22 PM

A modest proposal: the length of the SOTU could really be tamed by putting the entire Congress on treadmills for its duration. They start droppin’, you stop talking. Let’s Move!

Put it to rhyme. Better, deliver it as a musical! That should shorten it.

Obama is nauseating. And his 2nd inaugural was arrogant and angry. I don’t like his attitude or his tone. Or his words. I believe NOTHING Obama says. So much of what he says, especially what he promises, proves later to be wrong, a lie. Forget Obamateurisms. How about Obamalies? That’s a rich vein right there.

Paul-Cincy on February 12, 2013 at 8:32 PM

I think the whole GOP caucus should stand up and yell “You Lie”.

What are they going to do – hand slap them all?

gophergirl on February 12, 2013 at 7:10 PM

I don’t know what Obama does when he speaks, but lie. He once rhetorically asked, “Just words?”. No. With him, it’s “just lies”. He lies and lies and lies and lies. That what he does.

Paul-Cincy on February 12, 2013 at 8:34 PM

If you go to bing.com/politics you can respond live to the speech.

If you have to watch it, might as well give your opinion.

Barred on February 12, 2013 at 9:05 PM

“A market based solution to climate change…” a.k.a. a carbon trading scheme.

My friends, there will be no greater financial scam in the history of the economy than a carbon permit market or a trading quota scheme… It will be the most corrupt and poorly regulated commodity in the history of the world.

Washington Fancy on February 12, 2013 at 9:40 PM

“We can’t ask the current seniors to bear the brunt of the rising costs alone…”

Actually, yes we can. In fact we should.

Because I’m 31, and my generation is going to be paying back the
current debt of $16 trillion for the rest of our lives through
borderline indentured servitude… That debt that the seniors’
generation, represented by seniors like Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer
put on us, including $7 trillion added in just the last four years…

Washington Fancy on February 12, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Country is broken, and has been for awhile.

WisCon on February 12, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Wow…a CNBC host had Steny Hoyer on live and was talking over him, laughing at his idiotic responses and mocking him?

Be still my heart!

Jaibones on February 12, 2013 at 10:56 PM

“We can’t ask the current seniors to bear the brunt of the rising costs alone…”

Actually, yes we can. In fact we should.

Because I’m 31, and my generation is going to be paying back the
current debt of $16 trillion for the rest of our lives through
borderline indentured servitude… That debt that the seniors’
generation, represented by seniors like Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer
put on us, including $7 trillion added in just the last four years…

Washington Fancy on February 12, 2013 at 9:41 PM

and my generation paid for the ones before us.. I expect we all have to make sacrifices, but this smacks of me me me and only me thinking that got us here in the first place.. My costs are rising, and I didn’t choose a catastrophic work injury and retirement at 50 either.

So at what point do I simply die to make you happy?

My pension on SSD is a mere 1454 a month, we live within our means, two minor kids, an another 780 for both of them off my social security which ends when they graduate high school.. my wife works fulltime.. and we still barely make 40,000 in a year.. Workers comp pays most of my medical bills, but not all, and medicare is a joke..

I’m locked into the current system, so opting out, running back into the work force and buying an IRA isn’t in the cards.. so what’s your solution?

poverty for those who are captive to the system?

If you can find a way to rid SSD of all the bogus claims, I’m all ears. I’m sick of being made to feel ashamed I had my back broken in two places.. sorry you feel trapped, but so are we..

mark81150 on February 12, 2013 at 11:39 PM

If you can find a way to rid SSD of all the bogus claims, I’m all ears. I’m sick of being made to feel ashamed I had my back broken in two places.. sorry you feel trapped, but so are we..

mark81150 on February 12, 2013 at 11:39 PM

Sorry, but your misfortune, great or small, inherited or acquired, is not an obligation on others.

virgo on February 13, 2013 at 1:12 AM

This is the classic example of pseudo-psychobabble doublespeak you will get from any Democrat in Congress who has been there longer than 10 years. On a personal observation, if Hoyer were to be the average Joe Blow worker in some corporation applying this same BS principle, he would be out of a job and on the street seconds after opening his mouth.

Yet another example of why term limitation is seriously needed in Congress. As long as there are idiots like Hoyer in office, things in this country are only going to get worse!

pilamaye on February 13, 2013 at 5:52 AM

Funny, last week I was wondering why I had not heard anything from old Steny for a while.

Sheesh. Now I know.

Until the media asks what happens to the deficit if the “rich” are taxed at 100% for two or three years? Kinda like throwing a raisin at a moving freight train to get it to slow down.

Context, man. Context.

BigAlSouth on February 13, 2013 at 6:08 AM

“Sir, does the country have a spending problem?” Caruso-Cabrera asked.

“Does the country have a – the country has a paying-for problem,” Hoyer replied. “We haven’t paid for what we’ve bought.”

“Are we promising too much?” Caruso-Cabrera pressed.

“Absolutely,” Hoyer agreed. “If we don’t pay, we shouldn’t buy.”

“How is that different from a spending problem?” She followed up.

“We spent a lot of money when George Bush was President of the United States,” Hoyer replied.

The classic I-can’t-even-spin-an-answer-so-I’ll-just-fall-back-on-the-blame-Boooooosh line.

Bitter Clinger on February 13, 2013 at 7:32 AM

“Does the country have a – the country has a paying-for problem,” Hoyer replied. “We haven’t paid for what we’ve bought.”

Here is how I analyze this pathetic excuse for a leader’s answer.

Who is responsible for spending in this country? Congress is
Who is responsible for paying for the spending? We the people are

So, if it’s not a spending problem, it’s not their problem. You see it’s our fault because we aren’t providing enough “paying-for” money.

Hand it over—-NOW!!!!

dirtseller on February 13, 2013 at 8:45 AM

If you can find a way to rid SSD of all the bogus claims, I’m all ears. I’m sick of being made to feel ashamed I had my back broken in two places.. sorry you feel trapped, but so are we..

mark81150 on February 12, 2013 at 11:39 PM

Sorry, but your misfortune, great or small, inherited or acquired, is not an obligation on others.

virgo on February 13, 2013 at 1:12 AM

There was a time when things didn’t cost this much and families took care of their own, or CHARITIES run by religious & non-religious organizations etc.
Old people used to get passed around to live with family, even extended family.
And there were places for people to go. I’m not saying it was ideal all the time.
But it is not the role of the Federal govt to do any of this.
If state govts want to do things like this, let the people in that state decide to do such things.
The problems is the FED has been doing things it has no enumerated powers to do.
Plus most people who are ‘disabled’, that I have ever met can actually do some kind of work. But it’s easier to apply for SSD & sit at home.

My pension on SSD is a mere 1454 a month

mark81150 on February 12, 2013 at 11:39 PM

Do you know that after taxes I make barely $2000 per month?
And at one time there were 4 kids in the house.
And you are only a captive if you want to be. You have a mind & use a computer, become an entrepreneur. My dad did. He learned on his own how to create & maintain websites & he’s very good at it.
I’m not trying to be insensitive, but this notion of you being a captive SSD recipient bcs you broke your back does not mean you can’t do anything.
This is a problem you have yourself. The Federal govt should not be paying you to do nothing.

Badger40 on February 13, 2013 at 9:11 AM

You know what really torks me? All these older people sanctimoniously proclaiming “I paid into the system, so I paid for my Social Security. I deserve it.” Not at the rate I pay, you didn’t. Back when many of these graybeards started paying in, the rate was 2%. Now it’s 6.2% and still going up. And since you all wrecked the economy, there is no full time work to be had, so I need to work as a contractor. As a contractor, I pay another 6.2% on top of it. Plus 2.9% for Medicare when you all pay 1.45%.

You people should be ashamed of yourselves. Paying in 2% and taking out 6%. In my dictionary, that is known as theft.

JoseQuinones on February 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM