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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