Do voters agree with Dems’ “we don’t have a spending problem” talking point?

posted at 8:01 pm on February 14, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Another high-profile Democrat was at it today. This is clearly a strategy to impose the party’s deep denial on society at large. Via Guy Benson, here’s Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). Add him to Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama.

First of all, I want to disagree with those who say we have a spending problem. Everyone keeps saying we have a spending problem. And when they talk about that, it’s like there’s an assumption that somehow we as a nation are broke. We can’t afford these things any longer. We’re too broke to invest in education and housing and things like that. Well look at it this way, we’re the richest nation in the history of the world. We are now the richest nation in the world. We have the highest per capita income of any major nation. That kind of begs the question, doesn’t it? If we’re so rich, why are we so broke? Is it a spending problem? No.”

Well, there you go. We’re America. Problem solved! This, I think, is an attempt to martial belief in American exceptionalism to avoid making any of the necessary adjustments to the federal government’s bloated budgets and dangerous debts. Not a bad thought. I’ve often wondered if the very admirable inclination to believe that America is special might also work as a deterrent to necessary action. It’s pleasant and reassuring to believe, “Hey, we’re America. We can’t end up where Greece, or to a lesser degree, stagnant Japan has, because we just can’t.”

But voters don’t seem to be sinking into that warm bath just yet:

During recent budget negotiations, Obama reportedly said he doesn’t believe the government has a spending problem. Most voters — 83 percent — disagree. That includes most Republicans (97 percent), independents (87 percent) and Democrats (69 percent).

In addition, out of 13 issues tested, more voters are “extremely” concerned about government spending than any other issue. Moreover, nearly all voters are either extremely (32 percent) or very concerned (52 percent) about spending.

And, then there’s this:

By massive margins, voters say they would rather see the government cut spending than increase it as a way to boost the nation’s economy, according to a Fox News poll that showed, in hindsight, voters largely saying the 2009 stimulus did not work.

The poll showed that, by a 60-34 percent margin, voters say President Obama’s $800 billion strategy for pulling the American economy out of its one-and-a-half year long recession did not deliver on its promise. While more than half of Democrats said they thought the stimulus worked, 87 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Independents said they thought it did not.
Opposition to another round of stimulus runs two-to-one, according to the poll. This could be because 73 percent of voters polled say cutting government spending would be more likely to help strengthen the nation’s economy — as opposed to just 15 percent who believe increasing spending would do the trick.

Even a majority of Democrats think spending cuts would be good for the economy. Another victory for the conservative point of view in this week’s Rasmussen Poll:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters think cutting government spending would do more to help the economy than increasing government spending on infrastructure, clean energy and education projects. Thirty-six percent (36%) believe increased spending in those areas would help the economy more.

But in a perfect example of how unanimity on spending cuts falls apart once you start naming cuts, there’s this result from a Quinnipiac survey:

Quinnipiac

In the same poll, though, voters express far more confidence in Republicans to make cuts than Obama and Democrats, 48-39.

Throughout the election, voters (even young people) ranked the growing debt as their second or third concern behind the economy. Ignoring that is so patently irresponsible, I can’t help but think even Republicans can make hay out of it. It’s another reason, when it comes to the filibuster, I’m in the let that sucker ride camp.

Guy again:

Republicans should jump all over this with aggressive counter-messaging: Basically, “if they can’t even see the problem, how can they be trusted to fix it?” Run ads featuring a short montage of all these Democrats serially denying a problem that 83 percent of the public recognizes as real. Embed the dizzying national debt clock at the bottom of the screen. Point out that the debt was $8.6 trillion when Democrats took over Congress in 2007, and that it’s approaching $16.6 trillion today. The president is already in a precarious position on deficit-related issues. Why not turn up the heat by exploiting that vulnerability and laying the groundwork for a central theme of the 2014 campaign? It’s good politics and good policy.


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Ummm, yes?

Novembers election answered that question pretty well I think…

catmman on February 14, 2013 at 8:03 PM

The gop agrees with it as well, they voted to raise taxes.

Panther on February 14, 2013 at 8:04 PM

And yet…

Ukiah on February 14, 2013 at 8:07 PM

The sky is green.

The elves really make those toys.

Pixies really do live in little flowers.

Oz is a real place you can get to with a wind machine.

Orcas love to swim with people that call them “Willy”.

Vera Baker was just a really good friend of Obama.

Michelle Obama really loves to help you eat right.

Elton John is a Tiny Dancer.

Carnival cruise goers on the Triumph loved, loved, loved those excrement sandwiches at sea.

Putin really wishes us well.

Mars is really made out of red cheese that’s chunky (that’s why it looks so rocky).

Hillary Clinton is a genius.

Kathy Griffin is a virgin.

……and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys really likes to piss away millions on a team every year that fails.

Democrat Logic at it’s finest.

PappyD61 on February 14, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Must. Spend. More. Money.

We. Just. Can’t. Stop.

can_con on February 14, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Ummm, yes?

Novembers election answered that question pretty well I think…

catmman on February 14, 2013 at 8:03 PM

.
catman beat me to it.

Obviously, at least a “slim” majority agrees with the Democrats.

listens2glenn on February 14, 2013 at 8:09 PM

51% do.
Also.
The GOP ain’t exactly innocent here either.

NeoKong on February 14, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Leftists believe whatever their masters tell them. Thinking is hard.

Bmore on February 14, 2013 at 8:13 PM

I wonder if Quinnipac honestly phrased the question how it would turn it?

How many people would oppose “reducing the growth of federal spending by $120B a year for ten years”?

I’d guess less than 10%.

p0s3r on February 14, 2013 at 8:14 PM

51% do.
Also.
The GOP ain’t exactly innocent here either.

NeoKong on February 14, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Don’t confuse THAT 51% with a real 51%. Not that it matters now, but still…

can_con on February 14, 2013 at 8:17 PM

51% do.
Also.
The GOP ain’t exactly innocent here either.

NeoKong on February 14, 2013 at 8:09 PM

And therein lies the problem. Both parties are deep up to their eyeballs over who’s to blame for our economic predicament, so there is nobody left to take a stand to punish the offenders. And yet, we keep electing the same ol’ lying crooks, because they either give us what we want, or we’re afraid the other party will win. WHEN…WILL…WE…LEARN?!

HiJack on February 14, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Harkin:
We are now the richest nation in the world. We have the highest per capita income of any major nation. That kind of begs the question, doesn’t it? If we’re so rich, why are we so broke? Is it a spending problem? No.

We’re so broke because we owe $16.5 trillion, which means in 2012 we paid $220 billion just in interest on the debt, and we keep borrowing $1 trillion a year, and we’re not paying down any of the principle.

And Harkin mentions NONE of that in his comments. He’s either a liar, or a fool.

Paul-Cincy on February 14, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Mary Katharine Ham—when have you ever seen Rs smart when it comes to branding ANY message? If they do do anything, they are always a dollar short and a day late.

CoffeeLover on February 14, 2013 at 8:21 PM

No worries. Just drive right over the cliff, and take the rest of the world with us. Goodbye, Pax Americana.

tommy71 on February 14, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Estimated US GDP 2011: $15.09 Trillion Dollars

Estimated total government spending (All Levels): $6.3 trillion dollars http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/current_spending

That’s 41.75%

Obscene.

can_con on February 14, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Spending problem???

Hell, no.

They just spend whatever they want whenever they want, no problem.

Next.

coldwarrior on February 14, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Mark Levin just finished ripping Harkin.

O/T Breitbart has article that Dorner has been ID’d as the body in the burnt out cabin.

bluefox on February 14, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Democrats believe that America’s problem is a wealth allocation problem.

They are stupid, dangerous, and evil.

tom daschle concerned on February 14, 2013 at 8:28 PM

The GOP ain’t exactly innocent here either.

NeoKong on February 14, 2013 at 8:09 PM

.
They sure ain’t. They’re just slightly “less guilty”.
.

Hi ! … We’re the Democrat-lite Party.

We have one third less liberalism, than your regular Democrats !
(if even that much)

listens2glenn on February 14, 2013 at 8:31 PM

The dems get on message and fight. The repubs just bend over and ask for vaseline.

Wigglesworth on February 14, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Under a One World government there will be no government debt. All hale our future Utopia.

RickB on February 14, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Nothing wrong with our spending. The problem is the new “state of the art” equipment we use to print paper money, just can’t print fast enough.

The solution would be to start printing “million dollar” bills.

That’ll work fine, until we have to start printing “trillion dollar” bills.

listens2glenn on February 14, 2013 at 8:39 PM

Under a One World government there will be no government debt. All hale our future Utopia.

RickB on February 14, 2013 at 8:35 PM

.
You mean THIS ? (yeah, that link again)

listens2glenn on February 14, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Leaving aside all the usual quotes, charts, and polls …

… it does not matter whether voters “agree” with the Democratic talking point or not.

Those self same voters will want (and may get) the Dims’ heads on pikes when the reversion to mean collapses the global economy and unexpectedly reality rears its ugly head.

PolAgnostic on February 14, 2013 at 8:45 PM

“Spending problem” is something those evil, obstructionist, racist Republicans made up to try to prevent our ‘lord and savior’ from handing out FREESHIT. – A Typical Liberal

Pork-Chop on February 14, 2013 at 8:48 PM

O/T Levin’s 3rd hour is worth listening to. Rips Rove & Harkin.

bluefox on February 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Alcoholics. Every last one of them. Standing there, sticking their finger in our chests, breathing out their loathsome breath with spittle-flecked hatred: “F you, I don’t have a (hic) *$@#! drinking problem, you stupid mother$#@$% !. You’re the one with the (hic) #$@% problem.”

somewhatconcerned on February 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM

If we’re so rich, why are we so broke?

Hmmmm…good question. WHY are we $16 TRILLION in debt?

Nah, couldn’t be a SPENDING problem. Freaking IDIOTS!

GarandFan on February 14, 2013 at 9:08 PM

……and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys really likes to piss away millions on a team every year that fails.

Democrat Logic at it’s finest.

PappyD61 on February 14, 2013 at 8:07 PM

You left off…And God is real.

Wait…What? That’s Republican logic…Never mind.

Bandit13 on February 14, 2013 at 9:09 PM

I think the LSM will have to repeat this blatant lie for a few more months until the sheeple will start to buy into this.

RoadRunner on February 14, 2013 at 9:43 PM

here’s Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). Add him to Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama.

…at least Tom Harkin looks like he’s giving us the finger when he’s talking to us…he just can’t coordinate his hands… along with his mouth

KOOLAID2 on February 14, 2013 at 9:52 PM

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 this came after Nancy Pelosi promised “no new deficit spending”, then tripled deficit spending in her 1st budget, and then tripled it again in her 2nd budget.

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

The last Republican-majority budget had a deficit of less than $161 Billion in FY 2007, and the total national debt was $9 Trillion. Now Democrats want to pretend that an annual deficit under $1 Trillion ($1,000 BILLION) would be some great accomplishment, and the total national debt will be over $17 Trillion by the end of this Fiscal Year on Sept 30, 2013.

Pelosi and the Democrats promised no new deficit spending, and that they would provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt. Instead, Democrat majorities have nearly DOUBLED the mountains of debt in just 6 short years.

It’s time for a CHANGE.

ITguy on February 14, 2013 at 11:37 PM

Why not turn up the heat by exploiting that vulnerability and laying the groundwork for a central theme of the 2014 campaign? It’s good politics and good policy.

This is too clever a strategy for the republicans.

trigon on February 14, 2013 at 11:42 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 (D House, D Senate, D President signed the FY 2009 budget)
2) FY 2012 $1,327 Billion Deficit Democrat Majority (R House, D Senate, D Pres)
3) FY 2011 $1,300 Billion Deficit Democrat Majority (R House, D Senate, D Pres)
4) FY 2010 $1,293 Billion Deficit Democrat Majority (D House, D Senate, D Pres)
5) FY 2013 $901 Billion Deficit (assuming sequester happens) Democrat Majority (R House, D Senate, D Pres)
6) FY 2008 $459 Billion Deficit Democrat Majority (D House, D Senate, R Pres)

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 (R House, R Senate, D President)
2) FY 2001 $128 Billion Surplus Republican Majority (R House, R Senate, D President)
3) FY 1999 $126 Billion Surplus Republican Majority (R House, R Senate, D President)
4) FY 1998 $69 Billion Surplus Republican Majority (R House, R Senate, D President)
5) FY 1948 $12 Billion Surplus Republican Majority (R House, R Senate, D President)

ITguy on February 14, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Spending problem? How can we be broke when there’s all this money in the private sector and in people’s private pensions and 401K’s that the government can still confiscate?

I’m sure they’ll get around to it sometime in the next four years. Welcome to the United Socialist States of Amerika.

TarheelBen on February 15, 2013 at 12:38 AM

Tom Harkin sez “If we’re so rich, why are we so broke?”

That’s indeed the problem here, Tom. Because the WE who are “rich” is not the WE who are “broke”. The broke people are the government spendthrifts who couldn’t manage a budget with all of the supercomputers in the world at their disposal. The WE who are “rich” are all the rest of us, an unfortunate majority of which have managed to continue to elect the government spendthrifts over far too many election cycles.

It’s not your money, Tom. The hard earned taxes that are given to the government are the taxpayer’s money. Tell Harry to pass a budget through the Senate, Tom. Tell the President that HE should tell Harry to pass a budget through the Senate, Tom. Enough with the BS rhetoric already. Do your jobs. We have lots of unemployed who would be happy to take over for you if you can’t manage to get it done.

dissent555 on February 15, 2013 at 2:50 AM

If Americans believe we have a spending problem then why did they vote for Obama and the Dems?

Its like a crack addict saying he has a problem but nonetheless is still smoking crack.

Varchild on February 15, 2013 at 4:49 AM

Did Senator Harkin just say that OUR money is HIS to spend ? That OUR hard earned, accumulated wealth is at the beck and call to satisfy HIS desires ?
Are we the wealthiest country in the world ? Right now, yes. But that wealth resides in the people of this country. Not the Government. We are the wealthiest country in the world because, quite simply, we have have NOT ALLOWED the Government to take what we have earned.

Senator Harkin is mistaken to think that OUR savings are HIS piggybank.

Check you wallets.

Jabberwock on February 15, 2013 at 7:09 AM

NO,

But they are concerned whether honey boo boo should go to the LA or the FL paegent.

acyl72 on February 15, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Isn’t there some kind of “12 Step” meeting these spendaholic democrats can go to? Well, now that I think about it, you can’t make spendaholics go into a recovery program if they don’t want to be there…..guess the only solution is to vote them out.

olesparkie on February 15, 2013 at 8:13 AM

There should be no tolerance for this line of rhetoric:
“We’re too broke to invest in education and housing and things like that.”
No one is opposing spending any money on education, at least not on the local level. He should be forced via shaming to say “[w]e’re too broke to invest more in education and housing,” a sentiment many, including many Democrats, would agree with completely.
Also, I’m not sure if Harkin even understands that housing investment comes from private sector. A bit scary.

weffie on February 15, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Ah yes, Tom Harkin, the great Vietnam combat pilot who finally was forced to admit that he was nothing but a ferry pilot flying aircraft to be repaired from Japan to the Philippines. This guy is either delusional, an intentional fraud or a chronic liar.

rplat on February 15, 2013 at 9:22 AM

The sky is green.

[...]

PappyD61 on February 14, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Green skies are the harbingers of tornadoes.

Voyager on February 15, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Either we have to many bills or not enough money. Either argument could be right. Just depends on your view point.

The one argument that stands in either case is that Congress and the US Government in general can not and will not put needs of the people in priories and before their own. . States do it, Cities do it , Towns do it, “We The People” do it but the US Government seems that they can not or will not do it.

WHY?

jpcpt03 on February 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM

“The Big Lie version 2013.1″

Expect more. They are pressing this nonsense because there are enough Americans who will believe it and support more spending.

DrDeano on February 15, 2013 at 10:31 AM

This government is all about theatrics. They live on a time plane all their own. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are all the same day. If the miss the deadlines they will just pass the law making it retroactive, making it effective the day before the deadline, after all this is what they did in December. The undeniable irrefutable unequivocal problem in this country in the non accountable Congress that has the sole purpose of protection of its self and perpetuation of it’s office.

Give you another warring, DANGER,DANGER. By the mid 1970′s, VietNam was becoming a memory and Congress was going into a feeding frenzy with the so called peace dividend. By 1976 they cut the military so much that we could not muster one single full strength combat brigade. Thus started an operation called “Golden Graduate”. Dozens of former active military Officers who were currently successful salesman were recalled to active duty . Placed on the fourth floor of a windowless building given dozens of phone lines and print outs. Told to find these people and get them back in at any almost any promise. Never heard of this did ya?

My best find was a guy living and teaching school in Turkey. I convinced him that he could join the Reserves and do his week end drills at the US Embassy. It worked, I don’t know for how long.

jpcpt03 on February 15, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Why not turn up the heat by exploiting that vulnerability and laying the groundwork for a central theme of the 2014 campaign? It’s good politics and good policy.

Because they’re cowards who are afraid of being called names and having their morals questioned by liars, thieves, parasites and perverts.

rvastar on February 15, 2013 at 10:46 AM

If Americans believe we have a spending problem then why did they vote for Obama and the Dems?

Because Republicans are going to take away their abortions and their welfare checks…and fire them from their teaching jobs just because they’re not good at teaching…and slap chains on them and send them back to the plantations.

Duh.

rvastar on February 15, 2013 at 10:55 AM

What is happening is the Governors of the 50 States (mostly non Democrats) will continue to take back control of their States and ignore this irresponsible non accountable Federal Madness. Look not to the regressive Congress, for our only hope lies in States Rights and our State Governors.

jpcpt03 on February 15, 2013 at 12:24 PM