Answer: It can’t, obviously, which is why Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) doesn’t respond to Chris Wallace’s point. Instead, Durbin tries to argue that deficit reform has taken place, which is almost as absurd as calling $16 trillion in debt “sustainable” without a balanced budget to, y’know, sustain it (via Doug Powers at the Boss Emeritus’ place):
This is a bit of a rhetorical shell game being played by Durbin in this exchange. Deficits and debt are two different albeit related issues. Durbin wants to talk about deficit reduction, but doesn’t explain that the reduction still produces deficits that add to the national debt.
Furthermore, the deficit reduction which Durbin claims consists of smoke and mirrors. The reduction is only from earlier projections in the Obama administration based on (a) war spending that’s going to end in 2014 no matter what, and (b) higher baseline spending based on the fiscal and economic crisis of 2008. The truth is that the lowest deficit projected over the next ten years (over $400 billion) is higher than all but one of the budget deficits run by George W. Bush and Republican-controlled Congresses from fiscal years 2001-2007.
We haven’t solved the deficit problem; we’re actually making it worse. As the deficits accumulate, it makes the debt unsustainable. Pretty much everything Durbin says in this clip is false, including “Chris, here’s the good news.”