Green Room

Yet another Democrat: Nope, we don’t have a spending problem

posted at 4:07 pm on February 14, 2013 by

It’s official, guys.  Between the president, Pelosi, Hoyer and now Harkin, this nonsense has become an explicit article of faith among members of America’s pro-science, reality-based political party:

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.”

If you’re interested in facts and figures, I’ve meticulously debunked this fallacy for the umpteenth time over at Townhall.  But let’s set aside economic arguments for a moment.  In order to justify their endless “investments,” Democrats have evidently decided to embrace a virulent and deeply unpopular strain of fiscal denialism.  How unpopular?

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.

Refusing to acknowledge this patently obvious problem is risky business for the Left.  The president extracted his pound of flesh on tax increases in the fiscal cliff resolution; the public is now strongly behind the idea of prioritizing spending cuts.  With a gross national debt that exceeds our GDP, Americans intuitively understand that the government is spending too much and that the debt is getting out of hand.  Democrats are brazenly telling the public not to believe their own lying eyes.  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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I’m not broke! I have a freaking house!

Now, granted, I have two mortgages on that house, and bought all the furnishings on credit, but look how rich I am! How can someone who has as much money as me possibly be broke! It ain’t cause I have a spending problem, because the mere existence of a lot of money precludes any possibility that I might be spending a lot of money!

The Schaef on February 14, 2013 at 4:18 PM

The president is already in a precarious position on deficit-related issues. Why not turn up the heat by exploiting that vulnerability

My guess why no Republican is pursuing this angle is that none of them are really serious about cutting the deficit. Everyone wants to cut spending in someone elses district but our federal funded bike trail and nature preserve is absolutely necessary to spur the economy or something.

Shtetl G on February 14, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Looks like the Dems have gotten on board with their new talking point. This kind of nonsense was being spewed by the likes of Van Jones and Richard Trumka during Obama’s first term, but now apparently it’s gone mainstream within the party. I don’t know what’s more frightening. The idea that the Democrats truly don’t believe we have a spending problem after 4 consecutive trillion dollar annual deficits and a debt currently at $16.5 trillion or that they know we have a spending problem and are willing to lie to the nation about it.

Doughboy on February 14, 2013 at 4:39 PM

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.

It’s not in the best interest of anyone (except for power hungry nutjobs) for a distant, unaccountable, self-serving, faceless bureaucracy to handle things like “education” and “housing.”

These complex, diverse issues are best left to the (more than capable) states and local authorities where the communities actually have a voice and input.

This is common sense, no? I’ll never understand why the average Dem voter doesn’t “get” federalism. It’s in their best interest!

Further, it’s interesting that Harkin mentioned education and housing: two things the federal government has messed up beyond belief, crushing the hopes and dreams of millions of lower and middle-income families along the way.

visions on February 14, 2013 at 4:49 PM

He started to explain that the problem was a “misallocation” of capital. That would be interesting to hear. Was he about to say that we’re not allocating enough to government?

InterestedObserver on February 14, 2013 at 6:07 PM

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.”

This begs the question: is it possible for anyone on the left to make a policy argument without using a strawman or non sequitur anymore?

besser tot als rot on February 15, 2013 at 12:08 AM

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’s a total non sequitur, unless , they’re likening it to a household: “Look we have all this income!! We have all this disposable cash!! We can’t be near bankruptcy!

That means all of it is the government’s for the taking. However, even observers of Keynesian fiscal policy know that taxation has a negative effect on that very same thing that they are touting: economic activity.

Static analysis kills.

That’s only the first way that this utterance is irredeemably economically illiterate.

Axeman on February 15, 2013 at 8:35 AM

To the liberal (progressive) mind, there is never a spending issue, it’s always a revenue issue.

sadatoni on February 15, 2013 at 9:16 AM