Le sigh. Granted, there are a lot of things — actually, most of the things — in this short monologue of Sen. McCaskill’s with which I take issue. That Europe is still struggling because they chose “austerity,” while the United States’ relatively (relatively!) good unemployment rate is because we chose stimulus? Er… no. Much of Europe is and will continue to struggle because they went through years and years of building up gigantically unsustainable welfare states, pension systems, and total deficits and they are still operating under high taxes, prohibitive regulations, and financial rules that the plague of the euro only exacerbates. That ObamaCare is helping to slow the pace of healthcare cost increases? Yeah, no — healthcare costs were slowing down well before ObamaCare, and all signs point to healthcare costs picking back up again in the next few years. That we have increased our deficit by “a lot”? …Whoop de doo.
But the general sentiment here — that our deficits and national debt are a really, really serious and urgent problem and that we really shouldn’t be blithely glossing over that fact — is one to which I really wish the rest of the Democratic caucus would more thoroughly own up. Instead of, you know, whaling on Republicans for supposedly hating poor, hungry children at even the smallest suggestion of a budget cut, and attacking Republicans’ irresponsibility at every debt-ceiling juncture.
I do believe a $17 trillion debt is irresponsible. I do believe that. … It’s not like I am such a fiscal hawk that I don’t see that there are needs out there that we need to address. Supporting extending unemployment insurance, all of those things. … I don’t think we can keep our eye completely off that ball. So, some of the people who think, well, you know, deficits don’t matter, and debt doesn’t matter. We have cut our deficit by a lot, and that’s great, but I don’t think it’s responsible to go back to the old way, ’cause you know what the old way was? We said yes to everybody. You know, we want to be loved. That’s why we run for office. … We have ourselves doing things that federal government was never intended to do. I mean, we weren’t supposed to be behind municipal firetrucks in the federal government. We’re doing that now. That’s not the way our Constitution was designed. We weren’t supposed to have the federal government paying for education. We are not doing a lot of that. … I do think we have to be careful about making the federal government the answer for everything, because it’s going to put us in a position where we’re not a first-tier nation anymore if we get swallowed up by the debt.