The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Heads in the Sand (or somewhere else)

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) today became the latest in a growing list of Democrats who claim that the federal government does not have a spending problem.  It is not clear where their heads are located, but surely these members of Congress are either being deliberately obtuse or operating on a set of assumptions from some parallel universe. This morning, on the floor of the Senate, Sen. Harkin stated that "I think, 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. This week began with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stating on Fox News Sunday that "We have to recognize that, which cuts really help us and which cuts hurt our  future? And cuts in education, scientific research and the rest are harmful, and  they are what are affected by the sequestration.  So, it is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem. We have a  budget deficit problem that we have to address." There was some semblance of a reality check on this issue when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in response to a question from the media on Monday, February 11 about Leader Pelosi's comments and whether or not President Obama agrees with her, said, "Of course, the President believes that we have a spending problem that is specifically driven by -- and I think every economist worth this -- whose insights into this area are worth the paper on which his or her Ph.D. is printed, would tell you that the principal driver when it comes to spending of our deficits and debt is health care spending.  And that's just a fact. " But on the next day, Tuesday, February 12, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) told CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, that "The country has a paying for problem. We haven't paid for what we bought, we haven't paid for our tax cuts, we haven't paid for war."  When asked if the government is promising too much, he said, "If we don't pay, we shouldn't buy." In response to Caruso-Cabrera's question about how is that different from a spending problem, Rep. Hoyer said, "Well, we spent a lot of money when George Bush was president of the United States in the House and Senate were controlled by Republicans. We spent a lot of money." Sen. Harkin's remarks two days later also contradict both the comments from the White House as well as fiscal reality. It does appear that this absurd new claim will continue to be touted by Democrats on Capitol Hill. Since everything is related to Kevin Bacon, the comments by the three member of Congress remind me of the final scene in "Animal House" during which Bacon's character, Chip Diller, stands before a stampede of people screaming "all is well" before he gets run over and flattened on the sidewalk.  Unfortunately, the taxpayers are going to suffer Chip's fate when runaway spending bankrupts the country and destroys the future of our children and grandchildren. Sen. Harkin, Minority Leader Pelosi  and Minority Whip Hoyer need to get their collective heads out of wherever they are currently located and deal with the reality of the country's $16.5 trillion reported debt and $61 trillion total debt.

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