Well no, there seems to be something in the air. It is a craziness that has infected Washington. For some reason, Speaker John Boehner believes that we have a spending problem. The problem isn’t that our tax revenues are ridiculously low. That’s not the problem. The problem is spending, according to Boehner. Watch the video as he stomps off:
It is time for Americans to recognize what we are watching. We are not either watching a negotiation between Democrats and Republicans or we are watching some sort of complicated economic equation between liberals and conservatives. The data is clear. We do not have a spending problem.
We have a revenue problem.
The data is clear.
In 2001, President Bill Clinton and the Democrats handed President George W. Bush and the Republicans a budget surplus. We were paying down the deficit. We started two wars which were not paid for. Not one Republican has stood up and said that this was irresponsible and that we should cut the Pentagon budget in order to make up for the spending. That would make sense, wouldn’t it? The Bush administration then turned around and gave huge tax cuts to the rich. I have no problem with giving tax cuts to the rich. If we have a surplus of money and the tax cuts are not going to cut into the surplus then great. Unfortunately, the tax cuts killed the surplus. They are continuing to do damage today. The Bush administration sold the American people on the fantasy that tax cuts pay for themselves. These tax cuts have not. Finally, the economic downturn has decreased revenue and therefore increased the deficit.
None of these concepts is all that difficult. I use no fancy math. There were no smoke and mirrors. All of this information is easily obtainable. So, we must recognize that there is something else going on. This is not an argument over spending. This is an argument over whether we will let Republicans kill programs that they hate. It is that simple. WE must recognize what is truly going on.
Update: Erza Klein has a great summary of what’s going on with this debt ceiling impasse.
What it is: The debt ceiling is a legal cap on the amount of money the Treasury can borrow to fund existing government functions. It essentially authorizes the Treasury to borrow the money necessary to pay the bills incurred by the federal government.
Where it came from: Before 1917, Congress authorized the Treasury to issue bonds for specific purposes. But that meant approving every bond separately. To fund World War I, Congress decided to give the Treasury more latitude by instituting caps on how much it could borrow through each type of bond, rather than forcing it to get every new bond approved separately. In 1939, this was changed so that most bonds were bound by the same limit, effectively creating the general debt ceiling we have today. (more…)