Here we have a woman who looks at our $16 Trillion national debt and thinks, we simply must spend far more. After all, China (coincidentally our top foreign creditor) spends roughly 9 percent of their GDP on infrastructure, whereas we spend "just" 2.4 percent on similar projects. We can "do better," she says. The New York Sun's Ira Stoll spoils the statist party by pointing to a minor arithmetic-related complication:
The first problem is mathematical. U.S. gross domestic product is about $15 trillion a year. Increasing infrastructure “investment” to the 9% Chinese level that Ms. Warren cites would mean an additional $1 trillion a year in government spending. That’s an immense spending increase. To put it in context, the entire federal government spent about $3.6 trillion in 2011, on revenues of about $2.3 trillion. Where would this money come from? Not tax increases, right? Ms. Warren has already reportedly promised nearly a trillion dollar tax increase, spread over ten years, by raising the estate tax, imposing the Buffett Rule, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those earning $250,000 a year or more. But that money, she has said, would go toward deficit reduction. If Ms. Warren really wants to spend $1 trillion a year more on infrastructure, she’d need to eliminate all national defense spending ($705 billion) or all Social Security spending ($730 billion) and then find another more than quarter trillion dollars. Or else she’d have to go on the biggest borrowing or taxing binge in American history.
May I add another teensy quibble? We're already broke:
Elizabeth Warren isn't some random yahoo candidate with nutty ideas. She's her party's highest-profile candidate recruit of the cycle and has been offered a plum primetime speaking slot at the truncated (due to lack of funds, ironically) Democratic National Convention in September. Team Obama is choosing to showcase her worldview on the biggest possible stage. This shouldn't come as a surprise; the president and Ms. Warren are ideological soul-mates. Indeed, it was Warren's material that he cribbed in his infamous "you didn't build that" diatribe. And it's he who continues to propose an unpaid-for, half-trillion-dollar Stimulus 2.0 boondoggle, even in the face of his previous $825 Billion flop. With that in mind, watch the Obama campaign's breathtaking new ad on deficits:
Incredible. This president has been crowned the undisputed debt king, having added $5 Trillion in debt over just 3.5 years -- that's a trillion dollars more than his predecessor's wars and "tax cuts for millionaires" managed to accumulate in eight. This president's unanimously-defeated budget would have increased the gross national debt by $11 Trillion over the next decade, despite its inclusion of virtually every single tax hike he and Warren are pressing today. Yet he's attacking his opponent over this issue. Shameless doesn't even begin to cover it. The truth is that the president and the wannabe Senator are both playing versions of the same cynical game, which relies on voter ignorance. Out of one side of their collectivist mouths, they claim that their tax increases are designed to help control our unsustainable deficits and debt. This can be achieved, they say, by compelling "the rich" to pay their "fair share" (Quick reminders: It can't, "the rich" already do, and that cohort includes nearly a million small businesses). Out of the other side, they demand massive levels of new spending -- on top of our current, catastrophically bloated outlays. Obama and Warren couldn't care less about the contradiction; "deficit reduction" merely represents a popular buzz phrase to dupe voters into believing they have some plan in mind other than "more government." The president is generally more devious about camouflaging his intentions, as the mind-boggling commercial above proves. I'll at least credit Warren for being unapologetic and straightforward. She's openly advocating for hundreds of billions in additional, unpaid-for federal spending in order to keep up with a foreign government that already holds much of our existing debt. And she wasn't caught whispering this stuff on a hot mic; she put it in a television ad. Points for candor, I suppose, although that doesn't make her ideas any less insane or reckless.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography