Every so often, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough uncorks an epic, cathartic rant against the object of his network's undying affection. Yesterday was one of those days. Preach it, Joe:
"The President of the United States has absolutely no -- is in no position to talk about who's being 'reckless' with the debt. The real default has come from his lack of leadership on deficits and on debt. The federal deficit has been more than a trillion dollars all four years that he's been president. He's done absolutely nothing to curb these programs that will -- according to Democrats -- bankrupt us. And what has Harry Reid done in the Senate? What have Democrats done in the Senate? Absolutely nothing...1,357 days since Democrats passed a budget in the United States Senate.
The rest of the crew was mighty quiet as Scarborough laid out the facts. Former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. jumped in to note that controlling the debt is a separate issue from increasing the debt limit, contending that raising the debt ceiling merely pays for spending that's already happened. That's not quite true; much of that spending has been authorized, but hasn't gone through yet. Ford's point was that it's irresponsible for Republicans to leverage the (admittedly necessary) debt ceiling hike to force spending restraint. Scarborough was having none of it:
"They'll say you can't do it on the debt ceiling, you can't do it with the fiscal cliff, you can't do it when you're shutting down the government...at some point, it becomes more reckless to continue raising the debt ceiling without having Democrats come forward with a budget..."
I laid out my tactical preferences on the timing of this push yesterday, but Scarborough's exactly right that the Left will never concede that any moment is the appropriate time to take serious action to curtail short-term, and especially long-term, spending and obligations. Instead, they'll make noises about "having a conversation," and call Republicans economic terrorists. In that spirit, I'll leave you with this reckless, hostage-takin', full-faith-and-credit destroyin' flashback from Senator Barack Obama in 2006. I've highlighted a separate excerpt from this infamous speech before, but there's so much more:
Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers ... Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined ... This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on. Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans–a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies ... Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.
But everything's different now, we're informed, because that was a show vote and Democrats didn't quite have the votes to actually prevent a debt limit hike. So ignore all that impassioned commentary about betraying future generation, and the unspoken, insidious "debt tax." And pay no heed to the updated national debt scoreboard, which currently sits at $16.4 trillion. That's 'trillion' with a T, you guys. Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand.
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
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