Democrats want Americans to know that the federal government does not have a spending problem. President Obama told John Boehner that our long-term fiscal woes can be chalked up to a "healthcare problem," Nancy Pelosi described the issue as a "budget deficit problem," (which is separate and distinct from a spending problem, evidently), and now the number two Democrat in the House is taking a crack at framing his party's fiscal denialism:
ANCHOR: Sir, does the country have a spending problem?
HOYER: Does the country have a spending problem? The country has a paying-for problem. We haven't paid for what we bought. We haven't paid for the tax cuts, we haven't paid for the wars...
ANCHOR: Are we promising too much?
HOYER: Absolutely. If we don't pay, we shouldn't buy.
ANCHOR: So how is this different from a spending problem?
HOYER: Well, we spent a lot of money when George Bush was President of the United States...
Bravo, Congressman. (1) Concoct a plausible-sounding alternative to describing the government's patently obvious spending problem, (2) insinuate that it's a revenue issue, (3) imply that the bulk of the gap is due to unpaid-for tax cuts and wars -- hint: Bush, (4) pay lip service to future fiscal restraint, (5) explicitly blame Bush. Perfect. We've dealt with the "revenue problem" fallacy ad nauseam, so I won't retread that ground here. But I would like to remind Rep. Hoyer that the FY 2007 budget was the last spending blueprint crafted by Republicans. President Bush resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and the GOP controlled both houses of Congress in 2006. The Bush "tax cuts for the rich" (and the non-rich) were in full swing, as were both unpaid-for wars. That year's annual deficit was $161 billion, a tiny fraction of 2012's $1.1 trillion shortfall. Since Hoyer's party took over the House in January 2007, the national debt -- accumulated over the entire history of our nation -- stood at $8.6 trillion. It has nearly doubled in the ensuing six years. Steny "Can't Pay, Don't Buy" Hoyer was a ranking Democrat when his party jammed through the stimulus and Obamacare, while vociferously opposing all efforts to slow down and corral our entitlement overpromising. And they wonder why their party isn't trusted on deficits. You can't cure an ailment that you adamantly refuse to honestly diagnose.