Mitch McConnell's smarmy nonsense is the reason people hate politics. In a day and age where politicians can say anything and go unchallenged while the public shrugs, he can toss something out there that sounds great until you actually look at what he said. Then it falls apart. Here's one of those.
AMANPOUR: And do you accept the administration's position that if this, and Secretary Geithner's position, that if this is not worked out, at least by the deadline, that it will have catastrophic reaction aroundthe world and could even trigger another recession here?
MCCONNELL: I think what would reassure the world more than anything we could do would be to come together and use this opportunity,presented by the president's request of us to raise the debt ceiling, to do something about the debt. So I view it as a great opportunity to bring the two sides together and do something really significant for the country.
AMANPOUR: And one final question. On this issue of raising revenue, you talked about not wanting any sort of tax hikes, but you did agree to cut ethanol subsidies, the Senate did agree. Isn't that sort of -- doesn't that give some kind of hope that there is some sort of flexibility on this issue?
MCCONNELL: Well, the talks continue. I've already made the point that tax increases are not likely to pass the House or Senate, but the talks continue. We think it's important to take advantage of this opportunity to do something really important to move the country in a different direction. We've increased, under this administration, spending 35 percent in 2.5 years. We need to stop that. We need to go in a different direction, and this hopefully will be the opportunity to begin to do that.
AMANPOUR: Senator McConnell, thank you, and we'll keep our eye on those talks tomorrow.
MCCONNELL: Thank you.
When President Obama took office in 2009 and went to work on the 2010 budget, the first thing he did was bring the cost of the wars into the budget process. This is why it appears that spending increased by a staggering sum. Bush had waged the wars off the books for his 8 year term, and Obama felt that their cost was a budget item and should be transparently disclosed. In fact, actual spending in other areas has remained basically the same and is on track to decrease in the coming years.
That chart comes from the OMB. NationalPriorities.org analyzes it more carefully:
Today, federal spending accounts for more than 24% of GDP. About one-third of that spending, $1.2 trillion in FY2012, is devoted to Social Security and Medicare - programs aimed at senior citizens, the disabled and children and spouses of deceased workers (see chart below).
Spending on 'national defense' (a government definition) amounts to 20% of total federal spending. This does not include, however, foreign military financing grants, other military assistance, or other military-related expenditures.
The high deficits in the 1980s accelerated the accumulation of federal debt. Servicing this debt now consumes approximately 6% of spending, or about $242 billion.
Remember, entitlement spending comes from the respective trust funds for Medicare and Social Security. In Social Security's case, that spending is offset by payroll tax revenues for the most part, with some coming from the trust fund surplus. We're still paying off debt incurred by Reagan using the national credit card and Bush undoing the Clinton plan to pay that debt off.
This isn't rocket science. The facts have been available for a long time. Now let's have a look at revenues:
The blue line is corporate taxes as a percentage of total revenue. The red line is individual income tax as a portion of federal revenue. At the point where tax revenues (individual) were highest, we were also in times of great prosperity. So no. We don't have a spending problem. We have a revenue problem, and it's high time we started dealing with it responsibly. When people are in debt beyond their ability to pay, they have no option but to declare bankruptcy. When countries are in debt beyond their ability to pay, they have a moral obligation and the mechanisms in place to raise revenue to cover expenses.
It's time for Republicans to grow up and act like adults instead of petulant spoiled children.