Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Massa's Confused Inheritance

Having watched much of Glen Beck's interview with former Rep. Eric Massa, I can say little actual policy was discussed. I did miss one great policy gem in Massa's babble though. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank quotes Massa today as having said:

"You can't show up at a 'tea party' rally and claim that the entire budget deficit happened this year."
Actually you can, in fact that's the definition of a budget deficit. A deficit happens every year and goes into the budget as such. Massa was trotting out an old line about the debt, not the deficit. When President Obama came to office there was a government debt of about $12 trillion. Yet President Obama has now submitted two budgets. In those instances he could have driven the deficit to zero; doing so would not have solved the debt. Although it would have kept the debt from growing more.
Obama has actually promised to reduce the deficit in half by 2013. Doing so is a step in the right fiscal direction. Yet it would only put a small dent in the national debt. Much of which was accurred and continues to build under entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.
Massa may well have misspoken but the comment reveals just how difficult it is to separate out the debt and the deficit. When our (former) Congressmen misconstrue the two, it's even more encouraging when those showing up at tea parties often have it right.

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