Heidi Heitkamp Lacks The Courage Of Her Fiscal Convictions


Over the holiday weekend, in a column for the Great Plains Examiner, Democrat Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp made more of her phony “balanced budget” promises.

Fiscal discipline won’t come by itself. That’s why I am committed to supporting a balanced budget amendment that doesn’t put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block.

Unfortunately, this is not the amendment supported by my likely opponent, Rep. Rick Berg. An independent analysis found that his plan would force 25 percent cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Heitkamp is counting on the tried-and-true tactics of scaring senior citizens to put her campaign over the top against Rick Berg, but will it work?

Only if North Dakotans don’t do the math on what Heitkamp is saying. She says she wants a balanced budget amendment that excludes Social Security and Medicare. Let’s take a look at how that would shake out. This chart shows how federal spending was allocated in 2011:

Mandatory federal spending and the interest on the national debt plus spending on Social Security and Medicare (which Heitkamp doesn’t want touched) adds up to 62% of the federal budget, or $2.252 trillion. The remaining $1.346 trillion in our national budget is military spending and discretionary spending (highways, national parks, the FBI, etc., etc.).

The federal budget deficit in FY2011 was $1.3 trillion.

One needn’t be a genius at mathematics to understand that balancing the budget on Heidi Heitkamp’s terms would require eliminating the entirety of the nation’s military and discretionary spending and leave us with only spending on Medicare, Social Security and the interest on the national debt.

Clearly, this isn’t a serious proposal.

Now, to be fair, Heitkamp has proposed some revenue increases and cost reductions in the past. According to a column she wrote for the Grand Forks Herald she wants to freeze congressional pay, allow Medicare to “negotiate” costs for prescription drugs and implement President Obama’s “Buffet Rule” tax hikes. According to Heitkamp, this would bring some $252 billion in revenue increases and cost savings to the federal budget.

Even if we stipulate to Heitkamp’s math on these savings/revenue increases (and she vastly overestimates them), we’re really going to run the military and the rest of the nation’s discretionary spending on $252 billion?


To be sure, there are plenty of cuts to be made to discretionary/military spending, but any candidate saying they want to balance the budget without touching the fiscal elephants in the room which are our out-of-control entitlement programs is a candidate not worth taking seriously.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • sbark

    I think you need another Pie chart contrasting the shortage of  Fed Treas. Revenue vrs. the Entitlement spending for our attention span deficit Leftist “friends across the isle”…..

    …….they can at least then comprehend the problem,  they dont take to written word of any length too well, after having been trained by MSM’s in a 10 second time span for information for decades.

    Has to be hammered home…….Entitlement spending takes up 100% of Fed Treas. income.

    ……..and NO…its not a revenue problem………its a spending problem, and this is with Int. rates near zero, which the “market” wont allow forever….Unless of course we are up to QE 10

  • Jay

    I’m not sure, Rob, but didn’t Earl Pomeroy try the same tactic of accusing Rick Berg of “cutting” Social Security and Medicare–right before Berg stomped him into political oblivion?

    • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

      Yeah, I’m not sure “Mediscare” has quite the same impact it once did.  The electorate’s fear of a total collapse of the nation’s finances may finally be outweighing the fear of living without entitlements.

  • cylde

    Her party identification defines her fiscal convictions as tax and spend plus as of 2008 it is now also borrow and spend. Bernie Madoff is in prison for spending other peoples money on crap, but democrats plead that Bush made them do it.

  • Halatbis

    It is very very unlikely that a balanced budget amendment will pass the Senate—and for sure it will not if the national election goes the Democrat’s way in the Senate—Hidey will not have much say in that—if she were to win.   Her Party is not going there—they will not pass any spending restrictions!  They say spending restrictions come after the tax increases, but that is the big sham! 

  • Lynn Bergman

    She is just another liberal who doesn’t mind spending our grandchildren’s future earnings to make our current seniors more comfortable. Liberals will borrow 40% of what they spend until our country is broke…not too far down the road now…