“We don’t have a deficit problem right now,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D – NY) today. “In the long term, we have a deficit problem – we’ve got to get it under control but not right now.”
This may explain the gridlock on the national debt issue. The first step to solving a problem, they say, is identifying that there is a problem. Thus, the problem in Washington DC is that Democrats may not actually think this run-away growth in debt is, you know, a problem.
To be fair, the point Rep. Nadler was trying to make is that we can reduce the deficit by getting more people back to work and thus generating more revenue for the government. And there is a grain of truth in that. Tax revenues have plummeted throughout this protracted recession we’re in which supposedly ended officially last year despite unemployment rates remaining high.
But what Nadler, and other Democrats who take up this line of argument, ignore is the impact of the nation’s deficits and debt on the economy. We have a big, burdensome government that we not only can’t afford but that also burdens our economy.
And besides, spending really is the problem. Spending growth, even in stronger economic times, has far outpaced revenue growth. And with spending not slowing up during this time of recession and depressed economic activity, the disparity is historically large: