Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Big Right-wing Lies: We're Going Broke, And Spending Is Out Of Control

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

We've remarked from the get-go that the most remarkable thing about the Tea Partying Republican Right is that they represent a political bloc predicated on people believing things that are provably untrue. This has, of course, ranged from the Birth Certificate nonsense to the belief that Obama is going to take everyone's guns away, and everything in between.

But these are in many ways secondary add-ons to Tea Partyism, whose core mantra really revolves around the federal deficit and spending: We're on the verge of bankruptcy, they claim, and it's being caused by "out-of-control" federal spending.

In the video above, Van Jones -- who knows all about right-wing lies -- deconstructs the Really Big Lie that is a cornerstone of Tea Party beliefs, not to mention right-wing media talking points, namely: We're going broke.

We're not.

Meanwhile, Brian Beutler at TPMDC deconstructs the claim that "federal spending is out of control":
But a close look at the numbers reveals a few important, and frequently overlooked facts.

Domestic discretionary spending is a small sliver of the budget. Our deficit and debts can be traced to the fact that spending on entitlement programs and defense has shot up, and tax revenues have plummeted to their lowest level in decades. But spending on domestic discretionary programs has grown much more slowly. And, if you correct for inflation, and for growing population, it turns out we're spending exactly the same amount on these programs as we were a full decade ago.

These numbers come from Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee, who are doing their best to guard this turf.

"Although non-defense discretionary spending in nominal dollars has increased, when taking inflation and population growth into account the amount contained in the [2011 budget] represents no increase over what we spent in 2001, a year in which we generated a surplus of $128 billion," said chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) in a prepared statement.

"So the right question to ask is: Are we really spending too much on non-defense programs? The answer is clearly no."
Beutler provides some graphic illustrations of the reality behind the numbers that make it clear, as he suggests, just who the chief culprit in this matter really is: right-wing governance and its mania for cutting taxes.
In the wake of the Bush tax cuts, and the Great Recession, tax revenue has fallen through the floor to near-historic lows. As a percentage of GDP, it's fallen 24 percent since 2001, and if you correct for inflation, the government is collecting nearly 20 percent less per person than it was a decade ago. At the same time, the population-adjusted costs of mandatory spending programs -- driven by Medicare, including its new prescription drug benefit, and Medicaid -- have increased by over 30 percent. And, of course, defense spending has skyrocketed. But if you isolate domestic discretionary programs, a decade later we're spending no more on a per-person basis than we were back then.
Meanwhile, Robert Reich explains all this in detail:

Yes, it's true: Right-wing ideology is increasingly built on a foundation of lies.

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