Cantor’s cracked calculator

CANTOR’S CRACKED CALCULATOR… Here’s House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), describing his concerns about the national debt. It’s a rather classic example demonstrating the fact that Cantor simply has no idea what he’s talking about.

“We’ve got to stop this cycle of spending money we don’t have. This spending and debt we’ve incurred over the last two years has exceeded that which this country has incurred over the last 200.”

I can’t say with any confidence whether Cantor actually believes this nonsense. I’ve never met him personally, and it’s possible that he repeats claims he knows to be false because he thinks of his supporters as fools.

And in some ways, I really hope that’s the case, because I’d much prefer Cantor to be a shameless conman than a congressional leader who’s deeply confused about one of his own top issues.

For the record, since President Obama took office, the U.S. has added $2.8 trillion to the national debt. That same debt was $10.6 trillion the day the president was sworn in. (Dear Eric, 10.6 trillion is significantly larger than 2.8 trillion. Sincerely, Steve)

I’d add, by the way, that the debt Obama added is a good thing, since running deficits during an economic crisis is a smart, responsible thing to do. Cantor is whining about a wise decision, not a mistake.

What’s more, it’s worth emphasizing that this is the same Cantor who helped Bush/Cheney add $5 trillion to the debt in just eight years, and is currently pushing to add another $4 trillion to the debt in the form of tax cuts.*

And just for good measure, let’s also not forget that in August, it was none other than Cantor who said the debt didn’t matter nearly as much as economic growth anyway.

Any way you slice it, Eric Cantor is hopelessly, almost frighteningly, confused.

* edited for clarity

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.