House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) held a press conference this morning, and was peppered with questions about the debt-ceiling process. He didn’t offer much in the way of substance, but the Speaker did raise his voice before storming off.
“We have a spending problem! Somebody’s gotta get serious about cutting spending! Our friends across the aisle aren’t at all serious about doing what the American people are demanding: spend less. Bye!”
I can understand why Boehner is starting to lose his cool a bit. His caucus is poised to crash the economy and his job is likely on the line. But just for the heck of it, let’s take a moment to fact-check this.
First, we don’t really have a “spending problem.” We have what grown-ups and people who are good at arithmetic like to call a “revenue problem.” In fact, federal revenues have dropped to 15% — a 50-year low — and is a driving factor behind the deficit Republicans created and now pretend to care about.
Second, the “American people” are really “demanding” that policymakers spend less. What they’re actually demanding is a balanced approach that cuts spending and increases revenue. We know this to be true, because the American people have been asked about this many, many times.
Here’s a chart I put together that even House Republicans should be able to understand.
And third, “somebody’s gotta get serious about cutting spending”? Actually, somebody’s gotta get serious about raising the debt ceiling so the nation can pay its bills.
As one prominent official recently explained, failure on this issue “would be a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy. I don’t think it’s a question that’s even on the table.”
The official, of course, was John Boehner.