Politics & Policy

Bennet on Debt: ‘Immoral to Leave this to our Children’

Beginning at the 2:04 mark:

“[…] look, not only do we have $12 trillion in debt, not only have we mortgaged ourselves to the Chinese, but the tragedy of it is, we have absolutely nothing to show for it, absolutely nothing to show for it. We haven’t invested in our roads, our bridges, our transportation, our ports, anything. What did we do? Well, we cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and we cost our kids $1.4 trillion. We said ‘we’re gonna cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans, borrow it from the Chinese, and stick our kids with the bill.’ We have spent a trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve borrowed all of that money from our kids. Medicare Part D, the seniors’ prescription drug program that Bush advanced–might be a great program but we didn’t pay for it. The bailout that ended the last administration, about $800 billion, not paid for. And then, the piece of it that the President, we own, I own, was the recovery package last year which was roughly $760 billion. All that adds up to $12 trillion, and we’ve got to address it. It’s immoral to leave this to our children […]” [emphases added]

Last week, BATTLE ‘10 brought attention to Sen. Michael Bennet’s statements on the national debt he made at an appearance in Greeley, Colorado that quickly went viral:

“We have managed to acquire $13 trillion of debt on our balance sheet. In my view we have nothing to show for it.”

That comment took on a life of its own as soon as it hit the Drudge Report, prompting Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi to say “thanks for ‘nothing’!”

The quote was hastily turned into an attack ad against Sen. Bennet:

The Post’s Chuck Plunkett pointed out, correctly, that the comment had been made by Bennet frequently in the past and had even appeared in the pages of the Post in July, following a meeting by the board of the paper with the appointed Senator in June. At the time, Bennet was facing stiff primary opposition from Andrew Romanoff, who he subsequently defeated in the August 10 primary.

Whatever the reason, the comment elicited no response at the time, from either side of the aisle.

So BATTLE ‘10 did a little digging.

At a Bennet appearance in April, local blogger Kelly Maher of WhoSaidYouSaid.com recorded the Democrat making the same argument as he did in June and August–a well-worn campaign talking point, no doubt–that places blame on former President George W. Bush (tax cuts, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Medicare Part D, TARP), as well as President Barack Obama, Democrats and himself.

The Congressional Budget Office announced yesterday that the total cost of the war in Iraq was less than the stimulus bill signed by President Obama last year, with support from Sen. Bennet:

According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations.

The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion. 

The U.S. deficit for fiscal year 2010 is expected to be $1.3 trillion, according to CBO. That compares to a 2007 deficit of $160.7 billion and a 2008 deficit of $458.6 billion, according to data provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. 

In 2007 and 2008, the deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product was 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

“Relative to the size of the economy, this year’s deficit is expected to be the second largest shortfall in the past 65 years; 9.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), exceeded only by last year’s deficit of 9.9 percent of GDP,” CBO wrote.

In December 2009 and January 2010 Bennet voted to raise the debt ceiling by over $2 trillion, to over $14 trillion dollars.

President Obama signed the stimulus bill in Denver last February, with Sen. Bennet in attendance.

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