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Can we afford the Dems "fiscal responsibility"?
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We hear the term "fiscal responsibility" mentioned a lot by the current Democratic candidates and additionally they're not shy about claiming this administration has been anything but fiscally responsible. I find it hard to argue with their latter point:
In 2009, when the next president takes office, the government is expected to spend $400 billion more than it takes in, adding to a national debt that tops $9 trillion.
Given that bit of news, what would be the responsible thing to do? Almost unbidden the first thing that pops into anyone's mind is stop spending money. In fact, it would appear that the 'fiscally responsible' thing to do, given the facts above, is to find at least 400 billion in spending cuts, wouldn't you say?

So is that the plan our fiscally responsible Democratic candidates bring to the table? Well, not exactly. On top of what both would face in terms of a deficit above, they plan on adding too it according to USA Today:
As detailed below, both candidates have major new health care initiatives and other spending proposals; Obama tacks on a major tax cut for working Americans to offset Social Security tax payments.

While it's hard to come up with a precise price tag given the lack of specifics in many of their proposals, these plans are likely to cost the Treasury well into the hundreds of billions of dollars a year. The National Taxpayers Union, a conservative group that favors lower taxes and smaller government, gives a very rough estimate of $287 billion for Obama and $218 billion for Clinton.
And they're fairly fuzzy about how they'd pay for that new spending (and not at all specific about how they'd reduce the deficit through "fiscal responsibility") claiming repealing the Bush tax cuts and ending the war in Iraq will take care of all of it.

But, wait, I thought that would reduce the deficit, not pay for new spending.


Maybe it's just me, but I've never defined fiscal responsibility as adding 50% to a deficit, have you? And if you're wondering about the Republican side, John McCain has proposed an estimated $6.9 billion in new spending. So Mr. "Cut Spending" has some work to do as well. But certainly nothing like that of the "fiscally responsible" Democrats and their bank busting proposals.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Fiscal responsibility for the dems has always meant taxing (the wealthy) enough to pay for all their programs. I have no idea what it means for the GOP. I don’t think they do either.

Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Almost unbidden, I’d like to see figures expressed as % of GDP, etc.

Imagine a man with a million dollars of debt. What a fool and wastrel!

Did I mention he is worth 100 million, and has an income of 2 million per year?

While I understand the need for fiscal responsibility, I primarily support it simply because government is not as efficient as the private sector, but absolute numbers don’t really tell you much.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
they’re not shy about claiming this administration has been anything but fiscally responsible. I find it hard to argue with their latter point:
Perhaps, but how much of that is really in Bush’s control? I suppose he could draw a line in the sand, and demand a budget that is balanced, but if he did I suspect that he would have ended up with a big budget fight, and that would have drawn the focus and energy away from the war on Islamic terror.

In short, I think Bush is simply picking his battles. Not always the best choices, but not always bad ones, either.
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Why should they be specific? They won the 2006 elections based on vague promises of running things ’better & smarter’.

Written By: looker
URL: http://
According to my Dem glossary, "fiscal responsibility" is defined as "cutting the defense budget and going spend-crazy on just about everything else." So I guess their message is consistent with their actions.
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://

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