Can government pay for new infrastructure initiatives with imaginary money?
The President has contradicted himself several times, most recently during the second debate. But so far the media have been too obsessed with Romney’s binders to notice. In the first debate President Obama was asked about the deficit. His answer, in part, was:
Since the government never collected less than ten times as much tax revenue as it spent on Iraq and Afghanistan each year, one wonders how Obama decided that the wars, rather than other expenses were “paid for on a credit card.” A cynic would say he picked the wars because they were Bush initiatives. A cynic would be correct.
The first question in the second debate was from a college student who was concerned that half of recent graduates are unemployed or working low skill, low paying jobs. He asked, “What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?”
Part of the President’s non-responsive answer was:
We’ve got to reduce our deficit, but we’ve got to do it in a balanced way. Asking the wealthy to pay a little bit more along with cuts so that we can invest in education like yours. And let’s take the money that we’ve been spending on war over the last decade to rebuild America, roads, bridges schools.
Wait a minute! If the wars have been “paid for on a credit card” then where did Obama get the idea that the absence of war generates surplus, left over funds for other priorities?
This isn’t the first time the President has claimed that fictitious “savings” from not continuing the wars for another ten years creates surplus resources to be redeployed. Earlier this year during the debt ceiling debate, a crisis brought on by profligate government spending, he demanded that Congress enact yet another stimulus, then called his “jobs bill” that would have cost $400 billion. He insulted our intelligence by offering to “pay for it” not with cuts to other spending this year, not even with tax increases this year. He said he would “pay for” borrowing an additional $400 billion in 2012, by not continuing the war in Iraq, which was already over, until 2021!
Obviously these ideas are utterly absurd. But don’t expect the so-called “fact checkers” to say anything that might seem to discredit President Obama.