RICH BULEY: That’s just how the Tea Party rolls

I see good ol’ Tea Party Joe Balyeat has a guest editorial in the Missoulian ranting about federal debt. Unfortunately, Tea Party Joe’s article is full of false and misleading statements, which is how Tea Party Joe always rolls.

For example, Joe states that the federal debt is $17.3 trillion. It isn’t, it’s $16 trillion. Joe then goes on to write that the debt is, “… an enormous burden dragging down America’s economy and our children’s future.” Once again, Joe is wrong. Actually, the deficit and the debt are DECREASING, and have been for the past 4 years. In fact, the debt is under such control that: “When you look at the 10-year projections for the deficit and debt as a percentage of GDP, it’s not an issue,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York.

Joe makes the extraordinarily false statement that Social Security, Medicare, and government pensions are unfunded. That is simply not true. Social Security is funded every week with social security taxes that are withheld from paychecks. As a CPA, he should know this. Same with Medicare and pensions. If Tea Party Joe was honest, he could just look at the actual Social Security Trustee’s report.

Tea Party Joe makes the statement that, historically, prior to 2009, 17 percent of government spending was deficit spending. I have no ides what he is talking about there, as deficit spending has changed drastically over the years, depending upon who was in control of the government. For example, in 1979, before Ronald Reagan became President. deficit spending was 8% of spending. By 2006, Reaganomics had created 22% deficit spending. During the last 4 years of the Clinton Administration, 1996-2002, there was no deficit spending as the government was running a surplus. In fact, things were going so well when Clinton left office, that The Congressional Budget Office projected a $5.6 trillion SURPLUS from 2001-2011!

Then, of course, along came George, as in W. Bush. It was then that his Vice President Dick Cheney famously said, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” Not only did the administration decide to go whole hog, but the Republicans controlled both houses of congress. By 2004, deficit spending was back up to 18%. Now, there is no doubt that 2009 was a bad year for the deficit. But, why was that? How about the total collapse of the economy? Remember that Joe? Remember bailing out the banks? Remember the millions losing their jobs and having to go on unemployment? Do you remember negative growth so there was a loss of tax revenue? Do you remember that the crash happened in 2008 when George W. was President?

Sure you remember all that Joe. You just consciously chose to hide it.