When it comes to government debt, the United States is far from exceptional, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., noted this morning.
“We now have a $16 trillion national debt,” McConnell said on CNN’s State of the Union. “Our debt is as big as our economy. That alone makes us look like a western European country. We’ve had four straight years of a trillion dollar annual deficit. This modest reduction of 2.4 percent in spending over the next six months is a little more than the average American experienced just two months ago when their own pay went down when the payroll tax holiday expired.”
McConnell faulted Obama for “trying to walk away from the commitment we made to the American people” during debt ceiling deal of 2011 to “cut spending without raising taxes.”
The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward reported the details of the “commitment” that McConnell mentioned. “In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection,” Woodward wrote in a February 22 column.
Former White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes acknowledged that Democrats are demanding tax increases for political reasons — to provide cover for spending cuts. “You’ve got to link arms and jump ship together,” she said on Morning Joe.