Clift Frets Over 'Right-wing, Libertarian Refusal to Let Government Spend Any Money'

Add Newsweek's Eleanor Clift to the list of journalists who ludicrously believe opposition to tax hikes has left the nation unable to repair infrastructure. On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, she blamed crumbling infrastructure on how “now we have this tax-averse society, rallied by the Republicans, tax-averse where everything becomes sort of a right-wing, libertarian refusal to let government spend any money or raise any money.” Conservatives would wish.

In fact, as the Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl outlined in a March report (PDF of it), “in 2006, inflation-adjusted federal spending topped $23,000 per household for the first time since World War II” as “federal spending has increased by 42% (23% after inflation) since 2001" and “defense and homeland security are responsible for just above one-third of all new spending since 2001.” So it's hardly as if the federal government, with an annual budget of $2.6 trillion, is starved for money. It's just being spent on adding a prescription entitlement to Medicare ($822 billion over ten years) instead of highways ($286 billion over six years).

In a discussion prompted by the early August bridge collapse in Minnesota, Clift whined on the McLaughlin Group aired over the August 24-27 weekend, but probably taped a week or two earlier to provide a vacation for John McLaughlin:
It takes leadership. After World War II, we maintained the infrastructure we had and we built an incredible network of highways and leaders in both parties agreed that these were priorities. Now we have this tax-averse society, rallied by the Republicans, tax-averse where everything becomes sort of a right-wing, libertarian refusal to let government spend any money or raise any money.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center