Halfway through the July 21 edition of "NewsNation," MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall brought on Time magazine assistant managing editor Rana Foroohar to diss a Boy Scout cited by John Thune (R-S.D.) on the Senate floor.
After Hall aired a clip of Thune reading the Boy Scout's letter admonishing senators to spend only what the government can afford, she and Foroohar set about to dismiss his concern as quaint but ill-informed:
HALL: Rana, this is all interesting. CNN just released a poll a short time ago that shows 66% of Americans support the House Republicans' Cut, Cap and Balance Bill, but you look at the reality of a family budget versus the government and I'm sure that little Boy Scout is a cutie but if he was a member of Congress, that might not be the advice he would give.
FOROOHAR: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that one of the things that's tough to counter about these folksy bits of wisdom -- you know, we all have to balance our own personal budgets so the government should have to do that too -- is that it has an emotional appeal, it sounds sensible. The problem is the federal government's budget is not the same as a family budget. There are important differences, it's much more complex and you really can't equate the two.
Of course family budgets and government budgets are not perfectly analogous, but deficit spending can only work for so long. In the long term, uncorrected, it comes back to bite you, just ask Greece or Portugal.
Presently for every dollar of U.S. government spending, borrowed money accounts for 43 cents of it, compared to about 5 cents in 2007.
Foroohar -- who was on NewsNation to plug a column she wrote for Time on the topic -- acknowledged that a similar situation would be alarming for an average household, but suggested that unbridled spending by the federal government is necessary to win wars and ease economic dislocation:
So if you take this idea that the federal government's budget is like a family budget, then you would look at the federal government and see I'm making about $55,000 a year but I'm spending $41,000 more. So yeah, at that point if you're a family, it's time to sit down and, you know, fix things.
But the federal government has to do a lot of things. It has to pay unemployment benefits. It sometimes has to go to war. You know, we couldn't have won World War II if we'd had a Cap, Cut and Balance proposal on the table then.
Of course when government overspends it ultimately has to ratchet up taxes on individuals to fix the mess it made, passing the buck on to responsible private citizens. For her part, however, Foroohar failed to consider how the little guy gets hurt over the long-term when government perpetually refuses to get its finances in order.
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