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Political Smell Test: Patty Murray and the national debt

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Sep. 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm with 11 Comments »
September 29, 2010 9:52 am

Republican attacks on Sen. Patty Murray are focusing on the national debt, which has increased on her watch.

WHAT THE ADS SAY: Republican challenger Dino Rossi has an ad on TV that says “Murray voted to double the national debt.”

A new ad from Crossroads GPS, a tax-exempt group that doesn’t have to disclose its donors, says of Murray, “She’s increased our national debt by trillions, and now she wants to raise taxes to help pay for it.”

WHAT MURRAY SAYS: Rossi and Karl Rove, who helped create Crossroads GPS, are conveniently forgetting the Bush administration’s role in creating that debt, the campaign said today. In an earlier news release, the campaign said: “Dino Rossi supported the Bush economic policies that destroyed our economy and cost working families’ homes, jobs and savings. And he continues to support budget busting tax cuts for the wealthy that will add nearly $1 trillion to the national debt.”

THE FACTS: There’s blame to go around for our soaring national debt, which now stands at $13.5 trillion and is projected to pass $20 trillion by 2019, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. (Here’s the full report.)

Spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has totaled more than $1 trillion so far, according to the CBO report. President Bush’s tax cuts cost even more, and now are being considered for an extension projected at more than $3 trillion. Much of the record deficits projected for the near future are due to plummeting tax revenues amid the economic downturn, and government’s failure to reduce spending to compensate; in fact, spending has increased, with programs like those in the nearly $800 billion stimulus. As for the deficits in the longer term, they’re largely driven by the projected growth in federal entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which in turn are caused by an aging population and rising health care costs.

So what’s Murray’s role in all this? Murray supported the stimulus and going to war in Afghanistan, but she opposed the tax cuts and the war in Iraq. Entitlements are mandatory, so Congress doesn’t get to approve or deny those, but Murray and other lawmakers from both parties haven’t made the hard choices that would address their rising costs.

To back up the claim that Murray voted to double the deficit, Rossi’s campaign cites her vote for the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Resolution. He calls that a vote to “double the debt in five years and triple it in ten years.”

The CBO report says the debt was $11.8 trillion before that 2010 budget took effect, and projected it would be $16.7 trillion five years later. Those numbers are eye-popping, but they amount to an increase of “only” 41 percent, not a doubling. The claim about tripling is inflated, too: the debt is projected at $20.6 trillion in 2019.

More to the point: The budget resolution contains spending items that add to the debt, but not enough to make a real dent in it. Yes, the resolution contains projections of how deficits will look under the budget plan — but voting for that plan is not the same as voting for the policies that over the years have led to the explosion of government debt. Murray has opposed some of those policies, and supported others.

BOTTOM LINE: The claim by Rossi that Murray voted to double the debt in five years is false for two reasons: the numbers are off by a wide margin, and the vote in question isn’t the cause of the debt. The claim in the Crossroads ad is closer to the truth, as Murray did play a role in increasing the debt “by trillions,” although the ad exaggerates her role, and leaves out the fact that the same charge could be leveled against Republicans.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. BlaineCGarver says:

    Blah, Blah, Blah….the ‘Crats took over in January of 2007, and it’s been going downhill ever since, and getting worse with Obama at the helm.

  2. Long ago I tried to voice my concerns to Miss Patty Obama…she said….”I think we should wait and see how his plan(implied) goes…..” Gag me….she’s in his corner. I say VOTE HER OUT!!!

  3. Patty Murray still campaigning against Bush. Progressives always looking backwards. Yoo Hoo Patty, Bush is gone.

  4. MikeBoyScout says:

    All Rossi has are lies, half-truths and political pablum.

  5. We need term limits for every politician. One term , thats it. Take away some of their cushy retirement plans etc. Have you ever seen a poor politician?

  6. More to point, Rossi supports a massive expansion of that debt by extending the tax cuts. I guess it’d be one thing if they identified major programs for cuts, but instead the GOP and Rossi have put the largest sections of the budget off limits. Irresponsible doesn’t begin to cover it.

  7. Patty also voted to saddle her constituents with the health care boondogle,but you don,t hear very much bragging about that from her now that the true costs to the public is making its ugly head from up out the swamp.We have to get a Gallent Knight to Slay this Swamp Beast before it devours ALL OF US!

  8. OldLefty says:

    “BOTTOM LINE: The claim by Rossi that Murray voted to double the debt in five years is false for two reasons: the numbers are off by a wide margin, and the vote in question isn’t the cause of the debt. ”

    Now, this is the same Dino Rossi that accuses Murray of ‘attack ads’……

  9. gotcha123 says:

    The Old Democratic Party has been hijacked by Socialist and Marxist that have changed their name to Progressives in order to make their agenda sound more politically correct. Patty Murray is a Progressive and will not get elected for that reason.

  10. OldLefty says:

    You’ve heard the old “if a tree fell and no one was around to hear it” analogy…

    How about this?

    Can a Conservative make a complete sentence without using the words “Socialist” or “Marxist”?

  11. boater246 says:

    We can’t afford to ignore history – President Bush’s policies, budgets, tax cuts, and lack of transparency about costs of these are directly relevant to the economic issues we face now and will for the next decade. President Obama inherited Bush’s TARP and the responsibility to implement it, which has been a godsent for the economy. Unfortunately, the Chamber and Big Business that benefitted from it don’t want to be regulated so they can gut the American public’s savings again and so, aren’t hiring even though they have Billions of Dollars at their fingertips. It’s so obvious they are holding out for Republican cronies to get back in power and restore their privileges without restriction. Murray has voted to enforce responsible fiscal actions that regulate and redistribute the resources for meeting the needs of all of us, not just a few. Healthcare extended to 40 million
    Americans over the next ten years will cost, but whether it’s a boondoggle depends on how companies benefitting from such an increase in customers choose to exact reimbursement and whether Congress modifies future bills to rein in their greed. Murray’s vote was for the good of our fellow citizens. Rossi stands for “NO” and we’ve seen his policies when he was in the legislature and through his ads see no awareness of the complexity of issues faced by citizens not in his income bracket. Murray will continue to work for all citizens’ issues, not just those of a few. Rossi sees any action favorable to Washington workers and companies as earmarks. Patty’s seniority and influence need to be supported. Would you have had Bill Gates or Warren Buffit step down from their positions after 18 years?

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