Several weeks before the slow-motion “fiscal cliff” negotiation ended in a giveaway-rich, tax-hiking, 154-page spending bill that senators had all of six minutes to glance at before approving by an 89-8 vote in the wee hours of January 1, President Barack Obama reportedly told House Speaker John Boehner flat out: “We don’t have a spending problem.”
Boehner, in relaying the quote to The Wall Street Journal three days after the House of Representatives grudgingly ratified the Senate plan, expressed astonishment at the president’s words. But he shouldn’t have. Spending denialism—of the literal sort—has become a core progressive value in the age of Obama.
“Spending isn’t the problem,” Steve Benen wrote at Rachel Maddow’s blog in December. “We don’t have a spending problem. We have an aging problem,” seconded Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum in January. “We don’t have a spending problem, we have a military spending problem,” chimed in The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein.