Rep. Kevin McCarthy (above), the third-ranking Republican in the U.S. House, said this the other day on Fox News:
How can a president not want to balance the budget? How does he forget what he said? One of his first goals in the first four years was to cut the deficit in half. Now he doesn’t care. He doesn’t even produce a budget…I’ll bet you this. I bet you he spends more time filling out his March Madness brackets than he does writing a budget.
Well, Steve Benen has a point-by-point REBUTTAL of McCarthy’s remarks:
* “How can a president not want to balance the budget?” Well, it’s really not that complicated — with high unemployment and a sluggish recovery, President Obama doesn’t see deficit reduction as a top priority. It’s a position most economists heartily endorse. Perhaps the better question is, “How can a House Majority Whip not want to focus on economic growth?”
* “How does he forget what he said? One of his first goals in the first four years was to cut the deficit in half.” Yes, and this year, the deficit will be cut to nearly half of what it was when the president took office four years ago. McCarthy is one of the 6% of the country that knows this, right?
* “Now he doesn’t care.” Actually, he does care — probably too much. It’s why Obama keeps offering Republicans multi-trillion-dollar debt-reduction Grand Bargains, much to the chagrin of his base.
* “He doesn’t even produce a budget.” I know these issues can sometimes get confusing, but President Obama has produced — and continues to produce — a budget every year. Congress gets plenty of copies, and if Kevin McCarthy lost his, the whole thing is always posted online. How is it that a member of the House leadership isn’t aware of this?