I know I'm tired of hearing this latest ridiculous analogy from Frank Luntz being repeated by our politicians, comparing American families' budgets to government spending and a family needing to “tighten their belt” and “do more with less.” That said, somehow, I don't think Pat Toomey ran this one by Luntz before he stuck his foot in his mouth and showed how entirely out of touch he is with the working class on Andrea Mitchell's show today.
In Pat Toomey's world, some "tough decisions" families might have to make when tightening their belts are getting rid of their "nannies", not baby-sitters... nannies, their gardeners, and they might have to skip taking expensive vacations. So no jetting off to Hawaii or Europe people.
I've just got to ask, in what America does Pat Toomey think he's living in these days if those are the things that pop into his head when talking about what most Americans would have to give up if they have to tighten up their household budgets?
And someone explain to me how Republicans breaking the bank under Bush with tax cuts for the rich, two wars they kept off the books, and bailing out Wall Street among other things that have driven up our deficit in any way, shape or form comparable to an average family running up a credit card?
After praising Rep. Paul Ryan's draconian budget proposal as “a very thoughtful, visionary plan that was bold and courageous, and has very substantive and very constructive reforms of the kind we need”, Andrea Mitchell asks Toomey about his own budget proposal he's about to release.
And here's the transcript of Pat Toomey's unfortunate and extremely out of touch analogy.
MITCHELL: But, correct me if I'm wrong. You suggested that there are ways to spend to, to pay off the bond holders but not pay other accounts. And I think what the Treasury Secretary is saying is that's akin to paying your mortgage but not paying your credit card bill, that either way you lose your credit rating and you scare the markets. Whether or not you're technically in default isn't the real issue.
TOOMEY: Well, here's the real issue. That analogy of course totally obscures the fact that both your mortgage and your credit card are debts that you have incurred. Both are forms of money that you borrowed and that you owe back to lenders. And my legislation has said, in the event that we don't raise the debt ceiling upon reaching it, the first priority for the Treasury with the huge resources that are coming in anyway from tax revenue would be to pay our lenders.
So what I am saying is, the better form of the analogy is the family that has been living beyond its means and run up huge debt, would have to make some tough decisions like maybe laying off the nanny, maybe not going on an expensive vacation, maybe discontinuing the gardeners who come and cut their grass. Maybe they would have to make some cuts. And that's what I think we need to do right now instead of what the administration wants which is just to throw them some more credit cards and let them continue spending the way they have been.
TPM has more on Toomey's budget proposal here – 'Pay China First' -- Republicans' Wild Plan To Avoid U.S. Debt Default:
New Republican legislation in the House and Senate would force the U.S. government to reroute huge amounts of money to China and other creditors in the event that Congress fails to raise its debt ceiling.
"I intend to introduce legislation that would require the Treasury to make interest payments on our debt its first priority in the event that the debt ceiling is not raised," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) wrote in a Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed.
If passed, Toomey's plan would require the government to cut large checks to foreign countries, and major financial institutions, before paying off its obligations to Social Security beneficiaries and other citizens owed money by the Treasury -- that is, if the U.S. hits its debt ceiling. Republican leaders insist they will raise the country's debt limit before this happens. But first, they're going to try to force Democrats to accept large spending cuts, using their control over the debt limit as leverage. That means gridlock, and the threat that they'll come up short.
That's where Toomey's idea supposedly comes in. And yet, according to the Treasury Department, his plan wouldn't actually avoid a default, or its catastrophic consequences.