SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA): “Thank you, Madam Chair. I think, first of all, I want to disagree with those who say we have a spending problem. Everyone keeps saying we have a spending problem. And when they talk about that, it’s like there’s an assumption that somehow we as a nation are broke. We can’t afford these things any longer. We’re too broke to invest in education and housing and things like that. Well look at it this way, we’re the richest nation in the history of the world. We are now the richest nation in the world. We have the highest per capita income of any major nation. That kind of begs the question, doesn’t it? If we’re so rich, why are we so broke? Is it a spending problem? No.” (Committee On Appropriations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 2/14/13)
Harkin, who was first elected to Congress as a Watergate baby in 1974, has apparently been taking finance lessons from Lindsay Lohan. As someone who chooses how the U.S. spends the money, he sees the problem in a crystal clear way, why should he be constrained from spending other people’s money to do things he wants to do, just because those other people don’t agree.
The selfishness of those other people who work and earn their money to not want to give soon to be ex-Senator Harkin a blank check to spend on his pet project astonishes those in D.C. who share Harkin’s view. And it explains everything you need to know about how Congress could authorize and spend more than $3.5 trillion while the country only brings in less than $2.5 trillion each year. For Harkin, it isn’t a spending problem, it is just that American’s are too stingy to pay for the money he wants to spend.
In some respects he is correct, it is not a spending problem, it is a spender problem. And Tom Harkin is the poster child of that problem.