Living in Massachusetts, I'm not accustomed to the barrage of political ads that must come with living in Ohio or Florida. But the Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren race for the Senate is a hot one and the spots have been coming in a relentless stream. Brown seems to be running on personality and bipartisanship; many of his recent ads feature Democrats like former Boston mayor Ray Flynn talking up Brown's ability to play well with others.
Warren, on the other hand, is playing what I call the "Candy for Everyone!" strategy: it's great stuff for all, paid by somebody else. Her latest ad deplores the fact that China is spending 9% of GDP on infrastructure while, darn it, we're only spending 2.4% and "we can do better." Hit & Run adds it up:
U.S. gross domestic product is about $15 trillion a year. Increasing infrastructure “investment” to the 9% Chinese level that Warren cites would mean an additional $1 trillion a year in government spending. That’s an immense spending increase. To put it in context, the entire federal government spent about $3.6 trillion in 2011, on revenues of about $2.3 trillion.
How will Elizabeth Warren pay for this extra trillion dollars in spending? Well - heaven help me - I went to her web site and it's all gonna be covered by a "small" tax hike on the rich. Just for context, repealing the Bush tax cuts on higher-income Americans is projected to raise $80 billion/year. We are heading into the fifth straight year of a trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits, Medicare is going broke, Social Security will be underwater in twenty years, and the costs for Obamacare haven't kicked in yet. There is no mathematical way that Warren can pay for all her goodies when we're already borrowing $4 billion every day.
But we can't say that, can we? Instead, Uncle Moneybags is going to pave us a new road. Hooray!