Moran’s budget forum: Speech ruins promising event

Last night, Jim Moran held a budget forum with the Concord Coalition in which citizens were able to work together to find ways to balance the budget and stop our runaway $1.4 trillion (and counting) debt. The event looked very promising – a large number of ordinary citizens, not just partisan activists, were there and working together to find solutions to our unsustainable fiscal crisis. However, Moran made remarks that were highly ideological and partisan, showing that the whole thing was falling on deaf ears, ruining what could have been a very productive evening. Here are a couple excerpts.

First, Moran claimed that “half a million public sector jobs have been lost just in the last year.” He got the number right – 500,000 – but that’s how many have been lost since September 2008, not just this year, according to US News & World Report.

Here’s an excerpt where Moran makes a questionable claim about budget projections then can’t place a decimal and shows he doesn’t understand the difference between the national debt and the federal budget deficit.

“You know, in 2001, we had a projected surplus for this year, 2011, of $2.3 trillion, based upon the tax rates that were in place then.”

Hmmm…the Congressional Budget Office projected in January 2001 a surplus of $889 billion, not $2.3 trillion – where is Moran getting his numbers?

“Since then, we’ve had a $12.7 trillion budgetary reversal. Because we now have a $10.4 trillion deficit instead of that $2.3 trillion surplus.”

Our federal budget deficit is $1.4 trillion, not $10.4 trillion. And it looks like Moran is confusing the national debt and the federal budget deficit. The national debt, which is $14 trillion and counting, is the amount we’ve borrowed, plus interest, from holders of our debt such as foreign countries. The federal budget deficit is the difference between the revenue the government receives from taxes and the amount it spends. When Moran says we’ve had a “$12.7 trillion budgetary reversal” from our projected $2.3 trillion surplus, he’s adding the two numbers together to $14 trillion, the amount of our national debt. The debt and the deficit are two very different things, and apparently Moran doesn’t understand that – God help us if our congressman doesn’t know the difference.

Moran later made a point showing that he fundamentally does not understand what taxes are.

“What happened…[is] neither of the two tax cuts were paid for.”

Moran is referring to the George W. Bush-era tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. When he says that they weren’t “paid for”, he acts like they were a spending item. The government does not spend money on a tax cut. It simply does not receive money in the first place. No money comes in, but no money goes out. Here’s an analogy. Moran enters a sweepstakes for a new car. He expects to win, and plans to sell the car for $30,000 when he wins it. However, he doesn’t win, and says, “I didn’t win, that costs me $30,000!” No it doesn’t. It didn’t cost anything. He just simply didn’t get anything. Nothing came into his wallet, but nothing went out. If the government had to pay for a tax cut, that would mean all the money we work for belonged to the government, and they decided to give some of it back to us.

Again, this event should have been a very positive one that even this site would praise. But Moran’s speech showed that he was going to govern according to his own rules. Here’s his full speech.