Not surprisingly, I didn't change his mind. As I said before, I'm a Democrat in a Republican leaning state. So he doesn't really have much incentive to cater to my view. But what is interesting about the exchange is that it displays this ridiculous worrying about the deficit that pervades Washington. Here is why he said he couldn't vote for a clean debt ceiling bill:
I will not support raising the debt ceiling without dramatic changes in the way that Washington spends money. Last year alone we added $1.29 trillion of debt, and without drastic changes, we are projected to face massive annual deficits for years to come. Unfortunately, even at a time when Americans and families all across Tennessee are tightening their belts, spending here continues to increase at unexplainable levels.
Well of course spending by the federal gov't has increased during the recession. That's the big advantage the federal gov't has. It can step in and create jobs and increase the flow of money while businesses sit by and do nothing. Corker is not the only politician in Washington that doesn't understand this.
But what is really egregious about him caring about the deficit right now is that he and his party are the main drivers of it. The gov't was running a surplus when Bush got into office. Alan Greenspan came out and said a surplus was bad so we need to pass tax cuts so that we can have a deficit. Combine that lowering of revenue with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Medicare Part D and you have a big deficit. Then to pile on the bad recession we just went through, which would have likely been worse if Bush and Obama didn't sign stimulus bills that further added to the deficit. So Corker, who voted for all of those things Bush did, is just as responsible as any other Senator out there for the deficit. To complain now is purely political and has nothing to do with sound economic policy.
Sound economic policy says that deficits don't really matter that much, at least not in the short term. Reagan understood this. He ran a deficit his entire two terms. He also had inflation higher than we have it now. Yet the economy grew just fine. Clinton did the one thing Republicans don't want to do that would help decrease the debt. He raised taxes. Yet the economy grew just fine, very well in fact. But because nearly all of Washington is currently obsessed with the deficit instead of jobs we get this crap from Corker. And Corker's plan isn't even the worst out there. The now infamous Ryan plan really screws everyone under 55 for the sake of lowering taxes on rich people and lowering the deficit 10 years down the road. Its all partisan hackery that will do nothing to help people who aren't rich. People need to be aware of this so they can change these politicians' priorities.