This morning, Paul Krugman puts a recent John Boehner quote into context. I suspect that you’ve heard the quote. It one of Boehner’s many, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” rants. He said, “At some point, Washington has to deal with its spending problem. I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years since I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.”
Okay, first things first. Whenever I hear Boehner whining like this, I think, “This is what a party does when it has absolutely no good ideas.” This is the very definition of grandstanding. Boehner wants to fix our “spending problem.” But the very definition of the problem is disingenuous. Revenues are way low by historical standards. He might be able to argue that we have a budget problem, but there is no way that he can reasonably claim that spending alone is the problem.
John Boehner started his career in the House back in 1991. Has he really watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years? Well, as the following graph I made about a year ago shows: during Clinton’s time in office, the problem wasn’t kicked down the road. And what’s more, John Boehner was a big enabler for the Bush Jr spending spree.
In other words, John Boehner was not helpful to Clinton in balancing the budget and was very helpful to Bush in unbalancing the budget. If he’s been watching “them” kick any cans, it has only been since Obama took office when he reverted to his unhelpful ways from the Clinton years.