So says Brian Beutler at TPM. With charts! So it must be true!
[A] close look at the numbers reveals a few important, and frequently overlooked facts. Domestic discretionary spending is a small sliver of the budget. Our deficit and debts can be traced to the fact that spending on entitlement programs and defense has shot up, and tax revenues have plummeted to their lowest level in decades. But spending on domestic discretionary programs has grown much more slowly. And, if you correct for inflation, and for growing population, it turns out we're spending exactly the same amount on these programs as we were a full decade ago.
Wait wait wait. Entitlement and defense spending has "shot up?" This is an argument against the charge of out of control spending?
The idea here is that since this money is largely devoted to education, health care, and other services that benefit broad swaths of the population, the amount of it should grow roughly with population size.
Oh. Wait. What idea? The idea -- as HuffPo's DC Bureau Chief must have only ironically confirmed to me via Twitter -- that if you cut discretionary spending, you're stupid, and if you cut entitlement spending, you're evil?
Or -- worse -- the idea that there's nothing wrong with our entitlements system that must be fixed by decreasing the size and cost of our entitlement programs?
In the wake of David Brooks' instantly infamous column calling Republicans an abnormal party on account of its tax-cut fatalism, it's just about time for someone to declare the Democratic party deeply abnormal as a result of its (let's be frank) moronic fatalism on entitlements. I know for a fact that many liberals are not, in point of fact, morons. That makes it all the more disturbing that their party insists, as a matter of political principle and whatever the consequences, that the federal government expand without limit the reach and comprehensiveness of its entitlement regime.
Hands confidently agrip at the wheel of a malfunctioning rocketship on fire, they smile grandly at the twirling dials as they shoot past the ionosphere. If there is a gas pedal on this rocketship, they are flooring it. They are very much in control.