It is three weeks from the next election and Brad DeLong drinks his morning coffee and urges everyone to vote Democratic for the sake of checks and balances and the proper functioning of the Constitution. Tim Russert has been using a few of his Sunday shows to allow for debates among those who wish to serve in the Senate. A couple of days ago, Meet the Press covered the Minnesota Senate race between Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar is the Democrat and is serving in her second term as Hennepin County Attorney. Mr. Kennedy is the Republican and judging from this debate is a bit of a jerk as evidenced by his closing statement:
They don’t see a lot of support out there for giving Social Security to illegal immigrants, for rationing prescription drugs, and for bringing the same policies that has made, and the same bad judgment that’s made Minneapolis having twice the murder rate of New York City under her tenure – talk about accountability – to the U.S. Senate.
Blaming the prosecutor for the fact that a city has murders? Huh? The crack about “giving Social Security to illegal immigrants” comes from the fact that Amy Klobuchar has praised the efforts of Senator McCain and President Bush on immigration reform. Who knew this President and Senator McCain was so liberal as to increase Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants? This whole debate turned sad as Mr. Kennedy kept attacking his opponent using these kinds of distortions.
But the big difference between Kennedy and Klobuchar turned on fiscal responsibility. She’s for it and he seems to be against it. Take for example this exchange:
REP. KENNEDY: We have had six million new jobs. The economy was flat on its back after 9/11. We passed tax relief to reward, and people—to let them keep more of their hard-earned money. Families, small business, those that take risk and create jobs. Six million new jobs have been created. We cannot be raising taxes, putting this economy back on its back, and also not growing jobs. We have to keep the approach of keeping spending under control. I’m the author of the line-item veto. I don’t understand why we want to build a bridge to nowhere in Alaska, a rain forest in Iowa.
MR. RUSSERT: But you voted for both those proposals.
Yes, we can have less taxes and more spending as money grows on trees. Klobuchar talked about trimming the excesses from the Prescription Drug Benefit, which prompted this from Kennedy:
She comes out and says in, in an ad that she’s going to save $90 billion, $90 billion, by having government-run prescription drug program on a program that only costs 60 billion. How do you save 90 billion on a program that costs 60 billion?
I suspect Klobuchar was using those ten-year windows to suggest reforms could save around $9 billion per year – which of course, Kennedy decides to distort (by the way reducing the amount of a government subsidy is not necessarily rationing so I didn’t get that particular Kennedy remark either). But is Kennedy suggesting that this program will only cost $600 billion over the next decade? Maybe he’s a little behind given the dishonest accounting the White House used to trick true fiscal conservatives into voting for this overly expensive bill that was not financed by a current tax increase. And it does seem that Mr. Kennedy is opposed to anything that would scale back the cost of this legislation. Yet, he claims that Bush’s policies have cut people’s taxes – even though we all know that the Bush fiscal record is a massive increase in Federal debt, which means increases in deferred taxation.
Should the citizens of Minnesota vote for this kind of fiscal stupidity? Then again – most Republicans nationwide are running on this free lunch nonsense.