Howard Dean: A Piece of Work

Howard Dean, a medical doctor, was governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003 and chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. He was also a candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, but flamed out in Iowa, which is why we love him, because his defeat provoked this primal scream.

Nowadays we see Dean on cable news programs. He's occasionally a guest on The Kudlow Report when Larry is really desperate for someone to represent the unhinged radical leftist progressive side of a debate. He never disappoints.

Mr. Dean has no internal editor; he says whatever pops into his little head. And when something is in his little head, it must be true. One of his more recent outrages against decency is a short video that appeared at Big Think. The title of the video is "Howard Dean: Let's Drive Over the Fiscal Cliff." In this dishonest diatribe, Dean insults the American people. He assumes that they don't understand how the federal government works and that they don't know recent history. Here are some of the highlights:

The reason I like the idea of going over the fiscal cliff is this is an incredibly partisan Congress, which has accomplished essentially nothing in the last two years since the republicans have taken over.

The Republicans haven't "taken over." The Republicans only took over the House of Representatives; the Senate is still controlled by Democrats. Republicans control half of one of the three branches of the federal government.

[T]he last balanced budget we had was under Clinton.  Republicans do not balance budgets.  I have no idea.  I think Eisenhower was the last budget that was balanced under a Republican.  You can't trust them with your money.

This statement is fairly representative of the lie that Dean has been spreading continually for a decade or more. What Dean needs to learn is: budgets are legislation. They must be voted on by both houses of Congress. If they are approved by both houses, budgets then go to the president. The president then either signs the budgets or vetoes them. The president can't change anything in the budget. For the four balanced budgets during Clinton's tenure, both houses of Congress were controlled by Republicans. But liars like Dean say it was all Clinton's doing.

So what you need to do is increase the taxes to where they were when Bill Clinton was President of the United States.

Do the math, Mr. Dean. Restoring all the "Clinton tax rates" for everyone wouldn't begin to balance the budget. What's more, such a tax rate hike would sink the economy. Even Obama has acknowledged that.

I do not trust the Republicans because they're terribly fiscally irresponsible.

But they're not as "fiscally irresponsible" as Democrats. Democrat Congresses have produced only one balanced budget (1969) since 1960. Though required by law, the Democrat Senate has not produced a budget in the last three years. Democrats are responsible for the five largest budget deficits in history and they all occurred during the last five years. The Dems final fiscal year and budget begins October 1, and it's likely to again top a trillion.

I don't trust the Democrats a lot either, even though they have a much better record on fiscal matters because it was Clinton and Gore that balanced the last budget.

Here Dean tries to showboat his supposed bipartisanship. Of course, the truth is: Democrats are a fiscal horror show. But the other lie here is crediting the executive branch, Clinton and Gore, with the budget. If the president is truly responsible for the budget, as Dean has contended for lo these many years, then Barack Obama is the most fiscally irresponsible president of all time. Dean seems to be willing to say whatever he thinks he can get away with.

For a long time now, Democrats have used the trope "every economist says." I'd like for Howard Dean to produce a hundred eminent economists to endorse his idea that we all join hands and jump off the fiscal cliff. If he can't find them, cable news programs might consider banishing Mr. Dean.

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

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