Sen. McCaskill's Bold Decision

February 2, 2011

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, has decided to co-sponsor a bill with Senate Republicans that would cap federal spending at a declining percentage of GDP over ten years. Spending as a percentage of GDP would eventually be reduced to 20.6 percent, which is equal to the average from 1970 to 2008. To put this perspective, federal spending as a share of the economy will be close to 25 percent this year, and is projected to be even higher ten years from now. 

According to The Hill, McCaskill appears to be taking an uncommonly principled stand: 

If this bill is distorted and twisted, it could cost me my Senate seat, but it’s a price I am willing to pay,” McCaskill said in a floor speech supporting the bill on Tuesday.
It is a price I am willing to pay for my country, and more importantly, it is a price I am willing to pay for my grandchildren.
“Getting control of spending is very, very hard, but we have to do it and we have to do it now,” McCaskill said in her floor speech. “But this bill is possible. It tells the American people that our spending is going to be capped at a certain amount of economic spending in this country.” 
Critics on the left are already having a conniption because the cap would force Congress to rein in spending for the biggest budget busters: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Indeed, the Associated Press reported that “McCaskill’s idea went over like a lead balloon with fellow Democratic lawmakers.”
Some critics on the right will say that her past support for big government, including Obamacare, makes her decision too little, too late. Regardless, a Democratic Senator deciding to address the country’s looming fiscal crisis by focusing solely on spending is to be applauded. Hopefully, McCaskill’s bold decision will encourage other Democrats to face up to the reality that we can’t tax our way out of this mess. 


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