How serious are Democrats about balancing the nation's budget? On Thursday, President Obama offered Republicans a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff: $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $400 billion in spending cuts, $50 billion in new spending, and unilateral presidential authority to raise the debt ceiling. "The offer lacks any concessions to Republicans," The Washington Post reported.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen helpfully illustrated the Democrats' attitude during an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday. After saying that no sacred cows should be spared when it comes to reducing the federal debt and avoiding the fiscal cliff, she said we should "take Social Security off the table."
"Social Security has not contributed to the debt and the deficits," Shaheen asserted. That is false. Social Security benefits payments have been greater than its revenues since 2009. Last year Social Security ran a $46 billion deficit. "Now, Social Security is sucking money out of the Treasury," The Washington Post reported in October of 2011.
Democrats want substantial tax hikes, paltry spending cuts and unsustainable entitlement spending left largely untouched.
This is what passes for fiscal seriousness on the eve of President Obama's second term.