We talked last week about Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), a freshman lawmaker who’s quickly made a name for himself by sharing strange ideas and bizarre arguments. Brett LoGiurato visited Yoho’s Florida district recently to get a better sense of the kind of voters who chose to send their congressman to Washington.
Of particular interest was this exchange the reporter had with two local Tea Party supporters, including GOP state committeeman David Biddle, who argued that failing to raise the debt ceiling would simply force policymakers to drastically cut public investments in a hurry.
What to cut, then? Medicare? Social Security? Those programs won’t be cut and, according to Biddle, anyone who suggests it is employing “scare tactics.”With Biddle, you start with foreign aid. Then, “you can cut, you know, federal arts …” Biddle said.“There are a lot of grants,” added Bob Clemons, a director of finance for the local school board.“Grants. There’s a lot of grants,” Biddle said.The two paused for about 10 seconds.“It’s a big problem,” Clemons said.“It is. It is,” Biddle said.
Well, that certainly clears things up. (For the record, foreign aid and arts grants comprise about 1% of the federal budget.)
My point, of course, is not to pick on a couple of local Floridian officials, or even Yoho. It is worth appreciating, though, how easy it is for some on the right to talk about “cutting spending” in a superficial sense, while struggling badly with all of the relevant details.