Get real, Washington

On my radio show this week, newly elected Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) acknowledged she was settling in to her new job in Washington. Still, she volunteered, at the end of the week she couldn’t wait to hop on a plane and get back to “the real world.”

Good for her. Already, Hochul realizes that Washington’s about as far as you can get from the “real world,” especially when it comes to debating budget cuts. In fact, judging from the nonsense heard today about deficit reduction, official Washington’s wallowing in a world of lies spread by Tea Partiers and swallowed by people who should know better.

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Lie No. 1: Debt reduction’s the No. 1 problem facing this country. Nonsense! In the “real world,” the No. 1 issue is stimulating the economy by creating jobs. Yet cutting $2 trillion or $4 trillion out of the budget will not create one new job. In fact, the more we cut, the more jobs we lose.

Yes, of course the deficit’s too big. So’s the national debt. We have to start chipping away at both and stop piling so much more on. But that doesn’t mean Congress should drop everything else and just cut, cut, cut. We didn’t become a great nation by thinking small. Think how much poorer a people we would be without the transcontinental railroad, the interstate highway system, Social Security, Medicare, the space program, our great national parks and other bold projects undertaken by both Republican and Democratic presidents. We, in turn, must continue investing in the future or risk becoming a second-rate nation.

Lie No. 2: It doesn’t matter whether we raise the debt ceiling or not. Get serious. Who are you going to believe? Moody’s or Michele Bachmann? Standard and Poor’s or Steve King?

It’s as simple as this: Great nations pay their bills. Again, this is something Republicans and Democrats always agreed on. That’s why the debt ceiling’s been raised — with no strings attached and no mandatory cuts — 39 times since 1980. The only reason the debt ceiling and budget cuts are linked this time around is because it’s Barack Obama, not George W. Bush, in the White House. Which gets us to …

Lie No. 3: Conservatives are fiscally responsible. Oh, really? Where were they when Bush piled on the national debt with two wars, a massive expansion of Medicare and tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires? Or when Dick Cheney proclaimed that “deficits don’t matter”?

It’s immoral to saddle our children with debt, they piously preach. Baloney. When they’re old enough to enjoy the great opportunities they’re given as Americans, our children will thank us for what we did build, not what we failed to. Today’s Republicans only demand balanced budgets when Democrats are in power, but spend like mad when they’re in charge.

On debt reduction, there are too many politicians spreading lies. Where are the Democrats and Republicans willing to stand up and tell the truth?

Press is host of the nationally syndicated “Bill Press Show.”