The Washington Post

Spending is investment, keeping your money is spending

The Democratic vocabulary for the 2012 campaign is evolving.  Not since the Soviet Union have words been so contorted or so easily assigned new meanings. For instance, today, speaking at the Exeter Town Hall in New Hampshire, Vice President Joe Biden asked attendees, “Do we pay down those deficits, cutting wherever we can, while we invest in the things we know we must do to grow our economy and good, middle-class jobs — education; research and development; clean energy technology? Or do we continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on these tax windfalls for millionaires — windfalls they do not need and haven’t asked for.”

Let’s go to the dictionary. The definition of “spending” at dictionary.com is “to pay out,” and so it’s deceitful for Biden to use the word spending in this instance. It would lead one to assume that people are being paid, or that a transfer of money is taking place, but no.  Private citizens and companies are just being allowed to keep their own money. 

We know that the Democrats have been fixated with calling government spending “investments.” Returning to the dictionary, the definition of “investing” is “to put money to use . . . in something offering potential profitable return.” So is Biden talking about Solyndra? Or what other investments is he talking about that are going to show a profitable return — and a return to whom?

So, in the Democratic vocabulary, spending means investment and keeping your money is spending.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.

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