IT'S JANUARY 2011 AND OUR ECONOMY HAS

SHOWN SOME SIGNS OF RECOVERY. ARE WE AT THE POINT WHERE WE CAN RESPONSIBLY THINK ABOUT CUTTING BACK? Here's the paradox: the United States really has to [cut back]. The wheels are going to come off the wagon.

Debt is bad and there's too much of it and we'd be better off if the United States cut it back, absolutely. But [you can't] do this when the economy is still fragile, which it is — just look at commercial real estate, municipal bond markets, consumer indebtedness, and unemployment. I don't think we're in the middle of a robust recovery here. And I wish we were, because this is going to play right into the Republicans' hands come 2012.

The job of the Democrats since the 1960s has been to come in and clean up the mess the Republicans make. They do it, everyone says, "Oh, no fun, everything's bad, I'm voting for the other guy." [Then, the Republicans] come in and cut taxes, thereby sewing the seeds for the next mess.

Basically, the Democratic Party is your mom. You're a teenager, you've been caught, all your friends [came to] the house, you downed all the booze in the cabinet, you took a dump on dining table, you're grounded.

You clean the house up, and then eventually you say, "I want another party."

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