Toomey and the Debt

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R) was the guest host on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Monday morning, during which he got into a spirited debate about the debt limit and budgetary politics with former Vermont Gov. (and DNC chairman) Howard Dean.

The debt limit, which expires Aug. 2, is on the collective mind of tout le monde in Washington today, with the GOP-controlled House scheduled tomorrow to vote on a "cut, cap and balance" plan pushed in part by Toomey. This bill would predicate an increase in borrowing authority on immediate budget cuts, statutory caps to restrain government spending in the future, and passage by both houses of Congress of a balanced-budget amendment to the constitution.

Here's a Bloomberg News story about the sometimes-vague plans presented by Republicans for how to achieve a balanced budget. Toomey's version is not vague, but it does rest on the assumption of a 3.05 percent annual rate of economic growth. The rate has averaged 1.7 percent since 2001.

Speaking of Toomey...his focus on the debt has been so relelentless, I am reminded of the hilarious song lyrics written for "Toomey and the Debt" by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dan Malloy, sung to the tune of Elton John's "Benny and the Jets."

See below a clip of the clash between PA's junior senator and Dean. (h/t Colby Itkowitz of the Morning Call.)