A dispatch from Greg Kaufmann:

On Budgets and Europe

Thursday afternoon, I was one of the 18 viewers in the age 3 to 100 demographic watching the Senate Budget Committee’s markup of Obama’s budget on C-SPAN.

There was actually a great exchange between Senators Judd Gregg and Bernie Sanders that I think 1) shows yet again how out of touch the GOP is; and 2) serves as another vindication of sorts for Sanders.

After being elected to the Senate in 2006, Sanders introduced his National Priorities Act that would have done many of the things the American people are now asking for and Obama is taking on — by rescinding the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent and using those revenues for health care, education, childcare, veterans services, infrastructure, deficit reduction and other vital needs.

He also urged his constituents, colleagues, and Americans to look abroad rather than blindly accepting arguments that we have “the best health care in the world”, or “the best education system,” etc.

Which brings me back to the hearing. Gregg introduced an amendment (defeated) that would have required 60 Senate votes for budget resolutions that don’t meet the European Union standard of limiting debt to 30 percent of GDP.

“We’re in such a bad situation in this nation right now… that [the Europeans] actually look good,” Gregg said.

Sanders pounced.

“I’m glad to hear that my neighbor from New Hampshire is suddenly interested in Europe,” he said. “And maybe we can take a hard look at the fact that virtually every European country has a national health-care program guaranteeing health care to all of their people, spending substantially less per capita than we do in this country — maybe we can add that. And maybe we can look at the fact that while we have 18 percent of our kids living in poverty, our European friends in some cases have 3 or 4 percent of their children living in poverty. And maybe while our families have to spend $40,000 a year to send our kids to college, they do it virtually free. So I like the idea of opening up the discussion about the pros and cons of Europe, but it is broader than my friend from New Hampshire is talking about.”

Sanders had it right. A flailing Gregg and the GOP continue to get it dead wrong.