Harkin: ‘Is It a Spending Problem? No ... It's a Misallocation of Wealth'

By Penny Starr | February 14, 2013 | 8:20pm EST

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said on Thursday that U.S. government does not have a spending problem, but America suffers from "a misallocation of wealth."

“I look at it this way,” Harkin said at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the law that includes the automatic spending cuts referred to as "sequestration"). “We’re the richest nation in the history of the world.  That kind of begs the question doesn’t it? If we’re so rich, why are we so broke?”

“Is it a spending problem? Harkin said. “No, it’s because we have a misallocation of capital, a misallocation of wealth.”

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“All of this wealth that’s been built up by hard-working Americans has been accumulated into fewer and fewer and fewer hands all the time,” Harkin said.

Harkin, who sits on the Appropriations Committee, criticized a U.S. tax code he said benefits wealthy people.

“I tell you we’ve got to get back to a better, rationale system of revenues and spending in this country and back to our obligations,” Harkin said. “I just feel very strongly, that it’s not just appropriations that’s causing this problem.

“It’s the lack of the revenue that we should be taking in to meet our obligations as a country,” Harkin said.

But Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said she supported tax increases for the wealthy and opposed letting sequestration commence, took issue with Harkin’s views on federal spending.

“It’s very difficult to follow the eloquence of my colleague from Iowa,” Collins said. “The fact is, however, I believe we do have a spending problem and the $16.4 trillion dollar debt is ample evidence of that.”

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