credit: Talk Radio News Service / / CC BY-NC-SAcredit: Talk Radio News Service / / CC BY-NC-SAIt has been grimly amusing over the last few weeks to watch senior Democrats try to decide what kind of spending problem, if any, we actually have—as well as what, if anything, they might be willing to do about it. 

At the beginning of the year, President Obama reportedly told GOP House Speaker John Boehner that we don’t have a spending problem. Instead, he said, we have a health care spending problem. Last week, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was even more dismissive.  “It is almost a false argument to say that we have a spending problem,” she said. “We have a budget deficit problem.” A day later, White House press secretary Jay Carney offered a sort of clarification, or at least an update: “Of course, the president believes that we have a spending problem,” he said at a White House briefing. And that problem, Carney said, is “specifically driven by” health care spending.

Each of these professional Democrats is working from the same talking point playbook, writes Reason Senior Editor Peter Suderman. But they’re not all telling quite the same story.