Election 2016

Surprise: Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton Pledge To Hike Historically High Spending Levels

Only Libertarian Gary Johnson promises to balance budget while reducing outlays.

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David Deeble, Twitter

In a presidential campaign that has mostly been about rhetoric, vitriol, and sweeping statements (No more Mexicans! Much More Social Security!), it's easy to lose sight of what is arguably the single-most important act of any chief executive: The amount of spending he or she pledges to enact.

Such spending, especially when it is paid for with borrowed dollars (as it always is), is easy to sell to voters because they feel as if they're getting something for pennies on the dollar. In fact, between 2009 and 2013, the federal government borrowed 33 cents of each dollar they spent. Who wouldn't buy $1 worth of stuff for just 67 cents? It's future citizens—hello, millennials!—who will pick up the tab, in the form of reduced services, much-higher taxes, "monetizing the debt" (inflation), or some combination of the three.

Here's the worst part: Both market-friendly and left-leaning economists agree that persistently high and increasing levels of national debt correlate strongly with sharply diminished economic growth. In a 2012 paper on "debt overhangs," Carmen Reinhart, Vincent Reinhart, and Kenneth Rogoff found that periods where debt-to-GDP rations exceeded 90 percent for five or more years correlated with economic growth averaged 2.3 percent rather than 3.5 percent for more than 20 years. Left-wing economists at the University of Massachusettsf found that growth in debt-overhang periods came in a hair lower, averaging 2.2 percent for decades after. You compound 2 percent growth versus 3 percent growth for a quarter-century and you are looking at a phenomenally lower increase in living standards.

Reinhart, Reinhart, and Rogoff

Which brings us to Donald Trump's and Hillary Clinton's plans for spending. A new report by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget finds that "Clinton would increase spending by $1.45 trillion over ten years, from 22.1 to 22.7 percent of GDP." Under Trump, spending would increase "from 22.1 to 22.5 percent of GDP." Think about that: We are already spending historically sums of tax dollars as a percentage of GDP and both major-party candidates have signed on to increase it even further. This is the spending ratchet effect at work, and it's not pretty. Clinton includes tax hikes that would raise revenues from a current level of 18.1 percent to 18.6 percent. Trump's tax plan would massively decrease revenues to just 13.6 percent of GDP.

Relative to current law, it would require $2.9 trillion to stabilize the debt as a share of GDP and $7.8 trillion to balance the budget after ten years. A responsible fiscal plan would aim to achieve a target somewhere between these two goals.

Both plans would thus increase the national debt, which currently stands at over $19 trillion (that figure includes debt held by the public and intra-government debt). Under Clinton's plan, according to the CFRB calculations, the United States would need to get to 4.1 percent annual economic growth to balance the budget. With Trump, economic growth would need to be 9 percent. Realistic projections of economic growth come in around 2.1 percent for the forseeable future.

Reason Magazine

Which is simply one more way of underscoring that neither of these candidates is acceptable. Trump's slap-dash plan is laughable on its face, but that shouldn't let Clinton off the hook, either. She represents a party that is talking loudly about increasing Social Security and other entitlements that are already spending far more money each year than they generate in dedicated revenues. As a number of high-profile conservatives and Republicans abandon even the pretense of supporting Donald Trump and work "to make sure he loses" (see George Will, for instance), Clinton's rotten budget scenario deserves even more scorn for its worse-than-head-in-the-sand projections.

Only one presidential candidate to date has actually said that he will balance the budget as his top priority: the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, whose web page asserts:

Governor Johnson has pledged that his first major act as President will be to submit to Congress a truly balanced budget. No gimmicks, no imaginary cuts in the distant future. Real reductions to bring spending into line with revenues, without tax increases. No line in the budget will be immune from scrutiny and reduction. And he pledges to veto any legislation that will result in deficit spending, forcing Congress to override his veto in order to spend money we don't have.

This sort of stance seems almost quaint in the 21st century, when the national debt doubled under George W. Bush and then again under Barack Obama. Quaint, maybe, but also more necessary than ever, especially for future generations that will be paying for the party thrown on their dime before most of them were even born. Given the longstanding mismatch between spending and revenue levels, this is hardly an easy sell. As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) notes, average outlays between 1966 and 2015 averaged 20.2 percent of GDP while average revenues averaged just 17.4 percent. CBO estimates that under current tax law and ecomomic projections, revenues might increase to as much as 18.2 percent of GDP while spending might bump up to over 23 percent.

Historical Trends
CBO

Those of us closer to the grave than the maternity ward should also ask ourselves: What exactly do we have to show for the massive splurge in credit-card-funded spending over the past 15 years of Bush/Republican/Obama/Democratic runaway spending? Ruinous wars in foreign countries, deeply suppressed economic growth, infrastructure that is rarely top-notch if not falling apart, and on and on. Unlike lost weekends in New Orleans or Vegas or wherever, we don't even have fond-if-hazy memories of good times. All we (should) have is regret and shame that we're doing our best to screw the future for the single-largest generation of Americans and the poor saps who come after them.

For one way to reduce annual deficits in a programmatic and plausible way, read "The 19 Percent Solution: How to balance the budget without increasing taxes."

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227 responses to “Surprise: Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton Pledge To Hike Historically High Spending Levels

  1. Sure, reigning in spending is a desirable thing. It’s a shame he blew the biggest chance he’ll ever get to make his point.

    1. My Co-Worker’s step-sister made $13285 the previous week. She gets paid on the laptop and moved in a $557000 condo. All she did was get blessed and apply the guide leaked on this web site. Browse this site….
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    2. My Co-Worker’s step-sister made $13285 the previous week. She gets paid on the laptop and moved in a $557000 condo. All she did was get blessed and apply the guide leaked on this web site. Browse this site….
      This is what I do________ http://www.Trends88.com

  2. It’s a shame we don’t have a legislative body in charge of spending instead of just an executive.

    1. This. Fuck congress.

    2. Just goes to show you that even when the founding document spells out how something should be done, the overlords will simply shrug their shoulders and ignore it. Oh sure, they go through the motions of having spending “originate” in the House, but we all know that the President lays out how much he’s going to spend, and if Congress ever dared to cut any of it, everyone goes apeshit, including the average American moron.

  3. Here’s the worst part: Both market-friendly and left-leaning economists agree that persistently high and increasing levels of national debt correlate strongly with sharply diminished economic growth.

    Why is that bad? Economic growth leads to inequality, and as we all know inequality is the single most important issue of our time. People get rich in a growing economy, and that just isn’t fair. That’s like worse than Hitler and stuff, you know? That is why a sluggish economy is a good thing. It bleeds out the rich as they try in vain to turn their obscene wealth into immoral profits, and while it brings down the poor as well, it brings down the rich faster. That is the road to equality. So what if it means everyone is worse off than they would otherwise be? It’s equal, and that is what’s important.

    1. +1 “Bread lines are sign of economic health.”

      1. Otherwise the rich people get all the food.

        1. And the poor people get fatter…cuz the only options they have are Dairy Queen, KFC, and McDees.

          1. That’s not REAL food!!1

      2. I index economic health inversely to the preference of beggars holding signs at freeway off-ramps and street corners. Beggars have necessarily skyrocketed under Obama’s policies.

  4. Maybe we should create a system of government where the legislature sets spending rather than electing a king. It is so crazy it just might work.

    In all seriousness, the fact that anyone cares what the two candidates think about spending shows how far down the road towards despotism we have fallen. The President should have very little input on spending. The budget and tax rates should be set by Congress and the President should then administer it. If Congress were anything but a band of thieves and gave a shit about the country or their institution, they would band together and override any presidential veto of the budget as a matter of institutional principle.

    1. Checks and balances stop things from getting done. That’s what the Founders got all wrong. They created all kinds of impediments meant to slow down government and prevent things from getting done. Enlightened people understand that government is supposed to get things done. The only way to do this is to ignore checks and balances, and give deference to the other branches. That’s how things get done. Because everyone knows that nothing gets done unless government is involved. Why don’t you want anything to get done?

      1. “We’re going to make America get things done again.”

      2. “Get things done” is high on my list of Things Dipshits Say, right up there with “There oughta be a law” and “If it saves just one life”

        1. All variations on “do something”.

          1. I wouldn’t hate the “do something!” mentality quite as much if there was a countervailing “undo that something we did!” mentality. Instead, people just accept what’s been done, and it becomes the new accepted reality (assumed to never change… or that it shouldn’t ever change).

        2. Those and “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about” are the political statements that send me into a fuming rage.

          1. scribbles… Added.

          2. “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about”

            I once had someone actually say that to my face about the mass surveillance shit a couple of years ago. It took more self control than I could muster to not yell back at the low forehead “It’s called having principles, you fucking dullard! You do know what those are, don’t you?!”

            1. Principles are things that guide ideologues, and everyone knows that ideologues are worse than Hitler. Obama said so.

              1. Principles are a great thing, but you know something? They take a lot of energy. But that’s OK. There’s a job waiting for you down the block from your house that doesn’t require a thought in your head or a hope in your heart. So come on down and work for the artificial flower factory. Why fight it? OK? Thank you.

            2. I can recall several discussions here at H&R where some lefty argued earnestly that truth is irrelevant or that being principled is foolish.

              The answer to your question would probably have been ‘No’.

            3. I once had someone actually say that to my face about the mass surveillance shit a couple of years ago.

              OK. Print off your browser history and you last year’s worth of financial statements for me, if you don’t mind.

        3. Unfortunately, dipshits are the majority. And they vote.

        4. “If it saves just one life”

          Just like “taxes = charity”, this is another idea that sounds good as long as you don’t think too hard about it. Saving even a single life is a wonderful act of courage and bravery; enacting a bunch of bullshit legislation on the grounds that it could *potentially* save a life is not the same thing at all, but in the Dipshit Brain, it all means the same thing.

          1. We’re way past the days of “It is better for ten guilty men to go free…”

          2. how about “taxes = revenues”….

      3. About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

        We are sliding down the old hill of despotism.

        1. Calvin Coolidge, btw
          Link

          1. Good stuff. Thanks for the link.

            It would be nice to have another President like him. Said very little, did virtually nothing and disappeared for months at a time.

    2. If Congress were anything but a band of thieves

      This is what it boils down to. And same thing at the local level.

      1. “Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history, mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.” — PJ O’Rourke, Parliament of Whores

  5. Hey, we have a real surprise- someone who manipulates debt for a living advocating for manipulating public debt! Unfortunately, you can’t do a Chapter 7 walkaway…

    1. Oh yes you can. It would hurt but you could do it. In fact, governments, since they own armies, are the one entity that really can do a chapter 7 walk away. They don’t ever do that because it would screw bankers, and bankers have a lot of political power and it would keep them from borrowing money in the future. It would force governments to live within their means. No one wants that.

      1. They don’t ever do that because it would screw bankers, and bankers have a lot of political power and it would keep them from borrowing money in the future. It would force governments to live within their means.

        So, in reality, they can’t do that.

        1. No. In reality the don’t want to do that, but they could. And they would under the right circumstances. Lots of governments have completely repudiated their debts; they are usually known as “revolutionary governments”.

    2. A government that defaults on its debt will never sell a bond again, ever. That’s why it never happens.

      1. Can you imagine having to survive on just 3 trillion a year?

      2. Plenty of governments have defaulted on their debt. They always come back to sell more. This time it’s different, and hey, the rate is high.

        But the US government has the 14th Amendment, so the government’s debt can’t be questioned.

    3. Who needs a Chapter 7?

      Just monetize the debt with massive currency printing.

      What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Printing currency makes everyone rich, because money is wealth! Fire up the presses!

      2. Simpsons already did it.

      3. That is pretty much what we are doing. So, what is going wrong?

  6. I call total bullshit, considering that “GayJay” presided over massive state spending increases during his tenure as governor of New Mexico.

    1. But he was dealing with a state legislature who really wanted to spend money. He did the best he could. It would be totally different if he were president.

      1. No shit. Here’s the lame defense of his real life fiscal record Reason itself offered up just one month ago. They can’t actually dispute the numbers, so they have to resort to saying “The Libertarian presidential contender was better on taxing then spending, but the power of the veto can only go so far when you are governor and the legislature ultimately controls the purse.”

        Well, duuuuuuh. The same exact thing is true of the President, schmuckapucks!

        1. The Libertarian presidential contender was better on taxing then spending,

          Didn’t Reason spend 8 years savaging George W. Bush for being “better on taxing than spending”?

          It is not that Johnson is a bad guy or was a particularly bad governor. It is that I can’t figure out why people think he is a libertarian rather just a retread Republican. Yeah, he likes pot and gay marriage. So do a lot of retread Republicans. So what?

          1. Johnson and Weld are liberal republicans who stood no chance of ever succeeding in a national GOP that is dominated by cultural conservatives and war boners. They can be big fish in the small pond of the libertarian party, and even if they are not true libertarians, offer it the best chance of respectability.

            1. I understand that argument. And it makes sense, but I don’t buy it. What is the point of having a libertarian party? To get 10% of the vote on an odd year when people are butt hurt about both major candidates or to act as a national conscience pushing libertarian ideas? I see it more as the latter. All of those never Trump and Never Hillary voters are going to go right back to their respective parties as soon as the party chooses a different nominee.

              1. All of those never Trump and Never Hillary voters are going to go right back to their respective parties as soon as the party chooses a different nominee.

                Hell, half of them are still going to vote Hillary and Trump anyway. Cause we can’t have the other guy win.

              2. The LP should usually be the latter — pushing real libertarian ideas and getting 1 to 5 percent of the vote.

                This year it decided to nominate a more experienced, more reasonable, more likable centrist candidate who could actually win, if people thought for themselves. Don’t give up yet.

          2. Didn’t Reason spend 8 years savaging George W. Bush for being “better on taxing than spending”?

            For six years Republicans had control of both chambers with Bush as president, and rather than reducing spending they increased it drastically. Johnson faced Democratic majorities in both chambers of the NM legislature who passed spending despite his vetoes, correct? If that’s the case then the difference between Bush and Johnson is clear.

            1. Dammit html.

        2. I don’t think anyone should expect the budget and spending problem to just magically be solved if Johnson gets elected. That’s not the way our system works, the president doesn’t have that unilateral power. That said, someone who at least pushes for that has a better chance of making progress than someone who right off the bat has no interest or even lipservice to controlling spending and debt. Both Clinton and Trump are absolutely awful on this issue.

          1. Okay but you could say the same thing about electing him governor of New Mexico. It did not work out that way, however. He ended up rolling over to the legislature and spending went through the roof. Why is there any reason to think he won’t do the same with Congress?

            1. He ended up rolling over to the legislature and spending went through the roof.

              Did he roll over to the legislature, or did the legislature simply override his vetoes? At the federal level, there would need to be a 2/3 majority of Democrats to override a presidential veto. Even if the Democrats do well, they surely won’t get to 2/3 in both chambers, meaning Johnson would wield a lot more weight.

              1. Did they? You tell me. Regardless, Congress could do the same thing.

                1. Did they? You tell me. Regardless, Congress could do the same thing.

                  You made the assertion that Johnson rolled over to the legislature. I called into question your claim. You’ve revealed that you don’t know. Since you don’t know, don’t make baseless assertions without first looking at what happened first. Hopefully, it was an honest mistake. Maybe someone will take the time to clarify what happened. Until then, asserting Johnson rolled over to the legislature is a baseless attack since his vetoes could have easily been overridden by the legislature.

                  As to your second point, Congress certainly could do the same thing. And if it did such things with or without 2/3 Democratic majorities, then there is very little hope. What’s your point?

              2. You don’t think Republicans would override the veto of a fiscal hawk president?

            2. We don’t know how much spending would have increased if someone else was elected. And if you look at the numbers, the spending that the state government of NM controls increased a lot slower than when federal money was included. What would the increase have been if Johnson’s vetoes hadn’t been overriden?

  7. Clump 2016!

    1. Xe’s Clump, Xe’s Clump, Xe’s Clump, Xe’s in my Head.

  8. I’d show you my shocked face, but it’s broken beyond repair.

    1. But George Will assures us that if we just elect Hillary the Republicans will come back in 2020 and take over and fix all of this.

      I am not kidding. That is what he claims. He is not a “Republican” anymore but he is certain that if we just get rid of Trump we will be just one Republican victory from the promised land.

      How are these people taken seriously? Or better yet, how can Will take himself seriously and say that shit with a straight face?

      1. “But George Will assures us that if we just elect Hillary the Republicans will come back in 2020 and take over and fix all of this.”

        Bush I was the only time since FDR that one party has held the presidency for three consecutive terms and FDR was the last time the dems held the presidency for more than two consecutive terms. Maybe he is betting on history? which doesn’t favor the dems right now either…

      2. I’ve long theorized that anyone who loves baseball as much as George Will does is brain damaged. That he thinks that is just further proof.

        1. I love baseball and I am inclined to agree with you. To love baseball at the expense of all other sports the way Will does is not normal. And the funny thing is that despite all of his pretensions, I don’t find his opinions on baseball to be particularly insightful or his knowledge of the subject that impressive.

          I have never been impressed by Will’s knowledge of the game. Keith Olberman is a douche bag but my God does that guy know his shit about baseball. It is astounding how much he knows about the history of the game. Will isn’t even in that league. He is basically on the level of some boring old guy you meet at a bar who endlessly argues why Bill Mazeroski deserved to be in the HOF.

          1. Good observation. Agreed.

          2. Its quite possible that Maz’s defense was that much better than every other 2nd baseman, that it makes up for his clear offensive shortcomings. Probably even enough to get to HOF levels.

            Plus he beat the Yankees, and there is huge value in that.

            On the other hand, he was a Pirate, so that puts him in extreme negative value overall.

            1. On the other hand, no one at that time ever thought he was close to MVP of the league (8th was highest finish), so its hard to be a HOFer.

              And the more conservative defensive stats don’t give enough of a boost.

              1. How about a lifetime OBP of just .299?

                However, the eight gold gloves and nine times leading NL second basemen in range factor are pretty impressive.

                1. All you need to know about Gold Gloves is Jeter won a bunch….lololol.

            2. He was an average hitter. And while second base is an important defensive position, it is not shortstop or catcher or even centerfield.

              My problem with him getting in the HOF is that it was such a one off thing. If you want to let great defensive infielders into the Hall, fine. But that is not what they did. They let that defensive infielder in. If Maz belongs in the HOF, so does Frank White and Frank Crosett. Hell Frank White was by any objective measure every bit the player Maz was and was arguably better. White never hit a famous homerun and didn’t make the rounds with the media the way Maz did.

              1. Maz, to me, is like the argument for a closer or a DH.

                His overall “value” but any objective measure is not enough for the HOF. Same for Mariano Rivera or any other closer.

                But, it is quite possible that he is the greatest defensive player of all time, DESPITE being only a 2nd basemen. If that is true, and I remember seeing (at least) one quality measure that suggests that is the case, then you have to decide if that is enough for the HOF.

                Is being the best defensive player ever enough, even with nothing else on your resume? Is being the best closer in the history of baseball enough, even though closer is not really that valuable a position?

                Is being the best base stealer in history enough (although Ricky was more than qualified)? How about the best DH? The best closer?

                Is the HOF only for all-around players?

                1. Even if he was the greatest defensive second baseman, there have been others that are not far behind. Whatever you think of the logic of letting him in, the Hall has only followed it in his case. It is not so much that letting him in was wrong. You can debate that forever and your answer depends on how you look at the questions you discuss. What infuriates me is that they haven’t followed that thinking for anyone else. They don’t really believe that. The Hall voters just like Maz and wanted to let him in. That is all that happened.

                  I think baseball HOF voters are as a group loathsome. They need to come up with a new system. The writers have beclowned themselves too many times to continue to be allowed to make the decision.

              2. Frank White was a very good fielding second basemen. I always liked him.

                I just checked Baseball Reference and was surprised to discover that he did not win any gold gloves. Crap, I would have wagered a fair penny that the guy had won a couple of gold gloves.

                In 1985 and 86, he hit 22 home runs – Mazeroski didn’t do that.

                But, for my money, neither Maz nor White belong in the Hall.

                1. I agree with you Mike. But if Maz does, so does White. White was a great defensive second baseman. He didn’t win any gold gloves but he should have. You try playing second base on astroturf. He had tremendous range and was very dependable. He just didn’t get the credit because so many balls got through the infield on Royals’ Stadium’s turf that would have never gotten through on grass.

                2. Bobby Grich, Lou Whittaker and Willie Randolph were better players than Mazeroski and White, and neither of them is in the Hall.

                  A very useful statistical measurement for Hall of Fame arguments is JAWS.

                  1. Yes, Crusty, you can make a good argument that Grich, Whittaker and Randolph were better players than Maz and White.

                    But, as for WAR as the be all, end all metric, I have never bought it. Its just too imprecise and subjective.

                    What do you think is more reliable as a metric, WAR or career black numbers?

                    1. Its just too imprecise and subjective.

                      It is imprecise (especially with defensive statistics), but it is very useful for historical comparisons, which is why I shared it.

                    2. Crusty, I am not being critical of you and do appreciate you sharing it. For historical comparisons, it is worthy of discussing.

                      Its just that too many of the sabremetric geeks overplay WAR, imo.

                      But, how about answering my question?

                    3. I was not saying you were being critical. WAR is useful in may instances, but it is not the be all, end all of an argument. However, it is often easily dismissed as well.

                      I am not sure what you mean by “black numbers,” but I think WAR is the best starting point for any historical argument. The numbers show that Frank White has a numerous contemporaries who have a much higher WAR than he does. The next question would be why that is.

                    4. The next question would be why that is.

                      As in, WAR creates a great starting point for comparisons. Compare White against Grich, Randolph, Whittaker, and then determine if White was a superior player.

                      I think WAR fails with a player like Jack Morris, who was one of the best starting pitchers of his era, even though he had a high ERA. Also, I think playoff moments matter as well, which works in Morris’ favor.

                    5. Yes, lots of White’s contemporaries have a much higher WAR than he does. To tell you the truth, I was surprised to discover he was so far down the list of 2B men.

                      Black numbers, aka as “bold numbers”, refers to a category in which a player lead the league in a given year. Offensively, for example, Ted Williams had 12 bold numbers for his 1949 season whereas Jim Rice had 11 for his great 1978 season. I am excluding strike outs and double plays as they are not positive.

                      In ’49, Teddy Ballgame lead the AL in games, plate appearances, runs, doubles, home runs, RBIs, walks, OBP, slugging, OPS, OPS +, and total bases. Hence he had 12 offensive “black numbers”. Oddly, he did not lead the league in hitting that year. Arguably, the greatest offensive season in history.

                      In ’78, Rice lead the American League in games, plate appearances, at bats, home runs, RBIs, hits, triples, slugging, OPS, OPS + total bases. Therefore, Rice had 11 bold numbers.

                      Player comparisons? How about Yaz and Derek Jeter? Yaz had 36 career offensive bold numbers whereas Jeter had 9 career bold offensive numbers. I know, apples and oranges with these two, but I know their numbers off the top of my head.

                      How about Frank White, Willie Randolph, Sweet Lou, and Grich? White had zero whereas Randolph had one, Whittaker had one, and Bobby Grich had five.

                      I believe that Babe Ruth had the most bold numbers of all time.

                    6. Crusty, we agree on Morris. No question about it. Didn’t he lead the AL, if not all of MLB, in 80s wins?

                    7. Morris did lead the MLB in wins in the 80s. His WAR is lower than other pitchers from that era, like Dave Steib (another forgtten player), but other factors contributed to his inclusion, and that’s perfectly fine.

                    8. Bold numbers are also a useful way to look at a historical comparison, but it discounts players with remarkable consistency, like Jeter. However, it shows how dominant a player was, that is for sure.

                    9. Good ole Dave Stieb. Once saw him throw a gem at Fenway.

                      Yes, the bold numbers comparison, in isolation, may not do certain players, like Jeter, justice. It is just another metric, it should neither be overplayed nor ignored.

      3. OT: John, what did think of Coach Summit?

        In my opinion, she is one of the five most important, impressive, and influential people in the history of North American team sports along with:

        (1) Papa Bear;

        (2) The Sultan of Swat;

        (3) Jackie Roosevelt Robinson; and

        (4) Lombardi;

        1. She was a hell of a coach obviously. The only thing you can say against her is that since the depth of talent in women’s basketball is so much thinner than other sports, once you get a great team it is easier to dominate than even basketball was back in the 60s. There are just almost never any upsets in women’s basketball and never more than two or three teams that even have a prayer at the title and sometimes not even that many.

          Whether she belongs in that group really comes down to how important you think women’s team sports are. If you think they are important, then she belongs in the top five because she is clearly the most important women’s coach of all time. I am not sure I consider women’s team sports to be that important but that is a totally subjective judgment on my part.

        2. I really hate to diminish her because she was a great coach and fine lady, but she wasn’t even as great as Geno Auriemma is. Not only is his winning percentage much higher, but he’s going to blow by her win total in four more years, assuming he doesn’t retire before then.

          1. By the numbers, yes. But Summit started out before there was even a women’s tournament. She did more for women’s basketball than anyone else. Auriemma is a very successful coach but he will never be as important or influential as Summit.

            1. I hear you about the importance of women’s sports, but, I have to admit I do appreciate women’s hoops and especially the dramatic improvement in the women’s game in our lifetimes. You know that I am not saying that to signal anything other than the fact that I enjoy women’s basketball – not like college football or the NFL or MLB or the NBA, but, I enjoy it and I have paid money to attend UCONN and WNBA games.

              Summit’s 97-98 team was one of the greatest teams ever. That year was special for the Vols because the women won the NCAA championship and the football team won the national championship.

              IMO, Pat Summit is one of those coaches, like Lombardi or Red Auerbach, who could have coached any sport, and would have succeeded. She would have commanded the respect of men.

              1. I remember when a very long tenured and successful baseball coach at my alma matter retired. They asked him what coaching 18 to 22 year old kids for 25 years was like. He responded “its like installing a bowling alley inside your head”. She managed to not only recruit those players but motivate them and get them to play at the highest level they could. That is a hell of an accomplishment to do that for as long as she did.

        3. Anybody who helped that many young women go all the way for the first time can’t be all bad.

      4. Will is a mental retard. If Hillary gets elected, Ryan and McConnell will enthusiastically help her get her agenda through Congress. Amnesty, Trans-Pac trade agreement, healthcare fixes, etc… They’ll get paid off but the party will be done.

        There won’t be a Republican Part in 2020.

        1. He is just a self important asshole. If Trump were to win, there is no denying he would be less damaging to the country than Hillary and he would support policies that while not to Will’s tastes completely are a lot closer to them than anything Hillary would do. What would happen if Trump wins, is George Will will no longer be a very important person. If Trump wins, who is going to listen to or care about what people like Will have to say? Democrats have no interest in them. if Trump wins, the people like Will who said he couldn’t win will be completely discredited. If Hillary wins, then Will and his ilk get a giant I told you so and the Republican party goes back to being their private club, or at least that is what Will thinks will happen.

          That is all that is going on here.

        2. There won’t be a Republican Part in 2020.

          There is very real chance that the Republican Party won’t be a major party much longer. And it will be entirely self-inflicted.

          If they replace Trump at the convention, or if they submarine his campaign as they have any number of Tea Party candidates, I think they will permanently alienate a big chunk of their base. If the Repub establishment wants to be relevant after this election, they need to throw everything they have at electing Trump.

          1. I don’t buy that. There is more to the Republican Party than the Presidency. The convention could melt down but I can’t see that affecting the lives of the thousands of Republican elected officials at the state and local level.

            1. There will still be a rump party if the idiots running the national party screw this up, no question. But I think they fail to recognize that there is a lot of anger at the establishment out there, and if they get in its way, they will wreck the party as a major party.

              No idea what will replace it as the “other” national party, but it will be different, I believe.

              1. I think Trump is going to be nominated and will either win or if he loses come as close or closer to winning than Romney did. Either way the establishment is going to be deprived of that great Hillary landslide they so hope and pray occurs.

            2. Like I’ve said before, this election represents a political realignment–most people will still vote for their preferred party, but the country is so politically polarized now that appeals to “unification” and “moderate voters” which would have passed muster over the last 30-40 years will be less relevant, at least in the short term. So its not just political priorities that are changing–notice how the Democrats aren’t even pretending anymore that blue-collar voters matter to them–but also tactics and strategy. Both parties are going to take an increasingly partisan “with us or against us” tack because that’s what their rank-and-file wants, and post-election actions will be about punishing dissenters rather than finding common ground.

          2. If Trump wins, the Republican party may continue to exist, but it will cease to represent anything resembling a free-market or limited-government party. Instead, we will have two big government parties, the white working class national socialist party, and the international socialist party.

            If the Republican party implodes, the logic of electoral college politics will force something else to rise in it’s place. Either the D’s will break apart, or some other party will take it’s place.

            Frankly, I find the latter to be a more appealing option.

            1. it will cease to represent anything resembling a free-market or limited-government party

              That barn is already in the horse’s rear-view mirror.

              1. Then I pray it dies quickly.

        3. If Hillary gets elected, Ryan and McConnell will enthusiastically help her get her agenda through Congress. Amnesty, Trans-Pac trade agreement, healthcare fixes, etc… They’ll get paid off but the party will be done.

          There won’t be a Republican Party in 2020.

          You say this like it’s a bad thing. I’m pro pretty much all of that, except maybe the healthcare “fixes”.

        4. Ultimately these parties serve their donors and interest groups that make the real difference in whether they get to ascend to the aristocracy or have get a real job like the rest of us suckers. And their actions are some fraction of what they’d really like to do for those benefactors, restrained by their fear of pissing off too many voters. The Republican party is so horrible because the alternative is so horrible and vice versa. The Democratic party will take advantage of every stupid move Republicans do, by making the shittiest laws they can get away with, and probably going too far, guaranteeing the Republicans’ survival.

      5. 2020 may be the only hope the country has, whoever gets elected. I’m not saying it’s going to be Clinton, but it’s going to be Clinton.

  9. RE: the alt-text on the first picture:

    Sheesh, just swapping the last names? Talk about amateur hour.

    It should be “Hillold Trumpton or Donllary Clintrump”

    1. *George RR Martin furiously scribbles notes*

  10. Speaking of Hillary. Could these to stories possibly be related?

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/…..ing-224869

    Weapons trafficking questions remain unanswered in Benghazi report

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/…..35170.html

    Weapons for Syrian rebels sold on Jordan’s black market
    CIA plan to arm Syrian rebels undermined by theft of weapons by Jordanian intelligence agents, officials say.

    ISIS goes from “JV to owning half of two large countries just after Clinton and Obama get the genius idea to start arming Syrian rebels. Just bad luck I guess.

    1. SIS goes from “JV to owning half of two large countries just after Clinton and Obama get the genius idea to start arming Syrian rebels. Just bad luck I guess.

      Don’t forget about McCain.

      1. Yes, Congress deserves blame as well. If it hadn’t been for Obamacare, I thing you can make a real case that McCain would have turned out to be a worse President than Obama. McCain would not have done Obamacare and that is an epic demerit on Obama. But if the Democrats had backed off and walked away from Obamacare, I have a hard time making much of a case that McCain would not have been worse.

        Like Obama, McCain has turned out to be everything his worst critics claimed he was. And I didn’t believe them at the time. Boy was I wrong about that.

    2. SIS goes from “JV to owning half of two large countries just after Clinton and Obama get the genius idea to start arming Syrian rebels. Just bad luck I guess.

      Don’t forget about McCain.

      1. McCain.

      2. What about McCain, did he have anything to do with it?

        1. He was a huge supporter of it and gave Obama and Clinton “bi partisan” coverage in Congress.

    3. Just bad luck I guess.

      Well, what else could it be, they’re geniuses afterall. Top men… TOP. MEN.

  11. “Surprise”??

  12. it’s easy to lose sight of what is arguably the single-most important act of any chief executive: The amount of spending he or she pledges to enact.

    Which is why some stupid old dead white guys a hundred years ago gave the power of the purse to the legislature and the power to administer the funds to the executive – the two are supposed to be so busy trying to screw each other they don’t have time to screw the general public. As one of them said in response to the objection that the checks and balances in the Constitution made for a government too weak to do all the good things that needed doing (paraphrased): If men were angels they could be trusted with the power of government, but if men were angels they would need no government. What is government if not proof that men are not angels? The great trick is to govern men yet oblige the government to govern itself.

    I think we’re long past the point where there’s any effective check on either how much they spend or what they spend it on. At what point does a minority have the right to defend itself against abuse and usurpations by the majority and take up woodchippers to defend itself? (Metaphorical woodchippers – I really mean short ropes and tall lampposts.)

    1. I have become firmly convinced that the rise of the political parties combined with the death of real regionalism is what screwed us. The founders thought the Congress would act in the interests of their districts and regions. They never considered that Congress would act in the interests of some national party. The idea that a Senator from Connecticut like Chris Dodd end up being Hollywood’s favorite Senator even though there is no movie industry in Connecticut never occurred to the founders. Once people start acting in the interest of national parties instead of their state or region, the whole system starts to break down.

      1. If he was still appointed by the state legislature, they could have replaced him for this nonsense. (If they were still loyal to their state instead of the national party)

      2. I think that has its drawbacks, but also its benefits. Real regionalism eventually resulted in a Civil War, so it’s hard to say it was completely great.

        1. Like anything, it can be taken too far. But political parties were not so bad for a long time. Now they have gone too far.

    2. The great trick is to govern men yet oblige the government to govern itself.

      Parties were a big part of it, but consider this…

      The Founders provided the framework under which the government is to operate. It gave the Legislature the power to write law and provide punishments for breaking those laws PROVIDED those laws and punishments fell within the framework of the Constitution. And that’s what they did. They started writing laws and punishments that applied to the PEOPLE who broke those laws…

      Funny, from a founding and a Constitution that feared government, above all else, and sought to limit said government so as not to impinge upon liberty, no one in the Legislature saw fit to write punishments for GOVERNMENT should they break the Constitution…

  13. Why should anyone take the CRFB seriously? They give every appearance of being a home-for-wayward-ex-officials who don’t have the chops to make it outside DC.
    Their assessments and analysis claim to be bi-partisan, but they fall directly into the squishy-fiscally-responsible-statist range of policy thought. Big government with empty promises of cost savings.

    This group would love GWB, Romney, McCain, Clinton and absolutely hate Sanders and Trump.

    So take their numbers with a grain of salt, unless you pine for the days of compassionate conservatism.

    1. I don’t know how accurate this group’s numbers are, but I do know that pretty much every analysis has Trump’s plan blowing a gigantic hole in the deficit, even compared to the current trajectory.

      The Tax Foundation, a conservative group advocating lower taxes, found that Trump’s plan would reduce federal revenue by about $12 trillion over 10 years on a static basis, and about $10 trillion over 10 years on a dynamic basis. Trump has proposed no cuts that would come remotely close to bridging that gap. And I haven’t seen anything to indicate that Clinton has proposed increasing federal spending by that much above the baseline (it wouldn’t shock me if she did, but as of now I’m unaware of any proposals of that magnitude).

      http://taxfoundation.org/artic…..s-tax-plan

      1. Does she have any honest to goodness proposals at all? It seems to me like she’s running an almost completely invisible stealth campaign.

        She hasn’t even spoken to the press in over seven months, which has to be unprecedented in our history for a major party candidate at this stage of a presidential campaign.

        1. Why does she have to? She’s following Sun Tzu’s recommendation of never interrupting an enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself.

        2. She has some, but she mostly just seems to be running on generic sentiment that she’ll continue and finetune Obama’s policies (to satisfy the Democratic base) and that she’s the experienced and reasonable candidate in the race (to attract moderates/independents).

  14. “Those of us closer to the grave than the maternity ward should also ask ourselves: What exactly do we have to show for the massive splurge in credit-card-funded spending over the past 15 years of Bush/Republican/Obama/Democratic runaway spending? Ruinous wars in foreign countries, deeply suppressed economic growth”

    Ruinous wars and deeply suppressed economic growth have been among the reasons why we’ve been getting away with ridiculously low interest rates for so long, too.

    When our total debt is still more than 100% of our GDP, being a safe haven currency just means we’re the prettiest horse in the glue factory

    Even if you’re somebody who believes that spending is integral to sustainable economic growth, how much are you going to be able to spend if and when the interest rate on the ten year note goes back up to and over 7%, like it was in the ’70s, 80s, and ’90s?

    If interest on our debt represents less than 10% of our national budget when the ten year treasury costs us less than 2% interest, what are we going to cut when investors demand 7% or more and that expense triples, quadruples, or more?

    1. Investors will never be able to demand 7%. If they won’t buy the bonds, the fed will with printed money. What is going on with the debt is that it is being monetized. The Congress gets to keep spending and avoid having to deal with the issue. The price of that is that we are printing money and slowly destroying the value of the dollar and everyone’s savings and income with it.

      1. “Investors will never be able to demand 7%.”

        1. The server squirrels took most of my comment.

          The point was that if the Fed “prints money” in response to interest rates going over 7%, then that will make the interest rate bond buyers demand go even higher.

          Sure, our politicians, like the Greeks politicians, will rail against the market for not financing their debt at low interest rates when it rolls over, but only ignorant people will believe them.

          Meanwhile, interest rates will continue to rise. It will happen quickly, too.

          1. The only reason the bond market isn’t higher is because the fed is keeping it artificially low. There is always someone looking for a safe bet and who is willing to buy the bonds at a low interest rate. As long as the fed buys the unsold balance, the shell game continues.

            1. We’re talking about bond rates as traded on the open market. Not the rate banks charge each other.

              The reason bond rates on the international market are so low is because the U.S. dollar is seen as a safe haven, and the U.S. government is seen as safe to make its bond payments in the future–vis a vis other countries.

              It helps that we’re a diversified economy, unlike Canada, Russia, or Australia, where the economy is mostly tied to natural resources and, hence, commodity prices. Hell, in the U.S. cheap oil is seen as good for the economy. In Russia or Canada, not so much.

              Regardless, the point is that the world’s investors are flooding into dollar denominated investments generally and the U.S. treasuries specifically. Bond yields trade inversely–if it has a face value of $10 and pays $1 annually, it has a 10% yield. If investors subsequently flood into the buyer side of the market and bid the price up to $20, now that 1$ yield is only 5%.

              Bidders for U.S. treasuries are flooding into the buy side of the market and driving up the price and down the yield on treasuries. That is how we finance our debt. When those bidders disappear for whatever reason, the value of bonds will fall meaning the interest rate demanded by bidders will rise.

              On January 1 of 1981, the yield on a 10 year treasure was at 12.57%.

              1. We’re talking about bond rates as traded on the open market. Not the rate banks charge each other.

                I know that. How do you think bond markets work? When people don’t want to buy the paper, the price goes down and the corresponding interest rate goes up. The easiest way to understand that is with zero coupon bonds. They are a promise of the government to pay say $1000 on a set date. The price those bonds sell for tells you the interest rate. So if the price drops from say $900 to $850, the interest rate they are paying goes up.

                What determines price? Supply and demand. If the demand drops, the price drops and the interest rate goes up. If the bidders ever stopped coming and the demand dropped, the fed would just step in and buy up enough of the excess supply to raise the price and keep the interest rates down.

                And no one outside of the bond markets and the fed will notice any difference.

                1. “The only reason the bond market isn’t higher is because the fed is keeping it artificially low.

                  If the Fed raised rates, it would only make U.S. treasuries even more attractive.

                  1. If the Fed raised rates, it would only make U.S. treasuries even more attractive.

                    Sure it would. But it would also make it much more expensive for the US to borrow. Yes, if they raised rates, more people would buy the bonds and the Fed would not have to buy them and effectively print money.

                    That is what should happen. But it won’t and hasn’t happened because doing that would send government interest costs through the roof. To avoid that, they keep the rates low and make up for the slack in demand by having the fed buy any unpurchased bonds.

              2. The reason bond rates on the international market are so low is because the U.S. dollar is seen as a safe haven, and the U.S. government is seen as safe to make its bond payments in the future–vis a vis other countries.

                I should have written that “the U.S. economy is seen as safe”.

                That’s what I was thinking, anyway. The point was really about the relative strength of the currency. vis-a-vis other currencies.

                The reason people need Australian dollars or Russian rubles is mostly because they need to buy commodities that are in those countries. Holding bonds denominated in those currencies isn’t going to help you much if their currencies drop because people aren’t buying their commodities. Because the U.S. is a more robust and diversified economy, people see it as safer to hold, and, hence, that adds to its status as a safe harbor.

                Sort of like gold, which has also been doing great lately, I understand.

                1. Ken the Chinese dumped most of their US bond holdings last year. It made no difference. All of the things you are talking about are real and do effect the demand for US paper. What you can’t seem to understand is that it doesn’t matter how much demand falls because the fed can always make up for it by buying the bonds themselves. You don’t literally print money anymore. But effectively that is what they are doing. They are taking the bonds off the market and replacing them with cash that is then spent elsewhere by either the former bond holder or the government.

            2. Right now, we’re paying less than 2% to refinance our debt, and that makes having outstanding debt historically cheap. When, not “if” but when, interest rates rise, paying interest will displace other spending. If servicing our debt costs takes up 6% of our budget when the treasury market is only demanding 2% interest, then when the treasury market demands 10% to buy our debt, the cost of servicing that debt will quintuple and take up 30% of our present budget.

              If raising taxes has a negative impact on economic growth–and it does–then you’re going to have to cut spending to pay for all that debt service. It’s as simple as that.

              1. Ken, interest rates are not going to rise as long as the fed keeps flooding the market with money. Let me put it another way. Interest rates are nothing but the cost of money. As long as the fed keeps the money supply high, the cost of obtaining it is going to remain low.

                That of course Is not a free lunch. The cost of the money still goes up. It just goes up in the declining value of the money you have borrowed or saved instead of interest rates.

                1. “Ken, interest rates are not going to rise as long as the fed keeps flooding the market with money. “

                  If your fly is open, are you the kind of guy that wants to know?

                  Because you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between money supply and their effect on interest rates.

                  You also don’t seem to grok the relationship/difference between the rates the Fed sets and the yield on U.S. treasuries.

                  1. Ken I understand it just fine. You don’t seem to understand any of it. And you also seem to have a problem with the word “understand” and needlessly use the hideously ugly and stupid synonym “Grok”.

                    It is not difficult. I think your problem is that you really don’t understand how the Fed works or all of the various ways it has to increase and decrease the money supply. One way it increases the money supply is by lowering the prime rate it charges banks on overnight lending. Understand, that is increasing the money supply. The lower the rate, the more banks borrow and the more money their is. But that is not the only way. The other thing they can do is go out onto the bond markets and start purchasing US securities. Again, that is just printing money. It is buying bonds and taking them off the market and replacing them with the purchase price.

                    They can reverse those processes and decrease the money supply. Yes, the value of the dollar is affected by its demand and people’s willingness to hold it. But it is also affected by the supply. And the fed basically controls the supply of money through the means I describe and through reserve requirements and a few other ways.

                    1. “The only reason the bond market isn’t higher is because the fed is keeping it artificially low.”

                      So you’re saying that you think the reason interest rates are low is because the Fed is buying treasuries?

                      That makes more sense.

                      I suspect they’ll use this latest activity to unload some of those bonds they’re holding. Now would be the time.

                      Regardless, the yield on the five year treasury went from 1.25% to 1.08% overnight–that’s about a 14% drop overnight. That wasn’t because of the Fed holding bonds. That’s because investors were fleeing other currencies and jumping into 5 year treasuries.

                      The Fed doesn’t have enough money to buy enough bonds to stem the tide of rising interest rates over the long term or over a huge swing. A strategic buy here or there is one thing, but the government is rolling over upwards of $8 trillion in debt per year. Let’s keep our sense of proportion.

                      The Fed hasn’t found a magic bullet to stop rising bond rates in the market forever. And when the market wants to go from under 2% on the 10 year to upwards of 7%, the Fed would need to buy trillions in bonds to stem that tide. That just isn’t going to happen.

                    2. “Ken, interest rates are not going to rise as long as the fed keeps flooding the market with money.”

                      That statement doesn’t make any sense at all.

                      When bond yields rise, flooding the market with money won’t make them fall. And when the government goes to roll its debt over, it will we rolled over at higher rates–because the Fed flooded the market with money. Not lower rates–higher rates.

                  2. What you don’t seem to understand is that the fed can effectively overcome the judgment of the market and keep interest rates artificially low for a very long time. It is just a fancy way of printing money. Instead of just printing money and spending it the way Weimar Germany did, we borrow the money but pay for the securities with fed printed money.

                    1. “What you don’t seem to understand is that the fed can effectively overcome the judgment of the market and keep interest rates artificially low for a very long time.”

                      It’s a gimmick that works in individual auctions that is ultimately unsustainable.

                  3. Ken I would advise you to look back at what happened in Greece. There, Greece was on the Euro and couldn’t buy its own debt with printed money. It didn’t have the power to print Euros. That is why its interest rates went sky high and it couldn’t borrow money.

                    Contrast that with what happens in places like Argentina or Mexico in the early 80s. There, they could print their own money and they never defaulted. They just devalued their currencies to virtually nothing.

                    The US is lucky in that it has the world’s largest and richest economy and it has been a very stable place to put money. This has sapped up a lot of the demand for the dollar and kept the dollar’s value high despite the fed printing enough money to have destroyed lesser economies. If that ever ends, the result will not be federal borrowing costs going up. It will be the value of the dollar dropping like a rock and there being rampant inflation. So the issue will be, should the fed save the economy by raising rates and sopping up the money supply enough to bring down inflation but in doing so fuck Congress and the government’s ability to avoid dealing with their debt problem or will they continue to print money and fuck the country so Congress can avoid dealing with its debt problem.

      2. If they won’t buy the bonds, the fed will with printed money.

        And, in fact, the Fed has been doing exactly that for most of the last seven years. The Fed can suppress interest rates by clearing auctions at low rates. The idea that bond buyers can demand more because this is inflationary is mistaken – they have no leverage so long as the Fed clears auctions.

        Eventually, of course, this scam will break down. But it will require the collapse of the dollar, which hasn’t happened because there’s no other currency that can replace it as the reserve currency. Everybody holds huge dollar reserves, that they can’t afford to see devalued.

        Its quite a scam. One of the best. But reserve currencies aren’t forever. There has never been a fiat currency that lasted much longer than the dollar has. It will happen.

        1. Yes RC. Let me repeat what I said above.

          The US is lucky in that it has the world’s largest and richest economy and it has been a very stable place to put money. This has sapped up a lot of the demand for the dollar and kept the dollar’s value high despite the fed printing enough money to have destroyed lesser economies. If that ever ends, the result will not be federal borrowing costs going up. It will be the value of the dollar dropping like a rock and there being rampant inflation. So the issue will be, should the fed save the economy by raising rates and sopping up the money supply enough to bring down inflation but in doing so fuck Congress and the government’s ability to avoid dealing with their debt problem or will they continue to print money and fuck the country so Congress can avoid dealing with its debt problem.

        2. The Fed can’t control spending. It can’t control that the government needs to roll over $ 8 trillion in bonds per year.

          The kind of drop in demand we’re talking about that would make bond yields on the 10 year go from under 2% to 7% is on the order of trillions more than they’ve already bought.

          Because they’ve successfully managed to guzzle a twelve pack here or there is no reason to think they can drink an ocean.

          With all its holding, the Fed has about $2.5 trillion in bonds. They would need to buy a whole hell of a lot more than that to stop the yield on the ten-year to go north of 7%–if that’s where the market wanted it to go. And that kind of buying cannot go on forever insulated from the rest of the economy.

          1. The Fed can’t control spending. It can’t control that the government needs to roll over $ 8 trillion in bonds per year.

            It does not have to. It just needs to buy those bonds, which it can do because it can print money.

            Because they’ve successfully managed to guzzle a twelve pack here or there is no reason to think they can drink an ocean.

            Which part of “print their own money” do you not understand? The Fed can buy as many bonds as it likes. There is no upper limit to the amount of money a government can print, just a limit on its value.

            They would need to buy a whole hell of a lot more than that to stop the yield on the ten-year to go north of 7%–if that’s where the market wanted it to go. And that kind of buying cannot go on forever insulated from the rest of the economy.

            It could go on forever. And of course no one is saying it wouldn’t and doesn’t affect the economy. It is affecting it right now. But that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t do it, especially when the price of not doing it is Congress no longer being able to borrow money.

            1. “It does not have to. It just needs to buy those bonds, which it can do because it can print money.”

              The effects of printing money don’t simply disappear forever just because the Fed uses the money it prints to buy bonds.

              1. The effects of printing money don’t simply disappear forever just because the Fed uses the money it prints to buy bonds.

                No shit Ken. I have only said that about seven different ways. Yeah, it will eventually produce inflation. But the bonds will still be bought and the government will continue to spend and borrow.

              2. “But that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t do it”

                Ultimately, it does mean they won’t do it.

                Ultimately, the cost of the government rolling over its debt will become so high (despite the Fed’s efforts) that the government will find it prohibitively expensive to borrow. At some point, they will have to cut spending because the markets will effectively cut them off. The cost of refinancing will become so high, that it will crowd out every other discretionary part of the budget–and then some.

                That’s what happened in Greece–even with a bailout package. The German government stepped in because international bond investors wouldn’t give Greece an interest rate they could afford, and then the German government and the IMF could only afford to do so much.

            2. “Which part of “print their own money” do you not understand? The Fed can buy as many bonds as it likes. There is no upper limit to the amount of money a government can print, just a limit on its value.”

              This is like talking to Tony.

              Actually, there are negative consequences to the Fed printing money.

              Otherwise, we could print our way to a socialist paradise.

              I repeat, the Fed cannot simply keep printing more money and buying more bonds–without negative consequences–forever.

              If the market wanted to go to 7% or higher, and the Fed just kept printing money and buying bonds forever, no matter how much buyers wanted interests rates to rise, it would have a devastating impact on the economy. That and good sense is the upper limit on the amount of money that a government can print.

              1. I repeat, the Fed cannot simply keep printing more money and buying more bonds–without negative consequences–forever.

                Nobody is arguing with that, Ken. At least, I’m not. The problem is there is no exit ramp from current policy (the Fed fixing bond markets by clearing auctions and suppressing interest rates, all in the sole interest of protecting the government’s books) that doesn’t cause a catastrophic readjustment. For that reason, they will play out the string, which ensures that the readjustment will be even more catastrophic.

                1. “Nobody is arguing with that, Ken. At least, I’m not. “

                  I know you’re not.

                  John seems to be coming around.

                  “The problem is there is no exit ramp from current policy (the Fed fixing bond markets by clearing auctions and suppressing interest rates, all in the sole interest of protecting the government’s books) that doesn’t cause a catastrophic readjustment.”

                  The Fed needs to take strategic opportunities when they arise to dump its bonds. Now that bonds are rallying would be a good opportunity to unload some.

                  The second thing is just to stop rolling those bonds over when they mature. They don’t have to do it all at the same time if they’re mostly short term bonds. Just roll over less than they did before.

                  Of course, the problem you’re talking about gets worse the more bonds they buy.

                  I should say, too, that this problem isn’t unprecedented. The Chinese have/had the same problem with holding so many bonds that if they sold them, it would be shooting themselves in the foot.

                  1. As an aside, isn’t it odd that, on the one hand, the Fed is signaling how much it wants to raise rates, and, on the other hand, it’s worried about the rate raising impact of selling bonds?

                    Do they want higher rates, or don’t you?

                    It’s sort of like when the Keynesians in the Obama Administration told us that we needed stimulus to fight the marginal propensity to save, out of one side of their mouths, and then, out of the other side of their mouths, started going after the banks for having insufficient deposits.

                    Do you want people to save or don’t you?

                  2. No Ken.

                    I am not coming around. I never said otherwise. You just don’t’ know what the hell you are talking about and didn’t understand my point. They only thing that came around was your understanding of my point.

                    I have understood this shit since college. Nothing you said brought me around to anything. I think actually may have penetrated your thick skull a little bit on this subject. And frankly that is one hell of an accomplishment if I may say so myself.

                  3. Ken,

                    they don’t have to sell them. they can just hold them and roll them over with printed money when they come do. My God you are fucking dense on this subject.

          2. With all its holding, the Fed has about $2.5 trillion in bonds.

            What we don’t know is how many bonds the Fed “really” holds, but are titled in other banks. There’s all kinds of ways to obscure real ownership in financial markets – repo agreements, derivatives, etc.

        3. “The idea that bond buyers can demand more because this is inflationary is mistaken – they have no leverage so long as the Fed clears auctions.

          Eventually, of course, this scam will break down. But it will require the collapse of the dollar, which hasn’t happened because there’s no other currency that can replace it as the reserve currency.”

          So long as the Fed clears the auctions–but they can’t afford to do that forever. The road from 2% on the ten year and 7% or higher is steep and expensive. And even if they cleared the auctions year after year and kept holding them forever, those bonds would continue to mature and even if they kept rolling them over forever, the money supply would still be increasing with interest.

        4. I think that bit about the reserve currency may be putting the cart before the horse, too. I don’t think the dollar isn’t breaking down because it’s a reserve currency–although that indirectly gives it support. I think the dollar is the reserve currency because it doesn’t break down as easily. Ultimately, that rests on the relative size and strength of our economy. Like I said, we’re the prettiest horse in the glue factory. Our economy is large and diversified. Other currencies represent smaller economies and they’re often more dependent on commodities like oil.

          The U.S. is now a big oil producer, but when the price of oil collapses, that’s still seen as a net positive for the U.S. economy. We have lots of other industries whose profits aren’t as dependent on high prices for oil, and may actually do even better when commodities are falling and the currencies of other economies are falling with it. Again, the economies of Australia, Canada, and Russia are highly dependent on high prices for commodities, mostly oil and mining.

  15. That’s the thing I wish people on the left understood better. Eventually, we’ll have to cut our budget. The only question is whether we do it now when we can choose what to cut more carefully or we do it later when the markets simply starve us of financing through higher interest rates–and we don’t have any choice.

    In their parlance, “Anthropomorphic Domestic Overspending is not a hoax!”

    1. I think they understand. Their fiscal plan is to ruin other countries first, then deal with the consequences on an unfair playing field. If that doesn’t pan out, well then, that’s what wars are for.

    2. I think the left is just delusional. The reality you are describing is nothing but the old Thatcher adage about eventually running out of other people’s money. If Leftists ever faced that, they wouldn’t be leftists anymore. Their entire ideology depends upon believing that there is such a thing as a free lunch if we just try hard enough.

      1. “I know Bernie’s numbers don’t work, but the things he wants to do are so important that we cant let ourselves be held back by numbers.”

        Can you see that guy ‘facing it’? There is no hope for someone like that. Delusional doesnt even cover it.

        1. No. I cannot. And if he ever did, he would stop being a leftist.

  16. The local rag has a big article today about how Trump would at $10T to the deficit, while Hillary would only add $250B.

    I will skip all the economic silliness and leave that for you to read. The part I like best is:

    The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget advocates for smaller deficits, and, like the Congressional Budget Office and other nonpartisan groups, warns that the government’s projected deficits and debt will become unsustainable before too long. It receives backing from a foundation funded by deficit hawk Peter G. Peterson, the Pew Charitable Trusts and other foundations.

    Yeah, teh Pew Charitable Trust foundation has yelled itself hoarse over the years over Obama’s spending.

  17. Wondering if another Vince Fosteresque bogus conspiracy or more. It’s worth a look. http://politicalcult.com/forme…..-clintons/

  18. Once again. Fuck Gary Johnson for not taking the open Senate seat in New Mexico in 2012.

    He doesn’t want to actually be in charge of anything or steer the direction of the country. He just wants to be a political celebrity that runs continuously without making a real effort to win an election.

    1. And wouldn’t he have been in a better position to run for President this year? Why couldn’t he have been the Libertarian Bernie Sanders?

      1. If he ran as a Republican, that constituency in the GOP is a lot smaller than the Sanders constituency in the Democratic party. And if he ran as a Libertarian, he has the huge 3rd party obstacle to overcome.

        Nonetheless, I would have liked to see him run for Senate. I’m not sure if he would have won, as 2012 was a good year for the Democrats, and Obama beat Romney very soundly in New Mexico. Even as an ex-governor, it would have been a tough fight for GJ.

      2. That was supposed to be Rand Paul. Remember him?

  19. Tell me something Reason Staff. Why the fuck do you post graphs with resolution so low they can’t be read and are therefore meaningless? Hmm? Why do you do that. Because you do that. A lot.

    1. Just because your eyes suck…

  20. OT: Wonder if this turn about would have happened before social media days?

    http://nbc4i.com/2016/06/28/gi….._id=142972

    1. I’m betting no.

    2. “Thanks for bringing the overpayment of your male friend to our attention.”

      /what should have happened in a world where collectivist brats don’t get everything they want

      1. I agree. They could have said that. It was their choice to give in.

    3. I don’t know the whole story, but it does remind me of my younger days and a couple of experiences working with weirdly vindictive (always female) managers.

      1. My first vindictive boss was a gay man. Very uptight.

        1. Heh, come to think of it when I was a bit older I worked for a vindictive gay man too. He fired me for citing a study about the costs of multitasking, I shit you not. Well, he wasn’t in the room when I mentioned it…one of his lackeys told him about it later. The “talk” began with him ominously stating “I heard what you said about multitasking…”

          1. It was my first. Line cook. Bunch of rowdy partying teens making barely minimum wage. We were hard working and dependable. He was straight out of manager training and had no idea how lucky he was to have a teens with good work ethic. The other managers loved us.

  21. How many fucking times does fucking austerity need to be fucking rejected before fucking politicians get the fucking picture?

    People don’t want spending cuts, asshole! Promising them is a losing game!

  22. Written as a typical boomer. Nice to know that there are only two generations: boomers and their brats. And you sure as hell did get the trip to Vegas, Nicky. You got to enjoy the boom of the 80s and 90s and got to check out on SS disability when times got tough at the end of the aughts. And you’re getting your all expenses paid vacation before the ponzi scheme becomes so unsustainable even the berntards will have to wake up.

    1. Nick lived on SS disability in the late 00s? Really?

  23. Aside: Y’all notice how no one’s talking about Hillary’s emails any more? Indictment my ass.

    1. Not exactly no one. This was published yesterday.

      WASHINGTON (AP) ? An additional 165 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department surfaced Monday, including nearly three dozen that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee failed to hand over last year that were sent through her private server.

      There are still people talking about it, but I’m not sure anyone gives a fuck anymore.

    2. I don’t know if she is going to be indicted, but this is just a lull. People will be talking about them again soon enough. Even if she is never indicted, the intelligence community and FBI are going to leak increasingly damaging information throughout the rest of the fall and summer.

      Lynch may not indict her but that doesn’t mean the IC and the FBI are not out to get her. And it Is not in their interests to leak everything at once and let her get over it and the public forget about it. I have no doubt they are holding the worst stuff for later this summer and fall. It is going to be the gift that keeps on giving.

      1. Clinton’s are teflon. She could stab a kitten in the face and the media would be like meh no big deal. Her supporters don’t seem to care about her actions at all. Like the SNL skit where the stewardesses put their fingers in their ears and go la la la la la.

        1. The Clintons are teflon, but they’ve never been faced with an enemy like Trump, who just doesn’t give a shit.

          I think he will pound on her ethical and legal problems relentlessly, to the point where the media won’t be able to just brush it aside. With a flank attack from FBI leaks periodically validating his basic theme, I don’t think they will be able to skate as easily as they have in the past.

          And the thing about Trump is, he’s been a controversial and high-profile media personality for decades. I don’t think there are skeletons in his closets, and I don’t see a workable October Surprise in his future. Hillary, on the other hand . . . .

          1. Well if there are skeletons, someone is keeping it very close to the vest. I’m sure they’ll just take perfectly innoculas things he’s said or done and compare them to the Holocaust.

          2. “Hillary, on the other hand . . . .”

            Eh, I’d be kind of shocked if anything shook her at this point. Seems like people are kind of numb to her scandals at this point.

          3. The problem with Trump being the one to pound on Hillary, he says so many outrageous things that people will just assume his email rants are just another one of his crazy statements.

            1. “The problem with Trump being the one to pound on Hillary, he says so many outrageous things that people will just assume his email rants are just another one of his crazy statements.”

              That’s probably true, seems like CNN is helping to promote Johnson so he can be a bulwark for Hillary in the debate(s) though.

            2. people will just assume his email rants are just another one of his crazy statements.

              That’s why the flank attack from the FBI is critical. If the FBI starts validating his crazy statements with leaks, then the frontal assault from the Trump campaign can break through in voter’s minds.

  24. Only one presidential candidate to date has actually said that he will balance the budget as his top priority: the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, whose web page asserts:

    All this tells you is just how out of fashion balancing budgets has become.

    Paying off your credit card debt is soooo 1982.

    1. If you have no other reason to vote for him.

  25. Start with FDR’s Four Freedoms and note that freedom from want is right there with free speech and freedom of religion and update that to today. Free healthcare, free education, adequate food and shelter, a good job at a good wage, a comfortable retirement – these are all things you’re entitled to, as well as national defense, roads, police and fire, agencies to protect the public health and safety and welfare, plus all the other things government does. Look at the average middle-class family doing little more than living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to pay the bills while worrying about healthcare costs and college costs and retirement costs – they pay taxes, don’t they? Aren’t they entitled to expect some help from government? Doesn’t supporting healthy, happy, well-educated workers in good-paying jobs pay for itself in increased prosperity and increased taxes? Don’t we owe it to ourselves to provide everybody the good life they’re entitled to? Sure – except if you do the math, paying for what everybody’s entitled to as a basic human right requires a median household income of about $85k per annum and the current median household income is about 2/3 of that. The richest society ever to exist in all of human history is not rich enough to provide everybody with an above-average income and no amount of bullshitting is going to change that hard mathematical truth.

    1. In many ways the death of our Republic is rooted in the explosion of positive rights. You are absolutely right about that. A “right” ought to always be about limits on what the government can do. You don’t have a “right” to do anything. You have a “right” to not have the government stop you from doing it. I don’t have a “right” to a job. I have a right to the government not taking any job I do get. Once “rights” became the right to do something and worse the right to get something from the government, we were headed down a very bad road.

      But hey, it worked out okay for most libertarians because the right to expect the government to recognize your marriage, rather than just the right to live as a married person however you saw fit, was like the greatest most importantest thing EVER!!!

      1. I don’t have a “right” to a job. I have a right to the government not taking any job I do get.

        John, you should really explain this to my Republican friends. (Ignore the Democrat ones — they’re beyond help.)

        I’m tired of hearing “DEY TUK ER JERBS!” from economically illiterate people.

        Nobody is “entitled” to a job. And nobody can take it away from you except the government. But these people I know are obsessed with the idea of government “giving them things” or making life easier for them.

        There’s no such thing as someone “taking your job.” That’s called “competition.” And competition in the marketplace is an overall benefit for everyone.

        But try telling that to idiot Dems and Repubs who are convinced it’s the government’s role to protect us from “bad things.”

        1. Just because I don’t have a right to a job, doesn’t mean I can’t expect my government, the one that is funded with my taxes, to protect me from competition from foreigners who don’t pay taxes. I may not have a “right to it”, but I certainly have the right to ask and get it if I can. Remember, the foreigners don’t have anymore right to a job than I have. And they are not entitled to the protections from my government that I am. So, my government most certainly can fuck them out of a for my benefit, just like their government can do the same to me for them.

          Whether they should or not is a question of policy not of anyone’s rights.

        2. I’m tired of hearing “DEY TUK ER JERBS!” from economically illiterate people

          I’m tired of hearing “MUH WIDE VARIETY OF RESTAURANTS” from the open-borders crowd as if that’s the only thing that matters in society.

          There’s no such thing as someone “taking your job.” That’s called “competition.” And competition in the marketplace is an overall benefit for everyone.

          Yes, because the government rigging the game by providing incentives to “the competition” is so beneficial. It’s easy to sneer about “competition in the marketplace” when it doesn’t affect you personally.

        3. the “they took are jobs” mentality comes not from fair competition with other potential employees, but rather when either the Government or employer uses unfair or unethical practices that artificially skew competition into a no-win situation.

          e.g. Folks who work in roofing (er….used to) have seen the majority of the employment move to undocumented workers who happily take lower pay in no small part because they don’t have to pay taxes. That is not competition and a roofer has every reason to be pissed about it. yeh, he doesn’t have a “right” to that job, but he should darn well expect the government he pays taxes to, to do its god damn job.

          Same situation in many non-corporate work where employers can skirt documentation.

        4. The fundamental problem we have with immigration these days is that the people setting policy do so to benefit non-citizens, when their duty is to set policy so that it benefits citizens.

          To the extent immigration makes a better economy by bringing in hard working people with valuable skills, etc., it should be encourage or at least allowed.

          To the extent immigration benefits foreigners, whether “refugees” or “migrants” or whatever, without making for a better economy and society, then it shouldn’t be allowed. But, Our Masters seem oriented mainly on helping foreigners, not citizens.

    2. Look at the average middle-class family doing little more than living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to pay the bills while worrying about healthcare costs and college costs and retirement costs – they pay taxes, don’t they? Aren’t they entitled to expect some help from government?

      Depends. Are they public sector workers?

      1. The politicians screwed those people. They taxed the shit out of them to pay for programs that will were unsustainable but took so much in taxes they deprived them of the ability to make it without those programs.

    3. Look at the average middle-class family doing little more than living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to pay the bills while worrying about healthcare costs and college costs and retirement costs – they pay taxes, don’t they? Aren’t they entitled to expect some help from government?

      You need a reality check on our middle class, The rich are already subsiding half their entire income tax burden and 1/4 of the entire Medicare entitlement.

      The American middle class is THE most highly subsidized cohort in human history. And are doing quite fine. AVERAGE middle-class wages are stagnant, but that’s because all our best-paid jobs are evaporating — thanks to Democrats “closing corporate loopholes” by destroying our industrial base.(1986).

      So the illusion is mostly math. If ONE person has to replace a $70,000 job with a $40,000 job then average middle-class wages decline and the rich have a greater share of what’s left …. even if nobody else suffers as loss of income. It would take maybe 50 decimal places to see it for one person, but this is junior high math.

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  27. So sad that Gary has adopted the bullshit of making promises that Presidents have no power to keep.
    No surprise that Gillespie promotes it. If Al Sharpton is a race hustler, then Gillespie is a liberty hustler.
    Will Gary say something profoundly stupid, like “Repeal the income tax and run 95% of the government on FICA taxes?”

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  29. If people cared about spending and the debt, Rand Paul would be the Republican nominee.

    1. People care, but our Government has deliberately made its spending practices impossible to understand. Few outside of the government can see the big picture, and those that can, simply don’t have common language that can explain it to the masses. Rand Paul speaks about fiscal issues and he sounds little different than a nerd talking about obscure DC Comic superhero backstories. Voters can’t follow it.

      1. There used to be a poll tax. Now, people should not be able to vote until they’ve read these.

        Would people have understood the following ten years ago (from the 2006 report):

        Considering this long-range projected funding gap in social insurance, in addition to reported liabilities (e.g., debt held by the public and federal employee and veterans benefits payable) and other implicit commitments and contingencies that the federal government has pledged to support, the federal government’s fiscal exposures totaled approximately $50 trillion as of September 30, 2006, an increase of about $4 trillion over September 30, 2005, and up from about $20 trillion as of September 30, 2000.6 This translates into a current burden of about $170,000 per American or approximately $440,000 per American household.

        THIS WAS TEN FUCKING YEARS AGO. Right out the Financial Report of the United States Government, not some website maintained in a damp basement with someone with tinfoil on their heads. Of course, Comptroller Walker got squeezed out/resigned for his candor. And the hyenas, ON BOTH SIDES, have tripled down since then.

        But trees in Brazil and the Feds MAYBE will get a warrant at some point, so everything, on net is A-OK. Bailey’s posts buoy my spirits with his endless optimism.

    2. Rand Paul had nothing but anti-gummint bullshit, like his dad.,
      Anyone can put some numbers into a spreadsheet and call it a budget.
      And SOME libertarians have orgasms because he “wants to” cut spending.
      That’s was too crazy for even Ayn Rand, who knew that first you must change the culture.
      Does anyone really believe that Congress, or the American people would support Rand’s budget?
      THAT is why spending is out of control. Nobody really knows how to stop it or even slow it.

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