Government Spending

There's No Such Thing as 'Free Money' or Meaningless Deficits

As debt soars, federal payments to service the debt will crowd out the government's core spending responsibilities.

|

Most people probably have seen those TV advertisements featuring an obnoxious pitchman wearing a brightly colored suit covered in question marks. He jumps around frenetically, waving his hands, and announcing that the government is giving away lots of "free money." Matthew Lesko's websites help people tap into a sea of federal grants and loans. You can even talk to a "free money coach" to show you how to do it.

That's probably a good business opportunity in a country where the government spends $4.7 trillion a year. That's trillion with a dozen zeroes. It's 1,000 times a billion, which is starting to approach real money. It could take thousands of years to simply count to 1 trillion. The Lesko approach—free cash for everyone—has long been the strategy of Democratic politicians, but now it's the official fiscal policy of Republican politicians, too.

I sensed trouble when conservative radio pitchman Rush Limbaugh recently told a caller, "Nobody is a fiscal conservative anymore. All this talk about concern for the deficit and the budget has been bogus for as long as it's been around." I couldn't disagree if his point were that no political leader really has ever been serious about it. But Rush has also pooh-poohed years of deficit scares. "(W)e're still here, and the great jaws of the deficit have not bitten off our heads."

Apparently, Rush was softening up the conservative base for what would come next. Shortly after his comments, President Donald Trump agreed to a two-year budget deal with Democratic lawmakers that increases spending by $320 billion and obliterates existing discretionary spending caps. One budget watchdog explains that the deal will increase debt levels by $1.7 trillion over the next decade. "Trillion-dollar deficits are back, and they're here to stay," lamented the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The president once promised to reduce the nation's $18 trillion national debt, but instead is helping push it beyond $22 trillion. Everyone's a hypocrite now. Limbaugh and most conservatives had decried the soaring debt when Democratic President Barack Obama was in office, but now it doesn't seem to matter. Many liberal commentators are blasting Republican Trump's profligacy, but were unconcerned about such spending when their guy was in office.

Some Republican senators and members of the House Freedom Caucus blasted the deal. But there's little doubt the budget package will pass. Both parties like to spend money. Republicans are happy that the agreement boosts military spending and they are uninterested in cutting entitlement dollars. The entire Democratic agenda is about spending more money, so they're not about to complain about a record-setting budget.

With both sides so invested in government spending, it's not surprising to hear the revival of those old arguments that deficits don't matter. On the Left, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) and others are championing economist Stephanie Kelton, who argues that lawmakers should "avoid fruitless battles over the debt ceiling" and should "acknowledge that the deficit itself could be deployed as a potent weapon in the fights against inequality, poverty and economic stagnation."

On the Right, former Vice President Dick Cheney famously said that "deficits don't matter." Such conservatives weren't interested in using federal spending to fight poverty and inequality, but they didn't want growing deficits to curtail their military efforts in Iraq or quash their desire to step up tax cuts. His ideological heirs now argue that deficits are fine as long as interest rates are low and the Gross Domestic Product keeps growing.

Sorry, but deficits and debt do matter. There's no short-term crisis, for sure, but debt "will depress economic growth over time and could potentially lead to a fiscal crisis if borrowers lose faith in the country's ability to pay," explained Yuval Rosenberg in The Fiscal Times. Furthermore, he notes, debt hampers government's ability to react to real emergencies "such as recessions, wars or natural disasters." As debt soars, federal payments to service the debt will crowd out the government's core spending responsibilities.

It's morally reprehensible for current lawmakers who, to quote Limbaugh back when he was concerned about such things, are spending so recklessly "that it is destroying the future of your kids and grandkids." That's the key point. You could borrow an immense amount of money to upgrade the kitchen and take Hawaiian vacations and then claim that it doesn't matter as long as you can cover the monthly interest payment. But that's a road to eventual ruin.

Some debts can't be helped—e.g., capital expenses—but look at the nonsense that our massive federal budget is funding. Easy debt drives easy spending. It enables our government to do things it shouldn't do, such as wage unnecessary wars and create boondoggles like the Green New Deal or a space force. Deficit spending creates constant pressure for tax hikes.

We shouldn't spend what we don't have. Despite those TV ads, there is no such thing as "freeeee money."

This column was first published in the Orange County Register.

NEXT: Reviews: A Score to Settle and Them That Follow

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Democrats are not fiscally conservative.

    RINOs are not fiscally conservative.

    Some Republicans are fiscally conservative.

    Libertarians are very fiscally conservative.

    Trump is a RINO. He is not very fiscally conservative and not very socially conservative. Trump is not as bad as Democrats since he has tried to cut the federal budget multiple times with Congress refusing. Trump does cut the Executive Branch spending in some areas. In the end, Trump signs the bloated budgets without much fight but Congress does tend to have Veto-proof majorities for the Appropriations bills.

    1. Those damn RINO’s – they’re the 99% of the GOP that give the other 1% a bad name.

      1. Roll Call Vote 116th Congress – 1st Session, Question: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 3877 ) On this federal budget there were 28 “Nays” and 5 “Not Voting”.

        I would suspect that the few Democrats that vote “Nay” voted that way after knowing the bill easily passed rather than some fiscal conservative streak. These Democrats are from states that are not secure Team Blue.

      2. Rand Paul seemed like fiscally conservative Republican.

        Justin Amash is a fiscally conservative RINO.

        1. Is Trump the RINO or are the people who don’t fellate Trump the RINOs?

          1. Poor Tony cannot read.

            I already said that Trump is a RINO.

            Luckily, Trump does not need to be a Democrat or Republican to be the best President in over 80 years.

            1. Despite being the dumbest and most vulgar and most openly racist and least accomplished?

              Quite a feat.

      3. The DEBT is not the DEFICIT. And the DEFICIT is not the DEBT. They are separate problems.

        Government BORROWING drives up the debt, not government SPENDING.

        The solution to our debt problem is simple: STOP ISSUING DEBT-BASED MONEY! Begin issuing pure “unbacked” fiat money to fund the deficit, rather than going further into debt. The inflationary impact of unbacked dollars is no worse than the inflationary impact of the same amount of debt-backed dollars. Issuing unbacked dollars will halt the increase in the national debt and its crushing $479 billion in annual interest. Paying off part of the maturing debt each year and rolling over the rest will eventually bring the national debt (and its taxpayer-financed interest payments) down to zero. See http://www.fixourmoney.com .

      4. No, they’re maybe half the GOP members of Congress. The problem is they have the upper hand in the leadership. McConnell and McCarthy being a big part of the problem.

    2. At this point you have to redefine what it means to be a Republican. They are, by definition, not fiscally conservative. So a Republican who is fiscally liberal but socially conservative is just a Republican. A RINO now is someone who is a Republican in name, but happens to be fiscally conservative and/or socially liberal. Rand Paul is a RINO. Amash can’t be a RINO because he isn’t even a Republican in name any more. He’s just a libertarian.

      1. I’m not a Republican so I don’t have to do shit.

        The term Republican still means something. It’s just that Party has been flooded with ex-Democrats and other Lefties who are not fiscally conservative. The GOP platform still lists fiscally conservative ideals.

        Amash does not seem to be a Libertarian. The guy wants impeachment of a Libertarian-ish President Trump for unreasonable claims. Why get rid of a President who is trying to and has done some Libertarian things and who has not committed any crimes?

        1. Name some of these former Democrats and leftists who fill the ranks of the Republican party of 2019.

          1. Oh Tony, I am not going to do your work for you.

            The Lefty Narrative is that all the racist Democrats left the Party of slavery and joined the GOP. The GOP must be full of former Democrats and Lefties that you can name.

            Or you can admit that Democrats are lying about this Narrative and the Party of slavery is still full of racist pieces of shit.

            1. Tony is proof that a progressive’s first argument will always contradict the second one.

            2. loveconstitution1789: “Oh Tony, I am not going to do your work for you.”

              That kind of reply suggests that you have trouble naming anyone.

              loveconstitution1789: “all the racist Democrats left the Party of slavery and joined the GOP. ”

              That happened back in the 1970s and 1980s. Most of them are either dead or retired from public office. (Eg the patron saint of the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan. Yep, he was once a Democrat.)

              But all that was a generation ago.

              Name one Republican still in Congress today (2019) who was once a Democrat.

    3. Libertarians are not fiscal conservatives.

      Fiscal Conservatism requires tax sanity. If you want to live the Northern European lifestyle, you need to tax and spend like a Northern European.

      https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42111.pdf
      Congressional Research Service – Tax Rates and Economic Growth

      • 1950-1970 – Average Top Marginal Income Tax Rate: 84.8%, Rate of Growth in Real GDP: 3.86%, Rate of Growth in Real Net Fixed Investment: 0.93%
      • 1971-1986 – Average Top Marginal Income Tax Rate: 51.8%, Rate of Growth in Real GDP: 2.94%, Rate of Growth in Real Net Fixed Investment: 0.32%
      • 1987-2010 – Average Top Marginal Income Tax Rate: 36.4%, Rate of Growth in Real GDP: 2.5%, Rate of Growth in Real Net Fixed Investment: 0.23%

      1. So… from what you present, you seem to be saying the higher the top tax rate, the lower the economy grows? What would happen if we looked at the tax rate the average citizen pays? The tax rate the average high income person pays (which is not the same as the statutory rate)?

      2. The big difference in taxes in northern Europe and the U.S is not how much higher income earners are taxed, but rather how much the upper middle to lower income brackets are taxed. The Europeans tax lower earners at a much higher rate than we do in the U.S., both through the income tax and consumption taxes (e.g. VATs).

  2. Trump had to have increases in defense spending an in exchange the Democrats wanted increases in other spending. He had no negotiating position if he wanted lower spending. Furthermore, after the Tea Party has been spent (remember most of the political class thought they were crazy), there really is no constituency in the electorate that is interested in punishing overspending. Most everyone has their pet issue they want to tap the Treasury for. This will not be dealt with until the financial situation leaves no choice because there is very little gain in dealing with it.

    1. Yeah, very little political gain in dealing with it until it becomes a crisis. Uncomfortable situations aren’t an issue until they’re an emergency.

    2. Causes of people not caring:
      – people don’t see any hope to reigning in the leviathan, so they’ve given up on it
      – the impact hasn’t been noticeable (yet). National debt has been an issue for decades, but what has it caused (beyond difficult to notice gradual inflation)?
      – lots and lots of people live on credit cards, some maxed out, and live in debt personally
      – numbers in the trillions are unable to be related to. Trillions is a concept beyond actual experience, so it’s just an abstract number

      1. A lot of,people here become apoplectic when I explain what will have to happen to save the republic. Because of the preponderance of people like Tony, a lot of us will need to eat our hands dirty to fix things.

        Progressives must be shown the door, and given a big a push as is necessary for them to leave.

  3. Deficits are the issue for the party out of power. They will be dealt with one day after the credibility of US Treasuries is shot and rates skyrocket and not one moment sooner.

    1. At that point, it will be too late to do anything about them and the government will collapse.

      1. Nah, we’ll just get bailed out by the One World Government in exchange for our autonomy. It’s the Puerto Rico approach to insolvency.

        1. I think the 2nd amendment would come into play at that time.

      2. The current political class must be purged long before then.

  4. As debt soars, federal payments to service the debt will crowd out the government’s core spending responsibilities.

    Yet, Reason supports the two primary drivers of the national debt: government-induced consumer spending and importation of “cheap labor” that consumes much more in government services than they pay in taxes. On top of that, Reason writers get apoplectic when the US government increases revenues by any means.

    1. Where do you get the idea that “cheap labor” is a major driver of deficits? The vast majority of hand-outs to to good, old-fashioned lazy American citizens. And what does “government induced consumer spending” even mean?

      The debt is mainly a function of a bloated military and bloated entitlement spending, neither of which have much to do with consumer spending or immigration.

      1. Where do you get the idea that “cheap labor” is a major driver of deficits?

        Government spends about $20000/person/year in the US. If you let in a population that pays on average less than that per year in taxes, you are going to increase government debt.

        Note that that is average; for every single mother and child you let in, some male has to pay additional tens of thousands of dollars in taxes just to make the averages work out.

        And what does “government induced consumer spending” even mean?

        Stimulus spending; quantitative easing; low interests rates; Keynesianism.

        The debt is mainly a function of a bloated military and bloated entitlement spending, neither of which have much to do with consumer spending or immigration.

        If only it were that simple.

        1. Stimulus spending; quantitative easing; low interests rates; Keynesianism.

          Agreed that these are drivers of debt that are less easy to address, but I’m not sure the claim that Reason supports these things is really accurate.

          Government spends about $20000/person/year in the US. If you let in a population that pays on average less than that per year in taxes, you are going to increase government debt.

          I’m not sure that necessarily follows. Let’s say the FedGov has a $50B contract with Boeing. They don’t toss in a $20k change order every time a new person enters the country. Each new person who enters is going to change that ratio, not be another tick up in spending. Entitlements are a different matter, obviously.

          1. Let’s say the FedGov has a $50B contract with Boeing. They don’t toss in a $20k change order every time a new person enters the country.

            Obviously, contracts like that are updated every few years, not for every person. But if the population grows rapidly, the US may well toss in a few more billions every year.

            In any case, there are examples of government spending that’s independent of population size, but they don’t seem to dominate the budget when you look at actual numbers.

            I’m not sure that necessarily follows.

            It doesn’t “necessarily” follow. However, for most kinds of spending (including defense), spending tends to be at least proportional to population (in practice, it’s actually significantly worse). Given current spending patterns, we have to assume that new people will at least cost government as much as the national average government per capita spending.

            In addition, the US doesn’t owe these people anything; the burden of proof should be on immigrants to demonstrate that they will make a net positive contribution to the country and the budget.

            1. However, for most kinds of spending (including defense), spending tends to be at least proportional to population (in practice, it’s actually significantly worse).

              Sure, but isn’t that at least as much an effect of using fiscal policy to control inflation and unemployment as it is meeting ‘actual needs of people?’ I’m not confident that controlling immigration really has any effect on that attitude.

              1. To control inflation and unemployment in a larger population, you need a proportionally larger fiscal stimulus, etc.

  5. It’s the spending that matters, not the deficit.

    Raising taxes would reduce the deficit, but it would not make the situation better.

    The main problem with deficit spending is that it’s EASIER TO DO. If they link new spending with new taxes, it’s a lot harder to pass the legislation. And once the new spending is in place, it’s awfully hard to get rid of it.

    1. “We shouldn’t spend what we don’t have.”

      We have the means to pay back our debts or banks wouldn’t make the loans in the first place.

      1. We have the means to pay back our debts or banks wouldn’t make the loans in the first place.

        When banks get bailed out of the non-performing loans on their books (see TARP), they cease to assess the risk of loans not being paid back. Esp when they also don’t even have to mark those loans to a real market value (ie tell the truth to their own shareholders). And the fact is that govt debt can never default as long as it is denominated in a currency controlled by that govt.

      2. We have the means to pay back our debts or banks wouldn’t make the loans in the first place.

        You really have no idea at all where government debt comes from or how it is generated, do you?

    2. Raising taxes does not equal raising revenues.

      1. It typically correlates to diminishing returns.

      2. It doesn’t at the top end of the income scale.

        Raising taxes on middle class wage earners to European levels, however, would result in increased revenue.

        More importantly, it would also encourage the middle class to vote for smaller government.

    3. new taxes are much harder to get rid of than new spending

      1. I have to disagree here. I have seen no move to get rid of spending and would not conclude they are easier to eliminate than new taxes. I also don’t think we need new taxes, just adjust current taxes to better reflect the funding they support. Transportation taxes (mostly gas taxes) are a good example of taxes that do not collect enough revenue to support the transportation infrastructure.

    4. Raising taxes would reduce the deficit, but it would not make the situation better.

      The reason we have such massive deficits is because the middle class can vote itself benefits without having to pay for it.

      A balanced budget requires high taxes on the middle class, and that would put an end to such nonsense very quickly.

    5. Eyetoller is right. It is the spending that is the problem. Raising taxes to balance the budget is counterproductive due to deadweight loss from taxes.

      For now people and foreign governments are willing to buy US treasuries because it is easy for the USA to pay back its debts thanks to the size of the US economy and ability of feds to levy taxes. Eventually, however, that will change as debt becomes bigger and bigger relative to US economy. The first sign should be a rise in interest rates on long term treasuries to compensate for risk of outright default or default through inflation. This has not happened. Yet.

  6. I haven’t watched one minute of any of these so-called “debates” (I’d rather gouge my own eyes out), but based on what I’ve read, it sounds like not one so-called “journalist” who is so-called “moderating” these so-called “debates” has brought up the deficit or the national debt even once yet.

    I find it so hard to believe that they could make such an incredible oversight that it makes me suspect that the DNC has put a gag order on all the moderators forbidding any of them from even so much as mentioning the national debt.

    1. “Listen, don’t mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it alright. [returns to the politicians] So! It’s all forgotten now, and let’s hear no more about it. So, that’s two egg mayonnaise, a national bankruptcy, an entailment of debt on our children, and four spend like there’s no tomorrow salads. Wait a moment, I got a bit confused here, sorry. Sorry, I got a bit confused because everyone keeps mentioning the debt, so could you… what’s the matter?”

    2. Why wouldn’t moderators who are supposedly in the tank for Democrats want to mention Trump’s debt?

      They want to spend half the time talking about how many healthcare plans can dance on the head of a pin. And then I think one question on climate change.

      1. Why wouldn’t moderators who are supposedly in the tank for Democrats want to mention Obo’s debt?

        FIFY

        1. Do you have any idea how tedious it is that you people think you can just make shit up and accept it as fact?

          That you’re on a libertarian site doing it in sweet, wet dick service to the fucking Republican party makes it all the more so.

          1. Tony, we have our facts straight. You’re the lying piece of shit that makes things up without the slightest regard for reality.

      2. Why wouldn’t moderators who are supposedly in the tank for Democrats want to mention Trump’s debt?

        Because mostly the Dems want to talk amount the massive piles of money they want to spend, and they don’t like to talk about where that money is going to come from. Mentioning existing debt doesn’t play well in that context.

      3. Poor Tony doesn’t know the difference between debt and deficits. Or what branch of government approves spending.

        1. Tony is a drooling idiot, and a raving faggot. Emphasis on the raving part.

    3. There’s no oversight. DeRps understand – ain’t no voters vote on the basis of either govt spending or debt. Media understands – ‘no voters’ means no one cares including in particular advertisers who only pay when someone is paying attention.

      Most commenters here – don’t care. Most of the younger generation either doesn’t care or doesn’t understand or has been successfully distracted into watching their phones.

      I never understood why in history parents would sell their children into slavery to free themselves of some debt obligation. I know now cuz we’re watching it in slo-mo — and no one cares.

  7. If this keeps going the government will end up having a small defense department, paying the debt, and sending money to old people. Granted that is not a perfect state of affairs but it has its advantages over our current state of affairs. If you really dislike big government, I do not see how you can see the government being totally hamstrung by debt service being a bad thing.

    1. Think of if you employed all this brainpower to something other than making excuses for Republicans.

      1. Who controls the House Tony?

        1. Democrats want to spend money. They also want to pay for it. They’re not responsible for the fact that republicans just want to do the former.

          1. Democrats have no desire to pay for anything. When they tax more they drive down productivity and want to spend more anyway. Spending is the problem.

            But you’re too stupid to understand any of that. You’re also a liar.

    2. If you really dislike big government, I do not see how you can see the government being totally hamstrung by debt service being a bad thing.

      Because then you only get the expenses without any of the benefits. We get to pay for a military without actually having one, for example.

  8. “We shouldn’t spend what we don’t have.”

    We have the means to pay back our debts or banks wouldn’t make the loans in the first place.

    1. Now do credit cards.

    2. Very little of the National Debt has been borrowed from banks. Most of it is US Treasury bonds. Domestically, the single largest holder of US treasury bonds is the Social Security Trust Fund.

    3. Is this comment for real?

  9. Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you hold cash) interest rates are incredibly low. At 2% for the 10-year Treasury rate, interest payments on 22 trillion add 440 billion USD to government spending (and the debt) all by themselves. A big chunk of change but manageable historically.

    Bump that up to 3% and it’s 660 billion USD, getting close to the top spending programs like defense and social security.

    At 4% it’s 880 billion USD, the single biggest outlay. At 5% it’s over a trillion a year, just to pay the interest on the debt that was racked up previously, at the same time adding another trillion to the debt.

  10. “Weren’t interested in spending federal money to fight poverty and inequality”.

    Ah yes, the required amount of guilt and virtue signaling that runs through every narrative.

    Pretty sure there’s been a lot o’ money thrown at the “war on poverty”. How’s that workin out?

    Haha

    1. The problem with the war on poverty is not how much we spend on it. It’s definitional.

      The way they have defined poverty is:
      1) relative to national median income.
      2) explicitly excludes government transfer payments(welfare).

      So as a matter of definition, not only can’t we win the war on poverty, but no mater how much the government spends on anti-poverty programs, they can’t even make a tiny dent in poverty rates.

  11. “Deficit spending creates constant pressure for tax hikes.”

    But those tax hikes never happen. If people were taxed at a level to support services, they would then have to consider the value of those services. As it now stands they get the services for a lower than actual cost. With a deal like that why would you spend less?

  12. If you have ever gotten something for free, be aware that someone else did pay for it in one manner or another. Otherwise, everything would be free to all of us. The deficit is beyond repair and Congress is beyond hope. The entire system needs to crash so that the filth can be swept away. It doesn’t matter what label you slap on the Bolsheviks in the DC Swamp. Their only goal is self preservation at all costs. And those costs are rising exponentially.

  13. The sad facts are:

    1) Fiscal restraint becomes impossible in a democracy once borrowing for current spending is on the table; The politicians willing to borrow to buy votes will always outbid the ones who aren’t. And so they all give up on fiscal restraint, because you can’t do ANYTHING if you lose the election.

    And,

    2) There comes a point where it’s too late anyway. TARP probably took us over that line. Once you pass that point, it isn’t a question of whether you’re going to default, only when, and what to buy before your creditors figure it out.

    We’re already screwed, and I think most of the politicians know it. They just don’t dare say so, and alert our creditors.

    1. We’re already screwed, and I think most of the politicians know it

      We are screwed, but most politicians don’t think so. They think we are too big and powerful to fail. Our great experiment in self government went seriously awry when the fiscal cancer called Social Security started; it has spun off Medicare and Medicaid, all of which are metastasizing, fed by politicians buying our votes with our grandchildren’s money. Math is a cruel mistress.

  14. Doesn’t this publication support UBI?

  15. I was really disappointed in this article and I like Greenhut in general. The title and the tone of the article communicate that he is going to explain to us why deficits matter. We have huge deficits (In EU they fight over 3% deficit, we are spending 5 and collecting 4, that’s 20+%) and one would think there would be some bad effects: inflation, high interest rates, declining dollar. Inflation if very low, James Grant is saying we have the lowest interest rates in history, and the dollar is very strong (maybe just because everyone else is worse). So I thought Steven was going to tell us what we were missing. By the way, Cheney is still alive, if we want to know what he meant by that we should ask him.

  16. MMT will fix everything. Kudos and cherry Kool-Aid to the first one here who can explain it. Ready…go!

  17. Reason Today: “There’s No Such Thing as ‘Free Money’ or Meaningless Deficits”

    Reason Every Other Day: Trade Deficits are Totally Meaningless

  18. Welcome to what happens with 38+ years of trickle-down/supply-side Satanomics pi$Ring the nation’s collective wealth away on tax cuts for the parasite class.

    If you want to live like a Northern European, you have to “tax and spend” like a Northern European. It cost a lot of money to maintain “Western Civilization.”

    Good luck with that ‘securing the existence of our people and a future for white children’ with the failed Conservative economic policies responsible for the genocide of the middle class.

  19. The national debt is denominated in dollars. What would prevent inflation to such an extent that debt becomes meaningless? Then we could, would have to, make a transition to another currency. Is that not a logical outcome?

    1. What would prevent inflation to such an extent that debt becomes meaningless? Then we could, would have to, make a transition to another currency. Is that not a logical outcome?

      That’s, in fact, the likely outcome, short of a rapid collapse. However, it’s not a desirable outcome. Among other things, a lot of retirees and savers, both in the US and abroad, would lose a lot of money.

      In fact, debasing the currency just to get rid of US government debt would be the worst possible choice because it would also destroy a lot of debt by people otherwise perfectly capable and content to repay it. It would be far better for the US government simply to default on its debt.

Please to post comments