National Debt

America's Forgotten Debt

Neither party is serious about reining in spending. This is unsustainable.

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Congress and the media obsess endlessly over whether President Donald Trump should be impeached.

Both ignore $23 trillion of bigger problems.

That's how deep in debt the federal government is now, and because they keep spending much more than they could ever hope to collect in taxes, that number will only go up. It's increasing by $1 trillion a year.

"Shut up, Stossel," you say. "You've been crying wolf about America's debt for years, but we're doing great!"

You have a point. For many years, I've predicted that government, to fund freebies both parties want, would print boatloads of money. That would cause massive inflation. I bought silver coins so I might afford a loaf of bread while the rest of you haul suitcases full of nearly worthless paper currency to the bakery—or go hungry!

Clearly, that inflation crisis hasn't happened.

Thanks to Trump's contempt for the "deep state's" love of endless regulation, businesses are hiring and stock prices are up. America is doing great.

But while our deficits haven't yet created a crisis, they will. You can stretch a rubber band farther and farther. Eventually, it will snap back—or break.

We can't pay off our increasing debt—unless we're willing to tell the government to stop stationing soldiers in 80 countries, stop sending checks to poor people and old people, and stop paying for "free" health care for people like me. If the government did stop, the public would revolt.

Voters scream if there's even talk of cuts to Medicare or Social Security. But the programs are unsustainable. Social Security was meant to help the minority of people who outlive their savings. When Social Security was created, most Americans didn't even reach age 65. Now it's an "entitlement" for everyone.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care spending account for about half of the federal budget, and because we old people rudely refuse to die, these "entitlements" consistently grow faster than the tax revenues meant to fund them.

Anyone serious about giving our kids a future has to be willing to make big cuts to those programs, or at least privatize them and let individuals make our own decisions with our own money. But good luck to any politician who proposes that.

By contrast, voters don't get stirred up as we just quietly sink farther and farther into debt. So politicians demand even more spending.

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said appropriations bills won't get passed by the end of the year unless Republicans agree to spend "significant resources" on fighting the opioid epidemic, gun violence, child care, violence against women, election security, infrastructure, etc.

"With a Democratic House consumed with impeachment, there is very little appetite for the sorts of common-sense fiscal policies that could rein in our out-of-control deficits and debt," says Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

That implies that if Republicans were in charge, they would restore fiscal order. But there's little evidence of that. Republicans talk about spending cuts and "responsibility" but rarely cut anything.

Democrats want new social programs. Neither party wants to reduce the military budget. Trump wants his wall and tariffs. Farmers, once proud independent capitalists who criticized welfare, now get 40 percent of their income from the government.

"The federal budget is on an unsustainable path," says Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

No matter who you vote for and no matter what speeches they make, none of them is doing anything to put us on a sustainable course. It's too bad.

Fortunately, thanks to the inventiveness of American entrepreneurs, our economy keeps creating new wealth for politicians to grab.

That might mean Congress wouldn't have to cut spending for America to gradually grow our way out of this terrible debt. All they'd need to do is make sure spending goes up slower than the rate of inflation.

They won't even do that.

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  1. Voters scream if there’s even talk of cuts to Medicare or Social Security.

    All they’d need to do is make sure spending goes up slower than the rate of inflation.

    But a reduction in the rate of growth is a cut! At least I remember people screamed that when it was tried before.

    1. People scream over cuts to the arts too, you know, taping bananas to a wall.

      1. Did you know if it wasn’t for government funding of the arts, shows like Sesame Street wouldn’t be produced?

        1. Great!

        2. My god! What would kids do without all the Sesame Street merch?

        3. If people wanted Sesame Street it WOULD exist.. If people won’t pay for it; its worthless. That’s the pure definition of the term “worth”.

        4. sezmee streeeet is “ART”?

          I never would have guessed. What little bit I’ve seen of it is all socially engineered programming of their little brains. Its been proven that for every hour a day increase of that type of programming, those who watch it develop ten percent more incidence of attention deficit disorders. Makes me wonder if Big Pharma does not help sponsor the show…. they sell a WHOLE lot more Ritalen, Xanax, etc, to kids the more they glut on that stuff. Not surprising gummit sponsors that kind of social engineering. Keep the masses dumb and drugged, Start early, keep it up.

    2. “Debt
      Neither party is serious about reining in spending.” Not a fair claim. Reagan increased the debt 185% and borrowed against social security to make it less worse. Clinton gave us a surplus. Bush turned it into a record deficit which Obama cut by 60% and Trump now has us back over a trillion dollar deficit while increasing spending in two years more than Obama did in 8 years.

      1. Barack Obama: Added $8.588 trillion, a 74% increase from the $11.657 trillion debt at the end of Bush’s last budget, FY 2009.
        fairly easy to research that number, you should try it some time! But you probably believed Obummer when he told you that you could keep your doctor and that your insurance costs will go done! Or that the Clinton foundation didn’t shake down every country in the world while Hillary was the Sec of State…..drink your Koolaid and shut up!

  2. Has Reason noticed the debt has been growing astronomically for years, not just since the Trump troubles?

    1. Don’t go off topic, please.
      The only issue is Trump, all Trump, and nothing but Trump.

      1. Clearly you aren’t familiar with reason’s articles since about 1970.

    2. Don’t lump Stossel in with the rest of the lefties at this publication. He’s no Tom Woods, but he’s consistent, and he’s one of the only contributors at this place that doesn’t have a severe case of TDS.

    3. Stossel did
      Not Reason

    4. “Debt
      Neither party is serious about reining in spending.” Not a fair claim. Reagan increased the debt 185% and borrowed against social security to make it less worse. Clinton gave us a surplus. Bush turned it into a record deficit which Obama cut by 60% and Trump now has us back over a trillion dollar deficit while increasing spending in two years more than Obama did in 8 years.

      1. Because policy changes result in instantaneous changes to the economy…

        If you believe that then you have no worries, since your history proves the next Democrat in office can just fix everything.

  3. I bought silver coins so I might afford a loaf of bread while the rest of you haul suitcases full of nearly worthless paper currency to the bakery—or go hungry!

    Bad news, John. When the collapse happens, no one with a loaf of edible bread is going to trade it for a pile of inedible metal. You should have commodities to trade. Use your silver to buy MRE’s, guns, ammunition, knives, UHT treated milk, and other things actually useful. All the currently ‘precious metals’ will just be paperweights after the fall.

    1. I think I saw you on an episode of Doomsday Preppers.

      1. I am pretty sure you didn’t.
        I don’t go on camera.

    2. This is more like it. I miss you traditional libertarians.

    3. Silver will still be used. 100% barter hasn’t been a thing since about 4000 bc.

      1. I will be happy to take any unwanted silver off your hands.

    4. Do you understand why a medium of exchange is a good idea? It’s because the “coincidence of wants” is so very rare.

      Silver is exchanged for a relatively high amount due to the fact that many people demand it, for various reasons. These reasons will still be valid after any economic shock. In fact, if it were to be used again as a medium of exchange, it would become significantly more valuable than it is now (relatively speaking).

    5. oh some silver is a good thing. Far more precious if the ship hits the span will be copper, brass, lead, stainless, blued steel…… maybe a bit of nickel.

      One thing about silver, though, when all the lead has been sequestered, one CAN melt down silver and cast little round things about a third of an inch in diameter and a few times that in length. Once they get going real fast, the one who catches them won’t know or care whether it is Pb or Ag. He just won’t know……. anything. At all, Ever.

  4. Of all the things that annoy the crap out of me wrt POTUS Trump, this is pretty close to the top of the list: His spending is even worse than Obama, and that is saying one hell of a lot.

    We have simply GOT to get spending under control, and start reducing our national debt. Even if we pay off the debt on the 50-year installment plan, fine. But just get rid of it.

    1. Limiting foreign aid would be a good place to start

      1. I’m all for limiting foreign aid. But please understand that foreign aid makes up a tiny part of the overall budget. Historically it has been below 1%. My quick research indicates that it is currently somewhere between .8% and 1.2% of the federal budget.

        https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/how-does-us-spend-its-foreign-aid

      2. We need cuts everywhere. There should be no sacred cows.

        1. ESPECIALLY not subsidised cows. Nor the subsidised corn to feed them.

    2. I’d vote Democrat if there was any sign they’d be willing to get spending under control, but they’re worse than Republicans. At least when Republicans implement bad laws, bad policies, and bad ideas they are more easily corrected.

  5. Reason tells me that letting in large numbers of illiterate third world workers requiring free health care and education will fix this! If only Trump and the Republicans wouldn’t keep objecting!

    1. That’s like a drowning person worrying about a suspicious mole. MIC spending and entitlements are a hurricane compared to the drop in the bucket that we spend on “Teh Brown Folk”.

      1. Yeah, I’m sure the concerns JW and everyone else has about immigration all boil down to not liking “Teh Brown Folk”. What a sanctimonious and obnoxious reply. You can make the same argument you’re making without resorting to that holier than thou bullshit.

        1. To racists like you, it’s always about skin color isn’t it? You can’t imagine anything else can you?

          1. Racists like me? Huh? Stop projecting. Clearly you’re the one preoccupied with race. I couldn’t care less and I’d like to see you prove otherwise.

            Assholes like you remind me of the christian fundamentalists I grew up with. You see the devil (racism) everywhere. Get over yourself, you self righteous prick.

            1. When your reaction to political arguments is to speculate on the skin color of the people involved, your are a racist.

              It’s not surprising that you grew up with Christian fundamentalists: you behave like them.

              1. When did I speculate about the skin color of other people? Citation please.

                Eric’s comment essentially implied that anyone with concerns regarding immigration all boiled down to race. I called bull shit on that because you cannot presuppose to know the source of people’s concerns.

              2. Eric, one of your fellow liberals, brought it up, not Phil.

              3. “It’s not surprising that you grew up with Christian fundamentalists: you behave like them.”

                You’re the one being a judgmental asshole. Did you even read Eric’s comment I was originally replying to?

      2. Where do you think entitlements go? To low income workers.

        1. Warren Buffett isn’t a low-income worker, but he still gets a social security check.

          1. And Medicare.

      3. On the other hand, if we are unwilling to fix the small problems, which should we have any confidence the bigger problems will be fixed.

  6. We have forgotten a lot (or been distracted) while our elected officials spend all their time investigating each other.

    As we continue to burden future generations with debt we have become a country where the richest people all live in the capital region.

    I don’t think our founding fathers envisioned a ruling class living in luxury and governing us from upon high.

    1. “I don’t think our founding fathers envisioned a ruling class living in luxury and governing us from upon high.”

      Well, considering the clandestine way in which the articles of confederation were replaced, a few of them may have had exactly that thought in mind.

    2. They did envision it, and tried to prevent it as best possible.

      1. They could have just left the articles of confederation well enough alone, but that’s why small government is an oxymoron I suppose.

  7. This is unsustainable.

    Yet, somehow, decade after decade, it goes on and on.

    1. It will go on until it can’t.

  8. would print boatloads of money

    I recall back in 2009-10 hearing you Peanuts complain “THEY IS GONNA BE HYPERINFLATION COMING! OBAMA’S FAULT! WE NEED A WHITE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT”.

    Clearly QE does not cause inflation.

    However Trump’s massive deficits amid the good economic times he inherited will have a downstream effect as it will require HIGHER taxes in the future.

    Trump = Higher taxes and Big Government.

    The Dotard is certainly no libertarian.

    1. Trump will never be president.

    2. “Clearly QE does not cause inflation.”

      What causes it?

      1. If he’s dumb enough to believe MMT, he won’t know the answer to your question.

    3. I recall back in 2009-10 hearing you Peanuts complain “THEY IS GONNA BE HYPERINFLATION COMING! OBAMA’S FAULT! WE NEED A WHITE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT”.

      I only remember AARRRGHHHH!!!!! SELL! SELL!! SELL!! GREEK ANARCHISTS! YOUR FIAT MONEY IS WORTHLESS, ECONOMIC SLAVE!!! AARRRGGGHHHH!!! I don’t remember anything coherent like you. It was more visceral and feelz.

      1. Ah, fucked up the tags. I was so excited to recall the good ol’ days.

    4. Maybe it wasn’t “hyperinflation” but there was definitely some major “inflation” going on. You probably would’ve got your “hyper” in there with another term.

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  10. National debt is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government manifested by its ability to extract revenue through taxation and conquest. Through that lens, we can understand how teams Red and Blue plan to address debt.

    What is the LP plan for national debt? I’m fairly certain that no Libertarian candidate is proposing we actually eliminate the national debt by paying it back at face value. The only benefits of that would be preserving the US credit rating (for the purpose of borrowing at a later date?) and providing a benefit to lenders (primarily foreign governments and propped-up banks). As a Libertarian, I’m agnostic to federal debt because I know the debt isn’t going to be repaid in full. Rather, lenders will be forced to accept partial repayment or our currency is devalued to repay it, having the same affect. Given that, I propose we peg the tax rate at 0% and let the USG go nuts on debt and careen into the inevitable bankruptcy.

    1. LOL… man, these libertarians sure have changed their tune.

    2. “Fortunately, thanks to the inventiveness of American entrepreneurs, our economy keeps creating new wealth for politicians to grab.

      That might mean Congress wouldn’t have to cut spending for America to gradually grow our way out of this terrible debt. All they’d need to do is make sure spending goes up slower than the rate of inflation.

      They won’t even do that.”

    3. It’s helpful to recall that taxes aren’t yours anymore after you pay them. With that in mind, I don’t care how the government spends its money as long as I feel like I’m getting what I paid for willingly.

      Specifically, I am willing to pay 0 for 0 services.

      If I pay 0 and get additional, useful services, that’s ok (though it isn’t sustainable). Actually, it’s the VC funding model.

      If my neighbor goes enormously into debt to pay for useless shit, I don’t care as long as he doesn’t infringe on my property. If he goes into debt and infringes on my property, I still won’t care about the debt, but I will take issue with the property infringement. How does the government compare to my neighbor? They take taxes and they make rules that infringe on civil liberties.

      I want 2 things: civil liberties and no taxes. If I get that because the government spends itself into bankruptcy, I’m cool with that.

    4. So you’re OK with theft and expropriation by the government? Because that’s what a government debt default means.

      Keep in mind that a lot of Americans have their retirement savings in government debt, people who already paid tons of taxes and now are supposed to lose half or more of their retirement funds.

      And the consequences of a US government debt default aren’t going to be pretty.

      Now, I still think that a US government debt default may be the best way to go. But it’s not a victimless crime by a long shot.

      1. Defaulting on debt is a less-severe form of theft than taxation, because debt is a contract that debtors and lenders enter into consensually. Obviously, repayment is the intent of debt, but default is an explicit risk of which both parties are aware — risk is the basis of interest.

        Also, I don’t think I have a moral imperative to ensure repayment of USG debt. I am not the government. If the government steals from individuals’ retirements in the form of debt default, those people should seek recourse.

        If people refuse to be political allies with libertarians because their retirement is riding on sovereign debt repayment, they should sell their treasuries, eliminate their conflict of interest, and embrace an ethical ideology. It isn’t my responsibility to bend my views to embrace people with conflicts of interest.

        1. It isn’t my responsibility to bend my views to embrace people with conflicts of interest.

          “Responsibility” is a loaded term here.

          But broadly speaking, if you want to form a coalition to effect change, then yes, you do need to be willing to compromise and persuade, rather then just preach.

          If you aren’t actually interested in effecting change, and just want to feel morally superior? Then by all means, preach. But don’t pretend that you’re “part of the solution”.

          1. Valid points, EscherEnigma — pretty much everyone has some dependency on government, even people who know it and are trying to quit it.

            Here, the best I can do is loudly proclaim on the reason comment section: Sovereign debt is only worth the proceeds of violence debtor governments are willing to use to repay. so if you love freedom, don’t buy any more US debt than absolutely needed. If you DGAF about freedom, but you want your retirement portfolio to be diverse and achieve market returns, don’t buy any more US debt than absolutely needed*. If you are an elected or appointed politician (looking at your federal reserve directors), don’t forget that some people have already written down your shit debt, and don’t issue any more than absolutely needed.

            *Not investment advice. Your mileage may vary. I have no credentials from FINRA, SEC, FDIC. I am not licensed to provide investment advice and I don’t want to get locked in a cage for providing unlicensed guesses about what might happen in the future.

            1. That’s not a rational strategy.

              1. You’re welcome to lever up and buy a bunch of treasuries if you want. My strategy works whether you adopt it or not.

        2. Favoring libertarian policies doesn’t mean one has to join in in the kinds of insane and unnecessary suicide pacts you envision.

          In fact, simply moving to a more free market economy would produce enough growth that the current debt becomes negligible. That’s the real libertarian solution.

          1. $22T will be negligible?! What’s the timeline for this payoff plan? Probably the rest of my life, and I still have over half my career ahead of me. And what’s the likelihood that some Keynesian/warhawk/crony politicians intervene to set us back years in just a few months of manufactured emergency?

            In this decade, most young people have come to grips with never seeing returns on the money they pay into social security. I predict that in the next decade, markets will come to grips with US debt default. There are precedents for sovereign debt default and restructuring and currency devaluation. The only thing irregular about a US debt default is that the USD is accepted globally as a reserve currency — maybe not a good thing for Americans.

            And hey, maybe politicians could raise debt from voluntary lenders for projects that have positive returns. Who are we kidding — if that were possible, businesses would already have done so. But we can have fun momentarily imagining a government that doesn’t subsist on tax-theft.

            If we manage our finances and value US debt properly, maybe we can wean ourselves over time instead of dramatically. I’m not joining a suicide pact, but if politicians decided to create a suicide pact, I wouldn’t stop them.

            1. The federal government will never pay off its debt – and we need not expect it to. The federal government is a currency issuer -while you and I are currency users.

              I’m more concerned about the federal government reducing its wasteful spending, keeping the debt and debt service reasonable relative to our economy (GDP) – I basically want a much smaller federal government – much less meddling from Uncle Sam.

              The federal government has been in debt throughout the entire history of the USA, except briefly under president Andrew Jackson, when all federal debt was retired and there was a true government surplus. Two years after that we had a deep economic depression. Correlation does not prove causation, but the next five times we a federal budget surplus, we experienced either depressions or deep recessions within 3 years. The 7th time we had a surplus – under Bill Clinton, the pattern was interrupted -but seemingly just delayed due to the tech stock and real estate bubbles – then we had the Great Recession.

              If we can get the federal debt smaller relative to the size of our economy, I think that will reduce some of the risks from that debt, which are really just about inflation.

              1. Slightly-less Keynesian?

  11. Hmmm, what was the deficit when socialist Obama left office and what is it now that we have a crime boss The greatest libertarian ever as POTUS? I’ve heard this thing… in order to get out of a hole you have to stop voting for these Republican bullshitters who cut taxes and then deficit spend to enrich their campaign contributors and launch wars. Is this a common saying where you guys live?

    1. The saying around here is: “deficits don’t matter.”

    2. Obama doubled the national debt from $10T to $20T. That alone added another $200 billion per year to the federal budget in debt service. And, yes, this was Obama’s doing: he wanted the money to spend on his boondoggles and crony capitalist handouts and he got it.

      Trump has been trying to cut, but Congress has been refusing to go along because they are afraid of how voters react to cuts. On top of that, Trump’s administration has been constantly hounded by Democrats, leaving little room for such reforms, which generally require at least some bipartisanship.

      The reality in the US is that presidents can easily increase spending; they have a hard time cutting it, and nobody can cut anything with the current crop of Democrats in Congress.

      1. No, Obama was following a rational prescription when faced with a recession, deficit spending to help recovery. Much of it was tax cuts, but you ideologues blocked that part out. It was spent wisely, there are no cases of corruption, except maybe some made up ones on the fringes of the internet.

        Obama was gifted the worst recession since the Great Depression, he gifted Trump with a booming economy. Obama left Trump a declining deficit of about 600 billion, and Trump has nearly doubled with his irresponsible tax cuts for the rich and massive military spending. Military spending is now at the same height it was during the height of the Iraq War.

        Take off the partisan blinders.

  12. Money is not real and neither is the debt so long as people have faith in the federal government. The federal government is not constrained by the rules that constrain the lives of regular people.

    1. Behold economic illiteracy in action.

      1. Poe’s Law strikes yet again.

        I should start keeping score.

        1. Thanks for proving that you really are the kind of nasty creep you appear to be.

          1. It was sarcasm, moron.

            That you didn’t catch it …. well, see my above point.

            1. Oh, based on your second comment, I understand that you intended sarcasm. How are people supposed to divine your intentions? You’re a complete unknown.

              It’s your inappropriate sarcasm that makes you a “nasty creep”.

              1. Poe’s Law.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

                Says a lot more about the general state of discourse in our society than it does about me. Nothing is too crazy that it cannot be mistaken for someone’s genuinely held beliefs. That’s a problem.

  13. Don’t worry. Next time a Democrat is in office, Republicans will remember the debt.

    So if you want congress to care about debt? Vote for a Democrat president and Republican congress-critters.

    1. So if you want congress to say that they care about debt? Vote for a Democrat president and Republican congress-critters.

      fixed

      1. Under Clinton we had a balanced budget for a few years, largely because of the divided government.

        Under Obama, we had sequestration. Again, because of divided government.

        It might not be for the reason y’all want, but there is more action on the debt during divided-government-Democrat-in-the-White-House then all other combinations.

        1. The national debt doubled under Obama. If that’s a prescription for fiscal responsibility, we’re doomed.

        2. We never had a balanced budget. That “surplus” and “balance” was based on a surge of FICA income due to the boomers being at their peak earning years.

          1. And… The fact the Bill Clinton stole the Social Security fund to balance it.

  14. Currently, Social Security benefits increase I think about 8 percent per year after age 62. This can be reduced to 7 percent, if not less.

    1. Heartless. Always trying to push granny off that cliff. Have you no shame?

    2. “… I think about 8 percent per year after age 62.”

      Here’s what happens when you think. These are the COLAs for this century so far:
      2001 2.6
      2002 1.4
      2003 2.1
      2004 2.7
      2005 4.1
      2006 3.3
      2007 2.3
      2008 5.8
      2009 0.0
      2010 0.0
      2011 3.6
      2012 1.7
      2013 1.5
      2014 1.7
      2015 0.0
      2016 0.3
      2017 2.0
      2018 2.8
      2019 1.6

      Does that look like 8% per year to you?

      https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/colaseries.html

      1. He wasn’t talking about Social Security COLAs, he was talking about the roughly 8% increase in Social Security retirement income a person gets by waiting to turn on the retirement benefit. It increases by about 8% each year until age 70. Some people delay taking Social Security so they can lock in higher payments, obviously betting that they live a long time.

  15. Are the silver coins you are hoarding sustainable? If so, what’s all the fuss?

  16. Stossel seems to understand that harmful inflation is a risk associated with federal debt and federal spending, but he also makes bone-headed statements about “paying off” the debt. The federal government need not (and will not) pay off the debt – it just needs to do what it can to make sure that people (in our country as well as the rest of the world) don’t lose all confidence in our ability to service our debt. Stossel’s silver hoarding will pay off when the world rejects our currency.

    Do we (including Stossel) even understand what causes inflation? Is it too much central bank money “printing”? Perhaps it’s the pressure of wage-price spirals. Or maybe it’s too much government spending and borrowing. Stossel’s idea about building up a stash of silver suggests he believes in “hard money” – and is afraid the federal government will devalue our currency. I think it’s worth noting that every school of economics has its own theory of inflation.

    Japan’s debt-to-GDP ratio has been sky high compared to ours -and they still have not experienced hyper-inflation.

    None of this is to say we need not worry about federal spending and federal debt. I just happen to think the bigger risks are mostly political. This quote from a blog post by banking expert Frances Coppola says it better than I can: “The independence of central banks is an illusion. Central banks are only as independent as politicians allow them to be. As long as politicians want inflation to be low, central banks will be required to keep it low, even if they would rather allow it to rise to encourage spending and growth. And as long as the popular vote is dominated by people who want inflation to be low, politicians will want to keep it low. So if you want inflation to rise, kill the old and rich. They are the people who have most to lose from higher inflation – and they vote.”

    1. Neither the old nor the rich have much to fear from inflation, for the simple reason that they don’t keep their money in dollars, they keep it in assets.

  17. Not sure what you mean by serious.

    So far the only ones who have tried to reign in the debt are Democrats. Clinton left W with a surplus, which he promptly squandered on tax cuts and increased spending. Obama received a deep recession from his predecessor. He increased spending to combat the recession and had reduced the deficit by half by the time he left office. Trump quickly reversed this with his tax cuts mostly for the rich and massive military spending. Now we have trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.

    So it seems the only ones serious here are the Democrats. They have a rational approach to the debt, deficit spending during bad economic times, pay down the debt in good economic times. Their only problem is they don’t talk about this nonstop to burn it into the mind of the public so people don’t know this. Plain reality isn’t enough, people need it repeated to them over and over again otherwise we get articles like this.

    1. Obama prolonged the recession by many years and doubled the national debt. That’s not fiscal responsibility.

      The best solution is to stop the US government from issuing debt altogether and go back to a gold standard with the option of fully private currency and banking.

      1. Obama received the worst recession since the Great Depression and he did such a good job fixing it you RWers had to call all the good economic numbers ‘fake numbers.’

        That says it all.

    2. The surplus is a complete lie.

      http://www.craigsteiner.us/articles/16

      1. That looks like a credible source.

        More likely some RWer who didn’t like the facts so he cooked the numbers until he got what he wanted.

  18. //So it seems the only ones serious here are the Democrats. They have a rational approach to the debt, deficit spending during bad economic times, pay down the debt in good economic times. //

    Um.

    “A report released by the Urban Institute last week found that [Bernie Sanders’] single-payer approach would cost $34 trillion dollars over 10 years, more than the total cost of social security, medicare and medicaid combined.”

    Yeah. Good point.

    The Democrats are very serious.

  19. Funny how deficit went up as soon as Democrats won the Purse (i.e. House).

  20. “Clearly, that inflation crisis hasn’t happened.”
    The Dollar has lost 98% of its value since 1913. No inflation crisis?

    1. The dollar lost 98% of its value since 1913 – but obviously, our living standards have improved immensely since then, which suggests there are many pieces to the puzzle. At the very least, we should remember that living standards are a high priority. Inflation is harmful when it hurts living standards – with the most obvious example being hyperinflation.

  21. You’ve been wrong about this for decades, but you’ll keep on saying it for decades to come.

    It turns out that actually the federal government CAN stay in debt indefinitely and have no harm done to the economy.

    1. Right; and my credit card balance is going to pay for itself.
      LOL; I cannot believe the stupidity I read sometimes.
      Need we forget the MANY cases of fiat money printed into despair and bankrupting entire nations???

  22. The debt won’t be forgotten once America goes bankrupt.
    Thankfully, we have two political parties that will point fingers at each other, get nothing accomplished and watch as the rest of us suffer.
    Isn’t America leadership wonderful?

  23. “Debt
    Neither party is serious about reining in spending.” Not a fair claim. Reagan increased the debt 185% and borrowed against social security to make it less worse. Clinton gave us a surplus. Bush turned it into a record deficit which Obama cut by 60% and Trump now has us back over a trillion dollar deficit while increasing spending in two years more than Obama did in 8 years.

  24. Th only thing concerning the politicians is how much they can steal from the public. They are strictly out to enrich themselves with no concern for the citizen. It’s a grab it while they can mentality.

  25. Seems like a pretty strong consensus that our government debt is a very real problem but we cannot expect government to do anything about it. What’s left to do besides bemoan our fate? Maybe our citizens who really believe this duo of truths should act accordingly. If you don’t need your Social Security benefit don’t take it or stop taking it if you have already. If you don’t need your Medicare coverage and can purchase health insurance on your own, don’t take Medicare. Small contributions for sure but who knows how ideas such as this put into action might multiply in the real world to change the curve of history. What else might those inclined to action do? Ideas welcome.

    Skepticus

    1. You’re actually advocating that folks use moral judgement when it comes to their finances, and not just function purely as money-sucking & hoarding capitalists? Certainly not an original concept, but one which still exists because inequality still exists. Congratulations on being a human with a conscience. The planet needs more of you.

      Capitalism in its truest form has NO moral component. It’s up to a company’s management to provide that ~ something that’s been sorely lacking in world economy over the last 40-45 years. The last time this happened was the turn of the 20th Century’s rejection of the Robber Barons. While it’s true they literally built this country’s infrastructure & transportation systems while acquiring obscene wealth (yes, that’s a moral judgement), they did it on the backs of their mistreated workers’ lifeblood. That’s why unions were born. And today we’re back at it: it’s mostly cut-throat crony capitalism, as evidenced by Mr. Trump’s policies, profiting only the wealthiest, destroying the last 50 years of progress on curtailing corporate & industrial greed with so much deregulation that it’ll take another 50 years to remake the progress we had made that is currently being decimated by this moment in time’s greediest, who are now well on the way to becoming monopolies, if they aren’t already. Example: The food supply for the entire planet is managed by only 3 companies that buy up every little food product start-up so fast that their founders rarely have the time to breathe life into these new businesses. The seller is faced with inordinate marketing feats to compete with one of these giants, so gives up its long-term plans for short-term gain; in this case, rightfully so ~ it’s do it or die. Other companies like unconscionable Nestle tap into ‘free’ resources like water, then sell it for a profit all the while denying farmers & ranchers the ability to tap into the same water supply, or draining so much of it that there’s little left for farming or agriculture. Aquifers around our country are quickly drying up & dying, but that’s OK with many of our current politicians. Now Nestle wants to tap the Great Lakes for free. (We need a Teddy Roosevelt right now ~ where is he among our new politicians?) There are SOME morally-cognizant companies out there, but not nearly enough to even the playing fields. I’m hoping the next generation will find the financial moral compass again ~ and actually use it. After all, along with (or because of) our Creator, our Declaration of Independence GUARANTEES us the RIGHT to Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness. No one in this country can pursue those goals if your Life’s health is compromised with no ability to repair it. And you cannot Pursue Happiness if you don’t have your health. Government has, then, failed in its obligation to honor its guarantees AND the Creator’s endowment. For example, the ‘haves’ (management) could certainly help the ‘have nots’ (workers). Allowing pure capitalism to rule the economic circumstances of every citizen has put us where we are today: a population never afforded equal treatment & left begging for their ‘inalienable’ Rights. The BigWigs have the means, but not the will ~ or moral fiber ~ any more.

      Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” is on exhibit in the Library of Congress.[1] This version was used by Julian Boyd to create a transcript of Jefferson’s draft,[2] which reads: “We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.” The Committee of Five edited Jefferson’s draft. Their version survived further edits by the whole Congress intact, and reads: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”[3]

      1) “We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident…” U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
      2) Boyd, Julian P., ed. (1950). The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Volume 1: 1760–1776. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 243–47. OCLC 16353926.
      3) “Declaration of Independence”. U.S. National Archives. Retrieved May 19, 2013.

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