Debt and Deficits

The National Debt Is 'Unsustainable' and the Pentagon's Finances Are a Total Mess, Federal Audit Says

"Absent policy changes, the federal government continues to face an unsustainable long-term fiscal path," America's top auditor warns. But is anyone listening?

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The federal government's books are in such bad shape that auditors can't even do their jobs, and the national debt is growing at an "unsustainable" rate, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned in its annual comprehensive review of the government's financial statements.

The GAO singled out the Pentagon—as it has every year since 1990, when federal auditors first started trying to peer into the black hole of military spending—for "serious financial management problems." That includes more than 1,300 new issues raised during this year's incomplete audit of the Defense Department. Despite those persistent financial problems, the Pentagon has seen a huge boost in spending under the Trump administration.

Of the 24 federal departments and agencies subject to annual audits under a 1990 law, only the Pentagon and the Department of Housing and Urban Development failed to get a clean review this year. Note that a clean review does not mean there was no wasteful spending—merely that auditors at least were able to see where the spending was going.

"Resolving the problems outlined in our audit report is of utmost importance given the federal government's reported fiscal path," wrote Gene L. Dodaro, U.S. comptroller general and the head of the GAO, in a letter to Congress and President Donald Trump. "Absent policy changes, the federal government continues to face an unsustainable long-term fiscal path."

Measured as a share of the entire U.S. economy, the national debt has doubled in just 12 years and is on pace to grow to historical highs within the next decade. The federal government's budget deficit—the gap between how much revenue it raises and how much money it spends—is expected to exceed $1 trillion this year.

"While the estimated magnitude of the fiscal gap is subject to a substantial amount of uncertainty, it is nevertheless nearly certain that current fiscal policies cannot be sustained indefinitely," the GAO's report concluded. The sooner the growth of the deficit and debt can be slowed or reversed, the less those policies are likely to affect economic growth.

But is anyone listening? Lawmakers from both major parties have worked together in recent years to pass budgets that exploded annual deficits and added to the debt. Democrats running for president are promising to hike federal spending by trillions of dollars to pay for free college, government-run health care, and the fight against climate change—and even though they are also promising to raise taxes, the math doesn't add up. That means deficits will continue to grow. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has abandoned any pretense of fiscal conservatism, and most of his party has followed suit.

But the report is right there for them to see. When the past decade's fiscal recklessness hits the fan, they won't be able to claim that no one saw this coming.

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  1. Gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    Shave off a cool $2 trillion per year.

    1. 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 .

      1. STOP ISSUING DEBT-BASED MONEY!

        And START issuing money based on NOTHING WHATSOEVER!

        MMT is a modern miracle! Why has no one thought of it before?

        1. From the article ( http://www.fixourmoney.com ): “If unbacked fiat money has no ‘real value’, then fiat money backed by a bond redeemable only in that same fiat money can have no ‘real value’ either. How can a promise to pay in a currency that has no ‘real value’ realistically serve as backing for the currency itself?

          “Although inferior to a gold-based currency, fiat money does in fact have real value. The U.S. dollar’s value derives from the fact that it is the official medium of exchange and unit of account within a large, productive and reasonably stable economy. It does *not* derive from the fact that $20 trillion in U.S. government IOU’s are ‘backing’ the nation’s currency.”

          1. The real value of the US dollar in the international faith in the US government to pay its international debts. That’s why the US dollar is the world reserve currency.

      2. Worked for Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

        1. From the article ( http://www.fixourmoney.com ): “The more recent bout of unrestrained money printing in Zimbabwe, which led to hyperinflation, was facilitated by massive government corruption, draconian political and economic controls, and widespread expropriation and destruction of farms and other productive enterprises. These preconditions for hyperinflation do not exist in any advanced market-based economy. If such circumstances do arise someday in the U.S., backing our fiat money with government bonds will not save the country from a financial meltdown; it will likely make matters worse.”

      3. The inflationary impact of unbacked dollars is no worse than the inflationary impact of the same amount of debt-backed dollars.

        True. But once you start issuing unbacked dollars the temptation is to issue more of them. Especially if/when a payment comes due for the debt-based dollars. And the nanosecond you do that, you’ve defaulted on the existing debt and you know have a currency crisis that leads to hyperinflation (loss of the currency’s utility as a medium of exchange)

        1. We have been issuing unbacked dollars since the Civil War era (many nanoseconds ago). In addition to Federal Reserve Notes, United States Notes were in common circulation through the 1970’s, and today’s coins do not have any debt obligation backing them. See http://www.fixourmoney.com .

        2. The US dollar has been officially the world reserve currency since 1944. Google Bretton Woods Conference.

      4. Freeperson, the government has to borrow so much because it spends more than it takes in. Borrowing is the result of spending. There are two solutions: cut spending or raise taxes.

        1. There are more than two solutions. See http://www.fixourmoney.com .

        2. Our population continues to grow and our economy continues to expand. How exactly are we able to keep pace if the federal government doesn’t spend new money into existence?

          1. Exactly! From http://www.fixourmoney.com : “If the goal is a stable unit of account and medium of exchange, one which neither appreciates nor depreciates, the growth rate of the money supply *must* approximate the growth rate of goods and services in the economy. To create the additional money needed to keep the dollar’s value stable in a fiat economy, the federal government *must* spend more money than it receives in taxes. There is no way around it. But the consequences of this deficit spending are very different for debt-based money and debt-free money. Under a debt-based monetary regime, the national debt (and its taxpayer-funded interest payments) must increase in lockstep with the increase in the money supply. Under a debt-free system this money supply increase can be accommodated even as the national debt is being slowly paid off. Clearly debt-free fiat money is the better alternative in this regard.”

        3. The US dollar is the world reserve currency, the new “gold standard.” Can a nation have to much gold?

    2. Cut the military in half, we don’t need to be as strong as the next seven nations combined, three and a half will be more than enough.

      If you want the debt to drop so badly, propose cutting something you support.

      1. Gosh – The very first decent comment I’ve seen from you GenoS.

    3. so I am guessing you have a lot of wealth in stock mkt. or maybe a 10 million dollar home.

      what would either be worth if we took $982 B out of the economy?

    4. Yeah, because people will go for having their SS and Medicare cut. Lol.

      1. Without the Nazi’s (National Socialists) people would probably go for selling off the S.S. and Medicare [WE] foundation agencies to private businesses with a small ‘security’ legislation like bankruptcy insurance.

    5. We should cut defense spending since we spend more than the next ten nations combined.

      1. Sounds great — but we should cut ALL the many UN-Constitutional programs of the federal government ALSO; and probably FIRST as those spending’s actually violate the nations supreme law.

        It’s NOT the federal governments job to be stealing from Peter and paying Paul. It *IS* the federal governments job to provide international defense.

  2. If you’re worried about sustainability, maybe focus on the bigger issue of non discretionary spending.

    1. What do you think the odds are a Reason would actually get behind Trump if he attempted to substantially cut spending?

    2. Yes…..but. We know that a SSA benefits ‘haircut’ is coming in just 13 years. A haircut of ~20%. All of us will take that hit. With everyone effected, you’d think we would have a consensus that this needs fixing. In today’s toxic political environment, try telling Team R & Team D that they need to reform SSA. Good luck with that.

      Every single entitlement reform is in the same boat. The solution is a decisive election. This toxicity and inaction a kind of problem that only the ballot box can resolve.

      FWIW….everything should be on the table.

      1. Never happen. Two reasons, the US dollar is the world reserve currency. Just as important, Congresspersons like their jobs and old people always vote.

  3. “Democrats running for president are promising to hike federal spending by trillions of dollars …”

    True, but Democrats are also moving toward the Koch / Reason open borders agenda. Inviting more highly skilled doctors and engineers into the US will boost our economy and increase revenue. So the Democrats are now actually the fiscally responsible party.

    #ImmigrationAboveAll
    #OpenBordersWillFixEverything

    1. Democrats will at least raise taxes to pay for their socialist junk, whereas Republicans won’t. Unfortunately the last forty years have shown the Dems are more fiscally responsible. Tax and spend>borrow and spend.

      1. That’s a lie. You probably read that on you lying liberal rag censored news! Lets just throw out the FACT that Obama took us for $10T to $20T almost entirely in his 1st-Term with a [D] congress backing him.

        Ya; He raised Taxes alright and rose spending by 10x the tax increase. The Dems end-goal is always Nazism (i.e. National Socialism/Communism)

        1. … And just to go a step further – SLAVERY is really what the Dems are all about ANTI-CHOICE SLAVERY…. Dem’s won’t come out and say they want to re-enact Slavery but when they lobby to STEAL all labor created income there isn’t much difference on the means to the ends.

  4. I thought the debt wasn’t held by the public, but was held by the government and owed to its citizens.

    1. Yeah, that would be nice.

    2. Please tell me that’s sarcasm.

    3. Doesn’t matter who holds it, UNLESS the Fed buys it in the open market, in which case what is “owed” will eventually be swept right back to Treasury as Fed operating surplus.

    4. Yes, that is what debt apologists would have us believe. Most of it is just money we owe ourselves! Raise taxes and all will be well!

    5. It’s owed by us to people who buy bonds.

    6. The national debt is a massive savings account denominated in US Treasuries.

      When you buy stuff from China with USD, the money is converted to Chinese yuan because the chinaman can’t use your USD to pay his people or his suppliers or his utility bills. The USD wind up in the Bank of China which deposits them in a Federal Reserve bank account. This account bears no interest, so they buy interest-bearing US Treasuries. If you own a US Bond, your money is in that pool.

      The federal government doesn’t use this money to pay its bills, Congress authorizes payments and the Treasury credits the respective accounts. It’s that simple.

      So paying down the national debt is equivalent to moving the money back to a non-interest-bearing account. Here’s your money back for your bond, go figure out some other place to invest it. Would you be happy with that? That would be silly.

      US Treasuries are a benefit to the whole world. The federal government can always pay the interest on the bonds because it is the exclusive issuer of the currency. The “national debt” is the safest investment in the world.

      Most people on this site are either trolling or they are woefully clueless about federal finances. Don’t panic about the national debt. It’s a non-issue.

  5. Pentagon’s Finances Are a Total Mess, Federal Audit Says

    Social Security’s finances, on the other hand, are just peachy.

    1. Pentagon unable to justify if it’s defending the public efficiently and effectively. Social security, OTOH, perfectly transparent in fleecing one generation to pay the prior.

      1. It doesn’t matter – as long as those weapons contractor dollars keep finding their way into campaign funding, everything is just GREAT!

        Let’s bomb a few more countries!

    2. Agree that various government accounts are phony. Non are labeled “secret stuff we can’t tell you.” No government in the world keeps GAAP-quality books.
      But the national debt is a different issue which is not discussed in relation to US currency being the world reserve currency or any other economic issue.

  6. The comments to this point affirm my belief that waste is in the eye of the beholder. We are told that the Pentagon’s finance are in a mess and the auditors can not get information to even tell how much is wasted. Yet that information goes right past some people and instead their comments are about Social Security and discretionary funding.

    1. If my kid has the flu I tend to not care about their stubbed toe.

      1. Cut defense spending, moron.

    2. Yup. SS is terrible, but we pay a specific tax for it, and we get back (albeit with a terrible ROI) some measure of what we put in. Cutting SS would only help debt/deficit if the SS taxes collected were redirected to the general fund. But it is much easier for the authoritarian minded to envision cutting Grandmas off their prescription pills and disabled people off of their only income than to cut our grossly overgrown military budget.

      1. DOL, I don’t think simply cutting SSA is the ultimate answer. The ultimate answer is getting SSA out of the federal government’s hands. The track record is undeniable: The Feds collected the tax, and spent the money elsewhere. We will all take a benefits haircut of ~20% in about 13 years.

        Your point on ROI is an excellent one. We would get a much better ROI investing the tax receipts in the financial markets, using low cost (or even expense free) index funds. Hell, depositing a lump sum of 10K at birth, letting the money compound over time, would then allow a withdrawal of 10K (to reimburse taxpayers who put up the seed money) at age 21 and the young adult would be in far better shape for retirement financing than they would have been otherwise.

        Medicare is a toughie. No doubt about that.

      2. SS may track your time and payments but it is a plain old income tax and not any kind of insurance policy. You have no “insured” benefits. Congress could cancel the SS program with a super majority vote. From the start, SS was a welfare program “paid” by the US treasury.

        All the original documentation and the law passed by Congress and signed by FDR is online. Read it for yourselves.

    3. I read the column, and I know what an audit is and what it shows or doesn’t show, and I get that the Pentagon is worse off in terms of transparency.

      My point, which you surely did not miss but chose to ignore, is that there are other government spending programs that are complete train wrecks, and even more so in dollar terms than the military– even if we can see with crystal clarity how the money is set ablaze as it happens.

      1. And my point was not directed at you in particular but about the general tone of “what about-ism” in the initial comments. We will never get the budget under control if we defend spending we like and complain about spending we do not like.

        1. We will never get the budget under control

          Because we can’t do anything about it. There are more Americans who don’t know what a budget is than there are who are concerned about it.

          1. Haha. Yeah. People are stupid. You’re smart though.

            1. As George Carlin said: “Just think how stupid the average person is…then consider, that half of them are stupider than that.”

              I bet 80% of all Americans do not know who Jerome Powell is, or even what the Federal Reserve is. But they know they want free shit, or want to spend more on the military because it makes them feel powerful by proxy. The stupidity cuts across both parties and all aspects of society.

              Americans are some dumb, overfed, ignorant MF’ers.

        2. We will never get the budget under control if we defend spending we like and complain about spending we do not like.

          WTF? That doesn’t make the least bit of sense. Having preferences make people incompetent! Enjoy spending money on the television but not the dentist? There’s no way you can balance your budget! Blow 50% of your budget on grandma’s medical bills and 10% on guns and ammo? As long as you won’t cut that 10% there’s no way you can afford it all?

          Absolute unadulterated retardedness.

          1. “retardedness”

            Pot, meet kettle.

            1. Pot, meet kettle.

              Oh, whew, I was worried you wouldn’t be along to fool no one.

              Again, how much would you cut? 14% of the budget, the entire defense budget’s all on the table. How many people are you going to kick off social security to match it?

              The fact is, it’s rather transparently not a ‘both sides’ argument you retards are making. It’s a ‘my side’ argument.

          2. Here, let me break it down for you: the point is if nobody wants to cut the spending they “like”, then no spending of any sort will ever get cut, because everyone “likes” different stuff, and only wants to see the other person’s ox getting gored.

            You can’t spend more than you make forever – eventually something has to give. History is replete with examples.

            1. Here, let me break it down for you: the point is if nobody wants to cut the spending they “like”, then no spending of any sort will ever get cut, because everyone “likes” different stuff, and only wants to see the other person’s ox getting gored.

              OK, broken down, still doesn’t refute what I said.

              Also, let’s be perfectly clear, you’re the one saying, “As long as people have preferences, no cuts can be made.”

              It’s almost like you’re goading towards socialism.

    4. If you want to deal with the Pentagon’s hideous mess first, I’m okay with that. My concerns are that politicians would then:

      1) Divert the savings into their own cherished programs
      2) Declare that we’re done with cleaning up the federal budget and needn’t look at any other departments.

      So any plan to clean up the Pentagon needs to ensure that 1) and 2) don’t occur.

      1. I would agree with this comment. Sort out the Pentagon but don’t stop there.

  7. The National Debt Is ‘Unsustainable’ and the Pentagon’s Finances Are a Total Mess, Federal Audit Says
    And nothing else happened.

  8. “Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has abandoned any pretense of fiscal conservatism, and most of his party has followed suit.”

    Eric, I believe you are putting the cart in front of the horse. Republicans abandoned all appearance of fiscal conservatism LONG before Trump became President. Republicans are the party of war and has spent ungodly amounts in that effort

    1. Eric, I believe you are putting the cart in front of the horse. Republicans abandoned all appearance of fiscal conservatism LONG before Trump became President. Republicans are the party of war and has spent ungodly amounts in that effort

      Long after we pay off WWII, we will still have SS debt. Long after we pay off Vietnam, we will still have SS debt. Long after we pay off GW I and II, we will still have SS debt.

      If Republicans were killing off old people fast enough to bring SS under control, you’d decry their fiscal irresponsibility for shrinking the tax base.

    2. …So long as we PURPOSELY IGNORE that..
      #1 Woodrow Wilson(D) launched us into WWI
      #2 FDR(D) launched us into World War II
      #3 Harry Truman(D) launched us into the Korean War
      #4 Clinton(D) launched us into Desert Storm

      Do liberal rags create lying narratives — Yes, yes I think so…

  9. Hiking federal spending to pay for “free” college. Something doesn’t compute there.

    1. Relax your reason and logic. More, more, …. Do you get it yet?

  10. Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be paid.

    The only question left is what the default will look like and when.

    1. Well – only if you equate harmful inflation with default. The federal government is a currency issuer, so it need not default like you and I might on debt we can’t pay. You and I are currency users. The risk for the federal government is that they print so much money to service the debt, that we end up in a hyper-inflation crisis. One might argue the difference between actual default and hyperinflation isn’t important, but from an operational standpoint, I think the differences are important. Japan’s government debt-to-GDP is much, much higher than ours – and they still don’t have hyperinflation. This suggests we are far some have unsustainable federal debt. Also, in the history of modern (since 1900) hyper-inflations, it’s never just been high government debt – there has always been another severe exogenous event – like losing a war, regime change, a collapse in production, or ceding monetary sovereignty via a pegged currency or foreign denominated debt. Perhaps we have more time to get federal spending (and debt) under control than the smart folks at Reason seem to believe.

      1. But the Yen is not the World Reserve fiat currency… would you agree that that makes all the difference? What happens when the fiat “gold standard”, the USD, collapses?

      2. I agree it won’t look like a household defaulting on debt.

        Japan is one scenario but they emphatically are not defaulting on debt yet. They are letting debt strangle growth. Every time interest rates rise there by 25 basis points, it cuts the first 50 basis points of potential economic growth and diverts it to banks. We’re only at a 1:1 not a 2:1 like Japan. That can actually go on a long time – and Japan is really good at converting public facilities (schools to nursing homes) and making the elderly productive/involved. But any country where elderly diapers outsells children’s diapers is prob in the ‘debt that can’t be paid, won’t be paid’ camp.

        Hyperinflation is one outcome and yeah you’re right how it happens. Currency collapse is kind of the same thing.

        Debt ‘jubilee’ – write-offs – is another. Worked in the Bible but not tried since.

        War is another – but that usually requires foreigners as creditors. I don’t know of a creditor/debtor civil war in history.

        Selling off assets to vampires (aka Greece) is another. Or selling children into slavery (I actually think that was the origin of ‘jubilee’ as an alternative).

        What is looking like a possible option is a global everyone-hit-the-wall at the same time. My guess is that won’t work outside the conference rooms at Davos.

        But paying it off (or even down) – not now. Well maybe Sanders/Warren get their tax increases and decide to use it to pay down debt instead of spend on something. IOW – nope.

  11. “the federal government continues to face an unsustainable long-term fiscal path,”

    which, somehow, continues to be sustained.

    1. Apparently the GAO hasn’t been taught the magic of MMT

      1. LOL! 🙂

    2. Like the guy who jumps off the Empire State Building, and as he passes the 50th floor says, “So far, so good…”

      Gravity is a bitch.

  12. Also, the distinguished blue-ribbon panel concluded that water is wet and that bears shit in the woods.

    1. And both of those facts contribute to global climate warming change.

  13. Until we see the expected effects of this massive deficit spending, nobody cares. Where are the sky high interest rates? They aren’t there, we’re seeing record LOW interest rates, with one quarter of the world’s debt bearing NEGATIVE interest rates https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/07/bizarro-bonds-negative-yielding-debt-in-the-world-balloons-to-15-trillion.html .

    Where is the sky high inflation? It doesn’t exist either.

    1. Yes it does exist. In housing prices and stock market prices. And college prices. And healthcare prices. Indeed all the stuff we let govt or banks distort has inflation. We just deliberately mismeasure it

      1. Exactly. The money is being printed and handed to the connected, so the first place that money goes is into what rich people buy: real estate and stocks.

    2. Sometimes I wonder if a whole decade of QE was some sort of conspiracy to keep the rates so low so governments across the world can make debt maintenance affordable. Of course, markets get distorted in chase of returns, which is why the stock market is overheated (maybe it’s cooling off now). And, we’ve reached the point where governments have no more money for new programs, but most people here don’t think that’s a bad thing (myself included). So perhaps it’s a good idea to abolish the Fed, as a majority of libertarians desire to do.

  14. No one in Washington is listening, because they don’t care. The ones borrowing and spending trillions will never be held accountable for the inevitable fallout.

    1. It’s not ‘your’ money – It’s [WE] money….
      You didn’t build that – [WE] did.
      You don’t own you – [WE] do.

  15. “Hold my beer”
    / Bread lines Bernie

  16. Fiat currency is just like FIAT cars… Fix It Again, Tony.
    Is this even news?
    Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, and even Uncle Milty warned us all way way back. Today, all of the Austrian School economists at the Mises Institute and even some Chicago School monetarists at CATO and the Hoover Institution continue to do outstanding work.
    Time for the Chilean experiment re: Social Security?
    Thanks to all at Reason for all of your good work.
    I recommend Gerald Celente to you all.

  17. How many of you esteemed libertarian’s were all aboard the Tea Party Train? be honest, with yourself, if you can.

    I think back to those wonderous days of the Laffer Curve and when Nancy Reagans’ astrologist consulted on foreign policy.

    How come it never turned out as predicted? one guess: it was all hooey?

  18. Reality check: Military is a small fraction of total Fed Spending.

    http://mil14.com

    14%. That’s right, 14%.

    [note: i have not updated that website from FY2018 to FY2019, but I already did the math, and the percent has gone up a little, to 15.5%]

    US Gov Spending is about Social Services (distribution of income)

    1. It is still purely wasted money, as we bomb our way around the globe putting targets on the backs of the US citizenry. It should be cut at least in half, and boatloads of bases closed.

      But we can’t do that while trying to control the entire planet.

      Recall, that was the money used to create Al-CIAda in the 90s. Great ROI, dontcha think?

      No, it is not all military spending. (I refuse to call it “defense spending” – that is merely a propaganda term. At least we used to be honest and call it the “War Department” – “defense” is just propaganda bullshit.) But it would be a damned good place to start. However, a lot of that unaccounted for slush finds its way into campaign coffers on both sides of the aisle, so I won’t hold my breath.

      1. Well said. Indeed, the change from war department to defense was a conscious attempt to to fool the populace

      2. It is still purely wasted money,

        Not even close to purely. I 100% agree that we need to pull forces back from all corners of the globe. The ROI on fighting Al Qaeda has been abysmal and the bleeding has to stop.

        Now find me the person who’s ready to cut the proportional share from SS and dial it back to the 90s.

        Pick a number of troops to lessen the total roles by in the next 5-10 yrs. Now find me the person that’s willing to cut the same *number* (let alone proportion) out of SS or medicare over the same or even double the time period.

        This horseshit ‘both sides’ game you play doesn’t even hold water in the slightest. You fucks would eliminate crop insurance and still be spending billions on SNAP, eliminate the military/defense spending and still be spending billions on SS, eliminate border security and immigration and still be spending billions on education.

        You morons look at your budget, see where 80% of your money is going and say, “Well, as long as I can’t cut from this 20%, I can’t cut anywhere. It’s that 20% of spending’s fault.”

  19. Yet morons here like JesseAz and “I’m a loser who’s alone every Friday night” think it’s good that Trump cut taxes to add even more to the debt. They’d rather have more debt than balance the budget with tax increases. I hate raising taxes on principle, but if the government REFUSES to cut spending, then taxes must be raised to balance the budget.

    1. Yep — It’s TIME to vote the [D] majority out of the purse strings again… (i.e. The house)

  20. For each cent of spending there is a simple test and there is a practical test.

    – The simple test is: is this spending constitutional? If not, then immediately stop it in nearly every case; or, at most, immediately stop further overpromising, sell assets for interim revenue, and grandfather out the rest of the spending.

    – The practical test is: would an individual voter pay his proportional share for this particular line item? This is easy to answer. Just prorate voters’ shares of each line item and see if the item can be sold to voters. Voters know how to shop with their money. Government people don’t have products that voters would buy, given the choice.

    The national government itself needs a hyperlocal great recession, and restructuring. And like with sculpture carving, you start to see the final structure only as you keep cutting away all the structure that isn’t the final structure.

    Reason writers, like all media, can help this along by not just posing problems and criticizing current government people’s actions, but getting serious about advocating solutions.

    1. PERFECT COMMENT!!! — It is time to restore the U.S. Constitution…..

  21. But rich retired boomers need their social security and we have to have military bases in 75 countries. If you say otherwise you must hate freedom.

    1. And yet; your the only one in this ENTIRE comment section to say that.

  22. Concerns about deficit spending and debt have been key hallmarks of the conservative movement ever since it began 90 years ago. While conservatives didn’t really do anything about it, they at least argued vociferously about it. Now, it seems, they aren’t even doing that. Essentially, it’s been nearly a century and the whole movement has gone to waste.

    1. Repeat offenders we label RINO’s. The occasional offenses we call a RINO move. Trumps ‘Free Trees’, ‘Space defense’ and ‘claim to never ending SS & Medicare’ so far are the only RINO move’s I’ve seen him make. The bar is actually VERY VERY LOW but it’s better than the non-existent bar of the left.

  23. The debt and deficit is the small stuff. The unfunded liabilities are the big ones. Deficits only concern the party that is out of power. Doesn’t matter, government is not proactive but reactive. The day after others stop buying our bonds government will react. And the first thing will be to point the finger at the other party. Even then anyone calling for spending restraint will be accused of wanting people to starve. The ones that want to continue spending will pretend they are the compassionate angels to help.

  24. Why exactly is it unsustainable?

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