Budget Deficit

Looming Budget Catastrophe in Pictures So Simple Even Congress Can Understand

Maybe drawings can deter elected officials from their outrageous spending habits where detailed reports have failed to attract their attention.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many detailed economic warnings does it equal? Or maybe there's just one word that matters, and that word is "unsustainable," which is how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has long described the federal government's spending habits. Through years of failing to draw the attention of presidents and lawmakers with its publications, the CBO has now clearly illustrated the looming fiscal catastrophe with pretty pictures that even elected officials poised to double down on their extended spending spree might understand.

Published April 30, The Federal Budget in Fiscal Year 2020: An Infographic shows, in colored charts and graphs, the massive gap between what the United States government can afford to spend, and what it actually spends. "Revenues, $3.4 trillion," reads the caption for a bar representing 2020's take, "Outlays, $6.6 trillion," reads the caption for its partner.

Daringly venturing to further test the comprehension of denizens of the Capitol and the White House, another pair of charts points out that $3.4 trillion in revenues represents 16.3 percent of GDP, while $6.6 trillion in outlays is 31.2 percent of GDP. What was spent by the federal government, in other words, adds up to almost a third of the entire economy and almost double what was collected in taxes.

But 2020 was a very special year, just as elected officials themselves often seem quite special. Perhaps the demands of the year justified a deviation from a tradition of fiscal restraint? Well, not so much, more illustrations attest. As one graph points out, the federal government has consistently spent more than it takes in for at least 50 years, with the exception of a brief period ending in 2001. "To fund government spending in years of deficits, the Treasury borrows from individuals, businesses, the Federal Reserve, and other Countries," the infographic helpfully notes. The result has been a growing accumulation of debt until it equals the size of the entire United States economy.

Spending more than you make, year after year, and running up debt would seem to be … unsustainable. And that, of course, is just how the CBO describes such spending habits.

"[F]inancing a large and permanent increase in government spending through perpetual borrowing without any corresponding adjustment in spending or revenues at some point in the future is unsustainable," CBO warned in March in response to ongoing moves to expand the size of government.

"[O]ver the long term, changes in fiscal policy must be made to address the budget situation, because our debt is growing on an unsustainable path," CBO Director Phillip L. Swagel told the House Budget Committee in January 2020, before "emergency" pandemic spending.

"Debt is on an unsustainable course in CBO's projections," then-CBO Director Keith Hall advised a gathering of business economists in February 2019. "To put it on a sustainable one, lawmakers will have to make significant changes to tax and spending policies—making revenues larger than they would be under current law, making spending for large benefit programs smaller than it would be under current law, or adopting some combination of those approaches."

"[E]ven with federal spending for all programs other than Social Security and the major health care programs on track to reach its smallest share of GDP since at least 1940, federal debt remains on an unsustainable path," then-CBO Director Doug Elmendorf cautioned a macroeconomic policy conference in 2014.

But the federal government hasn't deviated from its spending habits through all of these years, holding to an unsustainable path of spending far outstripping revenues. So, what are the likely consequences?

"A large and continuously growing federal debt would increase the chance of a fiscal crisis in the United States," Hall told the Senate Budget Committee in 2017.

"If federal debt as a percentage of GDP continued to rise at the pace that CBO projects it would under current law, the economy would be affected in two significant ways," the CBO noted in January 2020, before the massive expenditures of the past year. "That growing debt would dampen economic output over time" and "Rising interest costs associated with that debt would increase interest payments to foreign debt holders and thus reduce the income of U.S. households by increasing amounts."

That is, running up debt acts as a dead weight on the economy, becoming ever-more expensive to sustain while making people poorer. But not all approaches to balancing expenditures and revenues are created equal: raising taxes to the sky-high level required to pay for politicians' increasingly grandiose spending schemes would have nasty consequences, too. That's because siphoning money from Americans' pockets to pay for elected officials' pipe dreams would leave people with less to save, spend, invest, and use to build prosperity.

"The general finding is that increasing taxes leads to lower GDP and personal consumption," the Congressional Budget Office warned in March of the consequences of higher taxes to finance increased government expenditures. "After 10 years, the level of GDP by 2030 is between 3 percent and 10 percent lower than it would be without the increase in expenditures and revenues."

There really are limits to how much governments can spend without inflicting pain on the people suffering under their mismanagement. Not that the people elected to Congress and the White House have shown any signs of comprehension or concern.

Given that these are people capable of running for public office without feeling any apparent sense of shame, is it possible that they're just too stupid to understand our reports? you can imagine CBO economists asking one another as they tossed around the idea for the recent infographic. Does anybody have any crayons?

And so we end up with pretty pictures illustrating a very unattractive fiscal situation. Maybe drawings can finally deter elected officials from their outrageous spending habits where detailed reports have failed to attract their attention.

NEXT: Brickbat: Food for the Soul

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135 responses to “Looming Budget Catastrophe in Pictures So Simple Even Congress Can Understand

  1. The question you have to answer, is what happens if we just don’t pay back the debt? Say we suddenly can’t find a creditor, and we just declare, all USG debt is now null and void. Obviously we won’t be able to find creditors in the future, but the USG is in a sort of owns the bank levels of debt. The creditors have more to lose.

    Note the above is an honest question. What are the consequences that matter. Printing money has fairly obvious consequences to me. Wracking up debt you can just nullify on a whim doesn’t.

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        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 .

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    2. Paying it back isn’t the question (in my mind) – it’s the ability to service the debt – pay the interest. Our federal government has been in debt throughout our entire history, except for a brief time under president Andrew Jackson. The debt just gets rolled over, and so far, since our economy generally grows most years, it has not been that hard to manage. Not finding creditors is another way of saying our currency might just get rejected – meaning we (and/or the world) just lose confidence in our system. In the history of hyperinflations since 1900, there has always been another severe, exogenous event – not just high levels of government debt. The severe events have been things like losing a war, ceding monetary sovereignty via a pegged currency or foreign denominated debt, rampant government corruption, a collapse in production, or regime change. Given the volatile political environment, concerns about China’s bad behavior (Hong Kong, Taiwan) – I do have concerns about a severe exogenous event, and with our debt situation – we could get slammed with harmful inflation.

    3. Spending more than you make, year after year, and running up debt would seem to be … unsustainable.

      so they asked so how to open rear files

    4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

      1. Loophole: all stimulus enacted in 2020 was done for the electoral benefit of one Donald J. Trump, known insurrectionist. Ergo, any debt incurred by the US in that period is null and void.

    5. Calling criminals “we” is a bad look.

    6. How do you collect from an asshole who has nuclear weapons?

    7. The real fun will start when the middle class finds out THEY are the ones who will have pay off the national debt.

      We can’t get it from the poor: they don’t have the money.

      And we can’t get it from the rich because they can retaliate by dropping out of the economy entirely (Who is John Galt?) and the rich are the nation’s employers and job-creators. How can we have an economy with no employers?

      1. Theyre the ones voting for it… none of us are as dumb as all of us.

    8. Well, that depends on who the creditors are. A lot of them are retirees, pension plans, corporations, etc. They’ll all lose big time.

  2. We’ve heard this now for 40 years….we are spending ourselves into oblivion.

    Can we do away with mandatory program increases?

    1. Agreed. I’ve been worried about the federal deficit since the 1980s.

      Then we had Obama’s spending binge, then Trump’s, now Biden’s.

      I agree that the deficits are massive, but until politicians suffer some sort of consequence, deficit spending will continue.

      1. Politicians won’t suffer consequences, Americans will.

        Deficits and debts work great… until they don’t one day, and then it’s too late to do anything about it. That’s why nations keep failing this way.

        1. Politicians are giving the average voter what they ask for. Too bad the average IQ is 100

  3. Federal government budgeting has been broken for at least 40 years. We’ve been warned of looming catastrophe for at least that long.

    The more interesting question is, why hasn’t catastrophe already struck? No one in 1980 could have imagined the current fiscal & economic scenario in their wildest dreams. Who’s to say we can’t continue on this incredibly reckless course for another 50 years? Why not? Nobody predicting armageddon seems able to adequately explain why the last 40 years didn’t already cause it.

    1. The dollar is the world’s reserve currency. With China seeking world domination, that will soon change. Then it will be time to pay the piper.

      1. Look at the Austral in Argentina 1988 – 1991. One Austral ended up being worth about nothing.

      2. Nobody is going to do business with China in the currency of their choice. The CCP are lying liars who lie. Nothing they tell you about their balance sheet can be trusted. If it could, why do they transact in two currencies?

        The USD will lose purchasing power due to heavy debt, but it certainly won’t lose its place to a CCP currency.

    2. I think they call it modern monetary theory. Money does grow on trees [aka government printing press] and the party never ends. Problem is so many people are becoming dependent on the government, and that is increasing exponentially. When the reckoning does come, and austerity measures become the order of the day, it is going to be very very ugly.

      1. The government does not own the printing press….the Federal Reserve does.
        This is the one mistake so many are confused over.
        The giverment simply borrows the money the Fed prints or now simply says it has.

        1. Ben Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

          Alan Greenspan: “Central banks can issue currency, a non-interest-bearing claim on the government, effectively without limit. A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

          St. Louis Federal Reserve: “As the sole manufacturer of dollars, whose debt is denominated in dollars, the U.S. government can never become insolvent, i.e., unable to pay its bills. In this sense, the government is not dependent on credit markets to remain operational.”

          WASHINGTON—The Federal Reserve sent $88.5 billion in profits to the U.S. Treasury Department in 2020, a nearly two-thirds increase from the previous year as lower rates held down the central bank’s interest expense. … The Fed also began shrinking its portfolio of assets, reducing its overall net income. Jan 11, 2021

          “Fed Sent $88.5 Billion in Profits to U.S. Treasury in 2020” – WSJ

    3. As Spiritus says, we are the world’s reserve currency. But that just means we’re the best car in the junkyard. History shows that the choice for a reserve currency can switch suddenly and has dramatically negative consequences for the loser.

      I’m not so sure I agree with Spiritus that China is the most likely replacement as the next reserve currency. There’s lots wrong with their economy, too. I keep wondering if the next reserve will be one of the cybercurrencies – something that’s much harder for individual countries to tamper with.

      1. The next phase will likely not be a single reserve currency, but instead multiple competing cyber currencies backed by commercial banks.

        Governments, not just the US, have been giving banks free money in order to forestall this; they can delay but they cannot prevent.

      2. China’s economy will be the world’s largest in not too many years, but not on a per-capita basis. China has too many poor peasants, and that is likely to be the case for many years. I don’t know what that means about reserve currencies – but it surely is something that’s wrong with their economy. Eventually, that will change – but I suspect we’ll lead the world on that metric for many years – meaning our GDP per capita will remain high (compared to China).

        1. It’s actually unlikely that China’s GDP is going to exceed ours in real terms any time in the next thirty years, unless we have an economic catastrophe that somehow doesn’t bring them down with us. Their growth is stalling out – for various reasons, but most perniciously their extremely ill-advised one child policy gave them a lopsided demographic curve that means they don’t have many younger workers to replace the ones starting to age out of the workforce. It’s slow, yet, but within five years they’re going to start shedding jobs for lack of labor to fill them, and their neighbors are ready to pick up the manufacturing slack.

          1. Good points – and thanks for the intelligent dialog.

    4. Catastrophe hasn’t happened. But we’ve certainly felt it as a slow dull pain. The multi-trillion spending binge of 2008 has led to rapidly increasing costs of housing and many other essential goods, but the lie that is CPI covered it up and most people are dumb enough to believe it. The ratio of cost of living to salaries has certainly got worse over the last several decades.

  4. It’s cute that you think the problem with Congress spending unholy gobs of money we don’t have is because they don’t know what they’re doing and need it explained to them.

    Wait, did I say “cute”? No, it’s cute if you’re a 4-year old, for a grown-ass man to believe that sort of shit is just appalling. Congress is broken, they’re all thieves and liars and evil scum, and we’re not going to be rid of them until you open your eyes and realize they’re doing this shit knowing full well what the consequences are going to be. They aren’t well-intentioned or ignorant or short-sighted, they’re just evil.

    1. “It’s cute that you think the problem with Congress spending unholy gobs of money we don’t have is because they don’t know what they’re doing and need it explained to them.”

      See my Yellen quote below to underscore this.

      Not only do they know what they’re doing, they explain why in detail.

    2. Firstly you are mis-imagining there are adults in congress. There aren’t. So forget about deficit/debt and love MMM. The war is over and the adults lost.

      1. That certainly explains Toosilly’s child like interpretation.

        Kids learning from example, and all that…

    3. They are evil, not stupid*. They already know this. They just do not care.

      * Well, some of them are evil AND stupid.

  5. The Biden administration isn’t just abandoning any concerns they had about inflation. They’re looking at the benefits of running a hot economy for minorities–and they want that inflation.

    “Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dismissed fears that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill is so big that it will cause an inflation problem, as she seeks to push the recovery deeper into the U.S. labor market to address long-standing economic disparities.

    Yellen called the impact on women and minorities from Covid-19 “absolutely tragic.” She has repeatedly rejected concerns that Biden’s stimulus is excessive given the economy’s signs of recovery, and that run-away inflation could damage the economy . . . .

    The unemployment rate for Blacks, who have a disproportionate share of lower-wage jobs and of union membership, was double that of Whites during much of the past 50 years in part because policy makers historically pulled back support just as the benefits of growth started reaching lower-income workers — to avoid runaway inflation.

    —-Bloomberg

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-08/yellen-says-inflation-problem-unlikely-to-result-from-stimulus

    The purpose of government, in the minds of progressives, is to force us to make sacrifices for the benefit of others, and low inflation is racist.

    I wish I were kidding.

    It’s important to remember that these kinds of socialist policies were both foreseeable and foreseen. There was a way to avoid them in November of 2020, and there was a way to avoid them in January of 2021. There won’t be an opportunity to help put an end to this kind of irresponsible behavior until November of 2022, and, for goodness’ sake, let’s all hope swing voters come to their senses before then. The only practical solution is voting for Republicans in 2022.

    1. Th dumb thing is high (price) inflation is worst for the poorest, who have most of their money tied up in living day to day. Anyone with more money can put a significant amount of their money in something, anything, that is at least somewhat inflation protected.

      So, again, modern “Economists” have literally no idea what they are talking about, or, more likely, because they are paid by the State, have a massive incentive to say what the State wants to hear, because otherwise they lose their paycheck.

    2. Inflation is the only way they can kick this can further down the road.

      It’s inevitable.

    3. Ken, I hate the democrats, but the republicans aren’t much better these days. They’re basically democrats from 15 years ago. Both sides are moving in the wrong direction and both sides are economically irresponsible enough at this point to eventually lead to an economic collapse (just one faster than the other). Trump lost my “anybody but a democrat” vote in 2020 by outdoing Obama and then some with his COVID spending binge. I do not know what the answer is, but electing any republican (short of maybe Rand Paul) isn’t it.

      1. “…Trump lost my “anybody but a democrat” vote in 2020 by outdoing Obama and then some with his COVID spending binge…”

        Proud of yourself, TDS-addled asshole? You got what you wanted.

        1. I don’t have TDS. I could care less about what he tweets, his orange skin, any pornstars he banged or any baseless accusations of his racism. I still think he’s far better than Biden (or rather yet his commie handlers) and overall better than Obama.
          I never liked his stance on easy money prior to 2020/COVID. Stopping the gradual rise of interest rates at 2.5% even before the COVID panic. I thought his tax cuts were irresponsible when not coupled with spending decreases. That was still bearable considering that the realistic alternative of the Democrats are pure communism.
          But in 2020, he spent damn near 4 trillion in stimulus. The CDC was allowed to expropriate privately owned rentals and mortgages with the eviction/foreclosure moratoriums. We were paying people $2400/month to sit on their ass. All this on his watch. How does that even resemble fiscal conservatism?
          He lost my vote at that point, because then all we are really arguing is communist economics (modern Republicans) or hard communist economics (modern Democrats). Historic collapse or a historic collapse slightly sooner. I wasted my vote on Jorgensen. Because at the time I didn’t live in a swing state (Biden win guaranteed New Mexico), there wasn’t even any hesitation.
          I’m not a purist libertarian who would never vote for anybody who doesn’t meet the standards of say Ron Paul. I’d be willing to hold my nose and vote for a not quite free market, unprincipled (but not a drunken sailor spender) Republican on the caliber of George W or his dad as opposed to a Democrat. But at this point, the Republicans are basically Democrats of 10 years ago which means Obama.

          1. You think I’m going to waste time crawling through the defensive pile of crap a TDS-addled asshole like you posts?
            Stuff it up your ass, and the answers to your bullshit whines are downthread.
            But I’m sure your TDS-afflition is too great to have any effect, TDS-addled asshole; fuck you for giving the rest of us what you deserved, regardless of your efforts to walk it back.
            Fuck off and die; you and we deserve it.

          2. Could not agree more. If I weren’t in a swing state, I would have voted L again for the exact same reasons, though I am not as annoyed with the tax cuts as you. They seemed to juice the economy a bit (never sure on cause/correlate with this stuff), which theoretically should bring in more tax revenue.
            I was also thoroughly disappointed with the bump stock ban and the lack of action on descheduling marijuana and cleaning up the FBI and CIA.
            I dont think its possible for any politician to ever touch the big 3 entitlements. Either the system will collapse or we will have them forever.

            1. I agree, tax cuts very likely contributed to a stronger economy. I’m not sure exactly where we are on the laffer curve, so I don’t think tax revenue went up although tax revenue might have gone up in the long term after sustained increased growth of the economy.
              The other non economic aspect that Trump lost my vote for is how pretty much every state and locality had by far the worst violations of the 14th amendment protections on liberty and property in peace time on his watch in response to covid. Trump didn’t say a peep (especially for a guy who loves to tweet), let alone do anything about the entire nation going totalitarian via state/local decree.

      2. Democrats of 15 years ago are a lot better than Democrats today.

        1. They are, but even back then they were so god awful, I didn’t vote for them and won’t vote for their contemporary Republican incarnation.

    4. I wouldn’t trust ANYTHING Yellen says or for that matter anyone at the Federal Reserve.
      Just remember the people who created privately owned central banking.
      Don’t fall for anything they spew.

    5. There is no practical solution. The last time Republicans controlled all branches – they ran up record deficits during a booming economy.

      There is no fiscal difference between the two parties. The USD will lose purchasing power. Full stop.

  6. It does not matter if they understand it or not if they do not care.

    1. Not much incentive to see beyond the next election cycle. This is what comes of having a government of self serving career politicians.

      1. I wonder what would happen if we passed a Constitutional amendment that capped yearly earnings for government employees at their highest public sector salary for the rest of their lives. So whatever you earn as a GS-15 or Congressman or whatever, that’s the most you can earn each year, forever. Anything you earn above that goes straight to paying down the debt, you can’t even donate it. Capital gains and gifts, etc. count as income for this, of course.

        I wonder if that would keep the grifters out, or if they would find a way around it…

        1. “…if we passed a Constitutional amendment”

          Well if we’re going down that road, I can think of a few others; including term limits and a strict interpretation of the interstate commerce clause.

        2. They’d probably start awarding bonuses on the last day of employment and calculate effective annual pay by multiplying the bonus by work days in the year.
          “So-and-so made a nice $80k/year but their last day bonus bumped that to $500k, for the purposes of max. salary.”

        3. Would it make any difference to flip flop Faucie?($400,000 salary)

  7. maybe there’s just one word that matters, and that word is “unsustainable,” which is how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has long described the federal government’s spending habits.

    “Unsustainable. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    How about using the idea of the debt ceiling to address this? Instead of the magic trigger requiring congressional raising of the ceiling, require it to sell off federal land?

    1. Or how about a balanced budget amendment? You could set it to have to be balance over every 4 year period, so they have some leeway to handle “emergencies”.

      1. Yes, that too.

        You are sounding a bit like Mark Levin, by the way.

  8. “Yellen called the impact on women and minorities from Covid-19 “absolutely tragic.”
    Absolutely. You should have seen the long lines of women and minorities forced to stand outside the Gucci and Versace stores in King of Prussia Mall after the stimulus checks arrived. Brought tears to my eyes, I tell you.

    1. I’ll bet there were a great number of big screen TVs sold that day.

  9. Politicians simply don’t care about the future. As long as they can spend your money to retain their power, they will. Until Americans start using their voting power to remove irresponsible, incompetent career politicians like Biden, Harris, Pelosi, Schumer and McConnell, we can expect more of the same until we the eventual collapse.

    1. Take out your guy, not my guy; he/she brings home the bacon to my district.

  10. It’s just a real shame we couldn’t have seen this coming, but we are saved from hearing the constant whine about mean tweets, so I guess that makes Trump and Biden equal, right?

    1. How much deficit spending did Trump sign off on again? That’s what makes him and Biden about equal in this regard. He was better in other ways, but don’t pretend he was any different when it comes to spending. Sure, Congress probably had a veto proof majority, but Trump made it obvious he didn’t care about spending at all.

      1. “…He was better in other ways, but don’t pretend he was any different when it comes to spending…”

        You.
        Are.
        Full.
        Of.
        Shit.

        1. Fuck the ‘awaiting moderation’.
          BTW:
          “Spending Has Increased $800 Billion Under President Trump”
          https://www.crfb.org/blogs/spending-has-increased-800-billion-under-president-trump
          Admittedly, that doesn’t capture all of 2020, but:

          1. “Biden’s Plan to Spend $4.5 Trillion Without Boosting Deficits Depends on Factors Beyond His Control”
            https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-plans-to-spend-4-5-trillion-without-boosting-deficits-depend-on-factors-beyond-his-control-11619947801
            In all of 3 months.
            You.
            Are.
            Full.
            Of.
            Shit.

  11. My analysis:

    What is the effect?
    1. Eventually, the world is going to get sick and tired of eating the (price) inflation of holding US dollars, and will cease doing so.
    2. This will lead to runaway inflation.
    3. This will add to the growing dissatisfaction with the current political climate (the Reds and Blues will hate each other even more than they do today).
    4. Some States, deciding they don’t want to eat massive inflation for no reason, will realize they can coin gold or silver according to the Constitution. They will do so.
    5. Because one of the biggest pillars of power of DC is their ability to (monetarily) inflate the dollar, this will be seen as a de facto secession of those States.
    6. The Reds and Blues will start shooting at each other.

    I find no way, in the long term, to avoid this path, or another path that leads to the Reds and Blues to start shooting at each other, other than some sort of mutually agreed secession (even if it’s only begrudgingly agreed).

    Thoughts?

    1. *that leads to the Reds and Blues to DECIDE to start shooting at each other.

      I need an edit button.

    2. “de facto secession of those States [that decide to coin their own money]”

      You are likely right; a financial collapse, or similarly catastrophic event[s], will lead to such an outcome. We as a country are going that way and there will be no deus ex machina or great man or woman to come along and change the direction. It has become increasingly clear that we all cannot possibly live under one big tent any more, either politically, socially, or culturally. California and New Jersey and about 10 others can go all out socialism [or worse], and others may have varying degrees of freedom. I expect there will be divisions within States themselves, with the urban centers taking quite a different direction from the hinterlands.

      Once that Pandora’s Box opens, there will be no closing it.

      So we stop existing as a nation? The bigger question is who is going to fill that global vacuum, and what they will do to us? And the notion of a shooting war among ourselves or with an invading country is just apocalyptic. Not unrealistic, just very grim.

      So hopefully there will be a mutually agreed secession, and agreements to jointly defend the continent [like Canada or Mexico can or will do that any way]. The disruptions [as with social security] will still be significant.

      1. “who is going to fill that global vacuum, and what they will do to us?”

        Invading North America would be the single stupidest military decision on Earth.

    3. > Thoughts?

      “It’s time to get out of the dollar.”

  12. So, hockey stick graphs? That proves impending doom, right?

  13. The colors in the graphics are racist and transphobic.

    1. Graphs are white supremacy, this is known [just ask the SF United School District].

  14. Good call pimping Biden all last year.

    1. Was Trump any different when it came to spending?

      1. Nope.

      2. Nope. But he probably would not have doubled down on spending like Biden has.

        1. In that [and other] sense, he was definitely the lesser of two evils. The current magnitude of deficit spending is nearly incomprehensible, a trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. Or rather debt.

      3. At least a little bit, yes. There’s $6T in new spending floating around Congress in Biden’s first 100 days that I’m virtually certain would not have been proposed by a Trump administration.

      4. “Was Trump any different when it came to spending?”
        You bet he was:
        “Spending Has Increased $800 Billion Under President Trump”
        https://www.crfb.org/blogs/spending-has-increased-800-billion-under-president-trump
        Admittedly, that doesn’t capture all of 2020, but:

        1. “Biden’s Plan to Spend $4.5 Trillion Without Boosting Deficits Depends on Factors Beyond His Control”
          https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-plans-to-spend-4-5-trillion-without-boosting-deficits-depend-on-factors-beyond-his-control-11619947801
          In all of 3 months.
          No comparison, regardless of claims by TDS-addled assholes like Sierra Lima. Those piles of shit deserve what they got, but we got it, too.

          1. Dude, get overall yourself. I don’t have TDS. I just think fiscally, he’s nearly as bad as the Democrats and he’s already proven that. If the lesser of 2 evils is still really, really evil (based on what he’s already done, not speculation on what he’d do), you’re just hating on me because I chose to waste my vote (again, in a non swing state) as opposed to voting to slightly delay the eventual economic collapse.

            1. “Dude, get overall yourself. I don’t have TDS. I just think fiscally, he’s nearly as bad as the Democrats and he’s already proven that. If the lesser of 2 evils is still really, really evil (based on what he’s already done, not speculation on what he’d do), you’re just hating on me because I chose to waste my vote (again, in a non swing state) as opposed to voting to slightly delay the eventual economic collapse.”

              DUUUUUUUUUUUUUD, grow up or fuck off and die; give your dog a place to piss; you are a pathetic excuse for humanity.

            2. The new mute button is pretty sweet Mr Lima, give it a shot.

              1. Haha, already did. BTW, is Sevo Tony’s brother or something? Even though they may be polar opposites on the political spectrum their logic, debate skills and ability to have a mature conversation are about equal.

  15. Great!

    All they need is a constituency that wants to cut government spending.

    Anyone care to say where that constituency can be found?

    1. Hey, no way! My guy brings home the bacon [funded by YOUR tax dollars].

  16. They are going to BRRRRRRRRRRRRR away the debt and this has been obvious for years. Plan accordingly.

  17. I hate the politicians, but they’re not the ones to blame primarily. It’s the bulk of the American voting populace these days. Politicians would be financially responsible if voters demanded it (and neither major party’s voting blocs do anymore). A good portion of the populace are immoral and stupid enough to think you can just get other people (aka the rich) to pay for it. The “miseducated” class (college graduates) honestly believe there is no consequences to this, even though we’ve felt it for a decade with spiraling costs of living that will soon get much worse. Nobody learns economics anymore in public schools and if they do at college, it is taught by an activist unfit to run a lemonade stand. Parents aren’t teaching it to children. Academics legitamize reckless spending, money printing and zero interest rates as “modern monetary theory”. The feds consistently lie about inflation (which has been bad for a decade) via CPI and most people are ignorant enough to believe it. The voting populace these days is dumb and naive and the politicians are a reflection of that.

    1. Amen brother.

    2. “……stupid enough to think……”

      AmSoc hardest hit.

    3. “I hate the politicians, but they’re not the ones to blame primarily. It’s the bulk of the American voting populace these days.”

      TDS-addled shits like you being the prime example.

      1. Sevo, did someone anally rape your mother today and pour sugar down your gas tank? I can assure you, it wasn’t me. Find someone else to take your misplaced rage on. Realizing that in 2020 the only realistic choices are economic collapse or economic collapse sooner does not mean I have TDS.
        If Trump had a plan to reverse the tide of US bankruptcy, I would have voted for him (even if it meant I had major objections with some of his other policies and position). He doesn’t, he’ll just get us there a little later. He said himself that when the debt catches up with us, he won’t be in office. He’s not even downplaying the problem, that’s how little he cares. Again, cause I demand an actual solution in exchange for my vote as opposed to a way to kick the can down the road a little while longer doesn’t mean I have TDS.

        1. Sierra Lima, did someone drain your brain cells out when Trump was elected, you slimy piece of shit?
          I really don’t care what you did or didn’t do, except for you fucking idiotic (and demonstrably obvious) claim that Trump is somehow equivalent to Biden, you pathetic piece of TDS-addled asshole.

          “Find someone else to take your misplaced rage on.”
          Why would I bother when you so proudly claim that, as a TDS-addled asshole, you’re PROUD to have given us Biden?

          “If Trump had a plan to reverse the tide of US bankruptcy, I would have voted for him (even if it meant I had major objections with some of his other policies and position). He doesn’t, he’ll just get us there a little later…”

          Let’s start here, TDS-addled assdhole:
          “Spending Has Increased $800 Billion Under President Trump”
          https://www.crfb.org/blogs/spending-has-increased-800-billion-under-president-trump
          Admittedly, that doesn’t capture all of 2020, but:

          1. And then go here, TDS-addled asshole:
            “Biden’s Plan to Spend $4.5 Trillion Without Boosting Deficits Depends on Factors Beyond His Control”
            https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-plans-to-spend-4-5-trillion-without-boosting-deficits-depend-on-factors-beyond-his-control-11619947801
            In all of 3 months.

            1. Against my best judgement, I’ll continue this thread arguing with a man child with anger issues who doesn’t understand the concept of a gray area.

              “I really don’t care what you did or didn’t do, except for you fucking idiotic (and demonstrably obvious) claim that Trump is somehow equivalent to Biden”
              I never said that. In fact I specifically said Trump was better:
              “I still think he’s far better than Biden (or rather yet his commie handlers) and overall better than Obama.” in one of the other comments subthreads.

              And I reiterate again, Trump will simply bankrupt the nation slower, not have an actual plan to stop the bankruptcy. Yes, Biden will spend even more recklessly. But Trump has proven in his last year that he will spend very recklessly. And in the 3 years before proved with his policies (and openly said) he has no plans of addressing the debt or deficit.

              Am I making any of this stuff up? Is pointing out objective negatives about Trump’s actions and policies TDS now? To me, TDS is thinking everything he does is bad and twisting his words around. Did I do that? Am I missing something here?

              1. “Against my best judgement, I’ll continue this thread arguing with a man child with anger issues who doesn’t understand the concept of a gray area.”
                Yeah, well, I’m more than willing to address assholes who assume my ability to understand when bullshit it offered; consider yourself busted, bullshitter.

                “In fact I specifically said Trump was better:
                “I still think he’s far better than Biden (or rather yet his commie handlers) and overall better than Obama.” in one of the other comments subthreads.”
                Sorry I missed the walkback after someone else called you on your bullshit.

                “Am I making any of this stuff up?”
                No, you are simply attempting to justify what you gave us, asshole.

        2. “Sevo, did someone anally rape your mother today…”
          Oh, and as an aside, stuff your erotic fantasies up your ass, along with your TDS; your head is whining for company, and whining is all you do.
          Fuck off and die. Make your family proud.

    4. For sure. Ive really soured on democracy over the last 8 years or so.

  18. Spending more than you make, year after year, and running up debt would seem to be … unsustainable.

    they asked so how to open rear files

  19. Spending more than you make, year after year, and running up debt would seem to be … unsustainable.

    So they asked how to open rear files

  20. Spending more than you make, year after year, and running up debt would seem to be … unsustainable.

    they asked so how to open rar files

    1. This bots gots squirrels, I tell ya.

      Excuse me, muted bot.

  21. The question that should be asked of the people who believe that permanent deficits aren’t actually a problem (the Progressives seem to be embracing “Modern Monetary Theory” as a basis for this), is if that’s true then why do we need to have any taxes at all?

    If there’s no practical limit or contingent down-side to government borrowing, then why not fund 100% of the the government that way and let the public keep everything they earn?

    1. As I understand it, according to the rudiments of MMT, taxation is the primary way in which government can put the brakes on the economy; by limiting the economic activity [spending] by the prols, and thus deter inflation.

  22. Elected officials pipe dreams? This is what, at least half the country wants. Remember. These people are elected.

  23. I’d take issue with the surpluses shown in the 90’s. The “surpluses” were only possible with the accounting trick of considering Social Security revenue as income, but it’s actually debt. The national debt has increased every year since 1957.

  24. RAISE TAXES, DUMMIES

    1. Screw you! Cut spending!

    2. You know Id be fine with that in the short term if we raised them across the board and cut spending bigly.

  25. ” A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exists until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public” Alexander Fraser Tytler
    ” When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Benj. Franklin.
    Whether or not these gentlemen actually quoted those words doesn’t matter. The truth is, that is exactly what is happening; the people voting themselves largess from the public. which means they will vote only for those who promise them the most money whether as welfare or government contracts, it doesn’t matter.
    The government has to borrow all of it which creates ever more debt, that must sooner or later, be reckoned with.
    That reckoning is coming soon. Maybe sooner than we expect. History reminds us of what happens when a nation’s currency fails. From Weimar Germany to Greece to states in Latin America. Turkey is having its own share of this problem which is causing a certain amount of consternation in Erdogan. What would happen if Turkey’s currency finally collapses and Erdogan decides to take it out on one of his neighbors?
    Is there a crystal ball that can actually predict the outcome? Nobody can say for sure this will happen or that will happen. One thing we can be sure of the nation will not be the same. Would this mean all foreign bases will have to close and all troops brought back home? America would have to retreat back to its own borders. Consider how much unrest there is now in the cities and then factor in when the collapse happens: No EBT, no other forms of welfare payments no nothing. Rioting, looting and burning, not to mention the deaths that could spread out into the suburbs as people hunt for food.
    Martial law. Mass arrests. All media either shut down or taken over by those who remain in power.
    The best thing anyone can do is prepare for what’s coming. Be ready to leave your comfortable dwelling in suburbia and find a remote spot to live. Store extra food, ammo and other supplies.
    I’m not kidding. If your not prepared to live, then you are prepared to die. I’m not saying this is what will happen but what could possibly happen. No one knows until it does.
    Be safe.

  26. I’m surprised to see Reason using vague statements about raising taxes, instead of looking at what taxes, what levels, and on whom. We don’t have a simple tax system, where people get taxed the same amount or the same rate. It is clear that taxes above a certain level have drastic negative affects, but that is not true below that level.

    Also, generating more revenue isn’t necessarily just a “tax increase” — increasing enforcement and closing out tax avoidance mechanisms are different from simply increasing tax rates.

  27. All western welfares states are bankrupt, meaning they all have no intention of nor ability to pay back their debts. They will debase their currencies through inflation. We are in late stage geometrically increasing stimulus from borrowed or more properly, Fed created money and utilized with geometrically diminishing effect. Venezuela, Argentina, and Zimbabwe are the economic models pursued by the western welfare states thanks to the completion of the (leftist) march through essentially all of the institutions and major political parties. Generations of innumeracy and economic illiteracy from public education and now with undisguised cultural Marxism adds the finishing touches to the decline that will come slowly at first, then suddenly.

  28. If you ever tire of getting phone calls or correspondence from your elected representatives begging for contributions, just ask them what they are doing to reduce or eliminate the Federal deficit. You will never be bothered by them again. I know, it works.

  29. Wish we could throw out all the bums and go to Sortition.

  30. “The task of weaning various people and groups from the national nipple will not be easy. The sound of whines, bawls, screams and invective will fill the air as the agony of withdrawal pangs finds voice.” ~ Linda Bowles

    1. Amazingly we had a POTUS who tried to do so, and TDS-addled pieces of shit helped get us what we got.
      Proud of yourself, TDS-addled piece of shit? I’m sorry I got what you deserved, asshole.

    2. BTW, can we properly assume the the revealed preference of the asshole claiming to be BigGiveNotBigGov is Biden?
      If not, please, asshole claiming to be BigGiveNotBigGov, please explain,in detail,why your TDS was justified.
      I’m guessing we’re gonna get a bit of adolescent focus on personality here, since BigGiveNotBigGov seems to offer little else.

    3. “During President Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House, the national debt grew by some $7.8 trillion—or nearly 40 percent … the national debt has grown to about $27.7 trillion.”

      https://www.newsweek.com/under-donald-trumps-watch-national-debt-increased-78-trillion-1561627

      Grievance and graft politics was clearly the most ponderously drooping and huge of national nipples.

      1. “Here’s a look at average GDP growth rates under the last six U.S. presidents:

        Jimmy Carter (D): 3.25%
        Ronald Reagan (R): 3.48%
        George H.W. Bush (R): 2.25%
        Bill Clinton (D): 3.88%
        George W. Bush (R): 2.2%
        Barack Obama (D): 1.62%
        Donald Trump (R): 0.95%

        In his first four years in office, Trump has had by far the lowest average U.S. GDP growth rate of any of the last seven U.S. presidents.”

        https://www.benzinga.com/general/education/20/10/18076099/how-gdp-growth-under-trump-compares-to-clinton-obama-and-other-presidents

        The foul, spoiled milk from Trump’s national nipple nourished grievance and graft but was clearly noxious to our economy at large.

        1. How does that look if we change it to their first 3 years? You know, since none of the others were forced by the experts to indefinitely shut down the economy.

  31. Hyper inflation is already showing up in some places. Some homes in the Bay Area are selling at a million dollars over the asking price. With the Government printing all that money, people have lots to spend, and so there is “economic growth” Renting cars costs a fortune, plenty of spending money but no one wants to work at lower income jobs. It is actually unraveling before our eyes, we just don’t see it yet. MacDonald’s is paying people to show up for job interviews. The Tech sector keeps us afloat. When it crashes, there will be hell to pay.

    1. Lumber and semiconductors are scarce. Right now, for easily understandable reasons, cars and houses are both scarce and hot. It was a pandemic. Things got out of whack. Stuff obeying the laws of supply and demand is not necessarily economy-wide hyperinflation.

      Nevertheless, the more people believe in this perennial boogie monster, the easier it is for me to make money, because people being wrong about the macro-economy are suckers whose behavior you can take advantage of.

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  33. “Looming Budget Catastrophe in Pictures So Simple Even Congress Can Understand”
    Reason is the one that doesn’t understand, Congress does, they just don’t give a damn. Congress will be happy with the a “Catastrophe” as they will be able to use martial law to take over the country, end the Republic and install the dictatorship..

  34. “Looming Budget Catastrophe in Pictures So Simple Even Congress Can Understand”
    Reason is the one that doesn’t understand, Congress does, they just don’t give a damn. Congress will be happy with the a “Catastrophe” as they will be able to use martial law to take over the country, end the Constitutional Republic and install the dictatorship.
    Remember Reason, you supported this administration.

  35. I used to have a problem with this, not anymore. In the past, dollar stability was justified by the social and economic climate in the US, that’s why the world has allowed the US to borrow as much as it has. And debt was lower. Not anymore.

    There is no way out of this. Americans have made their choices and the bill is coming due. At this point it matters little what politicians do.

    And that’s only fair: why should a country of people with the same average education and spending habits as the Greeks live any better than the Greeks?

    1. I agree, as a country and society, we deserve this. You, I and probably most people here (short of Tony) don’t. As a whole, Americans pissed away the freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever seen through laziness, lack of discipline and entitledness.
      The problem is there’s nowhere to run anymore. 15 years ago I escaped California for Texas which was a great move. Texas was only lightly effected by the 2008 collapse. It will be hit just as hard as the rest of the country when it all comes crumbling to the ground this time. Texas has changed considerably since then and I’ve moved around to several other states in the past 5 years and they are increasingly similar in the average mindset and living conditions.
      Internationally, whether it’s Australia, Canada, anywhere in the Eurozone or any other 1st world country, they have enough civil liberty violations Americans take for granted and even today their standards of living are lower if you look at it objectively. So I have no desire to move there either to escape what will soon become of the US. It’s seriously depressing me to realize there is no viable escape plan.

  36. Too bad most Americans will look at the numbers, no matter how they are presented, and reply with some version of “Who cares?”.

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