Free Minds & Free Markets

A Deficit-Happy Government May Lead to a Debt-Driven Financial Crisis

Get ready for permanent low growth, a stifled entrepreneurial spirit, and high unemployment.

There are milestones you celebrate: a kid's first step, a round-numbered birthday, a marriage anniversary. And then there are the milestones you dread: Reaching $22 trillion in national debt is one of them. We're slated to reach that number next month, yet nobody seems to care.

The $22 trillion figure we'll soon hit is the total of $16 trillion in public debt (what the government owes to domestic and foreign investors) and $5.8 trillion in intra-governmental debt (the money it owes to other government accounts like Social Security). No matter how you look at it, it's by far the highest level of debt Uncle Sam has accumulated in peacetime. It's also shocking, considering the economy is growing faster than it has for a while. Even worse, there's no end of that red ink in sight.

It's truly scary how fast that debt is growing. At the end of George W. Bush's presidency, in January 2009, U.S. debt was $10.6 trillion. Since then, we've more than doubled the national debt, adding $11.2 trillion, or averaging more than a trillion dollars a year. Let me say that again: In the last 10 years, the federal government has accumulated more debt than in its entire existence leading up to that period.

Also distressing is the bewildering lack of interest by both Republicans and Democrats to change the trajectory we're on. The simple reality is that the only way to make a course correction is to reform so-called entitlement spending—Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security—and nobody wants to do that.

Donald Trump, the Republican president, has said repeatedly that he won't touch Social Security and Medicare. Then there's the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, the same guy who was so passionately sounding the alarm about the need to reform entitlement back in the 2000s. Yet he's done absolutely nothing on the issue ever since he became the head of the Republican House.

Ryan has, however, presided over a massive amount of spending increases and tax cuts while rejecting structural spending overhauls. The result is an annual deficit that ballooned from $438 billion in 2015 to almost a $1 trillion. Meanwhile, his caucus is always calling for more money for defense, more money for a wall, and more money for infrastructure. Nobody questions spending increases on other things like farm subsidies or food stamps, either.

On the other side of the aisle, the starlets of the Democratic Party support socialism and call for "Medicare for All"—a plan that moves all responsibility for America's health care spending on to the federal budget. And they ask for an expansion of Social Security benefits, 12 weeks of paid family leave, free college education, a federal bailout of all student loan debt, and a guaranteed-jobs program. The Manhattan Institute's Brian Riedl did the math: The free college, health care, etc., would increase federal spending by $42.5 trillion over the next decade. And that's on top of the additional $12.4 trillion that the federal government is already projected to spend over that same period.

Riedl calculates how much additional taxes would be required to make this socialist dream come true. Even after making incredibly generous assumptions that would make the socialist plan cheaper, this added spending would require slapping an additional 100 percent tax rate on all corporate profits and a 100 percent tax rate on all wage incomes above the threshold of $92,000 for single taxpayers or $150,000 for married couples. But even these impossibly high new levels of taxation wouldn't pay a single cent of our current projected debt accumulation.

Has everyone gone mad? Where are the adults in Congress? They're increasingly hard to find, and it's unfortunate because reality isn't negotiable.

Even if the Democrats fail to get their way in terms of socialist spending, our fiscal situation is disconcerting and getting worse by the day. Thanks to the baby boomers retiring and weighing more heavily on the system over the next 20 years, spending will explode, and so will the debt. Don't forget we're starting this ascension, already $22 trillion in the hole.

Under a best-case scenario, such a deficit-happy government can only lead to permanent low growth, a stifled entrepreneurial spirit, and high unemployment. Of course, it could lead to a full-on debt-driven financial crisis, too.

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  • SQRLSY One||

    Hey look at Mikey! He likes it!

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    The failed Obozo was the _only_ US President to never see annual 3% GDP during terms. Recovery my ass.

  • aajax||

    No great years, perhaps, but no bad years either. Remember, his brand was "No drama Obama". I miss it.

  • Chili Dogg||

    Don't forget to thank the MSM for not focusing on the scandals in the Obama administration or on his illegal and unconstitutional actions. There isn't much drama when the media doesn't report it.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Very true...

  • Karl F||

    "Annual" real GDP growth rates are essentially from the middle of one year to the middle of the next year. They are not very useful in evaluating economies during presidential terms. Better is to measure real GDP growth from the quarter that a president takes office until the quarter he leaves. By this measure growth under President Obama was BETTER than under either President:

    Obama = +2.1% real GDP growth
    Bush #43 = 1.7%
    Clinton = 3.7%
    Bush #41 = 2.0%
    Reagan = 3.5%
    Carter = 3.4%

    As for never achieving a 3% annual growth rate under President Obama, I strongly suspect that we will never have 3% annual growth under President Trump. By my calculations GDP would have to grow by about 4.4% in the 4th quarter to make that a reality for 2018. So I am betting the under.

    Never mind that Candidate Trump promised sustained real GDP growth of 3.5% to 5.0%. I have yet to find a Trump supporter willing to bet the over on even that low end 3.5% number.

  • Karl F||

    ...either President Bush

    Sorry, can't figure out how to edit my above comment

  • Greg F||

    At the end of George W. Bush's presidency, in January 2009, U.S. debt was $10.6 trillion.

    The Federal budget year ends on September 30th. The deficit at that point was $11.8759 trillion. At the beginning of Trumps first budget (10/1/2017) the deficit was $20.2057 trillion so Obama added $8.3298 trillion.

    $ 9.6 T Obama (after 8 years)
    $10.7 T Trump (in only TWO years, wants MORE)

    Going with $22 trillion as total debt now that would be an increase of about $1.8 trillion from Trumps first budget (10/1/2017). I would say math is hard for Hihn but that would be giving him more credit than he/it deserves.

  • Greg F||

    NO source

    I used the one you posted Obama's 8-year debt (billions) 19,539.6 - 9,986.1 = 9,553.5.


    Trump hasn't been in office 8 years. It was this nonsense you posted:

    $10.7 T Trump (in only TWO years, wants MORE)

    I know math is hard for you so let me explain it again. Going with $22 trillion as total debt now subtract the debt from the beginning of Trumps first budget year ($20.2057 trillion- 10/1/2017) and we arrive at about $1.8 trillion.That is a far cry from 10.7 trillion "in only TWO years".


    Sure ... the guys that are perpetually wrong just like you.

    A bit of friendly advice ... I would lay off of whatever you're snorting ... it seems to impair your cognitive functions.

  • aajax||

    I would imagine that $10.7T is a projection for eight years. He hasn't been that bad yet, but probably will be if he lasts eight years.

  • Karl F||

    The fact that DEBT increased while Obama was president does NOT mean that President Obama added that much to the debt. The main driver of the deficits and debt was the almost nine million net jobs lost as a result of the Great Recession of December 2007 to June 2009 and the continuing downturn until those lost jobs had been recovered. It was not new Obama policies.

    President Obama's POLICY that added the most to deficits and debt was the renewal of (most) Bush tax cuts.

    When President Obama left office in January 2017 the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 deficit was forecast at $559 billion and the FY 2018 deficit was forecast at $487 billion.

    The FY 2017 deficit under Trump came in at $665 billion, an increase of $106 billion.

    The FY 2018 deficit came in at $779 billion, an increase of $292 billion.

  • Jerryskids||

    Next up: The shocking news that repeatedly jabbing a pencil in your eyeball may lead to pain.

  • sarcasmic||

    The article mentions Bush, Trump and Ryan, but no Democrats by name! Obviously Reason is mad that Hillary didn't get elected! They might as well come out and say it! They wanted Hillary! They're saying she wouldn't raised the deficit! It's totally obvious! This is nothing but a hit piece against Trump! Reason has Trump Derangement Syndrome! They're the deranged ones ! It's them! They're deranged! They're deranged! Aaauuugghhh!

  • aajax||

    Ms. de Rugy is not associated with Reason. She is with the Mercatus Center. Can assure you she is not a Hillary or Democrat fan. She knows the Dems are not fiscally responsible, but any sane conservative/libertarian person must be dismayed that the Republicans are not either.

  • Chili Dogg||

    Ms. de Rugy has been writing a column for Reason magazine for years, in case you didn't know. That is called an association.

  • grb||

    Of course the Republicans are worse - much worse - in running the country's finances into the ground. No one with any respect for facts, evidence, or plain simple math can deny that. Let's look at the increase of the nation's sum debt as a yearly number with recent presidents :

    Reagan : 13.9% growth in debt yearly, over eight years.
    GHW Bush : 11.5% growth in debt yearly, over four years.
    Clinton : 4% growth in debt yearly, over eight years.
    GW Bush : 8.5% growth in debt yearly, over eight years.
    Obama : 7.5% growth in debt yearly, over eight years.

    Please remember : The projected deficit was 1.3 trillion dollars on the day of Obama's first inauguration. That's what he inherited from his predecessor : Trillion dollar yearly deficits and an economy in full meltdown. He cut the deficit by more than half over his two terms. Meanwhile, that predecessor - George W Bush - inherited budget surpluses from Clinton and blew through every dime like a teenager on his first credit card. The Right-types making snide comments here might recall the nation had it's deficit problem under control in 2000. It took:

    (1) Politically hard choices
    (2) Tax increases - and not just on the wealthy
    (3) Structural restrictions on Congressional spending such as paygo
    (4) Spending cuts

    Republicans blew up all those hard choices. Now they just whine

  • grb||


    Let's be very precise, since we are dealing with some real spittle-spraying weaseling here :

    (1) Per the same budgetary rules which have applied to presidents before and since Mr. Clinton, there was a surplus in the yearly federal budget by the end of his second term.

    (2) Per annualized real GDP growth from first quarter in office to last quarter, Mr Clinton record of 3.7% percent is the best number of any Post-WWII president excepting Johnson and Nixon.

    (3) Clinton took office in January, 1993. Unemployment peaked in June 1992 at 7.8% Yes, the recession officially ended in March 1991, but it's effects were still strongly felt

    (4) Clinton took office right at the beginning of a major economic expansion, and left right at the beginning of a recession. In everything except interns he was a very lucky man.

    (5) There's a whole universe of stupid in your blaming the Great Recession on Clinton. It's not worth my time explaining everything because - after all - you're just a buffoon. But I will point out this: Fannie Mae got into the sub-prime mortgage market very late in the game - well after the bubble was underway. And what drove FM into destructive subprime trading wasn't Bill Clinton, but the capitalist half of Fannie's split personality : Their Board of Directors wanted a piece of the action.

    We all await your next clown-show of spittle, capital letters, and bolded text

  • grb||

    (1) Federal Reserve data found more than 84% of the subprime mortgages in 2006 coming from private-label institutions rather than Fannie & Freddie. The share of subprime loans they insured decreased as the bubble grew (from a high of 48% to 24% of subprime loans in 2006). Unlike Wall Street, the GSEs never bought the riskier collateralized debt obligations rated triple-A, which proved the main source of the financial crisis. A 2011 study by the Fed using statistical comparisons of regions which were & were not subject to GSE regulations, found "little evidence" GSEs played a significant role in the subprime crisis. The Fannies were pushed into increasing their subprime trading on the eve of the recession by the impetus to recover market share and profit.

    (2) The FMs were sideline players in the insanity causing the recession. Even to the limited degree they weren't, blaming their actions on Clinton is ludicrous. Yes, you can find someone to quote in the NYT who says otherwise. So what? I can find ten quotes from the same paper saying the opposite. The difference is all the facts are behind me.

    (3) Technically, an economic expansion is the absence of recession - two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Clinton inherited an economy in expansion but suffering the aftereffects of recession. 7.8% unemployment five months before Election Day isn't a roaring economy. It was about to roar however, and did so immediately after Clinton took office. Like I said, he was lucky.

  • mpercy||

    Since Presidents do not actually control a budget--that's Congress's job--except through a veto, which may be a moot point if the Congressional majority is large enough, it doesn't do a lot of good to compare spending or revenue or deficits under President's terms. Instead post the numbers under each Congress. Sure, Presidents can and do propose policy items, like tax cuts or health care regulations, but it takes Congress to enact them.

    "Republicans blew up all those hard choices. Now they just whine"

    But I have to agree with this part.

  • Karl F||

    The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget evaluated the campaign promises of the various presidential candidates in 2016. They estimated Trump's promises would add $5.3 trillion and Clinton's would add $200 billion to the debt over ten years. The only other candidate whose promises didn't add trillions was John Kasich.

  • Moderation4ever||

    There is no point worrying about the deficit until we are ready to have realistic discussion on solutions. We are well past the point where cutting spending alone will solve the problem. What more there is no real enthusiasm for cutting spending. Yes you can cut around the edges but most politicians realize that people like government programs and like the infrastructure that government provides and so big cuts are out of the question. So my suggestion is treat the people like grown ups. Tell them what the problem is and outline realistic solutions. Benefits will have to be trimmed and taxes will have to go up. Let people decide on the programs they like based on a realistic information on what the program costs.

  • Lester224||

    Pre-Nixon hospitals were not required to admit dying people who had now insurance and could not pay.

    And they didn't.

    There would need to be social cohesion for charity hospitals and fraternal organizations to effectively cover the uninsured, people who lost their jobs, people who had accidents etc.. without any government involvement at all. I don't think we have the social cohesion to institute universal treatment. I see comments here all the time saying that not dying due to lack of money is not a fundamental right.

  • ThomasD||

    "We are well past the point where cutting spending alone will solve the problem."

    Careful, you need to lube up before ass-pulls like that one.

    We haven't cut anything, so there is zero evidence that cutting spending will not solve the problem.

    Take your tax hikes and hike them.

  • eyeroller||

    yet nobody seems to care

    That's exactly it. The politicians don't care because the people don't care.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Not nearly as lame as Dumbfuck Hihnsano's sockpuppets.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It's worse than not caring. The voters will punish anybody who tries to reduce spending.

    Once buying votes with borrowed money is on the table, eventual fiscal ruin is baked in, because the politician who refuses to do it will almost always be outbid by the politician who is willing to.

    The only question is when things go horribly wrong, not if.

  • aajax||

    People don't care because they assume the government wouldn't dare allow things to collapse, and that it has the wherewithal to prevent it. This is because they don't learn history, or if they do they don't know how to apply it.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." -Bastiat

  • sarcasmic||

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano's spouts slogans while complaining about people using slogans.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You're free to start Anarchyland.

  • sarcasmic||

    You saying the quote is wrong? What are ever-expanding entitlements other than everyone living at the expense of everyone else? If entitlements didn't exist, the deficit and debt would be totally manageable. Yet you seem to think that pointing that out means I want no government at all.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Now do the one where you irrationally blame everything on defense spending because anything in a uniform is axiomatically wrong. But you're totally not an anarchist, you just believe that we only need government for nebulously defined "things."

    Congrats on joining the reason defense brigade though.

  • sarcasmic||

    When have I ever said that?

    The major driver of the deficit and debt is entitlements. As in people living at the expense of everyone else. Defense is a drop in the bucket by comparison, and it's also in the Constitution. Ponzi-scheme style retirement and health insurance is not.

    So I have no idea of what you are talking about.

  • sarcasmic||

    Ahh, but what drives entitlements ,... the middle-class gravy train.

    Um, no. It's the boomer generation collecting social security and medicare.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    96th-100th Congresses (Democrat controlled both houses) began the major spending by government in the 1980s. Reagan president.

    101st-102nd Congresses (Democrat controlled). HW Bush President.
    103rd-106th Congresses (Republican controlled). Bill Clinton President.
    107th Congress (Mixed control because of Census reapportionment). W Bush President.
    108th-109th Congresses (GOP controlled). W Bush President.
    110th Congress (Democrat controlled). W Bush President.
    111th Congress (Democrat controlled). Obama President.
    112th-113th Congresses (Mixed control). Obama President.
    114th Congress (GOP controlled). Obama President.
    115th Congress (GOP controlled). Obama/Trump Presidents.
    116th Congress is starting in 2019. Trump is President.

    1981- $678 Billion
    1985- $946 Billion
    1989- $1.143 Trillion
    1993- $1.409 Trillion
    1997- $1.601 Trillion
    2001- $1.862 Trillion
    2005- $2.471 Trillion
    2009- $3.517 Trillion
    2013- $3.454 Trillion
    2017- $4.268 Trillion
    US federal budget

  • SQRLSY One||

    Y'all and your PAST history, HAH, worthless bung!

    FUTURE history is what is interesting!!! Summary provided here accordingly...

    2020: National debt = 120% of GNP. Donald Trump easily wins re-election by promising a large budget for a new Department of Disputing Elizabeth Warren's Native American Ancestry, and for Making the Liberals Cry.

    2024: National debt = 130% of GNP. Elizabeth Warren is elected POTUS; She promised a large budget for a new Department for Making the GOP-tards Cry. Elon Musk's projects are fabulously successful, and Americans are emigrating en masse to Mars. Given the choice of either continuing to pay hideously large fees to the USA IRS, or renouncing America citizenship, the Martians pay $15,000 each to renounce America citizenship, but even the millions of Martian-American exit fees are like micro-farts in a hurricane… They make no difference in the national debt!

  • SQRLSY One||

    2028: National debt = 150% of GNP. New POTUS Bernie Sanders wins by promising free health care and PhD educations for everyone who can spell the word "free", plus, a free pony for everyone under 15 years of age. Some USA states are getting ready to split off of the USA, and renounce their "fair" share of the USA debt. Hispanic illegal humans are scrambling for the exits back south, as most employable Americans seek black-market low-wage jobs to escape exorbitant taxes.

    2032: National debt = 230% of GNP. All states have split off of the USA, leaving behind only Washington, DC, with the entire national debt. DC promptly declares bankruptcy. All states with nuclear-weapons bases, having very well learned from Ukraine having given up its share of USSR nukes, and getting invaded by Russia later on, have kept their own nukes.

    2036: Montana and Wyoming unite, feeling a patriotic urge to restore the united USA towards its former fully Glory Days. In a quest for military glory, they have a full-scale nuclear exchange with California. The USA's needs have now been met: Both the liberals AND the conservatives are forced to cry!

  • sarcasmic||

    Minor quibble. Bernie is 77. I don't think him winning the presidency in ten years from now is a reasonable prediction. But the rest of it seems quite plausible.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Poor Hihn.

  • Overt||

    When he was a VP candidate, Ryan tried making the case for entitlement reform. This was after spending his entire time as a new congress-critter briefing his colleagues on the crisis when they first joined.

    So there you had Ryan at the VP debate, telling Americans that this crisis was incoming, and then you got a sad look from Grandpa Joe Biden who then turned to the camera and basically told America, "Don't worry, we got this. Don't let the bad man scare you, I'll keep the candy flowing." And lo and behold, Americans hired uncle joe.

    Go ahead and blame Ryan for being a sellout. It's true. But it isn't like they are defying the will of voters. Every time the question of fiscal sanity is put up against the free shit, the free shit wins. Every time. Just look at Greece. They were ready to shut the water and power off, and yet the citizens still insisted on keeping the credit accounts open. And there are plenty of duplicitous pols out there willing to lie to them and offer fancy statistics to explain why they can continue this insanity just a little longer.

    The Reasonable conclusion is that we need to stop blaming politicians, and start educating the masses so that they'll actually vote for someone serious about our finances.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You have a point but helping the enemy has a name. It ain't patriot.

    I have little sympathy for politicians that might be reduced to single terms because they did the right thing and did not enlarge government and our national debt.

  • Robert||

    But there's a word for going vs. the will of the subjects too: autocrat.

  • Moderation4ever||

    My recollection of the debate was Paul Ryan taking about cutting government spending. When asked what he would cut he deferred and said that Congress will have to decide on the cuts. What was saying to me was I want to get credit for talking about cutting spending, but I don't want to talk specifics because people will get mad at me. He is a phoney. Third in-line to the Presidency and yet he never lead a discussion on reducing spending. Instead he cooked up a tax cut with borrowed money and passed it quick before anyone could see what it costs.

  • Ordinary Person||

    I didn't get a dime of that $21 trillion. Who here can say that?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    So you're actually a foreign citizen?

  • blondrealist||

    Once again, no mention of the other side of the balance sheet: assets. I don't mean to suggest the federal debt does not matter, but the U.S. economy has grown since 2009, which means our national "net worth" may not be as dire as the writer suggests.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Debt in the quantities that the USA has is bad.

    No household can sustain debt increases at that level. Bankruptcy is the end result, usually.

    There is no national bankruptcy. Even the Founders recognized debt from the Revolutionary War as valid and implemented steps to pay it off. The US Treasury was created and US bonds were issued.

  • blondrealist||

    Households are currency users, our federal government is a currency issuer. The operational differences are important.

    The federal government does not have to declare bankruptcy since it can issue currency at will. The risk is inflation, namely hyperinflation.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Which is the practical equivalent of bankruptcy. Instead of paying off a fraction of your debt, you pay off your debt with currency worth a fraction of the debt.

    The big difference is that, with bankruptcy, the currency would still be functioning for exchange, whereas hyperinflation makes it useless.

  • Robert||

    That's true too, but you have to assay separately gov't & private assets, because the only ways for gov't to lay its hands on the private assets, on net, are taxes & uncompensated condemnations.

  • ThomasD||

    Do not forget inflation. Inflation is stealth taxation.

  • HouseHubby||

    So, why is it the economy is growing, yet our annual deficits are exploding higher? Shouldn't higher growth translate to declining deficits? Maybe that the only way the growth is sustainable is by going deeper into debt to maintain it. Take away the borrowing that funds all our wants and desires from government, then the house of cards collapses.

  • mpercy||

    Because, despite all-time record high revenues, Government spending increases faster than revenue growth. War-time spending is baked into the budget now, even with the wars (mostly) over and (most) troops brought home; the "one-time stimulus" is baked into the budget now, even with the housing crisis long over. We're spending $1.5T annually more for government than we did 10 years ago and I for one cannot identify much difference in actual governance to account for the additional expenditures. For what it's worth, revenues are up about $1T annually over 10 years ago, so spending increases are about 50% bigger than revenue increases.

  • Robert||

    I wish Ms. de Rugy would present some analysis for her statements about the effects of the debt on the economy. She seems to treat it as if all gov't spending is of a piece, but I can't believe transfer payments would have the same effects on the economy as would the payments to people for providing goods or services to gov't. Seems to me xfer payments leave the same amt. of $ in subjects' pockets, but shift it from individual to individual, while paying people for their labor or to produce goods for gov't has an opp'ty cost vs. that labor or equivalent goods being used in the private sector.

    Not only that, but for some of the xfer payments, mostly SS retirement benefits, future beneficiaries are already budgeting in anticipation of getting them. People working out their retirement financing take them into acc't, so it would seem whatever effect they'd have on the economy is already felt.

  • mpercy||

    When I put that first $1 into a 401k plan at work some 30 years ago, I did so believing that Social Security was probably not going to be solvent by the time I retired. Few people I know in my age cohort honestly think SS will be there for them; at best it will be bonus bucks if some pittance comes from it by then.

  • Doug Heffernan||

    You suggest that [we] "get ready", but then you don't even mention any steps to take in order to get ready.

    How does one get ready for this sort of debt? Should I order some Infowars dehydrated food barrels and put them into the basement? If so, how many barrels? Each barrel provides for over a year of food.

    What else to do? Lots of batteries and flashlights and five-gallon jugs of water? Some practical steps would be helpful.

    I've never lived through this sort of crisis before.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    If you must have debt, make sure it's fixed rate.

    Have physical assets and skills with practical value, so that you can engage in barter. My grandfather came out of the Great Depression very well off, being a plumber, despite doing a lot of pro bono work, because even in a depression people still poop.

    Diversify your financial assets across multiple countries.

  • HouseHubby||

    No one wants to take away the's really that simple. Good economic times equals getting re-elected. The GOP is no longer the last defense to fiscal insanity...they're now part of the problem.

  • HouseHubby||

    I'm 100% fully convinced there will be no budgetary reforms. The only outcome will be another crisis. It's inevitable.

  • ThomasD||

    And why not? Crises are always justification for more government. So why would anyone in, or who loves big government ever be serious about averting the next crisis?

  • Uncle Jay||

    Republicans and democrats have no problem spending your tax dollars.
    After all, its not their money they're spending, and there's a lot more where that came from.
    ...and don't you dare bring up the subjects of accountability and transparency in government.

  • Enemy of the State||

    A trillion here, a trillion there...pretty soon you're talking big money!

  • drisco304||

    Well as good old FDR said when they were setting up Social Security, I'm glad I'm not going to be around when this thing collapses.

  • Mcgoo95||

    IIRC, my economics professor in school said he wasn't worried about the national debt because it was money we owed to ourselves. He kind of has a point. Debt for all of us has consequences (lose our property etc). Debt for the government (that is us) is just money we owe ourselves and nobody (other than ourselves) can hold us accountable. So I've often wondered what, exactly, is the cliff we are headed towards? I agree we should be more responsible in how we spend but what is the real threat? Inflation? Obviously I'm no economics scholar but I've often wondered if my college professor was correct or an idiot.

  • BioBehavioral_View||

    Lies And Their Consequences

    "Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur. The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived." -Petronius (1st-century A.D.)

    Every successful politician intuitively understands that most people rather would hear pleasant lies knowing that they are lies than unpleasant truths knowing that they are truths. Scientific studies corroborate explicitly that implicit understanding.

    "As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; .... ." -President George Washington

    Resolving a problematic, economic situation involving debt via more debt isn't necessarily the wrong approach. The fatal error made by most politicians, however, is failing to discriminate between debt for consumption and debt for production. The inescapable consequence of the former is Perdition; of the latter, a chance for Redemption.

    Excerpt from the novel, Retribution Fever:
    Despite the U.S. Treasury buying its own debt dumped by the Chinese, not only were American stocks plummeting but bonds and the dollar. Gold and silver were skyrocketing.

    A full-scale rout of the American financial system appeared underway. Once again, with prices having fallen 10%, officials stopped trading and closed the financial markets.

    The First Fury had struck. Another massive world-wide economic collapse had begun.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    If you are going to be fiscally irresponsible, then having the baddest ass military on the planet is a really wise investment for your borrowed money.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    That should be your next troll handle

  • Jens Frederik Hansen||

    Don't ever forget to look at the repercussions for society in the long, long period of repayment after the party.
    My country, Denmark increased it's debt to close to unsustainable levels in the seventies. The Minister of Finance described it with a quiet understatement: "Some say we are driving on the edge of the abyss. That is not the case, but we have direction towards it. And we can see it."
    In 1983 the turnaround started and 35 years after we still haven't finished! Through all those years taxes have been higher and public service lower because of payments of interest and the repayment of the loans. The consequences of government debt are simply put that you are leaving the bill for you consumption in the nursery.
    It also changes the political landscape. Thanks to growth wealth has increased so has public expenditure (in my opinion: regrettably, but that is not relevant here). Nonetheless, a very large proportion of the electorate will be willing to swear that there has been cuts in pulic services every single year since 1983!
    When government programmes are changed and public funds consequently redirected to new programmes that is seen as cuts, not as changed priorities.
    Those are the consequences of debt. Weaning the US off the fiscal abuse will take time and you may then easily add another 40-50 years of repercussions. That's a bloody awful legacy to your children.

  • mpercy||

    Do you think he has three or four windows open at once and just clicks on a random one so as to post using *that* sock puppet? It's bad enough when there's one of them, but having 3 or 4 sock puppets in the same thread sure brings the thread to a hideous screeching end.

  • mpercy||

    Is he arguing with himself now?

  • mpercy||

    Am I commenting on a week-old thread? Why yes, it seems I am. Teach me to pay better attention.

  • flyfishnevada||

    "...the highest level of debt Uncle Sam has accumulated in peacetime."

    Peacetime? We're prosecuting at least three wars, though I guess we're leaving Syria. We've been at war continuously since 2001. I know we're not expending the same kind of money we might during a "real" war but I wouldn't call what we're in "peacetime."


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