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Why We Need To Shrink the National Debt, And Fast!

Too much debt slows economic growth and reduces living standards.

It was big news when our national debt recently passed the $20 trillion mark. What's less understood is exactly why having such a massive debt is a bad thing. The short answer is that too much debt slows economic growth, reducing living standards.

The sheer size of the existing debt is deeply worrying to economists on both the left and the right, who agree that when debt reaches 90 percent of GDP for five years in a row it means painfully slow growth, creating what's called a "debt overhang."

A group of progressive economists affiliated with the University of Massachusetts predicted in 2013 that a debt burden at that level would result in an annual growth rate of just 2.2 percent, which means economic stagnation and anemic job growth. (Earlier this year, one of those researchers co-authored a paper walking back that claim; read it here).

So when will our debt load cross the 90 percent threshold? It's actually been at more than 100 percent of GDP for years now. Periods of slow growth associated with debt overhangs almost always last more than a decade and sometimes stretch out over a quarter century. That means that in 25 years, the overall economy will be about 75 percent the size it would have been if the government had only gotten the debt in check.

That's not much of a future to look forward to.

Countries like New Zealand, Canada, and Germany have demonstrated that when governments reduce debt good things happen. U.S. spending, by contrast, has been above 20 percent of GDP for years, which is well above the historical average. No wonder the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the economy will grow less than 2 percent annually over the next decade. Compare that to growth rates of more than 3 percent for much of the post-World War II period.

Barack Obama, and George W. Bush were leaders who lacked the integrity to do what's best for the country by keeping spending and debt in line. President Donald Trump also shows no interest in explaining to the public how runaway debt chokes off the future. That's a failure which we'll all be paying for for a very long time to come.

Edited by Mark McDaniel. Written by Nick Gillespie. Graphics by McDaniel and Meredith Bragg. Cameras by Jim Epstein and Alexis Garcia.

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  • BYODB||

    No one in government is interested, and would prefer if you just stop mentioning this.

  • Episteme||

    I have an idea to pay off the debt. America needs to pull an Ocean's Eleven and simultaneously rob every bank, casino, and cash-holding business in the other countries of the world all at once. Given the number of military, police, and armed civilians we have, along with skilled technical professionals, I think that we can pull it off if we remember to synch up our watches...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Cut the federal government employment by 50%+. Cut social security, medicare, and medicaid by 50%+.

    If you don't raise taxes, you end up with over $1.9 trillion to pay down the debt.

    Politicians know that this would cause a recession so all the Boomers in government just want to kick the can. A planned cut would be a temporary recession as the economy resets and is not a bad thing.

    An unplanned cut because no country will buy our crappy dollars would cause runaway inflation and a Great Depression like the USA has never seen. Germany had runaway inflation and Great Depression in the 1920's and there was widespread violence.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    A planned cut would be a temporary recession as the economy resets and is not a bad thing.

    It is a bad thing. It's just a necessary bad thing.

  • MarkLastname||

    If done gradually in conjunction with a nice stable monetary policy, there's no reason cuts would have to correspond with a recession, as investment, private sector employment, and wages would all go up thanks to the growth in credit supply caused by the decline in public debt.

  • Loss of Reason||

    Humm, I'm ok cutting my social security for the future - I'm 46 now and ok having it reduced (if it's there at all).

    The seniors I know like my mom, just barely get by now with SS and a 401K. She has a small house, a payoff car and it's still tough. So I think a 50% cut now would be tough on a lot and lot of people.

    But for the future, I'm onboard.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    The hardest sell is that current SS recipients are funded by current taxation. So, they would need to sell to the voters a system where we continue to pay current SS taxes without even pretending we will receive anything for it eventually.

    That being said, probably needs to be done.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You will not have any social security.

    I won't have it either but that's because I don't have a SSN nor pay into Social security.

  • ||

    So - you're an undocumented worker?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You don't need to have a Social Security number to work in the USA nor prove that you were born here.

    You can get a Tax Identification Number. You can start your own business and never pay into social security but you will never receive benefits.

    You must have a SSN and pay into social security is another Nanny-State myth they want you to be scared of.

  • CE||

    They're already doing this basically.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I once calculated the sum of wealth of the Forbes 400 or some such list. The grand total was less then the annual budget by a long shot. So even if you robbed the 400 richest Americans of everything they owned, you'd hardly make a dent in the national debt.

    Furthermore!

    I suspect that almost all of their wealth is in the form of investments -- stocks and outright ownership primarily. I suppose you could just rip the government bonds in half, but that wouldn't do much. But the rich don't have Scrooge McDuck swimming pools full of cash.

    So convert all those investments into liquid cash! Except .... all the people who could afford to buy those investments have just been made paupers! You'd have to sell them for a dim eon the dollar to actually unload all of them.

    Poof! Daydream over.

  • MarkLastname||

    This is a crucial point. A big confiscatory tax on invested wealth would reap only a fraction of what that well is worth before the tax, because prospective capital gains lose a lot of value when it becomes clear most of it is going to state instead of the owner.

    I had a professor in college who actually thought all the money 'lost' in the financial crisis (that is, the decline in value of assets) actually went somewhere; like someone one stole it all. Where'd it go? He'd ask; withthe implication that 'the corporate fat cats' ran away with it or something. And this idiot is one of the experts we're supposed to look to and trust with our lives.

  • EscherEnigma||

    " And this idiot is one of the experts we're supposed to look to and trust with our lives."
    First up, why are you trusting your life to a college professor? That's pretty crazy. Learn what you can, but don't make more of the teacher/student then is called for.

    Second up, unless the professor was teaching economics, so what? Experts are, by definition, specialized in one thing or another. And generally speaking, take any given expert and you'll find that the further you get away from their area of expertise, the closer their knowledge/experience approaches the population average. So yeah, most professors aren't going to be any more economically literate then your average American. That's neither surprising or alarming.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Circumcise your watches in 3...2....1.....

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    (Earlier this year, one of those researchers co-authored a paper walking back that claim; read it here).

    FINE I WILL.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I wish the article had focused a little more on why Ireland and Portugal might have been anomalous. They do a good job identifying them as outliers that impact the overall models so strongly, but I don't believe they give much argumentation for why Portugal and Ireland were able to defy the model so strongly.

    That's all I got.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    President Donald Trump also shows no interest in explaining to the public how runaway debt chokes off the future.
    What's more important- Explaining to moronic voters the basics of economics and government or trying to cut the federal budget?

    Trump was trying to cut the federal budget by gutting agencies but Congress will not let that happen as it stands now.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Maybe he should call them losers on Twitter so they'll understand his plan.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    They KNOW they are losers and they are insanely scared of losing elections.

  • Jonny Scrum-half||

    Last time that we were about to start actually reducing the debt, President GWBush said that the surplus proved that government was taking too much of our money, so he cut taxes and started increasing the debt again.

    If you're concerned about the debt, stop trying to cut taxes.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Cutting taxes is half of the equation. If the government keeps spending the same amount of money, or, as is the inevitable actual case, increases spending, then obviously cutting taxes will necessitate an increase in indebtedness.

    Unfortunately, while even the bluest Democrats are occasionally on board with cutting taxes, no politician on earth wants to propose real, effective spending cuts, ever.

  • BYODB||

    So, then we should just slash the hell out of spending then? Or are you saying that we should be taxed more, and spend more?

  • ||

    Something tells me it's the latter.

  • Jonny Scrum-half||

    I can't really answer your question without specifics about what items should be cut. I'm not against reducing spending. But, as noted by Citizen X, no one ever actually cuts spending - they just cut taxes and put it on the credit card. That's no way to reduce the debt.

    Here's the thing - people won't ever cut spending unless they have to pay for the spending that's going on. That's why taxes should be increased to reflect the size of government. When people see what they're paying, they'll be able to make an informed decision about whether what they're getting for their money is worth it. Until then, you'll never see spending reductions.

  • BYODB||

    So option A, then. I can get behind slashing spending across the board, personally, because it's not possible to have enough money to pay everyone not to work. That seems lost on our overlords.

    I agree that cutting taxes while leaving spending untouched is stupid but taxes need to go down and so too does spending. I say cut spending to the bone, but some taxation would theoretically be 'needed' to pay it down. I suspect no one is willing to do that second bit. I'd be the first to point out we shouldn't have to, either, since it was pie-in-the-sky boomers that did most of this damage.

    I figure crash Medicare around them, at the very least, since I already know I probably won't see a dime of the vast amount I've paid into it. My only skin in that game is that I'm obligated to pay into an insolvent program I won't see the benefits of, so I won't weep when it ends. Same for Social Security and Medicaid, while we're at it.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Frankly, i think paycheck withholding needs to go, and then shortly before tax day everybody gets an itemized bill for "services rendered."

    At that point the black flags will be hoist.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I agree. Almost everyone I know thinks it sounds cruel when I say it though. All it does is hide how much people are truly paying. I certainly know that I don't think of my income in terms of the pre-tax numbers.

  • MasterThief||

    Yep. I figure my weekly pay at around 70-75% of gross. Federal, state, SS, medicaid, local, and property taxes average between 20-30% of my earnings every year. Frustrating when a person doesn't even make middle class wages.

  • BYODB||

    Paycheck withholding absolutely needs to go, and yeah I think if everyone had to 'pay' at the end of the year instead of 'fake receiving money back' the narrative would be much more in favor of Libertarians. Most people, at face value, recognize that a loan without interest to someone else using your money is rarely a good idea for you. It's great for the person (or entity) receiving the loan though.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There are multiple government policies that are used to hide the truth and one of them is as you say, that people are "getting money from the government".

    They are giving the government an interest free loan is what they are doing.

    Paycheck withholding and not having a tax code where everyone pays something, even poor people. Everyone needs skin in the game to keep government in check. If everyone paid 10% of their income, poor people would be bitching that the government is taking 10% of their $23,000 or less pay per year.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Since you're talking about an "interest free loan", I'm guessing you're talking about an income tax, and not Social Security/Medicare taxes.

    In that case, you certainly can end all iterant income tax payments. If your payroll department can't just set the withholding to $0 (they should be able to), then you can always just spike the number of deductions to zero-out your paycheck withholding.

    That said, everyone, even poor people, does pay taxes. Yeah, they might reach zero (or even negative) on income tax, but that's not the only tax folks pay.

  • chemjeff||

    Yup, paycheck withholding obscures the tax bill

  • ||

    It also keeps people from murdering tax collectors.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Government is well aware of collecting taxes and protecting citizen's right to own firearms which can include machine guns and explosives.

  • John Donohue||

    Also, their eyes should pop wide open when they make the check out to "The U.S. Treasury" for the entire bill, including "FICA".

    "What do you mean my SS payment goes right into the treasury to pay my granddad's SS and Medicare? Where's the trust fund with all my money in it?"

    Also, we should make them walk into their boss' office and ask eye to eye for his matching, so it can be deposited into The Treasury. Those encounters ought to be videotaped.

    Also, when they get all their FICA back because of tax credits, they should be made to walk into their boss' office and say "Sorry, I got all mine back by refund, but there's nothing I can do about your contribution." Those encounters ought to be videotaped.

  • CE||

    "Cutting" taxes has always ended up with the government taking more of our cash.
    Cut spending.

  • swampwiz||

    THIS

  • BSL1||

    You seem to imply that "cutting taxes" (reducing tax rates) is the same as reducing federal revenue. This is not necessarily true. He supported the reduction of federal tax rates, which didn't really reduce federal revenue, then, supported massive increase in federal spending, which resulted in the increased debt. Notice I said "supported" rate reductions and spending increases, as these are functions of Congress, not the executive.

  • WakaWaka||

    How does your urgency that federal spending be brought under control square with your opposition to block granting Medicaid funds and affording states more authority about how the system is managed? You guys need to learn what's in the federal budget

  • Hugh Akston||

    Are you addressing Nick or Mark with this comment? Because a quick scan of both of their recent articles returns no results at all about healthcare reform.

  • WakaWaka||

    I'm glad your finally thinking. What comprises the bulk of the federal budget? You can do this, buddy. Just think about it for a second.

  • WakaWaka||

    Simply stating 'cut spending' is about as learned as screaming 'MAGA'. If they are not addressing the primary cause of the debt then they are just virtue signaling about how they want to 'reduce the debt'. But, of course, cosmotarians are all about empty gestures.

  • MarkLastname||

    So, do you have any actual evidence that Nick or Mark actually oppose reducing Medicaid expenditure? Because that was the question.

    If you don't, then I would suggest criticizing people for the things they say instead of the things you imagine they say.

  • BYODB||

    A shit ton of entitlement spending, for starters.

  • John Donohue||

    Here's what's in the Federal Budget ...

    http://mil14.com

    4.112 Trillion total spending.

  • Tyler R||

    Libertarians should run on this issue, more than any other, in my opinion. I used to think voters simply didn't care about the national debt, but they actually do. Ross Perot ran as an independent on this issue in 1992 and got 20% of the vote, and he was barely running a serious campaign (he was polling at above 30% before dropping out and re-entering the race right before the election). The reality is most voters actually don't care about the constitution or limiting the size of government, but they actually do care about the country's debt burden.

  • ||

    Libertarians should run on this issue, more than any other, in my opinion.

    They do, which is why they aren't allowed at the table.

  • Tyler R||

    They do? I honestly never heard Gary Johnson talk about it much. I'm sure it was part of his platform but did he ever put out a detailed plan for balancing the budget?

  • WakaWaka||

    No, he didn't. If he had put out a plan he would have upset the Left that he was desperately trying to cater to. It was easier to talk about how he wanted to restrict religious liberty and sometimes opposed wars, except for humanitarian interventions (which he told the Weekly Standard).

    Again, cosmotarians are all about empty gestures

  • ||

    If he had put out a plan he would have upset the Left that he was desperately trying to cater to.

    There is some truth to this, but it's the exception that proves the rule. I.e., GJ was the first Libertarian candidate who decided to stop trying to court the political right, which has been fruitless, and instead tried to court the political left (which also turned out to be fruitless).

    Again, cosmotarians are all about empty gestures

    This is just you being a Red Tony. People will react to you better if you can avoid the random pointless insults aimed at people who don't 100% agree with you.

  • WakaWaka||

    I don't think it is an insult to refer to people as 'cosmotarians'. They put emphasis on 'free trade', 'open immigration', and 'cosmopolitanism' (as best stated by Nick Gillespie). That is who Gary Johnson was. These types of libertarians don't really emphasize individual rights or even really reducing the size of government.

    If anything, GJ wanted to expand government in a lot of different realms (from stripping religious liberty, to imposing a burka ban, which he later dropped, to mandating vaccines, which he also later dropped, to supporting humanitarian wars). I guess they are just furthering the 'low tax liberal' strategy of the Clark/Koch campaign from the 80's (with a lot less emphasis on actual 'liberal' values and more emphasis on liberal culture war issues).

    Yeah, I don't agree with this brand, but there is no denying that it is a distinctively different brand from what some others would claim as 'libertarian'.

  • ||

    I don't think it is an insult to refer to people as 'cosmotarians'.

    What's insulting is "cosmotarians are all about empty gestures."

  • MarkLastname||

    Free trade is most definitely about individual rights and the size of government. What the hell is it with people pretending to favor freedom while shitting on free trade?

    Come on, John.

  • Tyler R||

    Perrot put out a legit detailed plan for balancing the budget. He wanted to raise the gas tax by 50 cents a gallon, cut pretty much every federal agency, and reduce Social Security and Medicare. He talked about how much the country paid in interest income and how the debt slowed economic grow. People actually ate it up because he was giving a real proposal and obviously the other candidates were not (Bush Sr. and Clinton). Sometimes libertarians annoy me a little bit because too many of us just lecture people about the Constitution and the wonders of the free market. Honestly, I think if we put more effort into putting together realistic proposals to balance the budget, and made that our main talking point, we could quadruple our vote totals.

  • BYODB||

    Perot also wanted to Torpedo NAFTA...hmm...remember the 'great sucking sound' of jobs being outsourced to Canada and Mexico that he warned of?

  • Tyler R||

    I wasn't around for that election and only recently started reading about it because I was amazed that a third party candidate actually got 20% of the vote, and wanted to know his platform. He wasn't a libertarian, but it's still pretty cool that his major issue was balancing the budget. Just saying.. we could get some support on this issue.

  • ||

    "Raising the gas tax by 50 cents a gallon" is only a solid plan relatively speaking.

    The balanced-budget talk was refreshing because your only other choices were a Rockefeller Republican and a Neoliberal Centrist Democrat. There was hardly a difference to be found between them except in very superficial differences of mannerism.

    Like Trump, a huge part of Perot's appeal was "not one of them."

    And because of this, Perot did best when he was an abstraction. The more exposure he got, the less support he got.

    The Libertarian Party ran a candidate that year, too, although admittedly he was no prize. But he did want to balance the budget.

  • BYODB||

    Agreed, Perot sounded like a good idea until you actually started paying attention to him. At that point, it was like 'wait a minute, what?' I honestly have no idea how that gnome ended up with that large of a vote share.

    His Museum here in Dallas is pretty neat though.

  • ||

    I honestly have no idea how that gnome ended up with that large of a vote share.

    Completely uninspiring major-party candidates. I have the odd experience of actually not remembering who I voted for in 1992. My whole family was vacillating. My parents hated Clinton, but also didn't think much of Bush. But then Perot just seemed a little off. Not sure you wanted him near the nuclear codes, and all that.

    I went into the booth undecided, and came out undecided, and feeling slightly sick. I know I punched a name, but I can't remember which one. Which concerns me, a little bit.

  • swampwiz||

    Agreed. I was a Republican back then, an felt about Bush The Elder the same way that as a Democrat now felt about Hillary. I figured that a vote for Jug Ears would get folks to realize that the debt needed to be fixed (which Bill Clinton did).

  • swampwiz||

    *and* felt

  • Chili Dogg||

    Clinton "fixed" the debt? Hmmm...Strange then that it went up every year that he was President. It went up over a hundred billion dollars every year, except one year when it went up $18 billion. The "balanced budget" talk was smoke and mirrors. For the record, Congress has something to do with the budget, such as creating and passing the budget bill.

  • Tyler R||

    "And because of this, Perot did best when he was an abstraction. The more exposure he got, the less support he got."

    He got 20% of the vote, that pretty impressive for the half-hearted campgain he ran. The whole "not one of them" SHOULD be a huge part of our platform. Absolutely nothing wrong with playing that card for all it's worth.

  • ||

    The whole "not one of them" SHOULD be a huge part of our platform. Absolutely nothing wrong with playing that card for all it's worth.

    No doubt. And a lot of us thought GJ would do even better than he did on that alone.

    The trouble was that each of the two major-party candidates was so unacceptable, that people went into 100% "I need to stop the evil maniac from the other party" mode, and saw voting for their own unacceptably horrible lunatic as the only way to do that.

    I have a lingering hope that America is so embarrassed by the 2016 election that in 2020 people will organically change what they are willing to put up with, but I hold these hopes as hypothetical entertainments anymore.

  • BYODB||

    How did Gary Johnson not do that, though?

    Personally I think both major parties have figured out that the more loathsome and detestable their candidate, the better it works out for them both. It drives voters into their party.

    Frankly, it's the Zaphod Beeblebrox strategy of government. We may wish it didn't work, but clearly it does.

  • Episteme||

    Gary doesn't understand math? Big numbers went into the Leppo hole?

  • ||

    Look, buddy, we all know what a "Leppo" is, so don't even start with that shit.

    *eyes Episteme malevolently*

  • ||

    Honestly, I think if we put more effort into putting together realistic proposals to balance the budget, and made that our main talking point, we could quadruple our vote totals.

    Libertarians did that for decades. It's what led to the caricature of Libertarians as heartless intellectuals who can't see past numbers and don't care about women, children and the Poors.

    The people who vote major-party don't want to hear it. They want to hear "Free Pony!" GJ was the first Libertarian to try to market himself the way the major parties do, which is why he was the least-hated Libertarian candidate ever.

    And, as CE points out below, it's not that he didn't have a plan - he just didn't make it his centerpiece, in contrast to past Libertarian candidates.

    If you want some dour-faced guy saying "We can't afford ponies," expect to go back to

  • Tyler R||

    I'm not going to pretend I know the history of the party very well. I'm young and a new libertarian voter (and by the way, young, low income people are BY FAR the most likely to vote libertarian - you should take a look at the 2016 exit polls in regards to the libertarian vote, they're very interesting). I'm not sure you can say it didn't work in the 90's or whatever, so it's not going to work now.. there may be a few other variables to consider. And I'm not sure being the less hated is really very relevant in politics.. the current president is one of the more hated politician in history.

  • ||

    I'm not sure you can say it didn't work in the 90's or whatever, so it's not going to work now.

    I think it actually had a better chance in the 90s. In today's culture, "balance the budget" = "steal food from poor children."

    But I grant that the youngins' do seem to be casting around for a different paradigm, as they'll tend to, and it could be that the younger generation is getting more concerned about these things precisely because they're not being talked about.

    I don't mean to bust your balls over it - young libertarians are all welcome, and I'm getting old, bitter and cynical. I think some of us older libertarians are happy to see GJ retool a heretofore unpopular message, but you could be right that the tired old hated libertarian message may be just the thing that young people right now find refreshing.

    God knows I've done a fair amount of pushing back against the "Millennials are all Socialists" narrative.

  • Braunasaurus||

    Most millennials aren't socialists just aware that social security is a bill we gotta pay and a few yesmen are sayin hey you should get your cut. That's why Sanders seems so apealling. Of course that also why Paul seemed so appealing. He was saying your parents are dumping this on you so let's try to set it right before you screw your kids. I like a realist more but most young ppl still hope for ponies

  • n00bdragon||

    Like it or not, I'm fairly certain that most libertarian voters are really just in it for the pot. Gay Jay loves pot and porn and homosex and I have a very hard time believing those things are less popular with poor young people than fiscal responsibility.

  • ||

    less than 1% vote totals. Which the site thought was me trying to do HTML when I tried to use the "less than" symbol.

    I really should know better by now.

  • Tyler R||

    Ok, fair enough. I'm sure we see this through different lenses. But I couldn't possibly disagree with you more about your balance the budget equals stealing food from poor children thing. No doubt that's how the dems would portray it if it actually gained traction, but I can guarantee you that type of narrative would actually help our cause. Part of our problem in 2016 was that we didn't get enough hysterics pointed our way... honestly I think the silent majority of younger people hate that type of nonsense more than most people realize.

  • BYODB||

    You fail to realize how far along the Progressive Rot has gone in our system of government. The only remaining option, and you can take this to the bank, is collapse. Sucks to hear it, but some mythical Libertarian White Knight candidate, or even a dozen, aren't going to right the mess that's been in the works for a hundred years now.

    It will take a serious and painful social shift to even attempt to course correct, and I see no evidence of such a movement. If anything, the 'gimme' candidates are doubling down with more freebies. Just as we hit 20 trillion in debt, for example, Sanders puts forward Single-Payer.

  • ||

    The only remaining option, and you can take this to the bank, is collapse

    It sucks to admit it, but the older I get the more I'm convinced this is the truth.

    We libertarians can and should continue to experiment with pointing out the looming collapse and the things we could do to avoid it, but I have no expectation we'll ever be anything more than Cassandra crying at the Trojans.

    And this is because the people who go to Washington seeking power are not libertarians, by definition. It's the old Utopia problem. A philosopher king would be ideal, except that no philosopher wants to be king, and no one who does has any real interest in philosophy.

  • BYODB||


    We libertarians can and should continue to experiment with pointing out the looming collapse and the things we could do to avoid it, but I have no expectation we'll ever be anything more than Cassandra crying at the Trojans.

    Pretty much this. I've tried to make my peace with it, but the writing is pretty clear on the wall. I'm just hoping I don't end up against it before it's all said and done.

  • ||

    But I couldn't possibly disagree with you more about your balance the budget equals stealing food from poor children thing. No doubt that's how the dems would portray it

    That's what I mean - it's how it would be portrayed.

  • Tyler R||

    I don't disagree that's how it would be portrayed by liberals. What I disagree with is your idea that it would hurt us.. that type of narrative would be great for the platform. I very much believe the reason Trump did better with young voters than expected is because so much of the hysterical nonsense was pointed at him. It would be nice to have more pointed at libertarians, honestly.

  • ||

    What I disagree with is your idea that it would hurt us.. that type of narrative would be great for the platform. I very much believe the reason Trump did better with young voters than expected is because so much of the hysterical nonsense was pointed at him.

    You may be right. Those of us over 40 still habitually rely on "mainstream" news sources that I've been noticing more and more make the progressive narrative seem far more dominant than it really is.

    I hope you're right, anyway.

    But understand that the skepticism you're encountering is born of the LP having tried that message and finding it wanting. In fairness, though, their candidates have tended to be wanting in so many ways that it's hard to point to that one thing as the cause of their unpopularity.

    I'm looking at you, Bob Barr!

  • BYODB||

    It would kill us dead, because it has done so every other time since forever.

    Look at the debate over national healthcare for an example of this in action. We can't just repeal the ACA, we have to replace it now, all of a sudden, because if we don't people will be 'forced' off their health insurance!

    And...it's working great. No repeal in sight, and every 'replacement' plan is awful because there is no such thing as a 'good' plan in this scenario.

    Reason, logic, and empiricism do not work on most people and even when they do they only work selectively. The thing you can count on to be correct is that people are selfish and will work in their own self interest above all others. In that sense, people's preferred 'roles' for the government to tax and redistribute money is consistent in it's appeal and scope but inconsistent in one form it should take.

    You don't have to agree, but I am telling you that putting forward a plan to reduce the deficit will get the same reaction it always has before: We want to kill old people and poors. It has gone like that every time before, so expecting a different result this next time is...insane.

  • ||

    You don't have to agree, but I am telling you that putting forward a plan to reduce the deficit will get the same reaction it always has before: We want to kill old people and poors.

    Witness Tony at the bottom of this very thread:

    All you have to do to convince me otherwise is explain in soundly logical terms why we have to take away healthcare from old people to address the debt problem right now but can't take any excess wealth from billionaires.
  • CE||

    Yes, Johnson was going to balance the budget in Year 1, so at least the debt wouldn't get worse.
    It's one of several reasons why I voted for him.

  • BSL1||

    Balancing the budget wouldn't reduce the debt. It would only temporarily prevent making the hole deeper.

  • BYODB||

    Pretty much this, honestly. You'll note none of the so-called 'serious' candidates that won their parties nominations uttered a word about it. I don't think the average voter does care about this issue, in all honesty, and it's probably because they have no idea why it matters in the first place. It only 'really' screws over future generations, not you in particular, and American's seem to have no issue doing that.

  • Tyler R||

    I disagree, across the board, with what you're saying. Every candidate does say they're going to reduce the deficit (Trump, Hillary, Obama and Romney all DID say that). So when libertarians say the same it falls a little flat. But if we put out a proposal on exactly HOW we will balance the budget, that's a different story. Obviously, dems and repubs could never do the same. And the whole idea that the debt only screws over future generations is not true (and the whole moral argument is a political loser, anyway). We need to talk about the interest expense and the amount every taxpayer is paying towards interest. We need to talk about the slow economic growth and inflation caused by the debt. And most of all, we need to talk about how we're only able to pay for our spending by borrowing from Asian countries and why that's an enormous national security threat.

  • BYODB||

    Paying lip service to an idea while recommending things that could only ever increase the deficit is standard political fare. Name one concrete idea they had on how to achieve that goal and the lie becomes manifest.

  • BYODB||

    And, to flesh that out a little more, the reason for that is while people don't like the sound of the word 'deficit' they do like their niche special interest transfer payments from the government. So while people may loosely 'agree' on a deficit is 'bad' there is zero agreement for what to cut, thus nothing is actually cut.

    Observes Trumps barely-even-serious attempts to curb the leviathan in Washington and the extent of pushback it's generated. For fucks sake, people lose their minds when he suggests cutting tiny amounts from things like NPR. You think they'll agree to cutting things like Medicare? Never.

    Or, in the basest possible terms, American's are NIMBY's.

  • ||

    ^ This.

    Everyone is favor of reducing the deficit and balancing the budget. If you get specific about what to cut, now your taking something specific from me, and I won't stand for that. You're the one who's getting too much from the government.

  • Tyler R||

    "people lose their minds when he suggests cutting tiny amounts from things like NPR".

    Nope. The far left liberals freak out. That's not who we are going for. No one on the right freaks out about those things and tons of moderate people don't care, either. People DO care about their own special interests, but my theory is that they're worried about their own special interests getting cut and other people's dumb special interests staying. I think if we could actually convince people that we're going to cut EVERYONE's special interests, that would be a different story.

  • BYODB||

    People on the 'right', so to speak, freak out at other types of spending cuts like military and police. This is such an ancient observation that's common to virtually every social critique of America that I'm surprised you haven't come across it yet.

  • Tyler R||

    The whole idea that military spending isn't in our best interest seemed to gain a lot of traction this election cycle. If it's phrased in the right way (as other countries taking advantage of us and not as actually caring about people in other countries), I don't think it's such a hard sell, anymore.

  • BYODB||

    That was merely one of a thousand examples, and one of the more visible one's, but there is perhaps some truth that the Republican party is more progressive than it's members but the same could likely be said of Democrats.

    What matters is that the sensible candidates for office were ejected from the race early on, and only the clowns who promised free unicorns and ACA replacement are what won the day in the primaries.

    It's an endless rabbit hole I've considered for years, and ultimately my conclusion is Alexander Tytler was right. I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said for almost 400 years now, and we should always remember that the United States was considered an experiment even then.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    This is why cutting everything 50%+ or cutting EVERYTHING (x%) will make sure that nobody can say that "you" got more special interests.

  • BYODB||


    This is why cutting everything 50%+ or cutting EVERYTHING (x%) will make sure that nobody can say that "you" got more special interests.

    This will happen regardless of the facts, and even factually speaking it will still be true. If you cut everything by a flat percent, some will 'lose' more dollars than others because funding for those things isn't even now.

    It's a fight that can't really be won, because the only people interested in it are an unknown, but probably minority number, of voters who realize that it can't go on forever and needs to be curbed. Those people have less clout than those who use their political might to steal from others at the behest of the government.

    Same as it ever was?

    Ultimately that's the problem with Democracy, which is why I say Tytler was probably right. (Not that he was the first, or last, to point this flaw out.) It's not coincidence that the United States has become more democratic instead of less or being static over the last 100 years, and that is a problem.

  • ||

    Same as it ever was?

    Same as it ever was.

  • ||

    Worrying about debt is so 1980s.

  • CE||

    Drop the debt to 0 immediately by refusing to repay it.
    Then set a new debt ceiling of $500 billion for emergencies, and don't raise it, ever.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It would be interesting to see what would happen. Probably the Dollar would become worthless, but it's hard to say.

  • BYODB||

    Well, if we continue on our current debt trajectory the Dollar will...also become worthless. So it's a worthless dollar today versus a worthless dollar tomorrow.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There are a lot of Americans holding US Savings bonds and other securities that are tied to the USA paying its debt.

    Its one thing to single out Communist countries like China holding our debt and saying F*U, but another to say it to taxpaying Americans.

  • Tony||

    I'm tempted to watch the video just to see libertarians call for large tax increases. They obviously must, since they believe debt to be such a major problem.

  • WakaWaka||

    You've never looked at the federal budget, I take it

  • Tony||

    If you claim that the federal debt is a huge looming problem but you refuse to entertain the idea of raising revenues to deal with it, you are a bullshit artist and nobody should believe things you say.

  • Tony||

    I mean to say specifically that libertarians are bullshit artists who use debt hysteria to try to sell their radical laissez-faire agenda.

    Of course any child can see that this is the case when you say we can't raise the income side of the income-to-debt ratio because reasons.

  • ||

    Of course any child can see that this is the case when you say we can't raise the income side of the income-to-debt ratio because reasons

    That's true! There just are no expressed reasons. We can raise revenue forever! Infinitely! There are no downsides! None expressed here, anyway. None that you bothered to listen to, anyway.

    There will be no downside to continuing to raise spending and taxes forever!

    Libertarians are stupid.

  • Tony||

    Who said raise it infinitely?

    How about by just one dollar?

  • BYODB||

    Ah, yes, the old adage of 'we've already established what you are, now we are merely negotiating the price' argument.


    How much are you willing to cut spending might be the appropriate question here, because I suspect 'zero' is the amount we can afford to cut, while taxes should be raised by much, MUCH more than 'one dollar' in the near term.

  • Tony||

    Nope. Defense could use a big trim. In fact I happen to think cutting defense spending is absolutely necessary before we can have nice things like universal healthcare.

    So will you be willing to raise income taxes on billionaires by $1?

  • ||

    Are you saying that if we agree to increase the Federal Government's tax revenue by $1, you will never again come around arguing that we need to increase taxes?

    Is that what you're saying?

  • Tony||

    Depends on how sincere I feel you're being.

  • ||

    Depends on how sincere I feel you're being.

    No it doesn't, because you're 100% full of shit.

    If I could make a deal right now to raise the Federal Government's revenue by $1 and $1 only in return for an iron-clad inviolable guarantee that the Fed Gov would never again raise taxes, I would take it in a heartbeat.

    You know who will immediately rescind that offer? You, the moment you realized that means you never again get to argue that all we need to do fix society is raise taxes on billionaires "just a little bit."

  • freedomlover||

    Hmmmmmmmmm.............sounds like the gun control argument to me.

    "We just want one little bit - ban handguns, and when we see murder rates dip we'll leave you alone. We promise."

    "We just want to register guns for your own safety. We promise we won't try and take them away."

    "If you just microstamp the shell casings, we'll be able to solve all gun related, violent crime without bothering you at all."

    "But Jenny, just let me put it in a little bit and I'll pull out before I ejaculate. You won't get pregnant. I promise."

  • BYODB||

    So let me get this straight, you think we could disband the military entirely and that money would cover single payer? Is that the claim you're making here?

    Even the 'savings' from abolishing all other social programs won't make up that cost difference. You're saying 'increase taxes, increase spending' just as I knew you would. Hardly surprising.

    Presumably taxes will be involved in paying down the debt, that much is a given, but it would also involve not ever having 'nice things' like Universal Healthcare. Unless, of course, you don't care about deficits. Which I know you don't. At all.

  • Tony||

    Let me be clear, I don't actually believe the national debt to be an imminent crisis, nor do I think it will ever or should ever go away. And every single debt hawk either knows this or has been hoodwinked. Furthermore I don't think you can even describe the looming problem the debt is supposedly going to cause.

    This is why it's always described by people like you in raw dollars (ooh scary!) rather than as a ratio to GDP. You have an agenda, and it has nothing to do with paying down debt, and it's not even a good agenda. As long as the debt is paying for things that are useful, as in civilization itself, it is required of us to make sure that debt is actually a looming crisis that justifies cutting out all that useful stuff.

    But the cutting is your ultimate goal, isn't it? Once we shove aside all the economics pseudo-science, we get to the plain fact that your ultimate goal is simply to make life more miserable for most Americans, because the Free Market Gods demand it and no other reason.

  • BYODB||


    Let me be clear, I don't actually believe the national debt to be an imminent crisis, nor do I think it will ever or should ever go away.


    No kidding! That's why we constantly point out that you argue in bad faith and is one of the primary reason's, but not the only reason, why you are often referred to as 'shit stain'.

  • Tony||

    It's bad faith to disagree with you (and agree with mainstream economics) about the nature of the problem ? I have to accept your premise, is that what you're saying? You're deeper in this rabbit hole than I thought.

    This isn't like having a theological debate when one person doesn't even believe in Jesus. Or maybe it is?

  • ||

    It's bad faith to disagree with you (and agree with mainstream economics) about the nature of the problem ?

    No. It's bad faith to consistently mischaracterize other people's arguments, lie about your own arguments, constantly move the goalposts, and peddle the same pointless bullshit over and over again when it has been debunked literally hundreds of times.

    And you know fuck-all about "mainstream economics," which is with us on this one, not that the term "mainstream" has any magical power to make something right, but that's about your level of thinking so I toss it out there. .

  • MarkLastname||

    Look up 'crowding out.' It's what happens when deficit spending drains credit from the private sector, suppressing economic growth. Every mainstream economist believes it's a real thing. Even Paul Krugman believes it when there's a Republican president.

  • ||

    I don't think you can even describe the looming problem the debt is supposedly going to cause.

    That's because you're astoundingly ignorant on almost every subject.

    This is why it's always described by people like you in raw dollars (ooh scary!) rather than as a ratio to GDP.

    And again you prove what a lazy shit stain you are. We pretty much always talk about debt as a percentage of GDP. Which you would know if you weren't a dishonest fuckwad.

    The "looming crisis" is the current drag on the economy caused by the amount of money we burn every year on debt service. Do you know what those words mean? I imagine not.

    We know that our current % of debt is too high and is a drag on the economy. This is mainstream economics, to use your charmingly ignorant terminology.

    Do you know what happens when you increase the debt, fucking genius? You increase your debt service costs. Do you know what happens when your debt service costs get too high, shit-for-brains?

    That's right - you can't afford "civilization" because you don't have any money left over after your debt service payments.

    You're so ignorant it hurts.

  • And you believe that why?||

    Square,

    What we've been doing to to keep interest rates extremely low. This kicks the debt servicing can down the road.

    Ofc it also gave us a pension fund shortfall but, hey look over there.

  • John Donohue||

    Defense of the Nation accounts for only 14% of Federal Spending.

    http://mil14.com

    Social Services = 69%

  • chemjeff||

    DC has more than enough tax revenue coming in right now to pay for what it ought to do as well as to begin seriously paying down the debt.

  • Tony||

    But if it's such a potentially existential problem, surely we don't want to mess with the politics of cutting Medicare and Social Security while we put that fire out? The people will revolt, causing a whole new problem.

    The federal income tax has been low for a long time. Time to do the expedient thing, or we're all going to die.

  • ||

    The federal income tax has been low for a long time.

    How is it now compared to what it was in, say, 1900?

  • Tony||

    Would you want to live in 1900?

  • ||

    So you admit that you were lying. That's rare for you.

  • MarkLastname||

    Would you want to live in 1950 when we had a higher marginal tax rate? No? I guess that settles it, you like low taxes.

  • BYODB||

    Because obviously, there is only one way to reduce deficits, higher taxes! Right? That is what you're claiming here, right? You're saying that spending is entirely divorced from a deficit, they just appear like Santa on Christmas?

  • Tony||

    I can find lots of spending to cut. I'm saying that you're the ones not addressing both sides of the ledger, and you're doing it for the purpose of being disingenuous. Do you really want to lower the debt, or do you just want to use it as a vehicle to impose your radical antigovernment ideology on everyone?

  • Hello Clarice||

    Both :). Also, please cover up before you next post. Your debt-erection is quite crude. Show some decency man!!

  • ||

    I'm saying that you're the ones not addressing both sides of the ledger, and you're doing it for the purpose of being disingenuous.

    That's so true! No one here is saying that the Republican plan of "borrow and spend" is just as idiotic as the Democrat plan of "tax and spend." No one!

    Libertarians are stupid.

  • Hello Clarice||

    Well, he would agree with the latter statement without much argument. He doesn't really like to acknowledge the former though. I think it's because he hates foreigners as well as babies, both well documented opinions of his.

  • Tony||

    Or evil. All you have to do to convince me otherwise is explain in soundly logical terms why we have to take away healthcare from old people to address the debt problem right now but can't take any excess wealth from billionaires. Sounds pointlessly cruel.

  • Hello Clarice||

    Good and evil are subjective. What are you, an English major? Dig a little deeper and dream a grander dream

  • Tony||

    Good and evil are subjective, says the libertarian.

  • Hello Clarice||

    I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just here for the lolz like you son. And you make me giggle.

  • ||

    Good and evil are subjective, says the libertarian.

    I can see how you would think such an idea would be incompatible with the idea that people should be free to govern themselves as they see fit as long as they don't harm others.

    The idea that men in suits who work for the government know what's right for everybody is the outcome of a much more sophisticated notion of morality.

  • ||

    All you have to do to convince me otherwise is explain in soundly logical terms why we have to take away healthcare from old people to address the debt problem right now but can't take any excess wealth from billionaires.

    I don't have to do shit for you. Go fuck yourself.

  • BYODB||

    Look, Tony doesn't have any savings and he certainly doesn't have any assets so why would we expect him to care about a deficit? I mean that honestly, he has no skin in that game.

  • Tony||

    The federal budget isn't a household budget. It just isn't. I wish I could print my own money, but I can't.

  • ||

    I wish I could print my own money, but I can't.

    And I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that you don't see anything immoral at all about the government running up debt and then cancelling it out by devaluing everyone else's currency.

    Because the Federal Budget isn't a household budget, therefore money doesn't really exist! Hrrr, drrrr!

  • BYODB||

    And, on top of that, Tony is so ignorant he doesn't realize I was talking about devaluation of those savings as opposed to some idiotic comparison to a household budget.

    Oops, your dumb is showing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony|9.25.17 @ 5:19PM|#
    The federal budget isn't a household budget. It just isn't. I wish I could print my own money, but I can't.


    You obviously don't lend money to suckers with no savings and no assets. Its like printing money when you get 28% return on loans.

    Even better are the renters in big cities who cannot afford to save up to buy a place and have to pay me to retire. These morons live in tiny apartments and pay big money for the privilege to do so.

  • MarkLastname||

    Point goes right over Tony's head.

    The point is that people who have no savings don't lose everything they worked for over their lives from inflation from persistent deficits; hence the speculation that you're a profligate who can't fiscally take care of himself.

  • And you believe that why?||

    I wish I could print my own money, but I can't.

    You're wishing for the wrong thing. Printing your own money is stealing from others. Doing something of value that can be exchanged for money has far fewer moral dilemmas.

    I strongly suggest you consider wishing for the ability to create something of value instead of a token that is acceptable to trade for value.

  • ||

    All you have to do to convince me otherwise is explain in soundly logical terms why we have to take away healthcare from old people to address the debt problem right now but can't take any excess wealth from billionaires.

    Okay, I know I said I wouldn't do this, but I'm going to do it anyway.

    The problem, child, is that we spend too much money. We spend far more than we take in. Taking "excess wealth" (whatever that means) from billionaires to backfill you're drunken-sailor spending sprees instead of addressing the root cause of the problem, well, doesn't address the root cause of the problem, which is the spending.

    Do you know what does address the root cause of the problem? Cutting spending. We don't have to start with taking medical care away from old people, but do you have any other suggestions? In addition to cutting the military budget?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony|9.25.17 @ 4:02PM|#

    They obviously must, since they believe debt to be such a major problem.


    Must? No. They can cut the budget by 50%+ and that will pay off the debt in less than a decade.

  • MarkLastname||

    It's called 'spending cuts' dipshit. Why raise taxes to cut the deficit when there are already hundreds of billions of dollars being pissed away every year that can be dropped?

    I swear, you're like drunk who insists on telling the family they have to chip in to pay for his booze habit so he doesn't have to sell his car; doesn't even occur to you just eliminate the unnecessary expenses.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Why We Need To Shrink the National Debt, And Fast!
    Too much debt slows economic growth and reduces living standards.

    1. I wonder how many trillion dollars in debt we have to go until the USA collapses like the old USSR.
    2. It would help a lot if congress would stop all this spending, but I doubt that will happen.
    3. The big question is, what will we do once the economic collapse occurs in this country.

  • Tony||

    We already had the economic collapse. Were you guys not around saying the way to deal with that was actually to cut spending (same as every other year)? Thank fucking god nobody listened to you.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Yeah, thank God no one listened to us.
    Otherwise the debt might be reduced.
    No socialist turd would want that.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Do you mean the housing bubble bursting in 2008?

    That is nothing more than a recession caused by government's picking winners and losers in housing. The good states have reset their housing markets while the shit holes like Taxifornia are still struggling statewide.

    Economic collapse like you need a wheelbarrel full of cash to shop for groceries. Germany 1920s.

  • MarkLastname||

    You mean in 2011, during the sequester, when Paul Krugman predicted a decline in the deficit would cause an economic collapse... and was instead followed by a more robust recovery than had been seen in the last 5 years?

    Try getting checked for Alzheimer's, your memory is clearly not right.

  • AngelaM||

    Wasn't electing businessmen, MBA holder G.W. Bush and a sort of self-aggrandizing billionaire, Donald J. Trump, supposed to fix the problem with the national debt. Both of them were and are so much more interested or in the minority persident's case, self-interested in, cutting taxes that the exploding deficit concerns them not at all. As V.P. Cheney once famously noted, "Deficits don't matter." Prehaps the party of big business, isn't so pro-growth as they claim nor as committed to shrinking government - only to shrinking income while doing nothing to reduce spending. Isn't that what they accused both President Clinton and Obama of doing, even though both presidents did shrink the national debt?

  • Hello Clarice||

    It's adorable how all of these systematic/unhealthy practices boil down to "this president good, this president bad". Am I the only one who remembers the government had more than 1 employee?

  • MarkLastname||

    Neither Clinton nor Obama shrunk the debt. Obama increased the debt (even a fraction of GDP) by more than any president since ww2.

    You have no idea what you're talking about.

  • Brad Nayles||

    100% nonsense.

    The national "debt" is nothing more than the savings accounts of public and private entities denominated in USD. If you own a US treasury bond, you own part of the "debt". If the government decided to pay off the "debt", you and everyone else that owned bonds would just get your money back. What's the point of that?

    I read many of the comments here and no one seems to understand that the USA has been off the gold standard and has had a floating currency since 1971. Unlike states, municipalities, and households, our federal government is NOT financially constrained. Anything that can be purchased with USD is affordable to the federal government. Any debt denominated in USD can be paid off at any time without any financial impact on citizens. In fact, it doesn't even need to sell bonds or collect taxes to pay for its budget. The federal government is the ISSUER of the currency: IT CANNOT GO BROKE. Hurray!

    You should be asking yourself why our politicians insist that we can't have free healthcare, free education, strong social security, jobs program instead of welfare, infrastructure repairs, etc etc. All this is possible NOW. It's not a financial problem, it's political.

    Free your mind from the tyranny of economic absurdity. Read about Modern Monetary Theory. Randall Wray, Stephanie Kelton, Bill Mitchell, Warren Mosler, etc. It's a global movement. Get on board.

  • ||

    I read many of the comments here and no one seems to understand that the USA has been off the gold standard and has had a floating currency since 1971

    Yup. No one here knows anything about that.

    The federal government is the ISSUER of the currency: IT CANNOT GO BROKE. Hurray!

    And there is no ultimate downside to that at all. None whatsoever. We can just keep printing money for as long we need stuff.

    I know! Why not just use leaves as currency? All of our problems will be solved!

  • MarkLastname||

    Wow. I don't think I've ever seen such concentrated stupidity.

    When the government borrows money, it depletes the credit supply and drains private investment. Money goes to bureaucratic hobby horses instead of production of goods and services demanded by consumers. Fundamentally, it's sbout who allocates capital better, markets or states (hint: its markets)

    And when the government issues massive amounts of currency to give itselffree money it deflates the value of savings, discourages investment, and sabotaged the private sector.

    Seriously, have you not heard of the 70s? Or 1920s Germany? Talk about fucking zombie ideas.

  • Charles Barr||

    Of course the government can't print "massive amounts of money" without inflating it away. But what if the government issues money at the current rate without issuing bonds to "back" this money? The inflationary impact of the new money will be exactly the same, but the national debt will no longer increase.

    Germany's hyperinflation was triggered to a great extent by a huge debt imposed by the victors of World War I. In an attempt to pay off this debt, Germany printed massive amounts of its official currency to purchase the hard assets to give the victors. Without the burden of an unpayable debt, the German hyperinflation might never have occurred.

    Likewise, much of the damage inflicted on the U.S. economy since we went off the gold standard has been caused by issuing debt to fund the deficit, not by issuing fiat money itself. To cite just one example: interest payments on the national debt amount to a steep $2,000 per year for each person in the U.S. over the age of 18. This amount must be paid each year by taxpayers or funded by going still further into debt. This is not sustainable. We have to begin treating the deficit and the debt as two separate issues. We can't fix the deficit in the short term, but we can stop issuing debt and begin paying the existing one down. And we should. See www.fixourmoney.com .

  • blondrealist||

    You seem to believe in the myth of the "loanable funds" theory. It is not true that when the government borrows money that it depletes the credit supply.

    I'm not part of the MMT crowd - but much of what they offer is sound. The risk in our fiat currency system is inflation. i happen to believe that because our economy is operating well below its productive capacity that we won't see harmful inflation any time soon.

    Once again, the smart people at Reason mention only one side of the balance sheet - the total federal debt. Why no mention of the asset side?

  • And you believe that why?||

    I was with you until, "Any debt denominated in USD can be paid off at any time without any financial impact on citizens."
    At this point I knew you were leading up to a Magic Money Tree pitch.

    MMT requires low interest rates or the house of cards collapses. If we get any type of real economic growth(or import costs increase, especially for key commodities), the resulting interest rates, and accompanying inflation, will be on the order of what helped get Reagan elected.

    I stayed on the train long enough to see that, once we come to a bend in the track, the train will derail. I don't know if there is a bend before my stop. I do know that I do not want to be on that train if there is.

  • gordo53||

    We will never reduce the debt and anyone who knows enough to write about it knows it isn't ever going to happen unless, of course, we simply default it all away.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The default is going to happen soon. Especially once our debt load become 100% of GDP. Imagine if your debt was 100% of your yearly earning potential 20 years down the road and you had no assets to cover the debt.

    You can only borrow so much money and then the gravy train derails.

    Ask every country that ever defaulted on massive debt.

  • blondrealist||

    Japan's fiat currency system is similar to ours. Their government debt to GDP ratio hit 250% last year - and they have not defaulted and the widely predicted (for years) hyperinflation has not occurred.

  • Rockabilly||

    This is a no brainer. Even I, can figure it out.

    Cut government by 95% and abolish the IRS.

  • Charles Barr||

    The fix is simple: STOP ISSUING DEBT-BASED MONEY! From a conservative or libertarian perspective, pure or "unbacked" fiat money is much less destructive to the economy and to personal liberty than the "debt-backed" fiat money we use today. Debt-free money does not saddle future generations with unchosen obligations, and
    actually poses a lower risk of hyperinflation and economic collapse than debt-based money. See www.fixourmoney.com .

  • blondrealist||

    Most of the new money in our system is created by the private sector. Banks create new money when they make loans. Loans create deposits, one person's spending is another person's income.

    If one expects the economy to grow over time, then doesn't it stand to reason that aggregate debt will also grow?

  • John Donohue||

    Not to mention deliberately inflating the currency. If you can even call it currency any more.

    Maybe collectivists secretly believe we should never "pay" the debt down, won't do it, can't do it, and so what!

    I run into some who just think the government should just print all the 'currency' needed for everyone to live nice, and distribute it at a party.

  • John Donohue||

    How embarrassing. After posting the above comment, I scrolled up and saw that someone, Brad Nayles, already believes and proposes what I described with total absurdity.

    What a world

  • John Donohue||

    I like to post a link in threads like this, in case anyone wants to look at the cold facts of Federal Spending.

    http://mil14.com

    All figures taken from government website. FY 2018 Projected, starts Oct 1

    69% Social Services $2819 Billion
    14% Defense of the Nation $595 Billion
    11% General Government $457 Billion
    06% Interest on the Debt $241 Billion

    Total spending: 4.1 Trillion Dollars

  • swampwiz||

    Hmm ... I remember a decade in the last century when taxes were raised, causing the debt to DISAPPEAR and the economy to boom. So let's raise taxes!

  • And you believe that why?||

    The only time the US has had no national debt was under Andrew Jackson. Mission accomplished was declared on Jan. 8, 1835. The economy crashed in 1837.

  • blondrealist||

    And the next 5 times there was a mere budget surplus, the economy crashed within 2 years. For the Clinton surplus, some suggest that the expected crash was delayed by loose monetary policy (the Fed), the tech stock bubble and the real estate bubble.

  • socialismisevil||

    OH
    WE'RE SUNK

    THEY ARE WAITING FOR TH EBIG COLLAPSE SO THEY CAN GO INTO

    TAKEOVER MODE

    AND THEN DEBT "DOESNT MATTA"

  • socialismisevil||

    WAR IS NOT GOOD

    *FOR* THE ECONOMY

    ITS USED TO COVER UP THE ECONOMY

  • EscherEnigma||

    I kind of wish articles like this put in more effort to blame the debt on entitled Silent Generation and Baby Boomers.

  • thinkthenspeak||

    Sorry, Nick Gillespie. But you seem to be under the misconception that this country is run for the benefit of the working class. If you simply change your frame of reference, then suddenly everything makes perfect sense.

    Your "fantasy land" byline is: "Too much debt slows economic growth and reduces living standards."

    The real world version is: The maximum possible debt improves living standards for the 1%.

    No point railing against just a symptom. This is part of a major systemic problem. BEFORE paying down the debt, we have to shrink the government to prevent this in the first place. Because even if you paid off the debt today, you would be enabling the next administration to go on a spending spree.

  • ||

    Take it from me, Canada has been more than happy to unlearn that lesson.

  • RodgerMitchell||

    Libertarians want you to believe that taking dollars out of an economy (via tax increases and spending decreases) will, by some magic of mathematics, grow GDP.

    But here is the GDP formula: GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports.

    Someone please tell me how cuts in Federal Spending can grow GDP.

    At the same time, let me know how applying leeches cures anemia.

  • blondrealist||

    I would add that Libertarians have a poor grasp of how fiat currency systems work. Many of them also seem to think there's some fixed pool of money at any given time - the mythical loanable funds theory.

    Where I find myself agreeing with Libertarians is on the proper roles of the federal government. There is plenty that the federal government does that would likely be handled better by the private sector - and all that would mean a smaller federal government.

  • ||

    We had a chance to reduce the national debt in 2000, when GW Bush inherited a budget that was more or less (with a few accounting tricks) in balance. Instead, regarding a budget surplus, Bush said, "It's your money." I have given up on the political class in this country. We're fucked.

  • Paulina||

    Debt is a serious issue. One should be very careful about managing money because it is easy to get into the debtors' prison. The national debt is so high that perhaps even ordinary people feel that on their necks. The country's debt has a way of influencing the ordinary people and the country's international policy. Perhaps it is time for the government to consider taking a loan. I guess that the Manitoba payday loans can help people to finance their needs and can help the country get back and its feet.

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