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(Huffington Post)   Amidst all the doom and gloom over "out-of-control" government spending, the Treasury Department notes that in January, the U.S. had a $3 billion surplus. No, that is not a typo   (huffingtonpost.com) divider line 326
    More: Spiffy, Treasury Department, Uncle Sam, government spending, Dean Baker, federal government, Inside the Beltway  
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8627 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Feb 2013 at 10:09 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-13 08:41:15 AM
So, that's enough to by a single B-2 stealth bomber?

/or 429 million slinkies
 
2013-02-13 08:48:15 AM
miss diminutive:  429 million slinkies

WE MUST CLOSE THE SLINKY GAP!
 
2013-02-13 08:50:50 AM
The monthly surplus was the first since September.

In other news, even the Cubs win once in a while.
 
2013-02-13 08:51:51 AM

miss diminutive: enough to buy


Sweet merciful crap, I need coffee.
 
2013-02-13 09:02:28 AM
Bush finally got us out of the debt hell created in the Clinton years. Congrats, all!
 
2013-02-13 09:59:15 AM
Its obvious then that the wealthy are paying too much in taxes.
 
2013-02-13 10:11:16 AM
Quick!  Give that money to rich people and huge corporations!
 
2013-02-13 10:12:19 AM
Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

www.slate.com
 
2013-02-13 10:12:26 AM

Gulper Eel: The monthly surplus was the first since September.

In other news, even the Cubs win once in a while.


We had a surplus in September?
 
2013-02-13 10:13:04 AM
This is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.

Obama =/= Clinton

Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.
 
2013-02-13 10:13:24 AM
It's because taxes went up--not just for the rich, but mine as well.  How about some spending cuts now?
 
2013-02-13 10:14:17 AM
Oh, bad news for Republicans.  They need something to create a distraction fast.
 
2013-02-13 10:14:53 AM
and... it's gone
 
2013-02-13 10:16:12 AM
So we're running $290 billion in the red for 3 months and somehow we have a $3 billion surplus?

i.huffpost.com
 
2013-02-13 10:16:28 AM
Sorry. It's all my fault. I'm claiming single zero on my W2 when I could be claiming Married 1 or 2.
 
2013-02-13 10:16:51 AM

cfroelic: How about some spending cuts now?


Okay, where?
 
2013-02-13 10:16:54 AM
This is GREAT news for fiscal conservatives!

Now there is clearly NO reason to raise the debt ceiling.

Suck on that, you crappy liberals.
 
2013-02-13 10:16:58 AM
Oh boy if this year were to run 334 months we will not have to borrow a single penny to pay our bills. This is GREAT news
 
2013-02-13 10:18:15 AM
Fantastic news.  Now if we just keep that up every month, we'll pay off 2010's deficit spending in ~30 years.  Not counting inflation, mind you.
 
2013-02-13 10:18:39 AM
Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.
 
2013-02-13 10:18:41 AM
 How much was attributed to the delayed filing for tax refunds?
 
2013-02-13 10:18:53 AM
Big Man On Campus:
Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.

uh....that's not how it works. Without a budget Congress still has to pass a bill authorizing money for basic services to continue(medicare/SS payments, payroll for essential employees/military service members, etc). That's what happened under Clinton. The President can't just say "nobody come in on Monday, we're shuttin' this thing down"
 
2013-02-13 10:19:09 AM

Big Man On Campus: This is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.

Obama =/= Clinton

Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.


Actually no.  It's because farm income has to be reported and taxes paid by Jan 15th much like regular income has to be reported and taxes paid by April 15th.  What you are seeing is witheld income/taxes that are being sent in causing a bump in the revenue numbers just like every year.

The structural deficit is still there.
 
2013-02-13 10:19:24 AM
soopey: W2
 W4
 
2013-02-13 10:19:51 AM

rev. dave: They need something to create a distraction fast.


I wonder what issue was driven in to the ground with congressional hearings and froth and idiotic political theatre that allowed the GOP to avoid talking about the fact that the economy continues to be fine and government spending has decreased pretty consistently...

wait...

I'll think of it in a minute. I could've sworn something happened.
 
2013-02-13 10:20:59 AM

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.


Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?
 
2013-02-13 10:22:11 AM
I'm really surprised there are still people under the illusion that the United States government can be or will be fiscally solvent at some point. You will all be in a rude awakening in a few years.
 
2013-02-13 10:22:11 AM

DamnYankees: untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?


I was temporarily out of the little letters.
 
2013-02-13 10:22:38 AM

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.


Yeah, Obama is so irresponsible! I can't believe he would spend so much without paying off the debt, like all the presidents before him like... um... Andrew Jackson?
 
2013-02-13 10:23:03 AM

ChuDogg: I'm really surprised there are still people under the illusion that the United States government can be or will be fiscally solvent at some point. You will all be in a rude awakening in a few years.


We're fiscally solvent right now and will be tomorrow. So I don't now what you're talking about.
 
2013-02-13 10:24:58 AM

hstein3: Fantastic news.  Now if we just keep that up every month, we'll pay off 2010's deficit spending in ~30 years.  Not counting inflation, mind you.


Why would you adjust that for inflation?
 
2013-02-13 10:24:58 AM

DamnYankees: ChuDogg: I'm really surprised there are still people under the illusion that the United States government can be or will be fiscally solvent at some point. You will all be in a rude awakening in a few years.

We're fiscally solvent right now and will be tomorrow. So I don't now what you're talking about.


Not according to the CBO.
 
2013-02-13 10:25:32 AM

ChuDogg: DamnYankees: ChuDogg: I'm really surprised there are still people under the illusion that the United States government can be or will be fiscally solvent at some point. You will all be in a rude awakening in a few years.

We're fiscally solvent right now and will be tomorrow. So I don't now what you're talking about.

Not according to the CBO.


We're going to declare bankruptcy tomorrow? Are you aware of something no one else is?
 
2013-02-13 10:25:36 AM
ChuDogg:
Not according to the CBO.

link please
 
2013-02-13 10:25:41 AM

GranoblasticMan: cfroelic: How about some spending cuts now?

Okay, where?


Not Job Corps. People actually use that program. Somewhere else.
 
2013-02-13 10:25:59 AM
So the Bush tax cuts are finally starting to work?
 
2013-02-13 10:26:16 AM

DamnYankees: ChuDogg: I'm really surprised there are still people under the illusion that the United States government can be or will be fiscally solvent at some point. You will all be in a rude awakening in a few years.

We're fiscally solvent right now and will be tomorrow. So I don't now what you're talking about.


Have you looked at forecasts for the percentage of revenues which interest on debt will take up?
 
2013-02-13 10:26:38 AM
This is why we need to cut Social Security as quickly as possible. If we wait any longer the deficit crisis might not look so crisisy.
 
2013-02-13 10:26:50 AM

YixilTesiphon: Have you looked at forecasts for the percentage of revenues which interest on debt will take up?


Is that going to happen tomorrow?
 
2013-02-13 10:26:58 AM

MadMattressMack: So we're running $290 billion in the red for 3 months and somehow we have a $3 billion surplus?


For January only
 
2013-02-13 10:27:02 AM

DamnYankees


untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?


He wanted to be ABSOLUTELY sure everyone saw that he doesn't know the difference between DEBT and DEFICIT.
 
2013-02-13 10:27:05 AM

GranoblasticMan: cfroelic: How about some spending cuts now?

Okay, where?


We can start with the bloated military. If the air force or army leaders don't want that fancy new weapons system being pushed by an influential congressman, don't buy it. It wouldn't hurt for our carriers to spend a bit more time in US ports. After that we can move on to foreign aid to countries with leaders who bank the money in Switzerland. Maybe some Medicare repairs to eliminate the tens of billions of fraud it gets hit with every year. Also pay and benefit cuts for ALL federal politicians and no more farm subsidies to corporate farms. And last ,but certainly not least, entitlement reform. Get the ball rolling.
 
2013-02-13 10:27:20 AM

Big Man On Campus: This is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.

Obama =/= Clinton

Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.


Actually, that was Gingrich....
 
2013-02-13 10:27:25 AM

DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]


But poor people get free cellphones so we must cut spending.
 
2013-02-13 10:28:15 AM
Meant to preview, not post that.  Payroll tax increase is a large part of the reason that January is a surplus
 
2013-02-13 10:28:48 AM

Arkanaut: untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Yeah, Obama is so irresponsible! I can't believe he would spend so much without paying off the debt, like all the presidents before him like... um... Andrew Jackson?


Feel free to bold the part of my post which, in your twisted imagination, blamed Obama.
 
2013-02-13 10:28:50 AM
Helped by 9 billion in SS taxes?

Are we using SS taxes to pay for other stuff again?
 
2013-02-13 10:29:21 AM

soopey: soopey: W2
 W4


www.northarvestbean.org
 
2013-02-13 10:29:31 AM

DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: Have you looked at forecasts for the percentage of revenues which interest on debt will take up?

Is that going to happen tomorrow?


No, but the decisions we make tomorrow have an effect. We can't afford to be nonchalant about the debt.
 
2013-02-13 10:30:01 AM
Mr. Eugenides: It's because farm income has to be reported and taxes paid by Jan 15th much like regular income has to be reported and taxes paid by April 15th.  What you are seeing is witheld income/taxes that are being sent in causing a bump in the revenue numbers just like every year.

Bam. Happens every year, followed shortly by a clone of the linked article.
 
2013-02-13 10:30:16 AM

YixilTesiphon: DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: Have you looked at forecasts for the percentage of revenues which interest on debt will take up?

Is that going to happen tomorrow?

No, but the decisions we make tomorrow have an effect. We can't afford to be nonchalant about the debt.


So my post was correct and you agree with me - we will be solvent at some point in the future, like tomorrow.
 
2013-02-13 10:31:00 AM

DamnYankees: ChuDogg: I'm really surprised there are still people under the illusion that the United States government can be or will be fiscally solvent at some point. You will all be in a rude awakening in a few years.

We're fiscally solvent right now and will be tomorrow. So I don't now what you're talking about.


That's ok, neither does he
 
2013-02-13 10:31:00 AM
No, that's not [Spiffy] at all. Interest rates on Treasury bonds are below inflation. Investors are literally paying us to take their money. And we refuse because socialism and "confidence."

We should be spending hundreds of billions on infrastructure - road repair, high speed rail, sewage and water systems, broadband access, electrical upgrades - and double our basic science budget. Then send a $5000 check to everyone who files taxes.
 
2013-02-13 10:31:17 AM

untaken_name: Arkanaut: untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Yeah, Obama is so irresponsible! I can't believe he would spend so much without paying off the debt, like all the presidents before him like... um... Andrew Jackson?

Feel free to bold the part of my post which, in your twisted imagination, blamed Obama.


Whatever.  Why are you even worrying about the debt?
 
2013-02-13 10:31:39 AM

DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: Have you looked at forecasts for the percentage of revenues which interest on debt will take up?

Is that going to happen tomorrow?

No, but the decisions we make tomorrow have an effect. We can't afford to be nonchalant about the debt.

So my post was correct and you agree with me - we will be solvent at some point in the future, like tomorrow.


If somebody has a mortgage they can't afford and nearly as much credit card debt as they make in a year, are they solvent? Technically, maybe, but let's not confuse that with "in good shape".
 
2013-02-13 10:31:43 AM
Through the first four months of the 2013 budget year, the deficit has grown $290.4 billion. That's nearly $60 billion lower than the same period a year ago.
-=-
Grow lower?
 
2013-02-13 10:31:50 AM
...upon hearing of the monthly surplus, Congress quickly acted and spent the money on a pork filled bill that will spend that $3B each month going forward for the next year.
 
2013-02-13 10:31:56 AM
ChuDogg:
I'm really surprised there are still people under the illusion that the United States government can be or will be fiscally solvent at some point. You will all be in a rude awakening in a few years.

If a business was run the way the government is run - constantly failing to generate a profit, acquiring operating funds by continually borrowing money from its competitors - its shareholders would be able to sue the directorship into the ground for incompetence.  Unfortunately the US government can simply force its "shareholders" to buy more "shares" at gunpoint, with their taxes, and can declare itself immune from legal action by fiat.   This is what happens when the lowest 46% of this country decide to elect lawyers to be President, instead of successful businessmen.  We get "lawyer-style" government where cleverly worded legislation trumps the bottom line.
 
2013-02-13 10:32:36 AM

YixilTesiphon: If somebody has a mortgage they can't afford and nearly as much credit card debt as they make in a year, are they solvent? Technically, maybe, but let's not confuse that with "in good shape".


If they can make their payments when they come due, they are solvent. That's what the word means.
 
2013-02-13 10:32:37 AM
Shouldn't someone from the GOP announce, businesses have been overpaying on their taxes for the last 15 years, and this windfall should be given back to them?
 
2013-02-13 10:33:27 AM
Out of how many trillions?  Drop in the bucket much?
 
2013-02-13 10:33:53 AM
That's great.  It's too bad we measure things in Trillions, now.

/Billion is the new Million
 
2013-02-13 10:33:56 AM
Wow, we always put a crazy agenda based * by Fox News stories, I guess we should do the same with HuffPo stories too.  So we didn't spend all the money in the first month? Lets see how the fiscal year ends and then get back to me if we still have a surplus.
 
2013-02-13 10:34:33 AM

DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: If somebody has a mortgage they can't afford and nearly as much credit card debt as they make in a year, are they solvent? Technically, maybe, but let's not confuse that with "in good shape".

If they can make their payments when they come due, they are solvent. That's what the word means.


OK. Yes. The federal government will not default on its debt tomorrow. Hooray!
 
2013-02-13 10:34:35 AM
No Such Agency:If a business was run the way the government is run

Government is not and should not be run like a business. They are different things.

/the 46% thing is a myth
 
2013-02-13 10:35:15 AM
Well hopefully we keep the 2013 deficit below a trillion dollars. USA! USA! USA!
 
2013-02-13 10:35:39 AM

YixilTesiphon: OK. Yes. The federal government will not default on its debt tomorrow. Hooray!


Ok, good first step. Now you just need to understand that the federal government will literally never default on its debt and we can start talking about real issues.
 
2013-02-13 10:36:01 AM

YixilTesiphon: DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: Have you looked at forecasts for the percentage of revenues which interest on debt will take up?

Is that going to happen tomorrow?

No, but the decisions we make tomorrow have an effect. We can't afford to be nonchalant about the debt.

So my post was correct and you agree with me - we will be solvent at some point in the future, like tomorrow.

If somebody has a mortgage they can't afford and nearly as much credit card debt as they make in a year, are they solvent? Technically, maybe, but let's not confuse that with "in good shape".


Building up debt is exactly what happens when one becomes unemployed.
But you go ahead and pretend that 8% unemployment in America is the new normal.

We can handle trillions more in accumulated debt, if it went to putting Americans to work rebuilding America's infrastructure....

You farking idiot deficit hawks are killing what's left of this nation.

Yes...YOU ARE IDIOTS
 
2013-02-13 10:36:08 AM

DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]


Yankee, your chart shows that, since WWII, we have never reduced government spending.  Period.
 
2013-02-13 10:36:11 AM

miss diminutive: So, that's enough to by a single B-2 stealth bomber?


Works for me. Let's do this.
 
2013-02-13 10:36:54 AM

Giltric: Helped by 9 billion in SS taxes?

Are we using SS taxes to pay for other stuff again?


Increase the SS tax.
Pay out any money for SS claims out of the increased revenue.
Anything left over is transferred over to the General Fund, leaving IOUs with the SS Trust.
Surplus!

Sure, those IOUs will need to be payed back with general fund revenues at some point in the future, but this makes people feel good about how things are working now.
 
2013-02-13 10:37:40 AM

Fool_Marquis: Yankee, your chart shows that, since WWII, we have never reduced government spending.  Period.


Until Obama. Do you not see the drop at the end?
 
2013-02-13 10:39:29 AM

YixilTesiphon: If somebody has a mortgage they can't afford and nearly as much credit card debt as they make in a year, are they solvent? Technically, maybe, but let's not confuse that with "in good shape".


When somebody with a mortgage can print his own currency, comprise a population of >300 million people, and has an indefinite lifespan then your comparison will be apt.

Until then, comparing the federal budget to a household budget will remain spectacularly ignorant and/or dishonest.
 
2013-02-13 10:39:30 AM
www.slate.com
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com
 
2013-02-13 10:39:31 AM
It's not uncommon for specific months to have a surplus. Although it has more uncommon than usual the last 4 years.

http://www.econstats.com/r/rusg__m2.htm

//not that a monthly surplus means anything
 
2013-02-13 10:40:34 AM

X-boxershorts: We can handle trillions more in accumulated debt, if it went to putting Americans to work rebuilding America's infrastructure....


Yes, if you make the unsubstantiated assumption that the multiplier on government spending is >1, debt is magical.

Fool_Marquis: DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]

Yankee, your chart shows that, since WWII, we have never reduced government spending.  Period.


And that reduction coincided with an economic boom, oddly enough.

DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: OK. Yes. The federal government will not default on its debt tomorrow. Hooray!

Ok, good first step. Now you just need to understand that the federal government will literally never default on its debt and we can start talking about real issues.


Sure, it'll just monetize it. How much government spending is enough, do you think?
 
2013-02-13 10:40:42 AM
just a snapshot of fuzzy math, ho hum.
 
2013-02-13 10:41:09 AM

Englebert Slaptyback: DamnYankees

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?


He wanted to be ABSOLUTELY sure everyone saw that he doesn't know the difference between DEBT and DEFICIT.


Right, because clearly I said deficit above. Oh wait, no I did not. I understand the difference. Do you understand that when you are so far in debt that the interest payments will shortly be the largest budget item, a short-term windfall of 3 BILLION dollars over the current quarter is functionally nothing? I could have mentioned the 290 BILLION dollars we are in deficit for 2013 alone, but the impact of the debt is larger than the impact of the deficit, and although they are not the same thing, it will be extremely difficult to pay off the insurmountable debt we owe when we continue to run a large deficit year after year. Every time we complete a year with a deficit, we increase the debt by not just the amount of that deficit, but the amount of interest on the loans required to run that deficit in the first place. You can't just forget about the previous year when the new year begins. Or are you trying to claim that there is no relationship at all between the constant deficits and the debt? HUH? MR SMARTY PANTS? HUH?
blog.heritage.org
 
2013-02-13 10:41:34 AM

YixilTesiphon: Sure, it'll just monetize it. How much government spending is enough, do you think?


Please explain what you mean by "monetize it".

I also don't put an arbitrary cap on spending. You go policy by policy - if its a good idea, fund it. If not, don't. Pretty simple.
 
2013-02-13 10:41:58 AM

Arkanaut: untaken_name: Arkanaut: untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Yeah, Obama is so irresponsible! I can't believe he would spend so much without paying off the debt, like all the presidents before him like... um... Andrew Jackson?

Feel free to bold the part of my post which, in your twisted imagination, blamed Obama.

Whatever.  Why are you even worrying about the debt?


Because of joint and several liability. Why are you not?
 
2013-02-13 10:42:46 AM

DamnYankees: Until Obama. Do you not see the drop at the end?


Which one of his budgets were the ones that are responsible for that drop?
 
2013-02-13 10:43:01 AM

DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: Sure, it'll just monetize it. How much government spending is enough, do you think?

Please explain what you mean by "monetize it".

I also don't put an arbitrary cap on spending. You go policy by policy - if its a good idea, fund it. If not, don't. Pretty simple.


Federal reserve buying T-bills.

So is there no amount that it's unwise for government to spend? Anything that people like, money should be spent on, and there's no limit?
 
2013-02-13 10:43:09 AM

miss diminutive: So, that's enough to by a single B-2 stealth bomber?

/or 429 million slinkies


or provide breakfast for every filthy, greedy, lazy, entitled, 47%er's child who doesn't get enough nutrition to absorb a decent education and have a snowballs chance at breaking a cycle of poverty.

for a few decades.
 
2013-02-13 10:43:30 AM

untaken_name: Because of joint and several liability. Why are you not?


In what way are you jointly and severally liable for the debt. Are you under the impression that if the US government goes bankrupt, China can take you to court for $4 trillion?
 
2013-02-13 10:44:00 AM
I just want to use this opportunity to pretend I'm an economist.
 
2013-02-13 10:44:05 AM

ManRay: DamnYankees: Until Obama. Do you not see the drop at the end?

Which one of his budgets were the ones that are responsible for that drop?


The ones under which the government has been operating for the past several years.
 
2013-02-13 10:44:42 AM

YixilTesiphon: Yes, if you make the unsubstantiated assumption that the multiplier on government spending is >1, debt is magical.


Unsubstantiated by teabaggers....plonk!

I have little time for morons when the nation is this ill
 
2013-02-13 10:45:02 AM

YixilTesiphon: Federal reserve buying T-bills.


And why is this bad?

YixilTesiphon: So is there no amount that it's unwise for government to spend? Anything that people like, money should be spent on, and there's no limit?


If you want to engage with me, please engage with what I said. If you attribute strawmen to me I won't keep speaking with you. I didn't say if people "like" it, we should do it. I never said that.
 
2013-02-13 10:45:24 AM
Only 3 billion. Please. I piss that much away in CCR5-negative WBC daily.
 
2013-02-13 10:45:33 AM

Elroydb: Oh boy if this year were to run 334 months we will not have to borrow a single penny to pay our bills. This is GREAT news


Indeed, so lets say fark it and start spending like were Ronald Reagan! Let the country burn rather than do anything to help because every starting point is way too small.
 
2013-02-13 10:45:54 AM

Voiceofreason01: Big Man On Campus:
Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.

uh....that's not how it works. Without a budget Congress still has to pass a bill authorizing money for basic services to continue(medicare/SS payments, payroll for essential employees/military service members, etc). That's what happened under Clinton. The President can't just say "nobody come in on Monday, we're shuttin' this thing down"


And Obama had how big of a majority in congress during his first term when he could have taken care of this problem? He's weak and his priorities are screwed up.
 
2013-02-13 10:45:59 AM

X-boxershorts: Unsubstantiated by teabaggers....plonk!


It's convenient to discount the opinions of those who disagree with you simply because they disagree with you.

Ignorant, but convenient.
 
2013-02-13 10:46:39 AM

untaken_name: Englebert Slaptyback: DamnYankees

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?


He wanted to be ABSOLUTELY sure everyone saw that he doesn't know the difference between DEBT and DEFICIT.

Right, because clearly I said deficit above. Oh wait, no I did not. I understand the difference. Do you understand that when you are so far in debt that the interest payments will shortly be the largest budget item, a short-term windfall of 3 BILLION dollars over the current quarter is functionally nothing? I could have mentioned the 290 BILLION dollars we are in deficit for 2013 alone, but the impact of the debt is larger than the impact of the deficit, and although they are not the same thing, it will be extremely difficult to pay off the insurmountable debt we owe when we continue to run a large deficit year after year. Every time we complete a year with a deficit, we increase the debt by not just the amount of that deficit, but the amount of interest on the loans required to run that deficit in the first place. You can't just forget about the previous year when the new year begins. Or are you trying to claim that there is no relationship at all between the constant deficits and the debt? HUH? MR SMARTY PANTS? HUH?
[blog.heritage.org image 600x528]


Ah HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Quoting the ALWAYS wrong heritage foundation on things economic?

Is your name Peter G Peterson or something?
 
2013-02-13 10:46:44 AM

Big Man On Campus: And Obama had how big of a majority in congress during his first term when he could have taken care of this problem? He's weak and his priorities are screwed up.


He had 60 votes in the Senate for about 8 months. He did quite a bit in that time period.
 
2013-02-13 10:47:55 AM

DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: Federal reserve buying T-bills.

And why is this bad?


Maybe infinite expansion of the money supply will have no consequences. It's never been a problem before, right?

YixilTesiphon: So is there no amount that it's unwise for government to spend? Anything that people like, money should be spent on, and there's no limit?

If you want to engage with me, please engage with what I said. If you attribute strawmen to me I won't keep speaking with you. I didn't say if people "like" it, we should do it. I never said that.


You said "if it's a good idea". The obvious real-world substantiation of that is "if Congress likes it".

But sure, let's say it passes your magical "good idea" test. Is there a limit?
 
2013-02-13 10:48:17 AM

leevis: GranoblasticMan: cfroelic: How about some spending cuts now?

Okay, where?

We can start with the bloated military. If the air force or army leaders don't want that fancy new weapons system being pushed by an influential congressman, don't buy it. It wouldn't hurt for our carriers to spend a bit more time in US ports. After that we can move on to foreign aid to countries with leaders who bank the money in Switzerland. Maybe some Medicare repairs to eliminate the tens of billions of fraud it gets hit with every year. Also pay and benefit cuts for ALL federal politicians and no more farm subsidies to corporate farms. And last ,but certainly not least, entitlement reform. Get the ball rolling.


"Entitlements" are benefits already paid for by beneficiaries. You don't get to charge people for 40 years and then say "sorry, changed our minds."

I mean, companies do but they have to file for bankruptcy to do that.

The financial world has made it clear to Congrss in the past that reducing paid-for benefits is the same as defaulting on the national debt... because those benefits are a public debt owed to its citizens. There is no distinction made between Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security, and paying off T-bills held by China.
 
2013-02-13 10:48:48 AM

Big Man On Campus: Voiceofreason01: Big Man On Campus:
Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.

uh....that's not how it works. Without a budget Congress still has to pass a bill authorizing money for basic services to continue(medicare/SS payments, payroll for essential employees/military service members, etc). That's what happened under Clinton. The President can't just say "nobody come in on Monday, we're shuttin' this thing down"

And Obama had how big of a majority in congress during his first term when he could have taken care of this problem? He's weak and his priorities are screwed up.


Dems had a Filibuster proof majority in the senate for 4 months. Total.

Obamacare (Actually, Republicare) does quite a bit to reduce our spending, as a nation, on health care....
 
2013-02-13 10:49:10 AM
So we have raised taxes and are still going to be 857 billion dollars short for the year.    Got it.

Defecit.    Meaning spent more than you got.

Gert jerb Wershingtern....
 
2013-02-13 10:49:22 AM

BolloxReader: "Entitlements" are benefits already paid for by beneficiaries. You don't get to charge people for 40 years and then say "sorry, changed our minds."


If something can't go on forever, it won't.
 
2013-02-13 10:49:29 AM

Big Man On Campus: This is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.

Obama =/= Clinton

Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.


The president doesn't shut down the federal gov't. Congress does, it controls spending. And both parties have been OK with spending like drunken sailors for the last 2 decades and we have been cuplable by re-electing these people.
 
2013-02-13 10:49:36 AM

YixilTesiphon: You said "if it's a good idea". The obvious real-world substantiation of that is "if Congress likes it".


No, it's not. You asked me about whether I would support a given amount of spending. You didn't ask me what would pass Congress. I really have very little say over what Congress thinks is good spending. I vote for my Congressmen and there's not much more I can do about that.

YixilTesiphon: But sure, let's say it passes your magical "good idea" test. Is there a limit?


No, there's no abstract limit which exists in a vacuum. Any limit is always contextual and must be judged policy by policy.
 
2013-02-13 10:50:00 AM

X-boxershorts: Obamacare (Actually, Republicare) does quite a bit to reduce our spending, as a nation, on health care....


That calculation relies on the CLASS act, which has been ignored by HHS and I believe is getting repealed.
 
2013-02-13 10:50:49 AM

DamnYankees: untaken_name: Because of joint and several liability. Why are you not?

In what way are you jointly and severally liable for the debt. Are you under the impression that if the US government goes bankrupt, China can take you to court for $4 trillion?


http://definitions.uslegal.com/j/joint-and-several-liability/

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/public

Either you don't know what "Public" means, or you don't know what "joint and several liability" means. Here you go.

/note: regarding the definition of "public": you want to pay attention to the legal definition. That's the one they use in court.
 
2013-02-13 10:51:07 AM

DamnYankees: No, there's no abstract limit which exists in a vacuum. Any limit is always contextual and must be judged policy by policy.


So if you could come up with enough policies which are good ideas - let's say that's a concrete thing for the purpose of argument - government could spend 1000% of GDP per year, and that would be OK?
 
2013-02-13 10:52:15 AM
Yes, we had a $3 billion surplus for January, but we still managed to add $16 billion to the national debt.
 
2013-02-13 10:52:52 AM

untaken_name: Arkanaut: untaken_name: Arkanaut: untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Yeah, Obama is so irresponsible! I can't believe he would spend so much without paying off the debt, like all the presidents before him like... um... Andrew Jackson?

Feel free to bold the part of my post which, in your twisted imagination, blamed Obama.

Whatever.  Why are you even worrying about the debt?

Because of joint and several liability. Why are you not?


Because the bond market is letting us roll over the debt practically for free not just now, but for the foreseeable future.
 
2013-02-13 10:53:13 AM

netcentric: So we have raised taxes and are still going to be 857 billion dollars short for the year.    Got it.

Defecit.    Meaning spent more than you got.

Gert jerb Wershingtern....


If yer unemployed or underemployed, do you sometimes borrow money to pay bills?

I mean, is 8 farking percent unemployment the new farking normal? Do you assholes not get it?
The farking economy is STILL recessed because ONE PARTY IN WASHINGTON doesn't give a fark if you are unemployed.
 
2013-02-13 10:53:23 AM

X-boxershorts: untaken_name: Englebert Slaptyback: DamnYankees

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?


He wanted to be ABSOLUTELY sure everyone saw that he doesn't know the difference between DEBT and DEFICIT.

Right, because clearly I said deficit above. Oh wait, no I did not. I understand the difference. Do you understand that when you are so far in debt that the interest payments will shortly be the largest budget item, a short-term windfall of 3 BILLION dollars over the current quarter is functionally nothing? I could have mentioned the 290 BILLION dollars we are in deficit for 2013 alone, but the impact of the debt is larger than the impact of the deficit, and although they are not the same thing, it will be extremely difficult to pay off the insurmountable debt we owe when we continue to run a large deficit year after year. Every time we complete a year with a deficit, we increase the debt by not just the amount of that deficit, but the amount of interest on the loans required to run that deficit in the first place. You can't just forget about the previous year when the new year begins. Or are you trying to claim that there is no relationship at all between the constant deficits and the debt? HUH? MR SMARTY PANTS? HUH?
[blog.heritage.org image 600x528]

Ah HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Quoting the ALWAYS wrong heritage foundation on things economic?

Is your name Peter G Peterson or something?


Well, with facts backed by evidence like that, I'm surprised you haven't won the argument. Oh, wait. If you have an issue with their chart, go ahead and point it out. Or spout off in an attempt to "win" some imaginary prize you think you will get for conning people on the internet into thinking you're super smart without having being actually, you know, smart. Your choice.
 
2013-02-13 10:54:31 AM

Arkanaut: untaken_name: Arkanaut: untaken_name: Arkanaut: untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Yeah, Obama is so irresponsible! I can't believe he would spend so much without paying off the debt, like all the presidents before him like... um... Andrew Jackson?

Feel free to bold the part of my post which, in your twisted imagination, blamed Obama.

Whatever.  Why are you even worrying about the debt?

Because of joint and several liability. Why are you not?

Because the bond market is letting us roll over the debt practically for free not just now, but for the foreseeable future.


www.mysurfbaby.com
 
2013-02-13 10:54:41 AM

brap: I just want to use this opportunity to pretend I'm an economist.


I play one on the internet.

Interested in a Title and Certificate?
 
2013-02-13 10:54:44 AM

untaken_name


Right, because clearly I said deficit above. Oh wait, no I did not.


You didn't need to say the word. You intimated that there couldn't be a surplus because the (very large) debt is still there, neatly demonstrating that you didn't really understand the difference. However, you did some research and it looks like you learned something.

Who's the Smartypants NOW, huh? HUH?


It is still I but you're making progress.
 
2013-02-13 10:54:51 AM

YixilTesiphon: DamnYankees: No, there's no abstract limit which exists in a vacuum. Any limit is always contextual and must be judged policy by policy.

So if you could come up with enough policies which are good ideas - let's say that's a concrete thing for the purpose of argument - government could spend 1000% of GDP per year, and that would be OK?


It's extraordinarily unlikely that would be possible, but if you're stipulating to me in your very question that the good done by those policies would outweigh the bad done by not doing so, sure. An example would be, in a crazy case, if an alien invasion occurred which requires is to build some sort of crazy defense system which cost $150T. I'd support spending that rather than be wiped off the face of the Earth.

And yes, that's an absurd example, but so was your hypothetical.
 
2013-02-13 10:55:09 AM
The only problem is that the $3 billion surplus was the money left over for this years spending, everything beyond that will be debt.
 
2013-02-13 10:55:27 AM
Obama says to fix the deficit we need to spend more, tax more.

Cool though, cheapest plan under the new Obamacare is $20,000 for a family. Think of the opportunity for spending by the government!

We will be saved! We should spend 10 trillion this year, then we will all be millionaires!
 
2013-02-13 10:55:30 AM
ITT: people who think household budgets and businesses work the same as governments.
 
2013-02-13 10:56:44 AM

BolloxReader: "Entitlements" are benefits already paid for by beneficiaries. You don't get to charge people for 40 years and then say "sorry, changed our minds."

I mean, companies do but they have to file for bankruptcy to do that.


Actually, you are not entitled to anything. The Supreme Court ruled that SS taxes are just that, taxes. They are not payments into an account or anything of the sort where the worker has ownership. If Congress wanted to suspend or cancel it tomorrow, they could.
 
2013-02-13 10:57:34 AM
Thunderpipes:
Cool though, cheapest plan under the new Obamacare is $20,000 for a family. Think of the opportunity for spending by the government!

no it's not
 
2013-02-13 10:58:09 AM

DamnYankees: Which one of his budgets were the ones that are responsible for that drop?

The ones under which the government has been operating for the past several years.


Those are the ones that mandated lower spending? I must have missed him taking a leadership position on that one.
 
2013-02-13 10:58:15 AM

ManRay: BolloxReader: "Entitlements" are benefits already paid for by beneficiaries. You don't get to charge people for 40 years and then say "sorry, changed our minds."

I mean, companies do but they have to file for bankruptcy to do that.

Actually, you are not entitled to anything. The Supreme Court ruled that SS taxes are just that, taxes. They are not payments into an account or anything of the sort where the worker has ownership. If Congress wanted to suspend or cancel it tomorrow, they could.


You actually are entitled to it as long as the program exists. Like, the HHS can't simply choose to not pay YOU Medicare. That's why its an entitlement, since as long as the program itself exists, everyone has a claim on it.
 
2013-02-13 10:58:22 AM

X-boxershorts: netcentric: So we have raised taxes and are still going to be 857 billion dollars short for the year.    Got it.

Defecit.    Meaning spent more than you got.

Gert jerb Wershingtern....

If yer unemployed or underemployed, do you sometimes borrow money to pay bills?

I mean, is 8 farking percent unemployment the new farking normal? Do you assholes not get it?
The farking economy is STILL recessed because ONE PARTY IN WASHINGTON doesn't give a fark if you are unemployed.


If I may,,

Still about the money. One party is doing exactly what it's financial owners want done. Somehow, they make PROFIT out of this mess. No profit for society, just for themselves, business as usual.
 
2013-02-13 10:58:33 AM

Voiceofreason01: ChuDogg:
Not according to the CBO.

link please


http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43692-Defi citReduction_print.pdf

By 2020 the US government will have just enough revenue for 3 current programs: Social Security, Defense, and interest payments on the national debt. ZeroHedge did an analysis that this even overly optimistic as predicts 6% GDP growth from 2013 on (lol!)

All other goverement spending will be done with more debt. We are already pretty much past the point to prevent negative amortization. Even if you cut defense to zero and ignore the resulting hit to the economy of one of Americas last industries, it still wouldn't be enough to bring government spending to solvency.

There will be austerity. The only question and opinion a person may have is when. You can be in favor of it now, or you can be in favor of it a little later after spending some more money. The other alternative is currency collapse.
 
2013-02-13 10:58:53 AM

ManRay: Those are the ones that mandated lower spending? I must have missed him taking a leadership position on that one.


Apparently you did, yes.
 
2013-02-13 10:59:32 AM

untaken_name: X-boxershorts: untaken_name: Englebert Slaptyback: DamnYankees

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?


He wanted to be ABSOLUTELY sure everyone saw that he doesn't know the difference between DEBT and DEFICIT.

Right, because clearly I said deficit above. Oh wait, no I did not. I understand the difference. Do you understand that when you are so far in debt that the interest payments will shortly be the largest budget item, a short-term windfall of 3 BILLION dollars over the current quarter is functionally nothing? I could have mentioned the 290 BILLION dollars we are in deficit for 2013 alone, but the impact of the debt is larger than the impact of the deficit, and although they are not the same thing, it will be extremely difficult to pay off the insurmountable debt we owe when we continue to run a large deficit year after year. Every time we complete a year with a deficit, we increase the debt by not just the amount of that deficit, but the amount of interest on the loans required to run that deficit in the first place. You can't just forget about the previous year when the new year begins. Or are you trying to claim that there is no relationship at all between the constant deficits and the debt? HUH? MR SMARTY PANTS? HUH?
[blog.heritage.org image 600x528]

Ah HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Quoting the ALWAYS wrong heritage foundation on things economic?

Is your name Peter G Peterson or something?

Well, with facts backed by evidence like that, I'm surprised you haven't won the argument. Oh, wait. If you have an issue with their chart, go ahead and point it out. Or spout off in an attempt to "win" some imaginary prize you think you will get for conning people on the internet into thinking you're super smart without having being actually, you know, smart. Your choice.


The issue I have is that our GDP (nation's earnings) shrank by almost 10% in 2007 and has NOT YET RECOVERED
MILLIONS of your fellow Americans lost jobs and they have NOT YET RECOVERED
Millions more got laid off into lousy jobs

Unemployment Insurance
Food Stamps
WIC
Medicaid

THAT is the spending your tax deductible charity is deriding. Spending that ALWAYS increases when the nation experiences a recession.

Did or did not the economy collapse in 2007?

THAT chart likes to pretend that 2007 never happened.
Do you pretend that 2007 never happened?
If not, why do you push that crap on the rest of us then?
 
2013-02-13 11:00:20 AM

X-boxershorts: Did or did not the economy collapse in 2007?


It was 2008, actually. But your overall point is correct.
 
2013-02-13 11:01:32 AM

DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: DamnYankees: No, there's no abstract limit which exists in a vacuum. Any limit is always contextual and must be judged policy by policy.

So if you could come up with enough policies which are good ideas - let's say that's a concrete thing for the purpose of argument - government could spend 1000% of GDP per year, and that would be OK?

It's extraordinarily unlikely that would be possible, but if you're stipulating to me in your very question that the good done by those policies would outweigh the bad done by not doing so, sure. An example would be, in a crazy case, if an alien invasion occurred which requires is to build some sort of crazy defense system which cost $150T. I'd support spending that rather than be wiped off the face of the Earth.

And yes, that's an absurd example, but so was your hypothetical.


Well, if you think the multiplier is greater than 1 and there's no practical limit to how much a government which relies on taxes on the private sector can spend on a yearly basis, your plan makes sense.
 
2013-02-13 11:01:41 AM

Thunderpipes: Cool though, cheapest plan under the new Obamacare is $20,000 for a family. Think of the opportunity for spending by the government!


Government spending to pad insurers' profits to ensure that people don't freeload when they get sick or injured.

If you accept the principle that ERs cannot turn away emergent patients, then you have no quarrel with Obamacare except that it was enacted by Obama.
 
2013-02-13 11:02:13 AM

miss diminutive: miss diminutive: enough to buy

Sweet merciful crap, I need coffee.


Well....by!
 
2013-02-13 11:02:32 AM

ChuDogg: Voiceofreason01: ChuDogg:
Not according to the CBO.

link please

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43692-Def i citReduction_print.pdf

By 2020 the US government will have just enough revenue for 3 current programs: Social Security, Defense, and interest payments on the national debt. ZeroHedge did an analysis that this even overly optimistic as predicts 6% GDP growth from 2013 on (lol!)

All other goverement spending will be done with more debt. We are already pretty much past the point to prevent negative amortization. Even if you cut defense to zero and ignore the resulting hit to the economy of one of Americas last industries, it still wouldn't be enough to bring government spending to solvency.

There will be austerity. The only question and opinion a person may have is when. You can be in favor of it now, or you can be in favor of it a little later after spending some more money. The other alternative is currency collapse.


Which is about the only way you are going to get the offshore money back.
 
2013-02-13 11:02:47 AM

YixilTesiphon: Well, if you think the multiplier is greater than 1 and there's no practical limit to how much a government which relies on taxes on the private sector can spend on a yearly basis, your plan makes sense.


What plan? The plan to spend money on stuff where the ROI (not just monetary, but overall utility) is better than doing nothing? I didn't think that was a crazy plan.
 
2013-02-13 11:02:48 AM

ChuDogg: Voiceofreason01: ChuDogg:
Not according to the CBO.

link please

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43692-Def i citReduction_print.pdf



Page not foundThe requested page could not be found.
 
2013-02-13 11:05:02 AM

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.


Clearly you need to watch the Rush Limbaugh clip where he mocks liberals who don't understand the difference between the debt and the deficit.
 
2013-02-13 11:10:04 AM
ChuDogg:
http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43692-De fi citReduction_print.pdf

page not found

but maybe this  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43861  is what you were looking for? But all this is predicated on the existing laws remaining in effect. If we could pass a new budget that increases tax revenue and decreases spending(these things don't need to be super painful or drastic) the outlook for the deficit would change dramatically.
 
2013-02-13 11:14:24 AM
For the federal government having a $3 billion surplus is like you finding $5 in your couch cushions.
 
2013-02-13 11:15:08 AM

YixilTesiphon: DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: DamnYankees: YixilTesiphon: Have you looked at forecasts for the percentage of revenues which interest on debt will take up?

Is that going to happen tomorrow?

No, but the decisions we make tomorrow have an effect. We can't afford to be nonchalant about the debt.

So my post was correct and you agree with me - we will be solvent at some point in the future, like tomorrow.

If somebody has a mortgage they can't afford and nearly as much credit card debt as they make in a year, are they solvent? Technically, maybe, but let's not confuse that with "in good shape".


What does that scenario have to do with the US government's debt? Is the national debt more like credit cards or a mortgage? Which of those 2 debts you mentioned corresponds to the national debt in your mind?
 
2013-02-13 11:16:43 AM
TFA: "The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the government took in a surplus of $2.9 billion in January, helped by nearly $9 billion more in Social Security taxes. Last month Congress and the White House allowed a temporary cut in Social Security taxes to expire."

Wait wait wait... so you're saying that we can bring the deficit down just by *paying* for the shiat our legislators voted to create and sustain?
Who knew it could be so simple!

It's almost like the deficit is a political football; where actually addressing the problem took a back seat to all the grandstanding, rhetoric and whipping the base into a froth.
 
2013-02-13 11:18:27 AM

X-boxershorts: Increasing spending is exactly what happens when one becomes unemployed.


Is that what you meant to say?
 
2013-02-13 11:20:30 AM
Damn Yankees: "The plan to spend money on stuff where the ROI (not just monetary, but overall utility) is better than doing nothing? I didn't think that was a crazy plan."

To say nothing of the parts where money was going to be spent on things *we need to buy anyway* and spending it now will be *cheaper* than waiting.

/ due people essentially paying the US Gov't to hold their money, labor and materials being incredibly cheap, etc.
 
2013-02-13 11:21:50 AM

royone: X-boxershorts: Increasing spending is exactly what happens when one becomes unemployed.

Is that what you meant to say?


It's more accurate to state that, even when one becomes unemployed, the bills you have racked up still need to be paid.
In other words....Spending "continues" but you often have to borrow.

So, no...what you posted is not at all what I meant to say.

But, nice try.
 
2013-02-13 11:22:33 AM

No Such Agency: ChuDogg:
I'm really surprised there are still people under the illusion that the United States government can be or will be fiscally solvent at some point. You will all be in a rude awakening in a few years.

If a business was run the way the government is run - constantly failing to generate a profit, acquiring operating funds by continually borrowing money from its competitors - its shareholders would be able to sue the directorship into the ground for incompetence.  Unfortunately the US government can simply force its "shareholders" to buy more "shares" at gunpoint, with their taxes, and can declare itself immune from legal action by fiat.   This is what happens when the lowest 46% of this country decide to elect lawyers to be President, instead of successful businessmen.  We get "lawyer-style" government where cleverly worded legislation trumps the bottom line.


How does a non-profit organization turn a profit? What products or services should the government be producing and selling and to whom? How about the military? Would they sell war bonds and then invade countries for plunder to repay their investors?

/there are good reasons why government is not like a corporation
 
2013-02-13 11:22:48 AM

AbiNormal: For the federal government having a $3 billion surplus is like you finding $5 in your couch cushions.


Then maybe we should turn the government upside down and give it a good shake.
 
2013-02-13 11:24:15 AM

royone: X-boxershorts: Increasing spending is exactly what happens when one becomes unemployed.

Is that what you meant to say?



Let him go, he's on a roll

/Germans + Pearl Harbor
 
2013-02-13 11:28:02 AM

DamnYankees: ManRay: Those are the ones that mandated lower spending? I must have missed him taking a leadership position on that one.

Apparently you did, yes.


I heard a lot about claims of lowering rates of spending increases in the future, but not a whole bunch about the government actually spending less money now. In fact, most of his proposals involve more spending, or spending money "saved" from cutting elsewhere ("saving" money from ending the war in Afghanistan and spending it domestically) which is not a net reduction.
 
2013-02-13 11:29:14 AM
Fuzzy math makes me feel all fuzzy!
 
2013-02-13 11:29:34 AM

ManRay: I heard a lot about claims of lowering rates of spending increases in the future, but not a whole bunch about the government actually spending less money now


I don't know what you're arguing about. Actual spending fell. In reality. For the first time in 50 years. This isn't really something to debate.
 
2013-02-13 11:31:27 AM
HAHAHAHA cool, at this rate it will only take 5333+ months to pay off the national debt.
 
2013-02-13 11:32:46 AM

AbiNormal: For the federal government having a $3 billion surplus is like you finding $5 in your couch cushions.


More like a quarter.
 
2013-02-13 11:33:06 AM

untaken_name: Arkanaut: untaken_name: Arkanaut: untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Yeah, Obama is so irresponsible! I can't believe he would spend so much without paying off the debt, like all the presidents before him like... um... Andrew Jackson?

Feel free to bold the part of my post which, in your twisted imagination, blamed Obama.

Whatever.  Why are you even worrying about the debt?

Because of joint and several liability. Why are you not?


How does joint and several liability apply to any individual taxpayer regarding the debt? As I understand it, there seem to be a large percentage of the population (47%) who have no federal tax liability at all.
 
2013-02-13 11:33:51 AM

GranoblasticMan: cfroelic: How about some spending cuts now?

Okay, where?


We cut all funding for Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting, then give the ultra-rich a tax break. Deficit solved! Suck it, lib!
 
2013-02-13 11:33:56 AM
Socialism with a budget surplus???

It's SURPCIALISM! And it's the greatest threat to American democracy ever!

/and he's still black so vote Republican
 
2013-02-13 11:33:59 AM

Mr. Eugenides: Big Man On Campus: This is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.

Obama =/= Clinton

Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.

Actually no.  It's because farm income has to be reported and taxes paid by Jan 15th much like regular income has to be reported and taxes paid by April 15th.  What you are seeing is witheld income/taxes that are being sent in causing a bump in the revenue numbers just like every year.

The structural deficit is still there.


Thread over.
 
2013-02-13 11:35:02 AM

DamnYankees: ManRay: I heard a lot about claims of lowering rates of spending increases in the future, but not a whole bunch about the government actually spending less money now

I don't know what you're arguing about. Actual spending fell. In reality. For the first time in 50 years. This isn't really something to debate.


He's bummed that Obummer wants to fix the roof, seal the leaky basement and do some landscaping....
 
2013-02-13 11:36:01 AM

ManFromNowhere: Mr. Eugenides: Big Man On Campus: This is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.

Obama =/= Clinton

Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.

Actually no.  It's because farm income has to be reported and taxes paid by Jan 15th much like regular income has to be reported and taxes paid by April 15th.  What you are seeing is witheld income/taxes that are being sent in causing a bump in the revenue numbers just like every year.

The structural deficit is still there.

Thread over.


No it's not
 
2013-02-13 11:38:26 AM

DamnYankees: I don't know what you're arguing about. Actual spending fell. In reality. For the first time in 50 years. This isn't really something to debate.


I'm not arguing. I am just wondering what actual things Obama was pushing for that caused less money to be spent. If outlays are down, they need to go down much more.
 
2013-02-13 11:39:36 AM

ChuDogg: By 2020 the US government will have just enough revenue for 3 current programs: Social Security, Defense, and interest payments on the national debt.


And considering that SS isn't paid for out of general revenue, that leaves only defense and interest.

The solution is obvious. We need to cut Sesame Street.
 
2013-02-13 11:41:06 AM
All my friends who are not self employed yet still working poor say they were seeing about $60.00 more in taxes taken out of their paycheck each time. Could this be why?
 
2013-02-13 11:41:54 AM

Wendy's Chili: The solution is obvious. We need to cut Sesame Street.


So THAT'S what SS stands for....whocouldaknown
 
2013-02-13 11:44:38 AM

DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.


Dude, seriously? Spending farking exploded between 1999 and 2010 and you're not concerned about it because there has been a little blip down since then? Even though the CBO is predicting that even with economic growth we'll return to trillion dollar deficits in ten years?

Are you that obtuse? We don't need to balance the budget right now, far from it. But how about we start reducing spending to long term averages as a percentage of GDP, and face the fact that entitlements are going to need reform, instead of sticking out heads in the sand and waiting for bad things to happen before we act?
 
2013-02-13 11:46:02 AM

DamnYankees: I also don't put an arbitrary cap on spending. You go policy by policy - if its a good idea, fund it. If not, don't. Pretty simple.


More importantly, every time you decide something is worth it - you put in a tax to fund it.  Sure, condense the taxes, but each program approved increases the levy(and therefore the tax rate by a smidge).

ringersol: Wait wait wait... so you're saying that we can bring the deficit down just by *paying* for the shiat our legislators voted to create and sustain?
Who knew it could be so simple!


I'm nominally a libertarian, and even I think we need to increase taxes in order to pay for the stuff we do.  One of the things I've become more aware of as I grow older is 'false economies'.  IE a dollar paid into a school program NOW may prevent $2 from being spent on the police/court/prison systems within the next decade.  A dollar paid to run the poison control centers can save $10 in emergency room visits.  Remember, health care is tax deductible, so that $10 in extra health care can directly cost the government $2-3 in lost tax revenue.  Heck, running a prison properly so it actually reforms prisoners rather than just warehousing them can cost 50% more per prisoner year - but when you need to incarcerate them for less than half the time and have half the odds that they'll show back up, suddenly it saves money.

I'm a 'practical minarchist'  If you gotta spend the money to save money, I'll dig out my wallet.  I'm fully aware that there needs to be MORE spending as we fix many of our problems before we can drop into a steady state of lower spending.
 
2013-02-13 11:46:41 AM

X-boxershorts: Big Man On Campus: This is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.

Obama =/= Clinton

Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.

Actually, that was Gingrich....


...and it didn't have anything to do with whether or not a budget was passed...
 
2013-02-13 11:48:13 AM

untaken_name: Arkanaut: untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Yeah, Obama is so irresponsible! I can't believe he would spend so much without paying off the debt, like all the presidents before him like... um... Andrew Jackson?

Feel free to bold the part of my post which, in your twisted imagination, blamed Obama.


Done.
 
2013-02-13 11:48:41 AM

Firethorn: More importantly, every time you decide something is worth it - you put in a tax to fund it.


That's a bad idea. At the moment, borrowing makes a lot more sense than taxing.
 
2013-02-13 11:49:22 AM

untaken_name: Englebert Slaptyback: DamnYankees

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?


He wanted to be ABSOLUTELY sure everyone saw that he doesn't know the difference between DEBT and DEFICIT.

Right, because clearly I said deficit above. Oh wait, no I did not. I understand the difference. Do you understand that when you are so far in debt that the interest payments will shortly be the largest budget item, a short-term windfall of 3 BILLION dollars over the current quarter is functionally nothing? I could have mentioned the 290 BILLION dollars we are in deficit for 2013 alone, but the impact of the debt is larger than the impact of the deficit, and although they are not the same thing, it will be extremely difficult to pay off the insurmountable debt we owe when we continue to run a large deficit year after year. Every time we complete a year with a deficit, we increase the debt by not just the amount of that deficit, but the amount of interest on the loans required to run that deficit in the first place. You can't just forget about the previous year when the new year begins. Or are you trying to claim that there is no relationship at all between the constant deficits and the debt? HUH? MR SMARTY PANTS? HUH?
[blog.heritage.org image 600x528]


Your chart is already out of date.  Out of curiosity, I looked up the CBO report that it comes from; the chart shows the impact of "current policy" -- current as of June 2012.  Since then we've had the  American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which:

-raised marginal rates on income above $400k
-raised long-term capital gains and dividend taxes
-ended the payroll tax break

All of which will affect future revenue and close the budget gap.

Furthermore, their interest rate assumption is based on historical averages, which leads them to a 3.0% rate past 2022; however, that is a full percentage point above the current market rate for 10-year Treasuries*, which as of 2/12/2012 was 2.02%.  (In fact, the market expectation for treasuries does not exceed 3% until sometime after 2033.)  And also, the 3.0% assumption is for the "real" interest rate, which adjusts for inflation; this is very likely much higher than even the implied 30-year rate -- if we base it on the current 2.5% Fed target, we're talking about 5.5%, or if we base it on a running 40-year average, it would be about 7.3%.

I think the CBO is doing its job in presenting as realistically bad of a situation as possible, but the bond market is usually pretty good at this sort of thing too.  A lot has to change in our economy (or our government, for that matter) for the gap between the market-based implied rate to close with historical averages that the CBO uses.

In any case the best way of closing the budget gap is to get the slack resources in our economy (for the most part, our unemployed workers and returning veterans) back to work, ideally in the short run.  We should be focusing on that first -- either through education, training, or direct hiring -- that will make future cuts much more practical and realistic.

*This implies the rate at which the market anticipates that the US government can borrow in 10 years, i.e. February 2023.
 
2013-02-13 11:49:45 AM

No Such Agency: successful businessmen


When did we have one run for president?   I don't ever remember having one ever run since Forbes.   I am not sure that would have been good for the country.   We still have a ways to go in cutting.   Having a military base in every country still doesn't sound like a good idea to me.   I would start there.
 
2013-02-13 11:50:33 AM

Voiceofreason01: Mr. Eugenides: It's because farm income has to be reported and taxes paid by Jan 15th much like regular income has to be reported and taxes paid by April 15th.  What you are seeing is witheld income/taxes that are being sent in causing a bump in the revenue numbers just like every year.

Bam. Happens every year, followed shortly by a clone of the linked article.


Really?  Can you find said clones of the linked article that says January revenues posted a surplus?

/Difficulty: Don't just limit yourself to the Obama administration...
 
2013-02-13 11:50:33 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: Dude, seriously? Spending farking exploded between 1999 and 2010 and you're not concerned about it because there has been a little blip down since then? Even though the CBO is predicting that even with economic growth we'll return to trillion dollar deficits in ten years?

Are you that obtuse? We don't need to balance the budget right now, far from it. But how about we start reducing spending to long term averages as a percentage of GDP, and face the fact that entitlements are going to need reform, instead of sticking out heads in the sand and waiting for bad things to happen before we act?


This is all fine. Perhaps I should have not says "concerned", but "terrified". Worried about long term deficits is a good thing to be concerned with. Being panicked about our fiscal future is not.

What I was getting that is that anyone who claims that Obama is somehow responsible for, or even exacerbating, our fiscal scenario like never before seen in American history is simply not someone who deserves to be listened to. And there are a lot of people who espouse that view.
 
2013-02-13 11:53:40 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

Dude, seriously? Spending farking exploded between 1999 and 2010 and you're not concerned about it because there has been a little blip down since then? Even though the CBO is predicting that even with economic growth we'll return to trillion dollar deficits in ten years?

Are you that obtuse? We don't need to balance the budget right now, far from it. But how about we start reducing spending to long term averages as a percentage of GDP, and face the fact that entitlements are going to need reform, instead of sticking out heads in the sand and waiting for bad things to happen before we act?


You are so right....but Congress has done all it could to prevent the disastrous policies of the Bush administration from being rescinded, corrected or adjusted. yet, somehow, it's all the blah guy's fault...and soushullizm
 
2013-02-13 11:56:59 AM

untaken_name: DamnYankees: untaken_name: Because of joint and several liability. Why are you not?

In what way are you jointly and severally liable for the debt. Are you under the impression that if the US government goes bankrupt, China can take you to court for $4 trillion?

http://definitions.uslegal.com/j/joint-and-several-liability/

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/public

Either you don't know what "Public" means, or you don't know what "joint and several liability" means. Here you go.

/note: regarding the definition of "public": you want to pay attention to the legal definition. That's the one they use in court.


Great, so now we understand that if something were legally a public debt that the public would have joint and several liability for it.

What is missing from that is anything showing that the US National Debt is legally a public debt.

Also, you never answered his question. Who could get that money from you and how?
 
2013-02-13 11:58:37 AM

miss diminutive: So, that's enough to by a single B-2 stealth bomber?

/or 429 million slinkies


I think I love you. If I were capable of the emotion.

/really though, a bulk slinky reference gives me a warm fuzzy nerd feeling
 
2013-02-13 11:59:19 AM
We only need 5,500 more months like this to pay off the principle of the national debt.
 
2013-02-13 12:01:42 PM
Notice how a surplus happens mostly between mid-January to mid-April every year, almost as if it is related to taxes in some way.

//Hint,hint.
 
2013-02-13 12:01:53 PM
What the hell is a slurpus?
 
2013-02-13 12:02:42 PM
3.bp.blogspot.com

Gives address to congress about being responsible. Proves it.
 
2013-02-13 12:04:15 PM

DamnYankees: Debeo Summa Credo: Dude, seriously? Spending farking exploded between 1999 and 2010 and you're not concerned about it because there has been a little blip down since then? Even though the CBO is predicting that even with economic growth we'll return to trillion dollar deficits in ten years?

Are you that obtuse? We don't need to balance the budget right now, far from it. But how about we start reducing spending to long term averages as a percentage of GDP, and face the fact that entitlements are going to need reform, instead of sticking out heads in the sand and waiting for bad things to happen before we act?

This is all fine. Perhaps I should have not says "concerned", but "terrified". Worried about long term deficits is a good thing to be concerned with. Being panicked about our fiscal future is not.

What I was getting that is that anyone who claims that Obama is somehow responsible for, or even exacerbating, our fiscal scenario like never before seen in American history is simply not someone who deserves to be listened to. And there are a lot of people who espouse that view.


Well, I'll admit that I have been extremely disappointed with Obama re the deficit in recent months. When I voted for him (1st time enthusiastically, 2nd time grudgingly), I'd hoped he would be the one to be responsible enough to make the tough decisions to fix the budget so that I and my children wouldnt be as adversely affected when the reckoning comes. But his recent inaction on spending and entitlements, and his permanently extending 85-90 percent of the bush tax cuts have made it clear he's not that guy. He's just another pandering clown pushing an ideological agenda with no regard for the long term fiscal health of the country. He had a golden opportunity with the expiration of the tax cuts to force through spending cuts and higher taxes, even on a phased in approach, and he let it go.

I'll agree that Bush and the GOP were just as egregious in their fiscal decisions, if not worse, with irresponsible tax cuts, wars funded by debt, Medicare part D and other spending increases. In fact, Obama is lucky that Bush set the bar so low. He'd have to really stink up the place for the next several years to be worse than his predecessor.
 
2013-02-13 12:06:40 PM

Debeo Summa Credo: He's just another pandering clown pushing an ideological agenda with no regard for the long term fiscal health of the country. He had a golden opportunity with the expiration of the tax cuts to force through spending cuts and higher taxes, even on a phased in approach, and he let it go.


Why is he a 'pandering clown'? He's keeping promises to his base about not cutting entitlements he promised not to cut. Is it a pander when he does something someone else likes, but a laudable choice when he does something you like?
 
2013-02-13 12:07:03 PM
IlGreven:
Really?  Can you find said clones of the linked article that says January revenues posted a surplus?

/Difficulty: Don't just limit yourself to the Obama administration...


This is not about Obama and I'm not trying to make some grand political point or bash on any political party. Farmers have taxes due in January, this often means that there's a decrease in the budget deficit or even a surplus around the same time. This is an anomaly created by the US tax structure. It is not a good indicator of the health of the economy but pretty much every January we hear about it anyway. Article is a non-story.
 
2013-02-13 12:11:00 PM
OBAMA!

gifs.gifbin.com
 
2013-02-13 12:12:48 PM
3 billion? Not even a piss hole in the snow when we are talking about trillions in debit.
 
2013-02-13 12:13:00 PM
Wow, with that kind of surplus every month we could pay off the national debt in only 458 years!
 
2013-02-13 12:13:00 PM

X-boxershorts: Debeo Summa Credo: DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

Dude, seriously? Spending farking exploded between 1999 and 2010 and you're not concerned about it because there has been a little blip down since then? Even though the CBO is predicting that even with economic growth we'll return to trillion dollar deficits in ten years?

Are you that obtuse? We don't need to balance the budget right now, far from it. But how about we start reducing spending to long term averages as a percentage of GDP, and face the fact that entitlements are going to need reform, instead of sticking out heads in the sand and waiting for bad things to happen before we act?

You are so right....but Congress has done all it could to prevent the disastrous policies of the Bush administration from being rescinded, corrected or adjusted. yet, somehow, it's all the blah guy's fault...and soushullizm


For me, it would be nice for someone to put forth a damn budget.  The fact that they cannot even bring themselves to issue one for the fear of them (righfully) being held to account is very telling.
 
2013-02-13 12:13:28 PM

untaken_name: Englebert Slaptyback: DamnYankees

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?


He wanted to be ABSOLUTELY sure everyone saw that he doesn't know the difference between DEBT and DEFICIT.

Right, because clearly I said deficit above. Oh wait, no I did not. I understand the difference. Do you understand that when you are so far in debt that the interest payments will shortly be the largest budget item, a short-term windfall of 3 BILLION dollars over the current quarter is functionally nothing? I could have mentioned the 290 BILLION dollars we are in deficit for 2013 alone, but the impact of the debt is larger than the impact of the deficit, and although they are not the same thing, it will be extremely difficult to pay off the insurmountable debt we owe when we continue to run a large deficit year after year. Every time we complete a year with a deficit, we increase the debt by not just the amount of that deficit, but the amount of interest on the loans required to run that deficit in the first place. You can't just forget about the previous year when the new year begins. Or are you trying to claim that there is no relationship at all between the constant deficits and the debt? HUH? MR SMARTY PANTS? HUH?
[blog.heritage.org image 600x528]


Any chart created by hertiage foundation is pants on head retarded.  At least you recognized pants were involved here, so you aren't a complete moron.
 
2013-02-13 12:14:06 PM

Debeo Summa Credo: I'll agree that Bush and the GOP were just as egregious in their fiscal decisions


Yes, we're pretty much in the fourth term of George W. Bush.
 
2013-02-13 12:14:09 PM

HeadLever: The fact that they cannot even bring themselves to issue one for the fear of them (righfully) being held to account is very telling.


What is it telling of? What's the point of writing a budget which you know will never pass when you can just pass CR's and the government keeps running?
 
2013-02-13 12:15:06 PM

Voiceofreason01: This is an anomaly created by the US tax structure. It is not a good indicator of the health of the economy but pretty much every January we hear about it anyway. Article is a non-story.


This and the  projectedCalifornia  surplus are such insignificant data points, it demonstrates how desperate some people are in looking for good economic news.
 
2013-02-13 12:15:51 PM

HeadLever: For me, it would be nice for someone to put forth a damn budget.  The fact that they cannot even bring themselves to issue one for the fear of them (righfully) being held to account is very telling.


My understanding is that right now, the White House is waiting for Congress to decide what to do about the sequestration, because once they vote on that it pretty much changes the playing field.
 
2013-02-13 12:16:02 PM

DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]



Point of diminishing returns has been reached. Time to milk somewhere else.
 
2013-02-13 12:17:27 PM

Arkanaut: All of which will affect future revenue and close the budget gap.


Not really.  It is part of getting revenues back to that 18.5% of GDP.  Right now it is about 15.9% of GDP.  And don't forget that these spending projections (outside interest) are pretty much independent of the buget gap.
 
2013-02-13 12:17:35 PM

Arkanaut: My understanding is that right now, the White House is waiting for Congress to decide what to do about the sequestration, because once they vote on that it pretty much changes the playing field.


Waiting for 4 years?  The failure to pass a budget has nothing to do with sequestration.
 
2013-02-13 12:20:02 PM

ChuDogg: There will be austerity. The only question and opinion a person may have is when. You can be in favor of it now, or you can be in favor of it a little later after spending some more money. The other alternative is currency collapse.


currency collapse is less harmful to the people than austerity.

currency collapse = inflation = personal debts much easier to dig out of

austerity = deflation = more of the country ends up in the hands of the 1%
 
2013-02-13 12:20:03 PM
Has anyone made a joke about how long it would take to pay off the national debt if we had 3 billion dollar surpluses every month?  Because that would be hilarious.
 
2013-02-13 12:21:17 PM
"WASHINGTON - The federal government reported a rare surplus for January and is on track to run the lowest annual deficit since President Barack Obama took office. "

Wow, the lowest deficit of his presidency.  That's a feather in his cap.
 
2013-02-13 12:21:18 PM

DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]


Why are they basically an idiot? Spending has been out of control for decades, so why worry now?  Is that your logic?
 
2013-02-13 12:21:30 PM

chapman: Arkanaut: My understanding is that right now, the White House is waiting for Congress to decide what to do about the sequestration, because once they vote on that it pretty much changes the playing field.

Waiting for 4 years?   The failure to pass a budget has nothing to do with sequestration.


Or the White House, for that matter.
 
2013-02-13 12:21:50 PM

MadHatter500: Any chart created by hertiage foundation is pants on head retarded


Sadly, far too few people in the world realize this. Heritage economics is all about ending the American Social Safety net....meager as it is.

royone: Debeo Summa Credo: I'll agree that Bush and the GOP were just as egregious in their fiscal decisions

Yes, we're pretty much in the fourth term of George W. Bush.


Mid term elections of 2010 pretty much guaranteed that....
 
2013-02-13 12:21:53 PM

No Such Agency: If a business was run the way the government is run


And if The Legend of Zelda was played the way Scrabtble is played it would be a very different game. Thankfully, Zelda is not like Scrabble and businesses are not like governments. There is no reason why a (presumably for-profit) "business" should be the standard model for some sort of collective unit of human action.
 
2013-02-13 12:21:56 PM
It's always amusing to watch obamopologists stumble around trying to excuse their hero's failings.

Guess how we know you don't understand how economics 101 works?
 
2013-02-13 12:22:11 PM

immrlizard: No Such Agency: successful businessmen

When did we have one run for president?   I don't ever remember having one ever run since Forbes.
   I am not sure that would have been good for the country.   We still have a ways to go in cutting.   Having a military base in every country still doesn't sound like a good idea to me.   I would start there.


Remember Ross Perot? He may have been a nut-job but he was a successful business man. Once upon a time ago.
 
2013-02-13 12:22:24 PM

DamnYankees: What is it telling of?


That they are so beholden to the various special interest that they cannot put together a budget that signifiantly helps our fiscal situation.  They are stuck between pissing off special interest and driving this country further into the ground.  You may see some tolken items here an there, but nothing significant from the CBO baseline.
 
2013-02-13 12:23:55 PM

jjwars1: Why are they basically an idiot? Spending has been out of control for decades, so why worry now?  Is that your logic?


Spending has not been out of control. It's been basically a straight line for the last 50 years when you take into account population, progressing in a very predictable manner, until Obama took office and for the first time in forever it started dropping.

www.washingtonpost.com
 
2013-02-13 12:24:18 PM

jjwars1: DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]

Why are they basically an idiot? Spending has been out of control for decades, so why worry now?  Is that your logic?


Because the economy crashed towards the end of 2007 and has not yet recovered?

Fix it when the economy is healthy, not when we have 8% "official" unemployment THAT's the logic.....
 
2013-02-13 12:24:33 PM

HeadLever: That they are so beholden to the various special interest that they cannot put together a budget that signifiantly helps our fiscal situation.


The budget won't pass. Why would they put it together if its nothing more than a exercise in PR?
 
2013-02-13 12:24:45 PM

chapman: Arkanaut: My understanding is that right now, the White House is waiting for Congress to decide what to do about the sequestration, because once they vote on that it pretty much changes the playing field.

Waiting for 4 years?  The failure to pass a budget has nothing to do with sequestration.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_federal_budget Pass ed 7/22/09
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_United_States_federal_budget Pass ed 4/15/2011
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_federal_budget Pass ed 12/23/2011
Also, looks like Obama submitted his budget proposals today:http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/13/news/economy/obama_budget/index .htm
 
2013-02-13 12:25:05 PM

theknuckler_33: chapman: Arkanaut: My understanding is that right now, the White House is waiting for Congress to decide what to do about the sequestration, because once they vote on that it pretty much changes the playing field.

Waiting for 4 years?   The failure to pass a budget has nothing to do with sequestration.

Or the White House, for that matter.


I think you can pin some small amount of responsibility on the White House.  They still have failed to get a budget than garners votes in the Senate.  Nor have they shown any desire to press the issue.  But the failure lies primarily on the Senate.
 
2013-02-13 12:25:16 PM
OnlyM3:
Guess how we know you don't understand how economics 101 works?

herpa derper derpa

1/10

/god I must be bored to have responded to this
 
2013-02-13 12:26:08 PM

ManRay: I heard a lot about claims of lowering rates of spending increases in the future, but not a whole bunch about the government actually spending less money now


In other news, the population of the United States is increasing too every year. I realize you don't know how that affects the situation, but I'll leave it for you to ponder.
 
2013-02-13 12:26:25 PM
This is pure accounting trickery.
Why are people so stupid?

This doesn't mean that our 16 TRILLION suddenly went away.
 
2013-02-13 12:26:26 PM

Lehk: currency collapse is less harmful to the people than austerity.


Those are generalizations that may or may not be true.  Inflation has much more of an impact on 'being able to dig out of personal debt'.  Do you realize what typical impact inflation has on interest rates?

To the same vein, austerity does not necessarily cause deflation.  There are many more factors that go into this than what your broad brush suggests.
 
2013-02-13 12:29:30 PM

chapman: They still have failed to get a budget than garners votes in the Senate. Nor have they shown any desire to press the issue.


Actually, as its been pointed out there has been a budget every year. Of course, the Federal budget has no legal effect--its a policy document. Its up to Congress to actually appropriate specific funds separately.
 
2013-02-13 12:31:46 PM

chapman: theknuckler_33: chapman: Arkanaut: My understanding is that right now, the White House is waiting for Congress to decide what to do about the sequestration, because once they vote on that it pretty much changes the playing field.

Waiting for 4 years?   The failure to pass a budget has nothing to do with sequestration.

Or the White House, for that matter.

I think you can pin some small amount of responsibility on the White House.  They still have failed to get a budget than garners votes in the Senate.  Nor have they shown any desire to press the issue.  But the failure lies primarily on the Senate.


ORLY?  For not agreeing to pass the derpy budgets passed by the GOP in the House? No, the failure lies with the tea party lunatics in the House.
 
2013-02-13 12:32:41 PM

DamnYankees: Spending has not been out of control. It's been basically a straight line for the last 50 years when you take into account population, progressing in a very predictable manner, until Obama took office and for the first time in forever it started dropping.


Patrially true.  You point is glossing over the fact that spending has been very high for the last few years and we are now getting over that somewhat due to a wind down in both millitary spending overseas and stimulus spending.

static2.businessinsider.com

While projections have shown this drop in spending for several years, they also expect it to be a fleeting trend.  It will not likely be sustained for very long as these slowdowns in spending are temporary and will soon be offset by the increase in entitlement spending.  Both the CBO Baseine and Alternative Baseline Secanarios show this.
 
2013-02-13 12:34:43 PM

HeadLever: Patrially true.  You point is glossing over the fact that spending has been very high for the last few years and we are now getting over that somewhat due to a wind down in both millitary spending overseas and stimulus spending.


That chart is not the relevant metric. We're talking about spending, not spending relative to GDP. Of course spending spikes relative to GDP when the economy collapse and GDP shrinks. But that's not a spending problem, that's a GDP and tax revenue problem. If spending stays the same as it ever was, but revenues and growth collapse, it's insane to think the problem is the spending,
 
2013-02-13 12:35:25 PM

HeadLever: DamnYankees: Spending has not been out of control. It's been basically a straight line for the last 50 years when you take into account population, progressing in a very predictable manner, until Obama took office and for the first time in forever it started dropping.

Patrially true.  You point is glossing over the fact that spending has been very high for the last few years and we are now getting over that somewhat due to a wind down in both millitary spending overseas and stimulus spending.

[static2.businessinsider.com image 650x488]

While projections have shown this drop in spending for several years, they also expect it to be a fleeting trend.  It will not likely be sustained for very long as these slowdowns in spending are temporary and will soon be offset by the increase in entitlement spending.  Both the CBO Baseine and Alternative Baseline Secanarios show this.


Your graph is not very helpful when the legend that says what the red and blue lines actually mean is blank/unreadable....
Look at these lines!! Aren't they pretty!
 
2013-02-13 12:42:34 PM

DamnYankees: I also don't put an arbitrary cap on spending. You go policy by policy - if its a good idea, fund it. If not, don't. Pretty simple.


By what criteria do you distinguish between a "good idea" from a "bad idea"?

Or is it arbitrary?
 
2013-02-13 12:43:31 PM
HeadLever:
While projections have shown this drop in spending for several years, they also expect it to be a fleeting trend.  It will not likely be sustained for very long as these slowdowns in spending are temporary and will soon be offset by the increase in entitlement spending.  Both the CBO Baseine and Alternative Baseline Secanarios show this.

If only the President would propose a budget designed to help cut the deficit over the next decade....

/oh wait
 
2013-02-13 12:43:50 PM

DamnYankees: That chart is not the relevant metric.


Sure it is.  It helps to understand both spending and reveues as a percentage of the economy.  The CBO typically shows thier projections in this manner.  Sure you will see some changes as the economy grows and contracts but that change also carries over to the reveune side.  The fact that these diverged so much during the recession is telling on how our trillion dollar deficits came about.

We also have to recognize that the GDP growth is likely going to be slow and stead on into the future as we need to continue to allow households to delverage and also get a handle on our government's fiscal well-being.

/oh and Red = Spending, Blue = Revenue, Elminst
 
2013-02-13 12:44:51 PM

DamnYankees: jjwars1: Why are they basically an idiot? Spending has been out of control for decades, so why worry now?  Is that your logic?

Spending has not been out of control. It's been basically a straight line for the last 50 years when you take into account population, progressing in a very predictable manner, until Obama took office and for the first time in forever it started dropping.

[www.washingtonpost.com image 800x492]


Just ignore that negative line that's 50% longer than any other line on the graph. And the one right next to it that is the 2nd-longest on the graph. After we added those huge deficits to the baseline, we were able to modestly outperform in the realm of spending cuts! That's fiscal responsibility, baby!
 
2013-02-13 12:49:31 PM

Voiceofreason01: If only the President would propose a budget designed to help cut the deficit over the next decade....


The proposal here is a good start and that is about it. Overall, much of it was going to happen anyway as evident by the CBO Alterative Baseline back in 2009 (See where revenues and total spending converge on one another?)

theeconomiccollapseblog.com


Overall I am not terribly upset on how things have gone so far.  We have reduced the deficit by a pretty good chunk.  However, I am warning all not to think that the job is finished.  It is a long way from finished and ultimatly, we have only scatched the easy part of the problems we currently face.
 
2013-02-13 12:52:30 PM
HeadLever:
Overall I am not terribly upset on how things have gone so far.  We have reduced the deficit by a pretty good chunk.  However, I am warning all not to think that the job is finished.  It is a long way from finished and ultimatly, we have only scatched the easy part of the problems we currently face.

yeah, I can agree with that. Ultimately managing the deficit will have to be a serious consideration when setting the budget for at least the next couple decades.
 
2013-02-13 12:52:54 PM

Somacandra: In other news, the population of the United States is increasing too every year. I realize you don't know how that affects the situation, but I'll leave it for you to ponder.


I realize that only has meaning relative to future spending, not net reductions from an absolute point. And that future cuts agreed on now don't mean shiat since any future Congress can alter them.
 
2013-02-13 12:59:27 PM

Phinn: DamnYankees: I also don't put an arbitrary cap on spending. You go policy by policy - if its a good idea, fund it. If not, don't. Pretty simple.

By what criteria do you distinguish between a "good idea" from a "bad idea"?

Or is it arbitrary?


Would human happiness and utility be net improved or decreased by enacting the policy. Yes, its a broad standard, but it's really the only one you can apply across a broad spectrum of human activity, IMO.
 
2013-02-13 12:59:45 PM

DamnYankees: Fool_Marquis: Yankee, your chart shows that, since WWII, we have never reduced government spending.  Period.

Until Obama. Do you not see the drop at the end?


Sorry, let me amend my statement:

Previous to the collapse of the housing market, and subsequent it's-not-a-depression-if-we-don't-call-it-one, when tax revenue fell precipitously due to high unemployment, our government had never reduced spending.

Now, the not-depression?  Not a fault of our president.  More a fault of a combination of policies stretching back to Clinton (at the earliest, but it was actually given a buff during the subsequent Bush administration) combining with a terrible mass of greed and foolhardy spending combined with market manipulation.
 
2013-02-13 01:00:48 PM

Voiceofreason01: yeah, I can agree with that. Ultimately managing the deficit will have to be a serious consideration when setting the budget for at least the next couple decades.


We don't have decades to contiue to rack up trillion dollar deficits.  We need to get this under control much sooner than that or you will start to see the debt spiral that is embodied in that exponentially growing interest obligation in that above graph.

As you can see, the revenues under this scanario were anticipated to become high enough to cover all non-interest spending by about 2015.  We are going to likley miss that by quite a long ways.
 
2013-02-13 01:03:41 PM

HeadLever: We don't have decades to contiue to rack up trillion dollar deficits.


Sure we do. Where's the evidence we don't? Obviously we should work to make the deficits smaller if possible, but I don't see any reason to make it an incredibly high priority.
 
2013-02-13 01:10:40 PM

DamnYankees: HeadLever: Patrially true.  You point is glossing over the fact that spending has been very high for the last few years and we are now getting over that somewhat due to a wind down in both millitary spending overseas and stimulus spending.

That chart is not the relevant metric. We're talking about spending, not spending relative to GDP. Of course spending spikes relative to GDP when the economy collapse and GDP shrinks. But that's not a spending problem, that's a GDP and tax revenue problem. If spending stays the same as it ever was, but revenues and growth collapse, it's insane to think the problem is the spending,


Look at your chart from earlier. Spending has about doubled since 2000 per that chart, of I'm reading it right. Has GDP doubled since then? Has population doubled? Not even close.
 
2013-02-13 01:12:18 PM
Somacandra:
No Such Agency: If a business was run the way the government is run

And if The Legend of Zelda was played the way Scrabtble is played it would be a very different game. Thankfully, Zelda is not like Scrabble and businesses are not like governments. There is no reason why a (presumably for-profit) "business" should be the standard model for some sort of collective unit of human action.


i.imgur.com
 
2013-02-13 01:12:57 PM
on a semi related note, I was wondering why there isn;t a SOTU thread last evening... either I'm blind or this is first time in the last 10 years where there isn;t one on Fark's main page.
 
2013-02-13 01:13:02 PM

Debeo Summa Credo: Look at your chart from earlier. Spending has about doubled since 2000 per that chart, of I'm reading it right. Has GDP doubled since then? Has population doubled? Not even close.


I didn't say the spending hasn't grown. I've said its grown in what's pretty close to a straight line. It's more obvious if you use a log scale:

www.slate.com
 
2013-02-13 01:17:34 PM

SuperNinjaToad


on a semi related note, I was wondering why there isn;t a SOTU thread last evening... either I'm blind or this is first time in the last 10 years where there isn;t one on Fark's main page.


*goes to main page*

*ctrl-f union*

Here ya go:

Linky.
 
2013-02-13 01:32:56 PM

Big Man On Campus: his is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.


So the Republican strategy of obstruction is working, you say.
 
2013-02-13 01:35:15 PM

DamnYankees: HeadLever: We don't have decades to contiue to rack up greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Sure we do. Where's the evidence we don't? Obviously we should work to make the greenhouse effect smaller if possible, but I don't see any reason to make it an incredibly high priority.


We've secretly replaced the regular topic with Folger's Global Warming. Let's see if anybody notices.
 
2013-02-13 01:37:05 PM

DamnYankees: Debeo Summa Credo: Look at your chart from earlier. Spending has about doubled since 2000 per that chart, of I'm reading it right. Has GDP doubled since then? Has population doubled? Not even close.

I didn't say the spending hasn't grown. I've said its grown in what's pretty close to a straight line. It's more obvious if you use a log scale:


You specifically mentioned population. I'll agree that federal spending has been increasing very quickly since the 1960s. In fact, it's grown much faster than the population has.
 
2013-02-13 01:38:22 PM

royone: We've secretly replaced the regular topic with Folger's Global Warming. Let's see if anybody notices.


That analogy doesn't work - oddly enough, this exact issue was discussed on Morning Joe with Paul Krugman. Basically, the difference is that every day we don't do anything about climate change, we do actual damage to the planet which is either impossible or much, much more more difficult to undo down the line. The same is in no way true about the debt.
 
2013-02-13 01:39:05 PM

Debeo Summa Credo: You specifically mentioned population. I'll agree that federal spending has been increasing very quickly since the 1960s. In fact, it's grown much faster than the population has.


I said that it has grown in roughly a straight line when you account for population. I didn't say it *didn't* grow if you account for population. Read what I wrote.
 
2013-02-13 01:40:27 PM

master_dman: This is pure accounting trickery.
Why are people so stupid?

This doesn't mean that our 16 TRILLION suddenly went away.


I don't think anyone actually made this claim...where did you find it?

/don't answer that, it was rhetorical. I already know where you found it.
 
2013-02-13 01:43:22 PM
No Such Agency:

If a business was run the way the government is run - constantly failing to generate a profit, acquiring operating funds by continually borrowing money from its competitors - its shareholders would be able to sue the directorship into the ground for incompetence.  Unfortunately the US government can simply force its "shareholders" to buy more "shares" at gunpoint, with their taxes, and can declare itself immune from legal action by fiat.   This is what happens when the lowest 46% of this country decide to elect lawyers to be President, instead of successful businessmen.  We get "lawyer-style" government where cleverly worded legislation trumps the bottom line.

Free schools?  Free highways? Food stamps for the hungry?

That's no way to run a business!

You know what, if a fire department were run like a softball league, it would be completely different, too.

Amazing there are people that still push this derp.
 
2013-02-13 01:44:35 PM

HeadLever: Voiceofreason01: yeah, I can agree with that. Ultimately managing the deficit will have to be a serious consideration when setting the budget for at least the next couple decades.

We don't have decades to contiue to rack up trillion dollar deficits.  We need to get this under control much sooner than that or you will start to see the debt spiral that is embodied in that exponentially growing interest obligation in that above graph.


The US can still do a lot of borrowing before we're really in trouble. But if you cut government spending too much or too fast or raise taxes too much you end up slowing economic growth and end up worse than if you did nothing.
 
2013-02-13 01:47:01 PM

DamnYankees: royone: We've secretly replaced the regular topic with Folger's Global Warming. Let's see if anybody notices.

That analogy doesn't work - oddly enough, this exact issue was discussed on Morning Joe with Paul Krugman. Basically, the difference is that every day we don't do anything about climate change, we do actual damage to the planet which is either impossible or much, much more more difficult to undo down the line. The same is in no way true about the debt.


Ah. So we're not closer to insolvency when we continue to rack up trillion dollar deficits? Good to know.
 
2013-02-13 01:48:57 PM

royone: Ah. So we're not closer to insolvency when we continue to rack up trillion dollar deficits? Good to know.


The United States can never go insolvent unless it does so voluntarily. So no, racking up more deficits gets us exactly no closer to insolvency.
 
2013-02-13 01:49:33 PM

Voiceofreason01: But if you cut government spending too much [...] you end up slowing economic growth and end up worse than if you did nothing.


That implies that all government spending contributes similarly to economic growth.
 
2013-02-13 01:51:50 PM
Big Man On Campus:

And Obama had how big of a majority in congress during his first term when he could have taken care of this problem? He's weak and his priorities are screwed up.

If only Obama had insisted on deep spending cuts when the economy was shrinking and losing jobs, imagine what the economy and federal revenue would look like today.

If only my doctor hadn't gone in to debt to pay for medical school, he could be debt free and working as a clerk at the local S-Mart.

Weak, I tell you, weak!
 
2013-02-13 01:52:41 PM

DamnYankees: royone: Ah. So we're not closer to insolvency when we continue to rack up trillion dollar deficits? Good to know.

The United States can never go insolvent unless it does so voluntarily. So no, racking up more deficits gets us exactly no closer to insolvency.


True, we can choose to be Zimbabwe. And that's in no way catastrophic.
 
2013-02-13 01:54:01 PM

royone: True, we can choose to be Zimbabwe. And that's in no way catastrophic.


Where is your evidence that rising debt issued in a country's own currency leads to hyperinflation?
 
2013-02-13 01:55:34 PM

X-boxershorts: master_dman: This is pure accounting trickery.
Why are people so stupid?

This doesn't mean that our 16 TRILLION suddenly went away.

I don't think anyone actually made this claim...where did you find it?

/don't answer that, it was rhetorical. I already know where you found it.


The idiots that think Obama is god will certainly think this story means we are free and clear as a nation.
 
2013-02-13 01:59:09 PM

master_dman: The idiots that think Obama is god will certainly think this story means we are free and clear as a nation.


Republicans? I mean, jeebus, just look at all the crap they're blaming him for, They MUST think he's some kind of God...
 
2013-02-13 01:59:33 PM

DamnYankees: Sure we do. Where's the evidence we don't?


The evidence that we don't comes from the debt spiral that you see as a part of this scenario.  When our debt obligation eats up an ever-increasing portion of our tax reveneue to the point where we can no longer fund our manditory spending, let alone the discretionary spending, you are going to see this country start to slide even further from the World's economic forefront.

I'll agree that it is not THE #1 priority, but it should be top 3 as or future really depends upon us not screwing this up.
 
2013-02-13 02:00:44 PM

DamnYankees: Firethorn: More importantly, every time you decide something is worth it - you put in a tax to fund it.

That's a bad idea. At the moment, borrowing makes a lot more sense than taxing.


Something of a separate issue, I'll admit.  While they're letting us borrow money for less than inflation, at the same time I consider borrowing riskier than paying up front.  As such I'm not sure that the percentage difference is big enough to justify borrowing.

Still, they should at least have a plan to pay back the money.  Even if said plan is 'borrow a shiatload today; use it to fund programs ABCD to fix problems XYZ and set up our country for even greater tax revenues in the future due to increased earnings/lower expenses'.  The plan should be realistic, of course.
 
2013-02-13 02:01:23 PM

HeadLever: The evidence that we don't comes from the debt spiral that you see as a part of this scenario.  When our debt obligation eats up an ever-increasing portion of our tax reveneue to the point where we can no longer fund our manditory spending, let alone the discretionary spending, you are going to see this country start to slide even further from the World's economic forefront.


But there's no evidence this is happening. Deficits are falling, and would fall a lot more if we got to full employment. There's no reason we can't, for example, add another 3-5% to our debt (as a percentage of GDP) for the foreseeable future.
 
2013-02-13 02:02:03 PM

Firethorn: Still, they should at least have a plan to pay back the money.  Even if said plan is 'borrow a shiatload today; use it to fund programs ABCD to fix problems XYZ and set up our country for even greater tax revenues in the future due to increased earnings/lower expenses'.  The plan should be realistic, of course.


That would work.
 
2013-02-13 02:04:54 PM

DamnYankees: royone: True, we can choose to be Zimbabwe. And that's in no way catastrophic.

Where is your evidence that rising debt issued in a country's own currency leads to hyperinflation?


People buy US debt because they expect it to be paid off. If the only means we have for paying one debt is to issue even more debt, eventually, we run out of funding. It's the Ponzi Principle. At that point, we can either declare bankruptcy, or we can substantially devalue our currency.

What is the foundation for your suggestion that debt can grow without bounds without serious ramifications? Why don't credit card companies understand it?
 
2013-02-13 02:05:24 PM

master_dman: This is pure accounting trickery.
Why are people so stupid?

This doesn't mean that our 16 TRILLION suddenly went away.


Whatever.  I prefer the math where I can pretend my car loan and mortgage don't exist and I get to go by new toys this payday with the surplus in my checking account. lalalalalalala, I can't hear you....going to Gander Mountain on Friday....
 
2013-02-13 02:06:29 PM

Big_Fat_Liar: master_dman: This is pure accounting trickery.
Why are people so stupid?

This doesn't mean that our 16 TRILLION suddenly went away.

Whatever.  I prefer the math where I can pretend my car loan and mortgage don't exist and I get to go by new toys this payday with the surplus in my checking account. lalalalalalala, I can't hear you....going to Gander Mountain on Friday....


WTF - I cna't write for shiat lately.  I am not going by new toys, I am going to buy new toys....
 
2013-02-13 02:08:04 PM
Quick, find a Job Creator to give it to!
 
2013-02-13 02:10:12 PM

Voiceofreason01: The US can still do a lot of borrowing before we're really in trouble. But if you cut government spending too much or too fast or raise taxes too much you end up slowing economic growth and end up worse than if you did nothing.


Hmm, depends.  How much of our total tax revenue do you want to go toward Interest Expense instead of SS, Medicare, Social Programs, the Environment, R&D, PBS, Infrastrucutre, etc.?  Right now that number is about 450 billion.  The anticipated interest cost in 2021 is atcually projected to surpass Millitary Spending.

I do agree that we don't want any drastic cuts or tax increases as this can damage the economic footing we currently have.  However, I will disagree with you and suggest that a slow (but steady) economic growth is probably a good thing at this point as it will keep interest rates low and allow more households to deleverage.
 
2013-02-13 02:10:18 PM

royone: If the only means we have for paying one debt is to issue even more debt, eventually, we run out of funding.


How do we 'run out of funding' when our debt is denominated in US dollars, and we can print US dollars? Are you predicting the printing machines will break and not be replace-able?

royone: At that point, we can either declare bankruptcy, or we can substantially devalue our currency.


What amount of devaluation would be necessary for us to make our debt sustainable?

royone: What is the foundation for your suggestion that debt can grow without bounds without serious ramifications?


The empirical evidence shows that there's basically no circumstance where a large, industrialized country issuing debt in their own currency has ever had a problem with inflation or rising interest rates as a result of their debt load. That's my foundation.
 
2013-02-13 02:11:55 PM

Firethorn: DamnYankees: Firethorn: More importantly, every time you decide something is worth it - you put in a tax to fund it.

That's a bad idea. At the moment, borrowing makes a lot more sense than taxing.

Something of a separate issue, I'll admit.  While they're letting us borrow money for less than inflation, at the same time I consider borrowing riskier than paying up front.  As such I'm not sure that the percentage difference is big enough to justify borrowing.

Still, they should at least have a plan to pay back the money.  Even if said plan is 'borrow a shiatload today; use it to fund programs ABCD to fix problems XYZ and set up our country for even greater tax revenues in the future due to increased earnings/lower expenses'.  The plan should be realistic, of course.


They did that. 1999 I think. But congress threw some wrenches into that, sorta like legislative time bombs that blew up in 2007.
Of course, this only blew up after Clinton's successor kinda undid all that fiscal responsibility we had in 2000
 
2013-02-13 02:17:47 PM

DamnYankees: But there's no evidence this is happening.


You are correct for right now as interest rates are at rock bottom.  This really does help our current situation.  The issue becomes evident when interest rates normalize and you start to see this interest obligation increase.  As I mentioned above, the CBO (which projects a steady climb of interest rates) belives that interest costs will actually be higher than Millitary Spending in about 8 years.  Will it happen?  Who knows.  With a debt load that we are looking at now, just a minor uptick in interest rates will have huge consequences.

And while deficits are falling, they are still about 6.5% of GDP and are still unsustinable in the long term.  Like you mention, if we could get that down to about 3%, we could likely live with that.  IMO, 5% would still be pushing it.
 
2013-02-13 02:19:57 PM

HeadLever: The issue becomes evident when interest rates normalize and you start to see this interest obligation increase.


This is where you lose me. What the story where this happens? Interest rates won't go up until we choose to raise them. And we won't do that until the economy is improving (i.e. the deficit would be smaller). That's a good thing. I'm missing the story of how its possible for us to still be mired in a terrible economic situation, running massive deficits, and interest rates rise.
 
2013-02-13 02:23:35 PM

DamnYankees: Interest rates won't go up until we choose to raise them.


You act like you have complete control over these rates.  Newsflahst - you don't.

There are many more variables that set interest rates than us simply 'choosing'
 
2013-02-13 02:25:09 PM

DamnYankees: And we won't do that until the economy is improving (i.e. the deficit would be smaller).


The interest obligation is not based upon the defict, but the total debt principal.  You could have a surplus and still have a huge interest obligations if interest rates spiked.
 
2013-02-13 02:25:16 PM

DamnYankees: But there's no evidence this is happening. Deficits are falling, and would fall a lot more if we got to full employment. There's no reason we can't, for example, add another 3-5% to our debt (as a percentage of GDP) for the foreseeable future.


I'm not opposed to that as long as the spending is actually geared towards moving us to full(er) employment.

Once principle that I'd use is that you can figure on getting about 15-20% of a person's wage back each year as income taxes.  If it costs $100k to generate a $20k/year job, that's a 25 year payoff.  Might be worth it as long as the 'job' that $100k generates lasts 40 years on average.

If spending $10k gets you another young adult with a degree earning an extra $20k/year, that's a very easy 'worth it'.

Of course - I'm a very weird libertarian.  I support replacing 'welfare' with a 'workfare' program I tend to call 'the fedjobs program'.  Basically, universal voluntary employment.  They're required to hire you.  The minimum standard is 40 hours a week and worse paid than a military E-1*.  Still, it provides healthcare, food(in a dining facility), and I waver between provided housing and simply providing a housing allowance**.  The work would preferably be on 'non-commercial infrastructure', which I vaguely describe as  'anything expected to last more than 20 years that will help the productivity or standard of living of the US population'.  Oddly enough - education fits that standard. ;)  Other projects include fixing/building new roads, schools, government buildings(make them more energy efficient while you're at it), installing/building equipment for cooperative/public utilities(not for-profit private!), etc...  That would include fiber to the home for a cooperative phone/internet service, for example.

*Because an E-1 is a premium worker at this point.  HS diploma, negligible criminal background, negligible drug use, no disqualifying health conditions, in decent shape, etc...
**I'd go with the overseas version where they pay only your rent/utilities cost, vs the stateside of just giving you a set allowance for your area.  If your house payment is equal to or less than the average rental cost for your family size; they'll cover that.  Otherwise you'll have to move to cheaper housing or subsidize from your (low) pay.
 
2013-02-13 02:28:08 PM
Accurate headline:

Obama middle class tax increase causes over $9B drop in take home pay for January.
 
2013-02-13 02:28:09 PM

Agent Smiths Laugh: miss diminutive: So, that's enough to by a single B-2 stealth bomber?

/or 429 million slinkies

I think I love you. If I were capable of the emotion.

/really though, a bulk slinky reference gives me a warm fuzzy nerd feeling


Life just gets a little bit sweeter if you convert everything into slinky currency.
 
2013-02-13 02:29:27 PM

HeadLever: DamnYankees: Interest rates won't go up until we choose to raise them.

You act like you have complete control over these rates.  Newsflahst - you don't.

There are many more variables that set interest rates than us simply 'choosing'


The only variable is whether there's demand for the rate we've chosen. And given the conditions of the world today I just don't see any reason to think there won't be. Not to mention we can just buy the debt ourselves by printing new money if we really needed to.

HeadLever: The interest obligation is not based upon the defict, but the total debt principal.  You could have a surplus and still have a huge interest obligations if interest rates spiked.


No you can't. Interest rates are not variable. If we've locked in low rates, those rates don't go up if we raise rates in the future. The new rates only apply to new debt which would be a small amount (since the deficit would be a lot smaller).
 
2013-02-13 02:29:55 PM

Arkanaut: chapman: Arkanaut: My understanding is that right now, the White House is waiting for Congress to decide what to do about the sequestration, because once they vote on that it pretty much changes the playing field.

Waiting for 4 years?  The failure to pass a budget has nothing to do with sequestration.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_federal_budget Pass ed 7/22/09
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_United_States_federal_budget Pass ed 4/15/2011
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_federal_budget Pass ed 12/23/2011
Also, looks like Obama submitted his budget proposals today:http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/13/news/economy/obama_budget/index .htm


It's really a question of wording.  Just because Wikipedia calls them budgets doesn't make it true according to normal Federal definition of budget (which is a plan) and appropriations (which is basically a 'here is some money for this' resolution). The "budgets" for the last few years have really been continuing appropriations, similar but according to the process not technically budgets in that there is no policy plan.

http://www.politifact.com/tennessee/statements/2012/sep/28/bob-corke r/ bob-corker-says-senate-has-not-passed-budget-more-/

Both lead to the same end (the government keeps operating) though, which is why it isn't a bigger deal. It's happened in the past as well.  It just leads to some agencies having less flexibility from what they planned, and what the CA says.

/Technically correct - the best kind of correct!
 
2013-02-13 02:31:25 PM
i.imgur.com
 
2013-02-13 02:36:01 PM

DamnYankees: royone: If the only means we have for paying one debt is to issue even more debt, eventually, we run out of funding.

How do we 'run out of funding' when our debt is denominated in US dollars, and we can print US dollars? Are you predicting the printing machines will break and not be replace-able?


We run out of funding for debt when there's no one who wants to buy it. That's what funds debt.

royone: At that point, we can either declare bankruptcy, or we can substantially devalue our currency.

What amount of devaluation would be necessary for us to make our debt sustainable?


Our debt would be "sustainable" automatically: when you can't issue new debt, you don't have to "sustain" it. We'd actually pay it off. It's just the spending, then, that you have to sustain. And the devaluation, like the spending, grows without bound. But somehow not like Zimbabwe.

royone: What is the foundation for your suggestion that debt can grow without bounds without serious ramifications?

The empirical evidence shows that there's basically no circumstance where a large, industrialized country issuing debt in their own currency has ever had a problem with inflation or rising interest rates as a result of their debt load. That's my foundation.


It will never happen until it does. So you have no actual principles, no notion of how things would work, just the observation that it hasn't happened before. Things that haven't happened before happen all the time. Particularly when they're inevitable.

The inflation rate in Greece is quite low. Does that mean they don't have a debt crisis? Oh, wait, they're insolvent. That's the other choice I gave, isn't it? But you insist there's a third way. What's the third way?  Are they just not large enough? Not industrialized enough? In what way does being large and industrialize exempt a nation from the rules of math and markets?
 
2013-02-13 02:37:55 PM

DamnYankees: And given the conditions of the world today I just don't see any reason to think there won't be.


I easily could - the dumbasses in government not being able to get our fiscal house in order and us becoming a country where our debt becomes a fiscal drain on the economy.   Remember, or credit rating has already been downgraded by several entitites.  I seee no reason for this trend to continue as we refuse to change our path.

No you can't. Interest rates are not variable. If we've locked in low rates, those rates don't go up if we raise rates in the future. The new rates only apply to new debt which would be a small amount (since the deficit would be a lot smaller).

While you are right on the fact that interest rates for a certain bond is not varriable you are wrong that only new debt from the current year defict is applied to current interest rates.  It is also applied to any existing debt that matures and is rolled over.  Remember, we almost never pay the debt off when it matures.  We simply roll it over which resets the interest rate to the current value.
 
2013-02-13 02:38:36 PM

royone: We run out of funding for debt when there's no one who wants to buy it. That's what funds debt.


1) No one has ever refused to buy our debt.
2) The Fed can always buy more debt if we need to. It's the functional way we print money.

You're just wrong.

royone: It will never happen until it does.


Ok, well, I predict you'll get anal warts because your user name has 6 lower case letters. I mean, there's no reason to think it'll happen, and my logic has never shown to be accurate before, but it won't ever happen until it does, right? I'd see a doctor.
 
2013-02-13 02:39:50 PM

HeadLever: Remember, or credit rating has already been downgraded by several entitites.


Yes, and it had zero impact on the demand for our debt. This is one of the reasons why I tend to ignore people who scream about deficits and debts and sustainability - they have been consistently, completely wrong.
 
2013-02-13 02:40:39 PM

DamnYankees: HeadLever: The evidence that we don't comes from the debt spiral that you see as a part of this scenario.  When our debt obligation eats up an ever-increasing portion of our tax reveneue to the point where we can no longer fund our manditory spending, let alone the discretionary spending, you are going to see this country start to slide even further from the World's economic forefront.

But there's no evidence this is happening. Deficits are falling, and would fall a lot more if we got to full employment. There's no reason we can't, for example, add another 3-5% to our debt (as a percentage of GDP) for the foreseeable future.


You are relying on us getting to "full employment" that corresponds to previous definitions of full employment. The last two instances of full employment were based solely on bubbles (tech and housing). Assuming we don't want another transitory bust/boom cycle, we're going to have to come to terms with the fact that we aren't as rich as we thought we were, and therefore cannot afford as much as we thought we c
 
2013-02-13 02:42:03 PM

Debeo Summa Credo: You are relying on us getting to "full employment" that corresponds to previous definitions of full employment. The last two instances of full employment were based solely on bubbles (tech and housing). Assuming we don't want another transitory bust/boom cycle, we're going to have to come to terms with the fact that we aren't as rich as we thought we were, and therefore cannot afford as much as we thought we c


I don't really have any response to this other than to reject it as lacking evidence. The immiseration of people is not something we should be accepting without exceptionally great reason.
 
2013-02-13 02:43:55 PM

royone: DamnYankees: royone: If the only means we have for paying one debt is to issue even more debt, eventually, we run out of funding.

How do we 'run out of funding' when our debt is denominated in US dollars, and we can print US dollars? Are you predicting the printing machines will break and not be replace-able?

We run out of funding for debt when there's no one who wants to buy it. That's what funds debt.

royone: At that point, we can either declare bankruptcy, or we can substantially devalue our currency.

What amount of devaluation would be necessary for us to make our debt sustainable?

Our debt would be "sustainable" automatically: when you can't issue new debt, you don't have to "sustain" it. We'd actually pay it off. It's just the spending, then, that you have to sustain. And the devaluation, like the spending, grows without bound. But somehow not like Zimbabwe.

royone: What is the foundation for your suggestion that debt can grow without bounds without serious ramifications?

The empirical evidence shows that there's basically no circumstance where a large, industrialized country issuing debt in their own currency has ever had a problem with inflation or rising interest rates as a result of their debt load. That's my foundation.

It will never happen until it does. So you have no actual principles, no notion of how things would work, just the observation that it hasn't happened before. Things that haven't happened before happen all the time. Particularly when they're inevitable.

The inflation rate in Greece is quite low. Does that mean they don't have a debt crisis? Oh, wait, they're insolvent. That's the other choice I gave, isn't it? But you insist there's a third way. What's the third way?  Are they just not large enough? Not industrialized enough? In what way does being large and industrialize exempt a nation from the rules of math and markets?


It helps that the entire world buys our currency for purposes of international trade.
Also, too...Greece has an even worse corruption problem than we do....A greater % of Greek high rollers pay no taxes and hide money off shore.
And don't forget, by joining the EU, Greece chose to not be able to mint their own currency.

Reserve Currency...look it up.

Also, any one who compares America's economic situation to that of Greece in order to promote austerity is only demonstrating how ignorant they are in regards to economics.
 
2013-02-13 02:46:53 PM

royone: The inflation rate in Greece is quite low. Does that mean they don't have a debt crisis? Oh, wait, they're insolvent. That's the other choice I gave, isn't it? But you insist there's a third way. What's the third way?  Are they just not large enough? Not industrialized enough? In what way does being large and industrialize exempt a nation from the rules of math and markets?


Greece doesn't control its own currency. Did you not notice that?
 
2013-02-13 02:49:21 PM
That's a drop in the ocean.
 
2013-02-13 02:50:08 PM

DamnYankees: HeadLever: The evidence that we don't comes from the debt spiral that you see as a part of this scenario.  When our debt obligation eats up an ever-increasing portion of our tax reveneue to the point where we can no longer fund our manditory spending, let alone the discretionary spending, you are going to see this country start to slide even further from the World's economic forefront.

But there's no evidence this is happening. Deficits are falling, and would fall a lot more if we got to full employment. There's no reason we can't, for example, add another 3-5% to our debt (as a percentage of GDP) for the foreseeable future.


You are relying on us getting to "full employment" that corresponds to previous definitions of full employment. The last two instances of full employment were based solely on bubbles (tech and housing). Assuming we don't want another transitory bust/boom cycle, we're going to have to come to terms with the fact that we aren't as rich as we thought we were, and therefore cannot afford as much as we thought we could.

Also, rates will not stay this low forever, particularly if the economy starts growing and the fed stops buying half the debt issued by the treasury. Even at an additional 2.5%, not unreasonable from historical perspective (10-year never dipped below 5% from late '60s to late '90s), in interest rates, it will cost an additional $500b more per year to finance a $20b debt, which we'll have by the close of the decade.

That's bad enough by itself, but If we get meaningful inflation, which we easily could, it would be much worse.
 
2013-02-13 02:54:56 PM

DamnYankees: royone: We run out of funding for debt when there's no one who wants to buy it. That's what funds debt.

1) No one has ever refused to buy our debt.
2) The Fed can always buy more debt if we need to. It's the functional way we print money.

You're just wrong.


Great, you've rehashed what we already covered, slapped a "You're just wrong" on it, and called it a post. Troll much?
 
2013-02-13 02:57:44 PM

royone: Great, you've rehashed what we already covered, slapped a "You're just wrong" on it, and called it a post. Troll much?


True or false - the United States government has the ability to print U.S. dollars?

If you admit that's true, you are already admitting you are wrong that we can run out of funding for debt. It's literally impossible. That's why they coined the word "wrong".
 
2013-02-13 02:59:46 PM

Lehk: ChuDogg: There will be austerity. The only question and opinion a person may have is when. You can be in favor of it now, or you can be in favor of it a little later after spending some more money. The other alternative is currency collapse.

currency collapse is less harmful to the people than austerity.

currency collapse = inflation = personal debts much easier to dig out of

austerity = deflation = more of the country ends up in the hands of the 1%


I'm actually thinking along the lines of a total US currency collapse and a transition to an international currency.

But yeah, the people who have no personal wealth have nothing to lose.
 
2013-02-13 03:00:41 PM

X-boxershorts: It helps that the entire world buys our currency for purposes of international trade.


Yes that does help. And it could change.

X-boxershorts: Also, too...Greece has an even worse corruption problem than we do....A greater % of Greek high rollers pay no taxes and hide money off shore.


I wasn't saying that we're Greece. We don't have to be Greece to have a debt crisis. Corruption is not a necessary ingredient in a debt crisis. A debt crisis is about math.

X-boxershorts: And don't forget, by joining the EU, Greece chose to not be able to mint their own currency.


I love the notion that handling a debt crisis by printing money means there's no debt crisis.

X-boxershorts: Reserve Currency...look it up.


How about you make a cogent point about it?

X-boxershorts: Also, any one who compares America's economic situation to that of Greece in order to promote austerity


At what point did I do any of that? Please do not conflate me with others you may be sparring with.
 
2013-02-13 03:00:43 PM

DamnYankees: Yes, and it had zero impact on the demand for our debt.


Mostly because the majority of out current deficits are currently being purchased by the Federal Reserve which is bypassing the standard route of selling it on the marketplace.  This is another practice that is likely going to hit a limit sometime in the not-so-far future.  There is a limit as to how much you can monetize the debt.  This is the main reason why I am supportive of slow and steady growth.  With these artificial manipulations being currently utilized by our government, a large upswing could bring about some very nasy repercussions.

- they have been consistently, completely wrong.

I have had to set you right on a few points today.  While I'll agree that some of the arguments employed by the deficit hawks do miss the mark, having you generalize that a certain position is wrong because someone employs a bad argument is not exactly going to be taken to the bank.
 
2013-02-13 03:00:53 PM

ChuDogg: I'm actually thinking along the lines of a total US currency collapse and a transition to an international currency.


:quizzicaldog:
 
2013-02-13 03:01:12 PM
Sweet, $3B should purchase about 200 new votes, I mean Government jobs.  Finally some good news out of DC...
 
2013-02-13 03:01:46 PM

HeadLever: This is another practice that is likely going to hit a limit sometime in the not-so-far future.  There is a limit as to how much you can monetize the debt.


What's the limit? People keep saying this but they don't ever explain what they mean.
 
2013-02-13 03:03:17 PM

DamnYankees: royone: Great, you've rehashed what we already covered, slapped a "You're just wrong" on it, and called it a post. Troll much?

True or false - the United States government has the ability to print U.S. dollars?

If you admit that's true, you are already admitting you are wrong that we can run out of funding for debt. It's literally impossible. That's why they coined the word "wrong".


Yes, we can Zimbabwe ourselves. That doesn't make me wrong. I actually said we can do that.
 
2013-02-13 03:05:05 PM

Wendy's Chili: ChuDogg: By 2020 the US government will have just enough revenue for 3 current programs: Social Security, Defense, and interest payments on the national debt.

And considering that SS isn't paid for out of general revenue, that leaves only defense and interest.

The solution is obvious. We need to cut Sesame Street.


This is part of the problem is how government hides revenue sources and it's own debt obligations. Social Security is dependent on it's holdings in US treasury bonds/bills/notes. Right now it is paying out more than it receives in FICA taxes, but it held on to the interest they accrued from government bonds. When the interest runs out, SSA will begin selling back it's holdings to the US Government, meaning the US Treasury simply issues new bonds, likely at higher interest rates, to replace the old ones that mature.  Which is added to the national "public" debt since they don't count government holdings, and the interest payments there of will further increase the portion of the US budget designated for interest payments.
 
2013-02-13 03:05:11 PM

DamnYankees: No one has ever refused to buy our debt.


Sure they have.  I have refused to buy this debt.  I am sure that I am not the only one.  Now if your point is that we have never had a shortage of sellers, that is the function of the market place that sets interest rates on the risk-reward paradigm.

Right now that process is put aside as the Federal Reserve is currently buying nearly all of our new debt as a part of QE3.
 
2013-02-13 03:05:16 PM

royone: Yes, we can Zimbabwe ourselves. That doesn't make me wrong. I actually said we can do that.


It makes you wrong that we will "run out of funding". You are 100% wrong about that.

And you're an innumerate idiot if you think anything we are doing right now will lead to hyperinflation. I don't know how to say it any nicer.
 
2013-02-13 03:05:40 PM
is that math you do as a Democrat to make yourself feel better?
 
2013-02-13 03:05:52 PM

HeadLever: Now if your point is that we have never had a shortage of sellers, that is the function of the market place that sets interest rates on the risk-reward paradigm.


I think you mean buyers, not sellers. But yes that's what I mean.
 
2013-02-13 03:07:20 PM

DamnYankees: HeadLever: This is another practice that is likely going to hit a limit sometime in the not-so-far future.  There is a limit as to how much you can monetize the debt.

What's the limit? People keep saying this but they don't ever explain what they mean.


Ultimatly, the limit will be when the public and other debt holders lose faith in the system.
 
2013-02-13 03:08:20 PM
More people on the government titty, more Democratic voters. Obama is getting exactly what he and you guys want.

Too bad it will lead to ruin. Can't hide from math.
 
2013-02-13 03:08:24 PM

DamnYankees: I think you mean buyers, not sellers.


D'oh.  Your right.
 
2013-02-13 03:08:38 PM
Firethorn:
Of course - I'm a very weird libertarian.

You ARE a weird libertarian; you virtually admit to the existence of a "common good", which seems anathema to most standard libertarians who believe you should have to pay the fire department to come to your house.
 
2013-02-13 03:11:34 PM

DamnYankees: royone: Yes, we can Zimbabwe ourselves. That doesn't make me wrong. I actually said we can do that.

It makes you wrong that we will "run out of funding". You are 100% wrong about that.


We run out of funding in the sense that nobody is actually buying our debt.

Let's review: I said we can become insolvent or we can be Zimbabwe. You say we can only become insolvent by choice, because we can always Zimbabwe ourselves. I agree.

You also insist that there's a magical third way, wherein we can act like Zimbabwe (devaluing our currency without bound) without causing hyperinflation. I am on tenterhooks awaiting your exposition of this exciting economic discovery.

And you're an innumerate idiot if you think anything we are doing right now will lead to hyperinflation. I don't know how to say it any nicer.

That's among the least significant of the things you don't know.
 
2013-02-13 03:11:38 PM

HeadLever: DamnYankees: I think you mean buyers, not sellers.

D'oh.  You're right.


Sheesh.  I need a beer.
 
2013-02-13 03:13:45 PM

Big Man On Campus: This is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.

Obama =/= Clinton

Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.



You are VERY very wrong....
 
2013-02-13 03:22:29 PM

DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]


That really should either be on a log scale, or in constant dollars.
 
2013-02-13 03:23:11 PM

DamnYankees: royone: It will never happen until it does.

Ok, well, I predict you'll get anal warts because your user name has 6 lower case letters. I mean, there's no reason to think it'll happen, and my logic has never shown to be accurate before, but it won't ever happen until it does, right? I'd see a doctor.


I think you could get many people here to agree with that.
 
2013-02-13 03:25:34 PM

DamnYankees: royone: We run out of funding for debt when there's no one who wants to buy it. That's what funds debt.

1) No one has ever refused to buy our debt.
2) The Fed can always buy more debt if we need to. It's the functional way we print money.


The Fed can only buy Treasuries from the secondary market by law. Technically, if the bottom should fall out of the primary market (which is not likely at this point) there's isn't anything the Fed could do, except to buy other kinds of sought after securities (morgtages, for instance) to put downard pressure on those interest rates and drive demand back to Treasuries.

They'd have to change that law for the Fed to buy US debt on the primary market as I believe that crosses the line of direct monetization of debt, which can in turn lead to a currency crisis. What the Fed is currently doing/does is 'quantitative easing,' buying on the secondary market, is seen by the bond market (and as formal declaration) as intent to improve economic conditions and credit markets, or keeping within a target interest rate, whichever you prefer.
 
2013-02-13 04:30:49 PM
I'm no constitutional scholar or nothing, but I'm pretty sure the House makes the budget, not the President.
 
2013-02-13 04:31:35 PM

Thunderpipes: More people on the government titty, more Democratic voters. Obama is getting exactly what he and you guys want.

Too bad it will lead to ruin. Can't hide from math.


so you're saying study it out?
 
2013-02-13 04:52:35 PM

jaybeezey: Big Man On Campus: This is because every federal agency with a budget had no idea how much they could spend in the first quarter, so they cut back on overhead spending like it was going out of style.

Obama =/= Clinton

Clinton knew what to do when congress shirked its responsibility to pass a budget, he shut down the federal government. Obama is an idealistic weakling.

The president doesn't shut down the federal gov't. Congress does, it controls spending. And both parties have been OK with spending like drunken sailors for the last 2 decades and we have been cuplable by re-electing these people.


You really believe our votes count and we elect these assholes? How quaint.
 
2013-02-13 05:12:54 PM

No Such Agency: You ARE a weird libertarian; you virtually admit to the existence of a "common good", which seems anathema to most standard libertarians who believe you should have to pay the fire department to come to your house.


Fire departments are a public good, especially in cities.  The problem I have is that if my neighbor's stuff catches fire it might lead to MY stuff catching fire, and he might not have enough insurance to cover my stuff.  Not to mention the fact that I'd rather not lose my stuff in the first place.  One can argue that I could simply build a fireproof building, put in proper firewalls and all that, but in the end, it's mostly cheaper to pay the fire department.

Basically, I understand that the standard extreme-libertarian idea of 'sue the one who caused the damage for relief' isn't always realistic.  Sometimes proactive prevention is cheaper.

I've been labeled as being more a 'practical minarchist' at times.  For all my ramblings and 'socialist' policies; it's because I believe that those programs would ultimately lead to a smaller government.  IE if you can prevent criminal actions through good public schools, and said criminal actions would cost more than the schools, then have schools*.  Now, I DO support a voucher for private school system as well, but as a practical matter I think that every child should have access to a good education.  My libertarian leanings grant maximum freedom and responsibility to 'competent adults'.  Kids deserve extra protection because they aren't adults yet, nor are they generally sufficiently competent.  A good education leads to competent adults, which is the point.

Anyways - as long as we aren't willing to let them starve in the street or simply shoot them when they become a problem, I've read that each homeless person costs the government around $250k/year.  At which point I can't help but think that, given that such a high proportion of homeless in the USA are mentally ill, Asylums would be cheaper.  Properly treated, at least some of them could become productive members of society(again), which would reduce their ongoing maintenance costs even more.

*Public schools do quite a bit more, I know,
 
2013-02-13 05:33:13 PM

ReverendJynxed: You really believe our votes count and we elect these assholes? How quaint.


The 2010 mid term elections are making a huge difference to our economy. So, yeah....keep electing the jesus freaks
 
2013-02-13 05:34:31 PM

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.


Why are you glad now?  You certainly didn't give a damn about it from 2001-2008.
 
2013-02-13 05:35:34 PM
WSJ: The 'Obama phones' scam cost taxpayers over $2.2 billion. No, that is not a typo
 
2013-02-13 05:44:31 PM

bmr68: WSJ: The 'Obama phones' scam cost taxpayers over $2.2 billion. No, that is not a typo


Editorial page or main news section? The 2 are not quite the same you know.
 
2013-02-13 05:48:54 PM

DamnYankees: It's literally impossible.


I don't think you understand those words, or the principle. The currency only has perceived value. Regardless of how much toilet paper you print or how rare it is, it's a simple "no" away from being a valued currency.
 
2013-02-13 06:01:00 PM

Jack9: DamnYankees: It's literally impossible.

I don't think you understand those words, or the principle. The currency only has perceived value. Regardless of how much toilet paper you print or how rare it is, it's a simple "no" away from being a valued currency.


None the less, we are still several trillion dollars away from carrying the same debt load we carried as a nation coming out of WWII.
To suggest were in the depths of a debt crisis now is disingenuous.

But we are facing several very real crises right now. To wit...

We have an unemployment crisis
We have an infrastructure crisis
We have a healthcare crisis

We (The USA) could borrow 2 trillion dollars right now, and apply it to the above crises, and it would actually improve our bottom line.

Significantly.
 
2013-02-13 06:06:49 PM

X-boxershorts: bmr68: WSJ: The 'Obama phones' scam cost taxpayers over $2.2 billion. No, that is not a typo

Editorial page or main news section? The 2 are not quite the same you know.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732351180457829600136812 2 888.html
 
2013-02-13 06:13:14 PM
DO NOT TELL CONGRESS.

Or they'll break out the checkbook.
 
2013-02-13 06:32:42 PM
The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the deficit will total $845 billion when the budget year ends on Sept. 30. If correct, that would be first time the government has run annual deficit below $1 trillion since 2008. The annual deficit is projected to be smaller this year because the government is collecting more revenue this year, mainly because of faster job growth and higher taxes.
Business as usual, nothing to see here, carry on.
 
2013-02-13 06:42:33 PM
untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

DamnYankees: Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?


To spend a trillion dollars, you'd have to spend $1,000,000 every day for over 2,700 years.

The US national debt is 16 times that much. By the time Obama leaves office, it'll be 20 times.

If the entire population of the US contributed $1,000 per person every year, we'd pay off the national debt in 42 years.
 
2013-02-13 07:15:38 PM

DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]


That graph demonstrates that you are an idiot.  If you had stated that "Anybody concerned with out of control increases in spending is basically an idiot", then maybe you would have a valid point.
 
2013-02-13 09:58:30 PM

Loadmaster: untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.

DamnYankees: Is there a reason you put trillion in capital letters?

To spend a trillion dollars, you'd have to spend $1,000,000 every day for over 2,700 years.

The US national debt is 16 times that much. By the time Obama leaves office, it'll be 20 times.

If the entire population of the US contributed $1,000 per person every year, we'd pay off the national debt in 42 years.




War could be cheaper.
 
2013-02-13 10:48:13 PM

DamnYankees: Phinn: DamnYankees: I also don't put an arbitrary cap on spending. You go policy by policy - if its a good idea, fund it. If not, don't. Pretty simple.

By what criteria do you distinguish between a "good idea" from a "bad idea"?

Or is it arbitrary?

Would human happiness and utility be net improved or decreased by enacting the policy. Yes, its a broad standard, but it's really the only one you can apply across a broad spectrum of human activity, IMO.


----------------------

Utility is not a quantity.  It cannot be used as a metric for, say, evaluating the aggregate costs and benefits of a reform of the health insurance industry, or any macroeconomic effect of a new law.

"Human happiness" is subjective, and therefore varies from person to person.  It's also not observable except through choice and action, but the implementation of governmental "policies" removes various choices from being a legal possibility.  As a result, you cannot measure the extent to which, for example, people do not want to buy health insurance, and how unhappy it makes them to be forced to do so, because that option has been taken from them.  They only way to measure their unhappiness is to incrementally increase the penalty for defiance, and the point at which they comply to avoid pain will measure of how far they are willing to go to exercise their preferences, and thus to attain their happiness.  (That's why governmental penalties tend to be a perfect map of the extent to which people do not want to do what the government forces them to do.)

There is only one way to objectively measure utility and happiness -- by observing people's behavior in the exchange of their property in a free market.  That's the only way to reveal what people are willing to give up in order to obtain what they get. (The value of every such exchange is, of course, asymmetric, which is why both parties in a voluntary transaction are able to profit by the trade.)

But the implementation of "governmental policies," even if it's just the forced spending of other people's money, removes voluntary choice in the use and trade of property, by definition.  It therefore destroys very same information -- utility and happiness -- that you claim is so important.

In any event, neither of your so-called criteria speaks to the ethics of a governmental action, which features nowhere in your calculus, vague and disingenuous as it is.

It's patently obvious that you have no objective criteria for determining what is a "good policy" and what is a "bad policy."  You simply applaud the governmental decrees that mirror your preferences, and hiss at the ones that don't.

And then you pretend that the forced implementation of your preferences is good for everyone.  Because that makes you feel important.

Which is a typical Leftist/asshole attitude.
 
2013-02-14 12:53:04 AM

miss diminutive: So, that's enough to by a single B-2 stealth bomber?

/or 429 million slinkies


That's enough for everyone in the country to get a slinky.  I vote yes!
 
2013-02-14 12:56:34 AM

DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]


The pro-austerity budget hawks only show up during Democratic administrations.

"Reagan proved deficits don't matter" - Penis Cheney
 
2013-02-14 01:13:11 AM

untaken_name: Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.


You do know the different between the budget deficit and the debt, right?
 
2013-02-14 10:14:05 AM

Phinn: In any event, neither of your so-called criteria speaks to the ethics of a governmental action, which features nowhere in your calculus, vague and disingenuous as it is.


Ethics is, by definition, the measure of the utility of human being. It's not some separate category of action. If something increases human utility (and I'll use that phrase for now due to a paucity of good alternatives), it is by definition ethical.

Phinn: You simply applaud the governmental decrees that mirror your preferences, and hiss at the ones that don't.


Of course. EVERYONE does. That's how we make judgments. I'd like to know how we differ in this respect.
 
2013-02-14 10:52:05 AM

Bucky Katt: DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]

The pro-austerity budget hawks only show up during Democratic administrations.

"Reagan proved deficits don't matter" - Penis Cheney


As the math works our, deficits of 2% or 3% of GDP are not a big issue.  Sustained deficits that are 6% to 10% and upward are much larger issues and can become real problems.  Size does matter in this regard.
 
2013-02-14 10:56:50 AM

X-boxershorts: master_dman: The idiots that think Obama is god will certainly think this story means we are free and clear as a nation.

Republicans? I mean, jeebus, just look at all the crap they're blaming him for, They MUST think he's some kind of God...


Nice try.. but no.. the idiots I speak of are people exactly like you.
 
2013-02-14 01:06:44 PM

Fool_Marquis: DamnYankees: Anybody concerned with out of control spending is basically an idiot. Since WII we have literally never reduced government spending as much as we have in the last couple years.

[www.slate.com image 568x346]

Yankee, your chart shows that, since WWII, we have never reduced government spending.  Period.



Not much for reading graphs, are ya?
 
2013-02-14 01:35:54 PM

master_dman: X-boxershorts: master_dman: The idiots that think Obama is god will certainly think this story means we are free and clear as a nation.

Republicans? I mean, jeebus, just look at all the crap they're blaming him for, They MUST think he's some kind of God...

Nice try.. but no.. the idiots I speak of are people exactly like you.


Citation please.

Or should we continue to defund Planned Parenthood and Sesame Street for the good of the plebes, which is precisely the entire legislative record of the 112th congress.
 
2013-02-14 02:01:13 PM

DamnYankees: Ethics is, by definition, the measure of the utility of human being. It's not some separate category of action. If something increases human utility (and I'll use that phrase for now due to a paucity of good alternatives), it is by definition ethical.


That's just garden variety utilitarianism.

Whatever utilitarianism's faults in terms of guiding a person's daily life and his choices of behavior (and there are many such faults), it's worthless as a philosophy when it comes to evaluating what "the government" can ethically do (or not do) to an entire populace.

DamnYankees: Of course. EVERYONE does. That's how we make judgments. I'd like to know how we differ in this respect.


Oh, so you're an individualist now.  When it suits you, you appeal to aggregate en masse estimates of social happiness and utility (even though these estimates are wholly imaginary and incalculable), but when you decide to approve or disapprove of some action in question, you have no trouble validating your own preferences.

As an initial matter, there is no way to measure aggregate or group happiness.  Groups are not happy or unhappy.  Only individuals feel happiness.  Only individuals choose their behavior.  Only individuals act.  We can each choose to act in concert with other individuals (i.e., cooperate), when doing so is advantageous to those individuals, or individuals can choose not to so cooperate whenever coordinated action is disadvantageous.

But groups are abstractions, and have no mind of their own.  They do not choose, do not act, and thus cannot experience happiness or measure utility as a group.

See, individuals have unique preferences, which are entirely subjective.  There is no logical basis whatsoever to conclude that any one person's preferences are more ethically important, weighty, just or valuable than any other person's preferences.

In contrast, an ethical proposition is, by definition, an appeal to some principle of universality.

Let's take thievery, for example.  You take control of some object that I want to control.  I can say, "I prefer that you let me control that thing."  You can respond, "I prefer that I control it."

Or, let's make the conflict even more stark -- let's say we meet each other on the plains of Africa.  I say, "I'm hungry.  I prefer that I eat the flesh off your bones."  You say, "I prefer that you don't, and you eat something else instead."

Someone's preferences are not going to be fulfilled, either one or the other of us.

This is a stalemate, as all conflicts of mere preference are.  Your utility function dictates that you have control of the object (or that you survive my cannibalistic assault), but your preference to control the object (or continue to keep your beating heart in your chest) is rivalrous with my intended use of these things, and vice versa.  Each of our preferences is ethically equivalent to the other person's preference.

One way of resolving this stalemate of rivalrous preferences is to say that the stronger person gets to prevail.  This is not ethics at all.  This is just a contest of power.  This is just a fight to the death.  It's what animals do. If you take an object that I want to control, and I consider you to be a threat to my use of valuable resources, you get a rock to the head.  If I am really hungry, and decide you are the best meal I'm probably going to get in the next few hours, you get a rock to the head.  There's really no ethical dimension to this mode of resolving social conflict.

But there is a very different way of resolving social conflict -- by appeal to some universalized principle of ethics.  An ethical principle is an abstraction which divides the universe of all possible human behavior into two categories -- ethical and unethical.  The heuristic to be used to draw the line between them, and thereby sort decisions and actions into one of these two categories, is the normative rule (i.e., an ethical proposition). It posits that some types of behavior are right, and some types are wrong.

Let's go back to the two men facing each other on the African plain.  In the "Thievery" example, one possible ethical proposition is that whoever first controlled the object in question gets to retain control over it.  This clearly works as a universal principle.  It can be applied universally (i.e., to both men, and indeed to all humans at all times).  If you have first control of an object that I want, it is unethical for me to bash you over the head in order to gain control over it.  If I controlled it first, then it is unethical for you do bash in my head to get it.  This ethical proposition is universal -- we get equal protection of this law.  It is identity-neutral.

Or, let's do the same thing with the cannibalism example.  One ethical proposition that can be universalized is that "no one eats anyone else."  That, too, can be mutually fulfilled -- applied to both you and to me (and everyone) at the same time.  Like the "no stealing" rule, the "no killing because you're hungry" rule is identity-neutral.

Instead of saying, "I don't want you to take my stuff," an ethical proposition is, "stealing is wrong."  Or "cannibalism is wrong."  The former is an expression of preference, but the latter is an appeal to principle.  Moreover, it's an appeal to universal principle -- applicable to all people, at all times, who may consider the ethical properties of stealing or cannibalism.

Utilitarianism is not capable of formulating ethical propositions, because nothing in utilitarianism is susceptible to universalization.

Let's take slavery, as another example.  Let's say there are 99 people in a hypothetical society.  50 of these people decide that the other 49 really ought to be their slaves for life.  Here we have another conflict of preferences -- exercising the preferences of the 50 people (i.e., the "majority") is somehow considered more just and "ethical" than the preferences of the other 49 (who think that being slaves sucks).  But what if only one individual member of this group of 50 switches sides?  Suddenly, the preferences of the original 50 (now reduced to being only 49) are now considered to be unjust, and now they get to be made into slaves for life.

It's nonsense to suggest that the same action (enslaving people) can be both just and unjust. Remember, ethics is, by definition, the separation of types of actions into two categories -- ethical and unethical.  Its nonsense to suggest that some act (e.g., enslaving others) is ethical for me but not for thee.  That's not identity-neutral.

If an ethical proposition cannot be universalized (expressed in a way that is identity-neutral), then it's just an expression of someone's preference, disguised as a normative principle.
 
2013-02-14 02:10:24 PM

Phinn: That's just garden variety utilitarianism.


I'm a utilitarian.

Phinn: it's worthless as a philosophy when it comes to evaluating what "the government" can ethically do (or not do) to an entire populace.


And yet it works for me.
 
2013-02-14 02:19:31 PM

Phinn: There is no logical basis whatsoever to conclude that any one person's preferences are more ethically important, weighty, just or valuable than any other person's preferences.


I agree. It's a numbers game. Hence democracy. Yay!

Phinn: Utilitarianism is not capable of formulating ethical propositions, because nothing in utilitarianism is susceptible to universalization.


First - I want to thank you for your posts. Genuinely, you write well, and your ideas are well thought out. I hope we can continue this discussion.

Here's where I think you lose your argument though. Everything you said about the 2 men in the plains of Africa is correct. The problem is you don't seem to make any connection between principle and utility, whereas I see the connection very clearly. Utilitarianism is not capable of not  forming ethical propositions, but  measuring them. Any sentence with a subject, verb and predicate can be an ethical proposition. The question is how do we know which ones to choose to live by. The proposition that "to the stronger go the spoils" is, for example, a perfectly valid ethical proposition. It's coherent and you can imagine a philosophy behind it. So now that the proposition is out there, I need to decide whether I actually think its a good one. Well, my basis for ethics is utilitarianism - maximization of human utility. It seems to me that applying the "strength" proposition to human interaction would be a really bad way of getting to maximum human utility. Most people are not the strongest, they wouldn't win these battles, they don't want to battle in the first place and they don't like living in fear of a battle. So that's a bad proposition.

I fail to see what's wrong with my method of thinking this way.

Phinn: But what if only one individual member of this group of 50 switches sides?  Suddenly, the preferences of the original 50 (now reduced to being only 49) are now considered to be unjust, and now they get to be made into slaves for life.


This confuses me. Justice isn't decided democratically. Justice is for every man to decide for himself. Something doesn't become just if most people support it. I don't believe in that idea.

Don't confuse my notions of how government should work with my notions of what the content of morality is. Two different, though related, things.

Phinn: Remember, ethics is, by definition, the separation of types of actions into two categories -- ethical and unethical.


I disagree with this - ethic is not binary in that way.

Phinn: If an ethical proposition cannot be universalized (expressed in a way that is identity-neutral), then it's just an expression of someone's preference, disguised as a normative principle.


I would venture to say that every ethical proposition can be universalized, and that ultimately when you universalize largely enough you end up with utilitarianism. And yes, all ethics does ultimately tie to the normative principles that humans tend to not like suffering.
 
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