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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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8630 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 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.
 
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