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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 61
    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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Archived thread
2013-02-13 10:12:19 AM  
7 votes:
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 11:46:02 AM  
4 votes:

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 10:18:53 AM  
3 votes:
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 10:13:04 AM  
3 votes:
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 11:49:22 AM  
2 votes:

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 11:16:43 AM  
2 votes:
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 10:59:32 AM  
2 votes:

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 10:44:00 AM  
2 votes:
I just want to use this opportunity to pretend I'm an economist.
2013-02-13 10:41:34 AM  
2 votes:

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 10:39:30 AM  
2 votes:
www.slate.com
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com
2013-02-13 10:39:29 AM  
2 votes:

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 10:35:39 AM  
2 votes:

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 10:27:20 AM  
2 votes:

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 10:22:11 AM  
2 votes:
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 10:19:09 AM  
2 votes:

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 10:18:15 AM  
2 votes:
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 10:16:54 AM  
2 votes:
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 10:16:12 AM  
2 votes:
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 10:13:24 AM  
2 votes:
It's because taxes went up--not just for the rich, but mine as well.  How about some spending cuts now?
2013-02-13 10:48:13 PM  
1 votes:

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.
2013-02-13 03:25:34 PM  
1 votes:

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 03:05:11 PM  
1 votes:

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 01:17:34 PM  
1 votes:

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 01:13:02 PM  
1 votes:

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 12:49:31 PM  
1 votes:

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 12:34:43 PM  
1 votes:

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 12:32:41 PM  
1 votes:

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 12:21:56 PM  
1 votes:
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 12:21:53 PM  
1 votes:

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 11:53:40 AM  
1 votes:

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 11:44:38 AM  
1 votes:

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 11:41:54 AM  
1 votes:

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


So THAT'S what SS stands for....whocouldaknown
2013-02-13 11:29:34 AM  
1 votes:

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 11:05:02 AM  
1 votes:

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 11:01:41 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:58:53 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:58:33 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:58:15 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:54:51 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:54:44 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:54:31 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:52:52 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:52:15 AM  
1 votes:
Yes, we had a $3 billion surplus for January, but we still managed to add $16 billion to the national debt.
2013-02-13 10:49:29 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:48:17 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:45:02 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:44:05 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:43:30 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:39:31 AM  
1 votes:
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 10:33:56 AM  
1 votes:
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 10:32:36 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:31:00 AM  
1 votes:
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 10:31:00 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:30:01 AM  
1 votes:
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 10:28:15 AM  
1 votes:
Meant to preview, not post that.  Payroll tax increase is a large part of the reason that January is a surplus
2013-02-13 10:27:05 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:27:02 AM  
1 votes:

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 10:18:39 AM  
1 votes:
Oh, good. I thought we had a 16 TRILLION dollar national debt. Good to know we paid that off.
2013-02-13 10:14:17 AM  
1 votes:
Oh, bad news for Republicans.  They need something to create a distraction fast.
2013-02-13 10:12:26 AM  
1 votes:

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

/or 429 million slinkies
 
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