Readers' forum: America's bleak budget


Return To Article
  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Aug. 14, 2011 3:40 p.m.

    Quote"President Obama has made the word "trillions" part of our everyday discussion. Thanks!"

    You should thank him for talking about it. We've been into the multiple trillions since Regan went on a borrowing spree.

    Republicans just took thier heads out of the sand and found a national debt which they blame entirely on Obama. False witness much?

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    Thanks Mr. Pierce for the excellent article! But, it must be the Tea Pary that is to blame, because it can not be the President, leaders of the Congress, or either of the two parties that have been in power in the US since before the civil war. Nevermind, that these parties are responsible for all of the policies and programs currently enforce in the nation. They are more than willing to take the credit for success like the Great New Deal, victory in World War II, the end of the cold war, and even the economic growth since the mid-1980's. But, never the false promises, and utterly breathtaking spending over the last two decades. No that is all the fault of the folks that have asked for fiscal responsibility and a cap on the amount of endless $ going inefficiently and ineffectively into federal coffers. No, I am sorry this is definitely all the fault of the Tea Party.

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 14, 2011 8:51 a.m.

    President Obama has made the word "trillions" part of our everyday discussion. Thanks!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2011 8:55 p.m.

    It looks to me like J Thompson acknowledged his math error one full hour before being taken to task. He admitted his mistake.

    His first assertion was correct. The CBO said, and included in their 2001-2007 report, that the cost of the IRAQ war was $9 billion dollars per month. At that rate, it would take 37 years to offset the $4 TRILLION that Mr. Obama has over-spent his revenues.

    Would any of us overspend our budgets by that amount? Would we think that our children and our grandchildren would be willing to pay off our over-spending? Are any of us that stupid? Are any of us that so out-of-touch with reality that we would spend money as if we had no intention of ever paying it back? Would any of us show that lack of integrity to our creditors that we would tell them to take-a-hike when they asked for repayment?

    Mr. Obama has done exactly that. No matter how anyone looks at his spending, there is no possible way that he could EVER repay the amount that he has spent, even if he took 100% of our income.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 7:58 p.m.

    Fifteen years ago a problem with my granddaughters checking account, that I was co-signer, caused a problem with my credit rating. While all the fraud victims except one accepted the eventual resolution, their attack upon my credit remains. However it has not caused me a moments difficulty and has had the good effect of having all the credit card offers come in my wife's name.

    Other that the obvious political and phony financial propaganda, it may be true that a credit ratings may effect the ability or the interest rate but I have never experienced such. I have had the ability to borrow money in various ways and knowing my credit score didn't seem to help or hinder me in any way.

    The United States national government is probably the safest and most dependable investment in existence.

    The only dark spot on the horizon is the wanton destruction of the American society by the conservative commercialists who want to weaken and destroy the governments main purpose, that of securing the rights of the people. If they succeed, America will become a empty shell not able to support it's own society let alone qualify for loans.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Aug. 13, 2011 5:01 p.m.

    This is what happenes when parents don't make kids do thier homework.

    The laffer cure is oddly enough a CURVE, not a straight line.

    The tea party thinks that lowering taxes even if we're at a 60 year low by GDP will increase revenues.

    Guess what? Even ART LAFFER didn't believe that.

    Even when the theory has many unproven assumtions about social behavior all evidence shows we have been on the backside of the laffer curve for at least 20 years. Reduce taxes = reduced revenues.

    I personally don't agree with the laffer theory at all. All it takes into account is that someone has more incentive to work if they keep 70% of their income rather than pay 70%.

    It doesn't take into account that BUSINESSES are more likely to reinvest and grow thier small business if they can write off the investment 100% instead of taking the money out and paying taxes on it.

    I've owned a business. I could take the money out of the business and pay taxes or I could open another store and write it off. Every business owner knows that. That's why after WW2 when the highest tax was 90% there was huge reinvestment.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2011 4:36 p.m.

    JR Thompson's math is somewhat faulty. $9 billion per month for 8 years is not $100 billion but more like $900 billion. At any rate, the same CBO says Bush borrowed $1.2 trillion for warmaking, after assuring us that the wars would cost at most $50 billion.
    All of it useless.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 3:24 p.m.


    I'm big enough to admit when I keyed in the wrong numbers. $9 Billion X 96 months is not $100 billion.

    On October 24, 2007, the CBO submitted a report with the ACTUAL costs between 2001 and 2007 of activities in IRAQ, Afghanistan and other related activities of the war on terrorism. This was not a "projected cost" but actual costs incurred to date.

    Total $533 BILLION.

    It "Includes $1.6 billion for medical care, disability compensation, and survivors benefits that CBO estimates has been spent over the 20012007 period from regular appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs."

    "DoD currently is obligating an average of almost $11 billion a month for expenses associated with its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other activities related to the war on terrorism. Most of that amount (more than $9 billion per month) is related to operations in Iraq."

    Did you note the $9 billion per month figure for operations IRAQ? It's right there in their report. Nothing was made up. Nothing was projected. I used the governments figures.

    If I had been paying attention, I would have caught my 10X error. Sorry.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 2:47 p.m.

    JT: "I'm using the figures quoted by Democrats for years, $9 BILLION per month. I'm using the CBO's actual figures..."

    No - you're not.

    Please cite the specific sources for that "$100 Billion total cost" figure.

    And when you find you can't do that, Google the January 26, 2010 Reuters news story, "Q+A - Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan tops $1 trillion," and see what that comes up with. Read the whole story. That's for spending as of December 2009.

    More comprehensive studies, including the interest costs on the borrowed money used to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as long-term veteran care costs, put the total figure at multiple times the $1 trillion spent.

    "Your sleight of hand is showing. Why are you trying to change historical facts?"

    Huh? Your willful denial of reality is absolutely stunning. There is no sleight of hand here - I'm telling you that your fantasy estimate for the cost of the war is wrong, and giving your resources to prove as much.

    Only in the mind of a Tea Partier is a presentation of the plain truth seen as an attempt to distort history.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 2:46 p.m.

    War declared = March 20, 2003. Months since then = 101 x $9 Billion a month = $981 Billion rounding like you for partial months =

    ONE TRILLION DOLLARS! (your emphasis).

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 1:16 p.m.

    Mike Richards,

    You're factually inaccurate. The CBO estimate is that the Bush tax cuts cost 1.8 trillion.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    re: Blue


    I'm using the figures quoted by Democrats for years, $9 BILLION per month. I'm using the CBO's actual figures, not figures inflated to what "might" happen in five years, particularly if they, and you, assign the complete cost of the war as a deficit item instead of putting defense where it belongs as an expense against current revenues, and then assigning all non-authorized budged items as interest-owing accounts.

    Your sleight of hand is showing. Why are you trying to change historical facts?

    re: Grover,

    Look what you're saying. President Obama decided to NOT levy taxes against those who had income to tax, those who had jobs, those who were able to pay. Then he and you complain that the piggy bank is empty. Why wouldn't it be empty?

    President Obama is foolish to NOT EXECUTE the laws that he swore an oath to execute. That includes charging taxes to those who owe those taxes. The government owed money. Money was available to pay for at least $400 billion of those bills. Revenues would have been $2.5 trillion from income tax. He gave away $400 billion.

    He is incompetent.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    Around around we go, more of the same and "deja-vu all over again". It is virtually impossible to balance our budget without a two prong approach, cuts and espcially new revenue. Since there are few, if any, truly wealthy people participating in these posts then why do you care if they raise taxes on the rich? Do you really think that will destroy jobs? There have been 50,000 factories closed in the U.S. during the past 11 years so the low tax rates have clearly not provided good jobs. Prosperity cannot be had on service alone. But I have faith. I have faith that you will provide for me in my old age when you have finally finished off Social Security and Medicare. Of course you'll have a few more panhandlers in your neighborhood and your costs will skyrocket but hey, that's what you want.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 11:17 a.m.

    All the "arguments" are just copy and paste from previous comments sections.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    The total cost of the war in Iraq is only $100 Billion?

    Something smells fishy here.

    From the Wikipedia article on "Financial Costs of the Iraq War":

    "The costs of the War on Terror are often contested, as academics and critics of the component wars (including the Iraq War) have unearthed many hidden costs not represented in official estimates. The most recent major report on these costs come from Brown University in the form of the Costs of War project, which said the total for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is at least $3.2- 4.0 trillion."

    From the same article (which includes extensive sources footnotes): "According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report published in October 2007, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost taxpayers a total of $2.4 trillion dollars by 2017 when counting the huge interest costs because combat is being financed with borrowed money."

    So Mr. Thompson, when you say the CBO put the cost of the war at $100 billion, you're either misunderstanding the data or you're intentionally fabricating numbers.

    Which is it?

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 10:31 a.m.

    JT: Your capital letters would have more bite if you readily admitted that 40% of the stimulus of the $1 trillion stimulus you claim to be the end of the world as we know it, came back to us all (including you) in a tax credit. Let me remind you this was the part of the stimulus that was insisted on by Republicans to stimulate us to spend ourselves out of the recession. Remember, this was before "jobs, jobs, jobs" was the mantra (but not one program introduced yet in 9 months since your side took the House).

    Went you publish your partisan screeds at least have the courage to say that YOU were part of what the President of the United States spent the money on.

    PS. Best check your math on the war. You must have had "new math" courtesy of the Utah school system.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    The CBO put the cost of IRAQ at $9 BILLION per month. Given eight years and rounding things UP, let's use a cost of $100 BILLION.

    Now, let's compare that figure to what President Obama has spent. He has run up the deficit by over $4 TRILLION since taking office. The war would have to run for 40 YEARS to equal what the President has spent in two years.

    There is no comparison.

    This administration and the Democrats in Congress that approved has acted as if they were teenagers left with the credit cards while the parents were away. Irresponsible. Reprehensible. Unconscionable.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    How many people give ANYBODY total control over their finances without first setting rules?

    Marriages have been destroyed when people can't agree on what is "essential" and what is "fluff".

    Marriages have been destroyed when one person supplies the money and another spends it.

    Marriages have been destroyed when one person spent no more than income while the other considered credit-cards to be "revenues".

    Just like a household budget, we, the people, have told government what is "essential" and what is "fluff". We told them that we would pay for "essential" duties, but that we would not pay for "fluff".

    The Republicans, and some Democrats have asked that Congress be responsible with Cut, Cap and Balance provisions so that expenditures did not exceed income.

    The Republicans, and some Democrats, have realized that we have an emergency, and that for a very limited time and under very limited circumstances, we need to "pretend" that a limited debt limit increase (credit card revenue) must be allowed.

    Those who mock the system, who trivialize the process, who blame falsely, who make false and misleading comments are only showing they have no solution, so why listen to them?

  • isrred Logan, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    (part 3)
    Your unwillingness to even consider the revenue side of the budgetary equation signals your indifference to the fact that your uncompromising stance necessitates that my taxes will be raised even more in the future. Further, your actions equate to the institution of a "birth tax" that will be levied on my unborn children and grandchildren to pay for the irresponsibility of cutting taxes on millionaires and billionaires, borrowing money to pay for unnecessary wars, and passing unfunded prescription drug benefits in order to buy votes.

    Scripture tells us By their fruits ye shall know them, and the fruit of the modern GOP is rotten and stinking when it comes to truly caring for Americas youth.

  • isrred Logan, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    (continued from above)

    When you controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency and had a chance to make reforms to entitlement programs to make them solvent, you chose instead to create a new entitlement program in order to manipulate vulnerable senior citizens by buying their vote with a new prescription drug benefit program. Over 82% of you in the Senate and 89% of you in the House voted to place a half a trillion dollar burden onto the children and grandchildren you claim to care so much about.

    So please, stop with the "our children" nonsense. I am of the generation of youth and your "children". It is my generation and my unborn children and grandchildren that will be strapped with the fiscal mess that your generation has created. Our generation is willing to take responsibility and do our fair share but it is those in the older generations who are unwilling to have their taxes raised. (continued)

  • isrred Logan, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 9:16 a.m.

    Dear Congressional Republicans,

    You continue to parrot talking points about your concern for the debt we are dumping onto the backs of future generations--your children and grandchildren. Well that generation of your children and grandchildren is my generation and you do not speak for me, and your actions show nothing but disregard for my generation and our unborn children and grandchildren.

    In October of 2002 97% of you in the House and 98% of you in the Senate voted to place the burden of the Iraq war onto younger generations. This not only placed the human costs--unnecessary loss of life and a new generation of physically and mentally disabled veterans--onto our generation, but also saddled generations younger than your own with the financial costs of this reckless military venture.

    Rather than raise taxes to fund your decision to enter Iraq, you chose to borrow the money instead. In fact, not only did you not raise taxes but seven months later 99.6% of you in the House and 94% of you in the Senate voted to further cut taxes--an unthinkable act in a time of war. (continued...)

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    Soooooooo what cuts did the tea party actually suggest? What was their plan? I want specifics on what they were going to cut.

    And why can't we restore taxes to Clinton time levels? Why can't we close loopholes?

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    Ok, I give. Let's ALL taxes to zero and sit back and let the resulting boom save our society!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2011 7:50 a.m.

    Absent the Bush tax cuts, there would have been no appreciable change.

    The CBO claims that removing the Bush tax cuts would generate $60 billion per year (they have not told us how many jobs would be lost and how much Income Tax revenue would be lost because of those lost jobs, so I'll just take their word for it that $60 billion per year would flow into the treasury.)

    Do the math.

    Mr. Obama has spent over $4 TRILLION more than he has received. At $60 billion per year, it would take 66.67 YEARS just to pay back the $4 TRILLION that he has overspent!

    Those who are so simplistic as to think that they can blame the tea party, a "party" that is not in power, for our economic woes are dishonest in their approach and certainly dishonest with the facts.

    The Democrats gave us the Debt Ceiling increase. Mr. Obama signed it into law. Immediately after, our credit rating was decreased and Wall Street started its roller-coaster ride.

    Being for a balanced budget, for caps on new spending and cutting existing spending is the OPPOSITE of what the Democrats gave us. The OPPOSITE.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 7:09 a.m.

    The tea party wants gridlock. The over simplified solution is to get rid of the debt by stop paying it and causing an economic collapse and bankruptcy. This position is fixed and will lead to further downgrades and increased stress on the financial institutions. The tea party will never compromise. Therefore, do not support the tea party unless you want to bankrupt the United States.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 12:53 a.m.

    "To blame the tea party for this downgrade is a little like blaming the person who calls 911 to report a fire."

    Oh for Pete's sake! Is there no limit to how disconnected from reality the Tea Partiers can be?

    Let's be clear about this - the downgrade of America's credit rating can be laid squarely at the feet of the Tea Party.

    News item - 8/11:

    "Without specifically mentioning Republicans, S&P senior director Joydeep Mukherji said the stability and effectiveness of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that 'people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,' Mukherji said. 'That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,' he added. 'This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.'"

    The Tea Party leaders who thumped their chests about raising the debt limit in 2011 didn't blink at raising it on dozens of previous occasions, and were enthusiastic supporters of two "off the books" elective wars and deficit-heavy tax cuts.

    No Tea Party leader can explain how to balance the budget without raising taxes - thus proving they are unqualified and unfit to be taken seriously.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 12:46 a.m.

    The tea party is composed of, well, idiots. All they want is cuts, and all government is evil. If they don't see direct and immediate government assistance to themselves, then government does nothing. My recommendation is...find paradise in somalia. No pesky bureaucrats or safety organisations there. You can own all the guns or buy all the health care you want. If you don't want society, keep it up. You're not far enough up the food chain to succeed without it.

  • ljeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 12:19 a.m.

    "When are we going to make cuts? " When are we going to restore prior tax rates on the super-wealthy and corporations? This crisis is a combination of high levels of spending and deep tax cuts. It is possible to work from both ends. In fact I understand that absent the Bush cuts, the current level of federal debt would be spectacularly smaller.