Nate, I think you are missing the point. Without government spending on
infrastructure private job creation would be close to nonexistent. I don't
think you are really thinking about what government does. Lets look at the
freeway system. According to Al Neuharth of USA Today, the interstate system
cost 425 billion dollars in 2006 dollars. There is not a business that has ever
existed that would be able to raise that kind of money. That 425 billion does
not include continued maintainance, or improvements. I think it is easy to
believe that the system has cost more then a trillion dollars overall, perhaps
more. So why was that money better spent by government in the freeway system
then left in the hands of the people? Clearly the interstate freeway system was
a major contributor to making this country the major economic force it is and a
superpower. The trade that it facilitates, that alone prove its worth. When you
are on the freeway look at all the semis moving goods from one part of the
country to another. That all represents jobs. Now imagine all of that moving on
back country roads.
@1aggie "The government built a nice freeway...."I
don't doubt that many, many jobs now exist that would not exist without
that freeway. However, you're still looking at only one side of the
equation.I don't know how much it cost to build that freeway,
but let's just say the number was $5 billion. That sum had to be raised
through taxation. Imagine what that same $5 billion could have done in the
private economy. What job creation would have taken place? This can only be
imagined, because it was never realized. But it would have been a significant
number, just as your estimate is a significant number. Remember, we're
talking about net job creation.It may be that building a road was
the best possible use of the money. It may also be that by using the money to
build a road, we missed out on building something even better. There are
opportunity costs to taxation, and one of those costs is private development,
The logic of this letter is nuts. Deficit spending is never a good thing
especially on unsecured loans like the national debt. Can you imagine where we
would be today if the interest rates were not being held artificially low. We
would be drowning. We must live within our means.
It is nice to know that most people do not understand that money is debt. Our
money supply is debt. That dollar in your pocket exist only because someone went
in to debt. If any one wants to truly fix the economy they must
first change our monetary system.
The tab of the Iraq War is over $2 trillion. If you add the interest for
financing the Iraq War the tab is $4 trillion.
Badger;; Wrong. you cant just walk away from the Iraq, and afganastan
messes.Although Obama is getting out, like he said he would. It takes time and
money. The Bush tax cuts are the major contributer to our fiscal problems, but
the Gop refuses to raise taxes on anyone. The gop blackmailed Obama to leave the
tax cuts in place except for the 1%. Look it up before you let the dribble fall
from your mouth. Try to learn what your talking about!
@ NateYour assertion that government spending does not create jobs
couldn't be farther from reality. I will give you a simple example. Look
at Las Vegas. The government built a nice freeway between Los Angeles and Las
Vegas. Without that freeway, Las Vegas would be nothing compared to what it is
today. That road alone has created thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of
jobs that could not be possible without it.
Re: "What a relief, to read a letter by someone who actually understands
macro-economics."So, tell us. What gnostic, occult, magic
macroeconomics spell or incantation permits venal liberal politicians to
continue to spend wildly, in a manner that would shame drunken sailors, with no
appreciable danger of economic hangover the day after?We
breathlessly await your "wisdom" on the matter.Unless, of
course, you've sworn some horrible oath -- like climate
"scientists" -- to protect this arcane secret from those of us too
muddled by common sense to appreciate all the efforts leftist academics have
invested in suspect data and obfuscatory "analysis."
Borrowing 42+ cents on the dollar spent is ok? You must be from Greece or Spain.
Big spenders are playing kick the can and our grandchildren will not thank us
when THEY are required to repay the debt WE ran up.
@Eric Samuelson "Let me break it down for you...."Your
analysis is built on the false premise that government spending creates jobs.
That premise breaks down when you consider where the government gets the money
that it spends. That money comes either from taxation or from borrowing, and
since taxes must be raised to pay back borrowed money, it all reduces to
taxation. The government must first take money out of the economy before it can
put it back in. The opportunity for private jobs is lost, to the same extent
that public jobs are produced. When interest payments are figured in, even more
is lost."Europe's problems have nothing to do with the
social welfare state."Of course they do. Where do you think all
the money went? The European countries best weathering the storm are the ones
which began years ago to scale back their welfare state. The countries doing the
worst ignored their peril until it was too late.
homebrew- "Bush's policies are still contributing to it."????? Really!?The democrats had both houses of congress and the
presidency Jan 2009-Jan 2011. They could have pushed the tax rates back up, but
didn't. Obama didn't push them to do it. Can't blame Bush for
that.Obama, as president, is commander in chief. He could have
brought all the troops home January of 2009, but he didn't. Can't
blame Bush for that either. For as long as you and your ilk blame
Bush for what Obama does, there is no hope of fixing the fiscal mess we are in.
Obama has the power, and he doesn't want a fiscally responsible government,
so he continues failing fiscal policies in the name of social justice. Mutually assured fiscal failure is socially equal for all Americans, but it is
still failure.Why would you and your president choose mutually
To "Eric Samuelsen" we have been spending trillions for the past 4
years, and have not been able to improve unemployment numbers.The
recession was declared over in July 2009, yet we still have high unemployment.
Maybe your ilk will finally realize that the problem is the government spending
too much.Historically, if the government spends less and gets less
involved with the economy unemployment goes down. Go and learn about the 1920
recession, and see what Warren Harding did. Just to put it in perspective, the
1920 stock market crash was worse than the 1929 and 2008 crash.
Nate,Not so. Europe's problems have nothing to do with the social
welfare state. Their problems were caused by the same thing that caused our
problems--capitalism run amuck, destroying nations' economies. The
world-wide financial crisis, IOW.
Redshirt,Everyone agrees that long-term debt is a bad thing. Keynes
thought so, Paul Krugman thinks so, the President thinks so. Did you read the
letter you're responding to? Let me break it down for you:We have
two major problems right now, unemployment and debt.To boost employment,
we need to spend more.To reduce debt, we need to spend less.Those
two things can't be done together, at the same time. They need to be done
sequentially.The sequence we need to follow is this: unemployment first,
debt second.The reason is because full employment will help solve debt,
whereas solving debt will increase unemployment. Got it?
@Darrel:"Every proposed cut affects some Congressman's district,
or Senator's State."You got that right. And every proposed
cut effects some voter, somehow. Politicians don't like to lose votes so
they continue to vote more spending. And they don't like to raise taxes
either, so what do they do? The go out and borrow the money (or tax the wealthy
who are not a significant voting bloc to matter). That's why we have a
national debt of over $17 trillion. Will it ever change? Not until we can get
some statesmen in the White House and Congress. And that could be a long, long
time.@mark:"But boy, they sure need to be taken care
of."That's so true. They will need an ipad, cell phone,
internet, cable TV and the like."I know, where I'm going to
start you. There is a young man that needs his breathing tube suctioned about
every 15 min, 24-7, just so he can stay alive."There's
alotta older folk too, that, under Obamacare will be required to 'go home
and take a pain pill,' as Obama describes it.
@JoeBlow:"This is why we run deficit after deficit."Not so. Deficit spending is due to politicians looking for more votes.
Almost every dollar they vote to spend ends up as wages somewhere for someone.
Cutting the budget has the opposite effect... it cuts wages and thus, jobs
(notice how a 2% cut closed the White House tours because Secret Service had to
be laid off and/or cut back). Politicians don't like that very much. The
more they can give away the more votes they can generate for themselves.
That's why Obama is loath to cut the budget. He'd much rather raise
taxes. And, of course, the rich are far and few between so he won't be
losing many votes. So, that's who he's going after for more
revenue.That's the problem with our system of governance right
now... We've got a lotta politicians who look out for themselves. What we
need are statesmen who consider their prime job is to look out for the good of
the country... not themselves. The Democrat party is full of politicians. At
least, the Republican party has a few statesmen.
"You will have to be responsible for your own healthcare, and will need to
actually put effor into taking care of your neighbors"Really?
Outstanding RedShirt, I know of a lot of neighbors that need to be taken care
of. They actually cannot work, in fact some of them cannot really even move, so
it makes it really hard for them to be responsible for their own healthcare. But
boy, they sure need to be taken care of. Oh, there is huge need out there. I
wonder if you even realize how much.So, do you really walk the walk?
Give me a call, I can get you started. I figure we can start you at, say 50
hours a week. Easy. And that wouldn't even begin to put a dent in it. But, wait, you don't want government involvement do you? Okay,
better make that 80 hours a week. I know, where I'm going to
start you. There is a young man that needs his breathing tube suctioned about
every 15 min, 24-7, just so he can stay alive. Let me know when your ready to do
@Eric Samuelson "...we can clearly see how damaging European-style austerity
has been."Actually, what we see is how damaging European-style
deficit spending has been. Observe the fate of the social-democratic welfare
state. Austerity is their last-ditch effort to avoid collapse.
Bill Clinton had our spending under control. HOW?? He raised taxes! When George
Bush lowered taxes it was catastrophic to our fiscal shape. Letting the tax cuts
expire on 1% of the richest, doesnt solve the problem. Republicans pledge not to
raise taxes,, EVER! Letting the tax cuts expire is not raising taxes. It is
correcting a collosial mistake. George Bush. The tax cuts need to expire on ALL
of us. Returning to the Clinton tax rates would take us back to a balanced
budget, and protect programs like medicarte and medicaid. Social security has
nothing to do with defecit spending. In Fact, if the government would pay the
social security trust fund the trillions it owes it, Social security would be
solvent forever!! President Obama has made spending cuts, and continues to do
so. But revenue must be added to the bottom line. Republicans like to call
themselves fiscal conservatives, but that statement is very far from the truth.
Reagan, and the Bush's have contributed more to our debt than any other.
Bush's policies are still contributing to it. The wars, and tax cuts are
around 5 trillion, are all atributed to Obama's tab..
Actually mountainman, the repubs are the complete hypocrites. They are screaming
about deficit but readily did it under Bush.
Ok liberals, if deficits are so good, why did the 2008 Senator Obama say
"And that's why today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited
by half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will
require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we've long
neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay
-- and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for
getting our spending under control." Isn't he saying that deficits are
bad? If Obama said that a $400 billion deficit is bad, what does that mean
about a $1 Trillion deficit?To "Wanda B. Rich" I have a
better plan that will leave us with a smaller government and eliminate the
deficit. How about we set the budget to pay for only those things specifically
mentioned in the Constitution? You will have to be responsible for your own
healthcare, and will need to actually put effor into taking care of your
Then why hasn't deficit spending worked in places like Japan? They
continue to stagnate and yet continue to deficit spend.
You can behave one way they complain when someone else behaves the same way.
Shouldn't that be a rule? It was a conservative think tank that invented
the philosophy to run up the debt when in power then blame the opposition when
the other side came to power. They have played it brilliantly for 35 years.
Thanks, Darrel. Excellent points.
What a relief, to read a letter by someone who actually understands
macro-economics. As for Twin Lights' comments, I do take your point, sir.
But as we look around the world, we can clearly see how damaging European-style
austerity has been. We can actually sustain, short-term, a bit more debt.
Yes debt can help accomplish things like buying a house, which would be
impossible for most families without getting a loan. Similarly debt can do
things for the government. The problem comes when the debt becomes the norm,
rather than a temporary means to an end. Debt then becomes the method of living
beyond the means. But that can only last for so long, and then disaster
comes.Our government has moved into the danger zone and is
normalizing living beyond its means. Anyone who can't see that has their
head in the sand.
@ Kent C. DeForrestThe problem the letter didn't address,
however, is that we have been in a pattern for three decades at least of not
running surpluses in times of economic expansion, excepting a couple of years
during the Clinton administration. =======================I would have loved to address that, however, even letters to the editor must
be under 200 words. That is where politicians seem to fail in running an
economy. It's hard to get reelected on "tightening our belts."
President Obama may have been the first politician to successfully run on a
platform of "raising taxes."When it comes times to make
cuts, nobody can agree on what to cut. Every proposed cut affects some
Congressman's district, or Senator's State. I think the best way to
make the tough chouces is to place term limits on Congress. It's easier to
make a tough vote when one knows they cannot run for reelection.
So, Mountanman, let's increases taxes enough to provide healthcare to every
citizen, rebuild our badly deteriorating infrastructure, take care of the
elderly and disabled, defend our country (without attacking every Tom, Dick, or
Saddam we don't like), invest in educating our next generation, and a
thousand other things we seem to think are important. Maybe we could save a
little money by reducing the salaries of our elected Congresspeople.
The juxtaposition of the comments by isrred and Mountanman couldn't have
been better. First, isrred complimented the letter writer on understanding the
difference between national and family economics. Then Mountanman followed up
with a comment illustrating the opposite. Pretty funny.The problem
the letter didn't address, however, is that we have been in a pattern for
three decades at least of not running surpluses in times of economic expansion,
excepting a couple of years during the Clinton administration. If Republicans
would let us increase taxes during economic booms, we might get the debt under
control. But no, we can't pay for what we've already agreed to spend.
That is somehow more immoral than keeping taxes so low that we'll never
come close to breaking even.
@ Ernest T. The difference is Obama is such a hypocrite about it! During his
campaign for his first term, Obama blasted the Republicans for the national debt
of $10.5 trillion as being "un-American and unpatriotic, a lack of
leadership". So what does he do? Adds another $7 trillion in his first term-
record debt growth with no end in sight! Roars of protest from the left have
mysteriously turned all quiet from the left these days!
I'm really angry when Dems deficit spends. I happily ignore it
when Reagan, Bush I and Bush II did it.
"Interest never gets sick, it never takes a day off"Let me
addInterest doesn't care how the debt was incurred. So,
whether you decide to Feed the Poor or Fight a war, the unpaid balance incurs
interest just the same. People need to realize this when they support deficit
spending for some things and not others. To your point, Interest doesn't
care where the debt came from, or which party incurred it.
@ Mounta(i)nman: If you have a credit card or owe money on a home or car, you
are carrying debt. And unless you pay off your credit card every month, every
time you charge something on it you are deficit spending.
People who advocate deficit spending either by the government, by individuals or
businesses ignore a very important fact: INTEREST. There is an old but accurate
statement that teaches us this principle; Those who understands interest earns
it, those that don't understand interest pays it! Interest never gets sick,
it never takes a day off. Its is your unseen companion every minute of everyday.
Deficits turn into debts and ours is $17 trillion and growing by $10 billion a
day and paying the INTEREST on our debt will soon take 50% of our entire GNP. No
economy can support that weight!
When your debt is over $16,500,000,000,000, and your credit rating has been
downgraded twice within the same presidential administration, that's the
wrong time for more deficit spending. Even if you think Congress is smart enough
to play around with the money supply, America doesn't have any leeway.
My usual disclaimer - Dems are big spenders.However, I find it
ironic that the GOP leadership that is harping daily about the spending problem
that we have all (Boehner, Canter, McConnell, and even Ryan) voted for tax cuts
and spending increases which ballooned the deficit.Many want to
retort with "Well, Bush was not a conservative".Well then,
neither are todays GOP party leaders.The GOP is not really concerned
with the deficit. They are concerned solely with lower taxes, regardless of
anything else.I like this approach. Want to lower taxes? Great.
Cut the spending first and THEN lower the taxes.
Deficit spending is never ok! Just ask your banker before he confiscates your
credit cards or your lawyer before the judge sentences you to jail!
A letter from someone who actually understands that the economy of a nation is
different from the economy of a family? Prepare to be eaten alive by the right
If we had entered the Great Recession with little debt, I might agree a bit
more. But we came in top heavy. We simply do not have the luxury of adding more
debt. We need to abide by the guidance we gave so many other countries when
their debt load was too high and learn to live within our means.
Dems are usually happy to Deficit Spend.Republicans only rail
against it when they are out of power. This is why we run deficit