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Letters: Deficit spending OK

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  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    March 17, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    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.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 17, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    @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, including jobs.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    March 16, 2013 11:07 p.m.

    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.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 16, 2013 6:04 p.m.

    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.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 16, 2013 5:34 p.m.

    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.

  • homebrew South Jordan, UT
    March 16, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    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!

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 16, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    @ Nate

    Your 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.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    March 16, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    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."

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 16, 2013 9:29 a.m.

    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.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 16, 2013 1:00 a.m.

    @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.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    March 15, 2013 10:46 p.m.

    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 assured failure?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 15, 2013 9:34 p.m.

    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.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    March 15, 2013 6:42 p.m.

    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.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    March 15, 2013 6:39 p.m.

    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?

  • Alfred Pheonix, AZ
    March 15, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    @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.

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    March 15, 2013 5:06 p.m.

    @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.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    March 15, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    "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 it.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 15, 2013 1:11 p.m.

    @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.

  • homebrew South Jordan, UT
    March 15, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    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..

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 15, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    Actually mountainman, the repubs are the complete hypocrites. They are screaming about deficit but readily did it under Bush.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 15, 2013 12:50 p.m.

    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 neighbors.

  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    March 15, 2013 12:37 p.m.

    Then why hasn't deficit spending worked in places like Japan? They continue to stagnate and yet continue to deficit spend.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    March 15, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    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.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    March 15, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    Thanks, Darrel. Excellent points.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    March 15, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    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.

  • Christian 24-7 Murray, UT
    March 15, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    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.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 15, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    @ Kent C. DeForrest

    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.

    =======================

    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.

  • Wanda B. Rich Provo, UT
    March 15, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    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.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    March 15, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    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.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 15, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    @ 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!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 15, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    I'm really angry when Dems deficit spends.

    I happily ignore it when Reagan, Bush I and Bush II did it.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 15, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    "Interest never gets sick, it never takes a day off"

    Let me add

    Interest 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.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    March 15, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    @ 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.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 15, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    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!

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 15, 2013 8:25 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 15, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    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.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 15, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    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!

  • isrred South Jordan, UT
    March 15, 2013 7:12 a.m.

    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 wingers.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 15, 2013 6:46 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 15, 2013 4:27 a.m.

    Dems are usually happy to Deficit Spend.

    Republicans only rail against it when they are out of power.

    This is why we run deficit after deficit.