Comments about ‘Letters: Federal debt’

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Published: Tuesday, March 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Bountiful, UT

This analogy only works if the guy on the bus has no intention of ever paying back his debts and expects his children and grandchildren and total strangers to pay it back.

Bluffdale, UT

Breck, I think you are a bit confused. In rough terms, the current US spending is about $4T (trillion) a year, income is about $3T, deficit is about $1T, and debt is about $16T. In other words, the country's debt is currently more than five times it's income. This is very similar to the Guy you say is irresponsible. And it's getting worse every year.

To continue your analogy, in order for your Guy to be as bad as the government, he must still be spending $4 for every $3 he earns, continually increasing his debt at a staggering pace. Is that what he should be doing? Is that what the country should be doing?

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Well, nice try, but as has been pointed out more often than I can count, a nation's budget is not at all similar to a family's budget. The nation's budget has to account for all sorts of things a family can conveniently ignore. I don't have any debt right now, having paid off my mortgage and car loans, so maybe I'm an anomaly in our society, but a few years ago when I did have some debt, my income was still greater than my expenses. The problem with the national picture is that both political parties basically agreed to increase spending while giving up a higher-paying job for a lower-paying one. That, my friends, is stupidity.

Burke, VA

Anyone who tries to justify and promote a $16T debt is just being silly. Nothing good can come from that. But let's l;ook at what we've done. In 2000, just when the total debt was about $5T and we were starting to balance our annual budget, the CBO calculated that with current conditions continuing it would take about 10 years to erase the entire federal debt. Not the deficit, the debt - gone, zero. But then the new president proposed, and we all went along wwith it (be honest, it doesn't matter which side of the aisle you were on) that our taxes be reduced. "Afterall", the new president declared, "it's your money, not the government's." Of course the strong economny faltered then (in 2000) but we also started two wars without any funding mechanism to pay for them and the government passed a huge prescription drug benefit bill. Then the bottom fell out of the economy. So, if we had left taxes where they were and paid for the wars and benfits with new taxes would we be debt free? Probably not, but we would be on the other side of $5T, you can bet on it.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT


The mortgage, car loan, and student loans all have one thing in common; they are installment debt. Each month they get SMALLER. Each day, the federal debt under BO's mismanagement, gets LARGER. Who is really irresponsible?

What did the guy on the bus get for his debt? A house (which is worth more than he owes unless he fell victim to barney frank's housing bubble), an auto, and an education that increases his earnings capacity.

What does the govt get for most of the debt it is incurring now? generally Nothing.

The CBO may have shown a reduction in the debt, maybe even the elimination. But the Treasury reports otherwise. Gross federal debt was still INCREASING under slick willy. The treasury was borrowing from social security, so the US treasury's debt was still increasing. The only reason the CBO reported those numbers was because SS's surplus was larger than Treasury's deficit, and SS's surplus could not continue with an aging population.

The economy, as evidenced by slick's inverted yield curve, was showing signs of distress when bush took over.

Cedar Hills, UT

...so in other words this little ole 17 trillion is nothing to worry about.

"The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents -- #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic." - Barack Obama, July 3, 2008

"We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,” President Obama said in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos for “Good Morning America.” “In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.”

So in 2008 it was "unpatriotic" at 9 trillion and now it's no big deal at 17 trillion?? Sure gives you a load of confidence in your commander and chief doesn't it. What a nightmare!

T. Party
Pleasant Grove, UT

Breck England said, "The federal debt is equal to about one year of its income." Actually, the federal debt is larger than the entire GDP. Does he actually think that the federal government's income equates to GDP? Wow. Just wow.

Salt Lake City, UT

Income is not 3 trillion a year in the US. Otherwise federal revenue (around 2.5 trillion a year) would be an 83% tax rate and that's obviously not the case.

Salt Lake City, UT

Nevermind, I realized what you were going with. I was thinking you were referring to something else.

Burke, VA

lost in DC - I acknowledged that the economy was turning when President Bush took over but the actions he took, and that we all cheered, just made a situation that was teetering, fall way over the top. Add the lost revenue from tax cuts to the cost of wars and drug benefits and the problem balooned only to explode when an actual (rather than a self imposed) crisis hit us with the world wide economuic downturn. And I'm not really in the mood to argue with you about who caused that.

A point I should have made was that when President Bush said, "It's your money" he failed to include the statement, "But it's also your debt." That would have been nice if he just would have mentioned it.

And one of these days, my greatest hope, is that you can call the presidents, current and past, by their proper titles, instead of the childish names you tend to want to call them. Am I hoping for too much?

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Breck England" here is the difference between households with debt and the government. This is the one HUGE key that your example failed to include.

When does the government plan to have the debt paid off?

Now ask any family when they plan to have their home paid off, student loans, and car loans. Chances are the better the family is handling their money the more likely they are to be able to tell you when they will be debt free. The families that are financial messes have no idea when they will be debt free.

To "ECR" the study you refer to was proven wrong when the conditions to pay off the debt were changed by the recession that began under Clinton.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT


I agree with some of what you said, even when you say bush should have said "it's your debt".

You bring up the wars; I have asked numerous times why the deficit is higher now that the wars are winding down then it was when they were going full bore. No one has yet to answer. Yes, the wars contributed to the deficit, but obviously they were not the sole factor.

unfunded drug program? I have always maintained that was bush's greatest mistake - the wars will evenutally end, but that program goes on forever. remember also the demonrats were putting forth a more expensive program, and the repubs just beat them to the punch. Let's not forget that the new projections for Obamacare say it will cost up to 10 X it's original estimates.

You say my referring to BO by his initials is disrepectful. I am sorry you are overly-sensitive. I give BO no less respect than he deserves and certainly more than most liberals gave bush.

and thank you for admitting you can no longer defend barney frank for bringing down our economy.

Centerville, UT

With the debt think Cyprus. Eventually the debt gets called or the wealth of the citizens is stolen to pay for the governments continuation. New Zealand is thinking of following suite. "Oh it won't happen here", but I keep hearing the progressives talk about continued class warfare and taking the capital of those that have saved.

Burke, VA

lost in DC - I said nothing about Barney Frank and if you read "After the Music Stopped" by Alan Blinder, you'll find that while Fannie and Freddie played a minor role in the economic crisis, coming very late to the sub-prime party as they did, it was a lack of oversight by government regulators and the unethical and criminal actions of Wall Street bankers that caused the lmeltdown. They used other people's money (OPM) to enrich themselves for a time and then hide behind the enormity of their institutions to avoid prosecution. Or, as the author of this letter suggests, the current adminstration has, for some reason, been reluctant to prosecute them.

The wars cost us trillions and they were never carried as deficit's during the Bush Adminstration but were, instead, always funded as "supplemental funding." The increased interest on the debt caused by that spending, the lower tax intake caused of the economic downturn and the fact that this president has been honest enough to cover the cost of war on the budget, is why the deficit is much higher now than it was then.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

If repubs think that Obama is a big spender then they must have really hated Reagan.

one old man
Ogden, UT

The mortgage, car loan, and student loans all have one thing in common; they are installment debt. Each month they get SMALLER. Each day, the federal debt under Congressional mismanagement, gets LARGER while the GOP absolutely refuses to try to compromise or seek any kind of balanced solution. Who is really irresponsible?

Bluffdale, UT

Sometimes when I read through comments on forums like this I wonder if people that are interested in solving our problems rather than simply tyring to blame them on the other side even exist. Sigh....

USS Enterprise, UT

To "The Real Maverick" even comparing Reagan to Obama, Obama is a big spender.

Under Reagan the debt went from 33% to 51% GDP. Under Obama it has gone from 69% to 106& GDP. Obama still has outspent Reagan.

Another way is looking at the debt held by the public. Under Reagan it went from 7.2% to 9.8% GDP. Under Obama is has gone from 40.3% to 76.3% GDP.

Again, compared to Obama, Reagan was quite responsible.

Counter Intelligence
Salt Lake City, UT

@one old man
The mortgage, car loan, and student loans all have one thing in common; they are installment debt. Each month they get SMALLER. Each day, the federal debt under Democratic mismanagement, gets LARGER while the GOP proposes multiple budget solutions, which are thwarted by the Democratic Senate who refuses to even pass a budget, and a Democratic president who has never proposed a responsible budget, attempting to divert attention from his own failure with a mantra of class warfare, and has stated that the deficits are not even a problem. Who is really irresponsible?

Hayden, ID

"Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government, but illegal for the citizenry." Thomas Jefferson

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