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Letters: Federal debt

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  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    March 21, 2013 11:47 p.m.

    Liberal Today, you are so clever!

  • Liberal Today Murray, UT
    March 21, 2013 7:43 p.m.

    Yes Nate, but sometimes the lunacy just is so deep that truth just doesn't sink in, and parody seems the best coping mechanism.

    Hope it made you, and many others smile. It did me good.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 20, 2013 1:46 p.m.

    @Liberal Today

    The trouble with parody is that thousands of liberals are out there nodding their heads in agreement.

    +1, however. Well played.

  • Liberal Today Murray, UT
    March 20, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    You don't understand. The government running huge deficits is a good thing, the more the better. It gives money to people to spend so it fuels the economy and creates inflation, which is good. That is why the stock market is rising, although it is too bad that the fat cats on Wall Street are getting all the money. Obama will fix that soon.

    The USA will never go bankrupt. It is too big to fail. The government won't let it fail. They can always print money to pay the debts.

    Greece, Spain, and Cyprus are just flukes. They don't know how to make the deficit spending work for them like the USA does.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 20, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    re:The Real Maverick

    Obama has spent more (7 trillion) himself - that is more than any previous president since George Washington combined. When Barack took over the debt was 9 trillion - 4 trillion of that was under Bush and Obama called that unpatriotic. Now Barack rings up 7 trillion himself in only 4 years!!! So should we call Barack unpatriotic ++?? Look- the debt question is killing America - your kids and my kids future. That is unquestioned. This tit or tat blame game that goes on is useless and serves no purpose. When your car is in the river you get the thing out onto dry ground instead of arguing whose fault it really is. The US WILL become Greece and Spain and Cyprus and others very very soon - do the math because numbers don't lie. So do we just set here borrowing ourselves into bankruptcy or do we take action to stop the train from going over the cliff? There is no economic argument here - the raw economics are not sustainable regardless of what our socialist president tries to propagandize. I almost think he wants to the US economy to collapse. Nothing else makes any sense.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 20, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    @one vote "...unfunded wars..."

    Our social programs are unfunded also, if we have to borrow 40 cents on the dollar to keep them running. Both political parties are responsible. It's time to stop assigning blame, stop running up the debt, and start paying our bills.

    Our current federal debt amounts to about $138,000 per household. Who wants to leave this on their children?

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    March 20, 2013 8:03 a.m.

    @wrz:

    Social Security is currently running in the red, meaning that more money is being paid out in benefits than is coming in to the government in the form of payroll taxes. I don't see how that constitutes "being sustained".

    Many believe it's covered by the so-called trust fund, which is only a box of IOUs - the money has already been spent on other stuff. It's basically just an accounting trick wherein one branch of government borrows from another branch. On the balance sheet for the entire government, it boils down to an unfunded liability that can only be retired by printing money (which is a stealth tax on cash accounts), raising tax rates, borrowing money, cutting benefits, or some combination of the above. About the only option being exercised by the government is the first, through "quantitative easements" that debase the dollar and erode our savings, probably because it's the only action that can be taken without congressional approval. And they also have to cook the books with regard to the consumer price index, otherwise benefits would go up with inflation.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2013 2:03 a.m.

    Households should not start a huge unfunded war and cut taxes. Our Grandchildren do not need debt to remove leader and rebuild middle east counties. When war starts, taxes must go up and not down.

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    March 19, 2013 10:59 p.m.

    @Pops:
    "The elephant in the room is entitlements. They should have been adjusted over the years to keep them sustainable (e.g., the retirement age is way too low)."

    Entitlements are called 'entitlements' because taxpayers are entitled to them. And why are they entitled to them? Because they put money (taxes) into them plus, the law says they are entitled. And, at the present time the primary entitlement, Social Security, is being sustained. If there is a problem with the sustainability of Social Security it is essentially that there are too many 'fingers in the pie' that put nothing into it.

    And, of course sustainability can be effected in a number of ways including raising the retirement age and increasing the SS tax collection.

  • Alfred Pheonix, AZ
    March 19, 2013 10:50 p.m.

    @Shaun:
    "The federal debt can never be paid off because our monetary system is debt based. There is only 1.2 trillion dollars in cash in circulation."

    The amount of dollars in circulation is no measure of money supply. You're forgetting, among other things, private debt.

    @one vote:
    "Getting rid of all debt is getting rid of most money and all liquidity. Economics 101."

    No one want to get rid of all debt... just the federal debt. Common sense 201.

    Government debt spurs our economy, of course. But only to the extent that the debt is funded by foreign assets.

    Liquidity is the ease with which non cash assets can be converted to cash assets. Has little or nothing to do with government debt.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    March 19, 2013 9:20 p.m.

    We shouldn't make the mistake assuming a cut in taxes leads to less federal revenue, or that an increase in taxes results in more federal revenue. The reason is that tax rates influence economic activity. A graph of federal revenue as a function of tax rates probably looks more like a bell curve (or the Laffer curve, if you already know what I'm trying to explain). The peak of the curve is where maximum tax revenue is collected. If we're beyond the peak and tax rates are increased, revenue will go down; if we're beyond the peak and tax rates a decreased, revenue will go up. It's counterintuitive, but that's how it works. Given that the federal government is currently consuming over 20% of the GDP, my guess is that we're beyond the peak in the curve, so raising taxes will result in less federal revenue. I support those in Congress who oppose raising rates for this reason - it will make a bad situation worse.

    The elephant in the room is entitlements. They should have been adjusted over the years to keep them sustainable (e.g., the retirement age is way too low).

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    March 19, 2013 9:06 p.m.

    @ECR:
    "... it was a lack of oversight by government regulators and the unethical and criminal actions of Wall Street bankers that caused the meltdown."

    Government regulators had little or nothing to do with it. Same with Wall Street Bankers. The meltdown was caused by government action... Specifically, the removal of the so called red-lining where lenders were required to lend to anyone who wanted to buy real estate regardless of property location and/or the ability of the borrower to make payments. That, and other action by the heads of the House and Senate Finance committees, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, are the major causes of the economic meltdown. In other words our elected officials in government... not regulators. But, of course, it was bankers' creation and usage of strange sounding financial instruments such as 'mortgage backed securities,' 'credit default swaps,' and 'tranches' that exacerbated the problem.

    @The Real Maverick:
    "If repubs think that Obama is a big spender then they must have really hated Reagan."

    The Obama debt is more than any other president and actually almost more debt than all prior presidents added together.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2013 8:22 p.m.

    Getting rid of all debt is getting rid of most money and all liquidity. Economics 101.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2013 8:16 p.m.

    Even though some of the comments here are trying to not point fingers, many waste time on blaming one side or the other for the debt. A much more productive endeavor would be to look at both parties plans to reduce the deficit (not the debt). Neither side has submitted a plan that would balance in the next ten years...ten years. Both are counting on the growth fairy to save them from their ignorance. If GDP growth returns to 5% the deficit (not the debt will begin to disappear on its own. So is anyone really serious about paying down the debt? Really only the majority of Americans who believe that spending cuts and tax increases in a long range plan are the way out of the mess.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    March 19, 2013 8:19 p.m.

    Redshirt - in Reagan's first four years he increased federal spending by 8.7%. In Obama's first four years he increased spending by 1.4%. By that standard Reagan was in outer space compared to Obama. Just sayin'.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 19, 2013 3:38 p.m.

    The federal debt can never be paid off because our monetary system is debt based. There is only 1.2 trillion dollars in cash in circulation.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 19, 2013 3:32 p.m.

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

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2013 3:26 p.m.

    @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?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 19, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    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.

  • JACC Bluffdale, UT
    March 19, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    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....

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 19, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    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?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    March 19, 2013 1:35 p.m.

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

  • ECR Burke, VA
    March 19, 2013 1:16 p.m.

    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.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    March 19, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    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.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    March 19, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    ECR,

    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.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 19, 2013 12:23 p.m.

    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.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    March 19, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    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?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2013 11:51 a.m.

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

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    @JACC
    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.

  • T. Party Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 19, 2013 11:48 a.m.

    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.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 19, 2013 11:45 a.m.

    ...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!

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    March 19, 2013 11:14 a.m.

    Breck,

    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.

    ECR,
    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.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    March 19, 2013 10:34 a.m.

    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.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    March 19, 2013 10:12 a.m.

    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.

  • JACC Bluffdale, UT
    March 19, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    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?

  • DonM Bountiful, UT
    March 19, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    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.