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Letter: National debt serious, not going to get better with latest budget goals

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  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    March 23, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    Nate:
    The stimulus worked fine. It did exactly what every major macro-economist said it would. It created some jobs, but not as many as we needed, because it was too small by half.
    Redshirt:
    The Great Depression and the Great Recession have taken longer to recover from because they were SO much worse. Previous recessions were mild because of Keynesian stimuli.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    March 23, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    Is it necessary. That is the question I ask my self when I'm in the store. I have a limit to what I can spend and stay in line of that boundary. If the government wants to protect the border. They should stay in line of our borders.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 23, 2013 5:30 a.m.

    I just saw on Fox News that Joe Biden racked up $585,000 and change on a one night hotel bill in Paris. Any questions about why our country is $17 trillion in debt? Sure makes me want to vote for Democrats doesn't the rest of you? In the meantime, not a word about this on other news media! Imagine if it were a Republican who squandered that kind of taxpayer money!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 22, 2013 8:49 p.m.

    Let me understand this..... the deficit under Bush was not his fault... it was the democrat congress. The deficit under Obama is his fault, even though the responsibility of bringing forth a budget is ... congress'.

    How does that work? If you spend on the credit card, and run up the balance.... not your fault. Others made you do it. if I spend money on the credit card, it is all my fault that balance went up.

    Lets be super dupper clear here. Every president, even the sainted Reagan, ran up the deficit. The national debt has risen, under every single president, under the stewartship of both parties, the national debt has gone up. Even in Utah, with the so called balanced budget, the state debt is increasing by the day.

    So lets stop the partisan finger pointing....and start working on solutions where each side has to give a little - just a little - to unblock the budgetary log jam.

    Enough childish - It's their fault. If we don't have adults in Washington - lets find some.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    March 22, 2013 6:51 p.m.

    Redshirt:

    The von Mises Intstitute is a libertarian think tank and has a "working relationship" with Ron Paul.

    Nobody cherry picks like you do...

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 22, 2013 5:45 p.m.

    @Eric Samuelsen "...stimulative spending."

    We've done stimulative spending for years now, and it hasn't stimulated. Why? Because the money we spend toward stimulus has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is taxation. It is first taxed out of the economy before it can be spent into it.

    "The way to solve debt is less spending."

    Correct.

    "[D]ebt isn't causing any problems right now....

    Incorrect. Public debt is the promise of future taxation. When potential job creators see the government borrowing huge amounts of money, they know that someone will have to be taxed to pay it back; and they know that that someone is likely to be them. Knowing this, they prepare for the future by holding onto their money and taking fewer risks.

    "Solving unemployment will go a long distance toward solving debt."

    Yes, it will. So we need to stop killing jobs with employer mandates, excessive regulations, and higher taxes.

    @pragmatistferlife "[W]e'll never be without a debt."

    That doesn't mean we have any right to expand the debt before we pass it on to our children.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 22, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    To "ECR" since you didn't understand my previous posts let me reiterate things and make it more clear.

    The Depression like the 2008 recession were/are prolonged because of 3 factors:

    1. Government regulation
    2. Government taxation
    3. Spending on worthless projects.

    Lets also go to the WSJ and see what they say about government regulation and intervention:

    "How Government Prolonged the Depression" states that the government's "antimarket policies choked off powerful recovery forces that would have plausibly returned the economy back to trend by the mid-1930s."

    Also see "The New Deal Debunked (again)" at the VonMises Institute.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2013 1:46 p.m.

    All of the governments of Europe have been in austerity budgets (cutting spending to balance spending) for three years now and the only ones that are not in recession are those that did not have a crushing debt burden to begin with. Our growth is anemic at around 2% but it is better than any but China right now.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    @Mountanman
    "Ryan (R) budget plan; Balances the federal budget."

    Ryan's budget repeals Obamacare except he keeps the 700 billion in Medicare cuts in Obamacare AND he keeps all the Obamacare tax increases (a trillion). He only gets rid of the benefits in Obamacare. Do you really believe ANY Republican would seriously want that to be law? Nope.

    Ryan then generates a ton of money by closing tax loopholes but never specifies any of them he'd want to close. He has to make up so much money with that that he'd have to go after things like mortgage deductions and other stuff that the middle class benefit from significantly. Do you think any Republican would even elaborate what loopholes they'd close let alone want that to be law? Nope.

    Ryan's budget is a gimmick. He can do what he claims with a bill that will never become law anyway so nobody will remember the insane things he proposes to get to a balanced budget.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    March 22, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    Redshirt1701 said, "Government intervention prolonged the Depression and the current recession." I hate to blow a whole in your theory but Forbes Magazine - that's Forbes, not some liberal rag - says that in his first four years Reagan increased government spending by 8.7% while Obama, in his first four years, increased it by 1.4%. So how can you claim that it was "government spending" that prolonged the recession. If anything, Reagan's spending seems to prove that government spending reduces the time of a recession since the Reagan recession lasted from July 1981 to November 1982.. And it also proves that Obama's stimulus plan didn't spend nearly enough. If you have other substantial prove I'd be interested in seeing it.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 22, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    TO "The Real Maverick" the problem that your ilk refuse to recognize is that government can't fix the economy. Just look at history.

    The average time to fully recover from a recession is 18 months to 2 years. The only significant execptions to that are the Great Depression, and the 2008 Recession. Why is it that those 2 were not like the others?

    The answer is simple, and is an irritant to liberals/progressives. Government intervention prolonged the Depression and the current recession. If government wants things to get better they have to figure out how to spend less, stop new regulations, and lower tax rates. That is the formula for pulling out of a recession that liberals will avoid until they are forced to change.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 22, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    Nate, context is everything to have turned the trajectory while we're still in the middle of a slow economy is as good as you could expect from anyone. BTW we'll never be without a debt. We bascily never have been nor will we ever be.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    March 22, 2013 10:40 a.m.

    Mman:
    The Ryan budget doesn't balance anything. It is all smoke. Even the mirrors are gone this time.

    Henderson:
    But the GOP has indeed dealt with Bush. They were so embarrassed about him that he was not invited to the convention last year. They have been running against him for two elections now. The problem is that they have no new idea on anything. Their old economic ideas that have produced nothing but a mess have merely been recycled and dressed up a bit. And this is exactly where they are again headed. "There's nothing wrong with our principles," they say. "We just need market them better." This is why the people they have abandoned (the nonwealthy) are finally abandoning them. And they don't know where to turn.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    March 22, 2013 10:34 a.m.

    Broken record time: our economy has two main problems right now. High unemployment, and high debt. They cannot be solved together. The way to solve unemployment is to have more money circulating in the economy; stimulative spending. The way to solve debt is less spending. They have to be tackled sequentially. As it happens, the debt isn't causing any problems right now, while unemployment is. And solving unemployment will go a long distance toward solving debt. Basic macro.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 22, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    @Henderson "...Bush..."

    What exactly do you want Bush to do about the current, unsustainable deficits? We can ask him to apologize for his own, but then what? Obama is president now.

    @Henderson "As long as our deficit goes down we will pay off our debt."

    This is incorrect. As long as there is any deficit, we are going deeper in debt. Only when there is a surplus do we begin to pay off our debt.

    @pragmatisferlife "...Obama has all ready reduced the trajectory of debt accumulation."

    Same point. The trajectory we need is the one that takes us to balance or surplus, not just to reduced accumulation.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 22, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    Mountanman, your representation of the Ryan budget is totally wrong. Have you actually researched it or have you simply been taken in by some of the propaganda? While his budget MAY actually balance the budget in something like twenty years, what will its side effects cost ordinary Americans?

    Balancing the budget on the backs of people who actually do the work is simply wrong.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 22, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    @ Henderson. All good topics for sure but consider this:
    Ryan (R) budget plan; Balances the federal budget.
    Democrat plan: $2 trillion in tax increases and no spending cuts forever!
    Now, who is more concerned with the economy and who is most concerned with only growing the government?
    I would love to stay and debate all the issues you brought up, but I have to go to work. I have massive taxes to pay before April 15th.
    Have a good day!

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 22, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    Other than give one set of politicians an excuse to propagandize against another set of politicians, the national debt has not ever had an adverse effect on the American nation. Until someone can, I will continue to believe that the weeping and wailing of the conservatives is hogwash.

    The comparing of the national debt to personal or family debt is hogwash. The rules and conditions are different.

    The debt created by our local governments has much more effect on our lives and wallets than the national debt, yet is covered up by the smoke and mirrors of criticism of the national government. If you really want to help your personal and family finance, pay more attention to what’s going on in your own town and state.

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    March 22, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    @ Mountainman

    "GOP not talking about the economy? The economy is about ALL they talk about."

    You're right. Absolutely right. The GOP has never ever ever talked about:

    Obama's religion
    Obama's birth certificate
    Obama's professor
    Obama's minister
    Obama's vacations
    Obama's dog trainer
    Obama's chef
    Obama's hatred for white culture
    Obama being a communist/nazi/insert whatever horrible thing you want
    Death panels
    Socialist takeover of health care
    Choking high taxes on the wealthy (when they're near all-time lows)
    Increases on the middle class (when they were merely returning to the normal rate)
    A Libya cover-up
    Choking out oil companies (when we are quickly becoming the world's #1 producer of oil. Fuel is our #1 export!)
    A Mexican fast and furious cover-up
    Buying the Hispanic vote with amnesty
    Wanting to give women free birth control
    wanting to take over our education system
    Wanting to take over our auto industry
    Wanting to trash America to avenge his great grandfather
    Wanting to take away our guns.

    And many many more!

    This letter itself doesn't say one thing about the economy.

    The GOP is definitely ONLY talking about the economy.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 22, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    @ Henderson. GOP not talking about the economy? The economy is about ALL they talk about. Wake up and listen and stay off your left wing talk shows and you might actually learn something!

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 22, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    "Gross public debt as a percentage of GDP has increased each year since Obama took office" Here's the problem simply..debt is up but GDP growth is down. Why is GDP growth down, read Shauns letter it states it perfectly, and BTW Shaun thank you for once again reminding folks that money is actually created out of thin air. How many times have we read here..ahhh, ahhh you can't create money out of thin air..yes you can, and yes we do.

    Second point is that Obama has all ready reduced the trajectory of debt accumulation from 1.4 trillion to just under a trillion this year, and it's projected to be closer to 600 billion by 2016. So mtman you've got reality exactly backwards.

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    March 22, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    Why doesn't the GOP want to talk about the economy anymore? Is it because they have no real solutions? Is it because their mindless mantra of "free market, deregulation, and low taxes" is what got us into this mess in the first place?

    What's really funny is that the deficit has actually decreased since Obama has been President.

    In fact, we had a higher spending percentage under Reagan than under Obama. So if folks like this letter writer hate spending then they must have really despised Reagan. As long as our deficit goes down we will pay off our debt. However, do republicans even want the debt to be paid off? I think a large debt is exactly what the Norquist scarecrow desires. Without it, he cannot convince others that the government is incompetent and needs to be "drowned."

    The question I have is, where were these people when Bush was President? Why did they suddenly become concerned with the debt when Obama became President?

    Why weren't they concerned when Bush decided to start 2 wars? Or sign a completely unfunded handout to Big Pharm?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 22, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    Ah yes. Blame that Obama. But please be sure to totally ignore Congress and the REAL historic causes of the current mess.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    March 22, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    Focusing on the debt while ignoring the economy is like grabbing a hose to water your lawn as your house burns down.

    We need to fix our economy FIRST before focusing on the debt.

    We've tried "fixing" debt during bad economic times and the results were not good. Just as the economy began to recover, Roosevelt caved to pressure from repubs who wanted to balance the budget. Our economy took a hit and we went into another recession.

    Right now is NOT the time to cut spending or focus on the debt.

    Focus on the debt only ONCE the economy has recovered.

    The bigger question is, what were we doing from 2000-08 when the economy was good? Why was spending so high then? What happened to Clinton's surplus? Who passed and signed NCLB, Medicare part D, who sent us to 2 wars in the middle-east, and who was President when our economy crashed?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 22, 2013 7:57 a.m.

    "We don't have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem", Barrack Obama= Clueless!

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 22, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    @JoeBlow

    Obama has been president now for four years. He's in his second term. I've seen pictures of him proudly signing the legislation. At what point do you think he begins to take ownership of his spending?

    (The answers to your questions are no and yes.)

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 22, 2013 7:06 a.m.

    Gross public debt as a percentage of GDP has increased each year since Obama took office:

    2009 - 85.2%
    2010 - 93.2%
    2011 - 98.7%
    2012 - 104.8%

    This is a bad trajectory. According to the current spending plan, it will level out somewhat in the next few years, and then begin to climb again. We need a better plan.

    Last year the U.S. spent about $359 billion on interest payments. Imagine the other uses to which we could put this money, if we were not so deep in debt.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2013 6:58 a.m.

    Yes, the debt has grown. With the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression, two large and unfunded foreign wars, unfunded Medicare Part D and tax cuts, all predating the 2008 election, the debt couldn't do anything but go up.

    The folks who today clutch their pearls and write letters to the editor to express their angst about the debt were perfectly OK with the causes of huge deficits ten years ago.

    And now that the chickens have come home to roost, these chicken-hawk conservatives neither acknowledge their roles in creating this debt nor their responsibilities in fixing it.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 22, 2013 5:10 a.m.

    Money is brought into circulation by people borrowing money from banks. Banks literally create money out of thin air by your signature on a promissory note.

    During the boom years when credit was easy, the money supply(newly created borrowed money) exploded. When the recession hit the demand to borrow(create money) fell dramatically. Also people started to pay debt down which will shrink the money supply.

    Essentially our money supply took two big hits in this recession. The only way to sustain the economy is for government to spend money and for the federal reserve to make credit so cheap that people start borrow(create money) again.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 22, 2013 4:18 a.m.

    I agree that the debt is a huge concern.

    However, I am puzzled as to why so many put all of the blame on Obama.

    Do you realize that Obama cant spend a dime without congress approval?
    Or that any taxing changes must go thru congress?

    Do you also realize that the deficit has also ballooned under complete GOP control?

    2 Serious question.

    Had John McCain been elected instead of Obama, what effect do you think that would have had on the deficit?

    Had Mitt Romney been elected this year, do you believe that the deficit would be lower?

    I am in agreement with many that the deficit is a serious problem. We just differ on the cause.