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Published: Friday, March 22 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

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.

Shaun
Sandy, UT

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.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

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.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

@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.)

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

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

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

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?

one old man
Ogden, UT

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

Henderson
Orem, UT

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?

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

"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.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

@ 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!

Henderson
Orem, UT

@ 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.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

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.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

@ 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!

one old man
Ogden, UT

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.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

@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.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

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.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

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.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

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.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

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.

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