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Comments about ‘A fading passion — debt, deficits recede from view’

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Published: Friday, Feb. 21 2014 12:56 p.m. MST

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Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

Please help me understand the information above.
If the debt and the deficit are shrinking and bond buying has kept government interest rates at low levels and government spending is under control...why did we just need to raise the debt ceiling?
Something in Denmark really reeks.

sherlock holmes
Eastern, UT

This is truly a liberal view of the debt in the US. Obama would like the public concern for it to disappear. It won't. How does one sweep an annual $500 billion deficit, or more, under the rug?

He and others have gotten used to these low interest rates and how the debt payments are not overwhelming the rest of the budget. This might end as well.

Grand plan of the libs and probably the current president, though he will be gone in two years, is forgiveness of the debt. The US would declare bankruptcy, have the debt partly eliminated and restructured, and start anew. I mean, heck, it is mainly the Chinese who would suffer, as we are told they are ones who mostly buy our treasury bonds.

The national deficit issue is not going away.

David
Centerville, UT

Herein lies a great challenge. When someone tries to cut my charitable giving deduction, or my mortgage deduction, I instinctively revolt against losing benefits.

When we talk of reducing social security and medicare/medicaid benefits, or a host of other "entitlement" programs, there will be a large group of voters who will rise up against such efforts.

Then along comes a candidate, in this case Barack Obama, who promises healthcare subsidies, free birth control, and a number of other give-aways (several years ago it was Bush who pushed through prescription benefits) and we adjust to a new expectation of entitlements and benefits.

The wise get furrowed brows and speak of insolvency, of national bankruptcy. The foolish declare "It will never happen (Just ignore Detroit, and Stockton)".

A serious debate hasn't materialized because when one side tries to be states-man-like, the other side throws accusations of "Tea Party fanatics", "Hysterical nonsense".

Have we created a laboratory where it is nearly impossible for leaders to do the right thing? What is the right thing? More spending? Budget control & debt reduction?

Consumption & debt.

Its going to hurt us all, eventually.

David
Centerville, UT

I believe a majority of Americans, including Independents and Conservatives, would agree to increased taxes IF the government could first demonstrate fiscal restraint and cut spending.

One problem today is that we have a large segment of voters that distrust government (whether the distrust is directed toward the president or congress, or both) because these political leaders have failed to solve problems. We perceive that they only machinate to protect their own seats of power and their own wealth, ahead of solving national problems (debt, immigration, health care, tax reform, entitlement reform, military reform, education reform, religious liberty, environmental concerns, energy, and on and on.

IF government would FIRST demonstrate a collaborative effort to restrain spending, and present a long-term plan for debt reduction, I am confident that Americans would rally around that plan even if it included tax increases.

This so that our children and grandchildren would not be enslaved to debt, and China, and whatever else.

Mark B
Eureka, CA

I recall the GOP presidential debate moment when the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they would oppose a budget deal involving 10% tax increases and 90% spending cuts. Every hand went up because no one wanted to be regarded as "soft on cuts". I don't think it would be different for today's would-be candidates.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

We would have a balanced budget if our military spending was the same as Canada's. Why in the world should be police the entire planet and spend more on the military than all other nations combined do?

That's the problem. When I was in the Air Force we replaced $50,000 glowing tube airplane radios nearly daily per jet fighter and had steak dinners twice a week. Thanks taxpayers. You may want to look there however for some savings opportunities.

David
Centerville, UT

There is plenty of waste and over spending in the military. But as the article highlights, entitlement programs and spending account for 2/3 of the annual budget, and is growing.

It is becoming more difficult to find areas to cut (and make a significant difference) in the discretionary, non-entitlement areas of the budget.

Likewise, we spent $450 billion on interest alone. Our 2014 interest payments on our federal debt is nearly $150 billion already. By paying down some debt we could use some of the interest dollars to buy more stakes for Old Switcharoo, or maybe spend more on schools, or roads, or reduce taxes. The possibilities are endless.

It's fine to argue about smaller aspects of the budget. But the elephant in the room is still entitlement programs.

A Guy With A Brain
Enid, OK

If a business consistently spends more than it earns, they go bankrupt.

If an individual consistently spends more than they earn, they go bankrupt.

If a family consistently spends more than they take in, they go bankrupt.

If a city consistently spends more than they take in, they go bankrupt.

If a county consistently spends more than they take in, they go bankrupt.

If a state consistently spends more than they take in, they go brankrupt.

And yet, somehow, a nation that consistently spends more than it takes in and is currently $17 TRILLION in debt, and getting deeper and deeper in debt every day, somehow.....that nation is NOT going to go bankrupt?

Please explain that one to me.....

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

Don't confuse budget with earnings. The country "earns" as in GDP of in the 15 trillion dollars per year. The government provides services that many so called americans are unwilling to pay completely for in their taxes so we are borrowing money even though we have enough earnings to pay for the government's activities.

Conservatives love to complain but still want their farm subsidies and SS checks.

Mark B
Eureka, CA

If an administration starts with a yearly surplus, then still produces huge deficits over an eight year period, the administration's party goes to the sidelines and becomes a minority.

No explanation needed.

A Guy With A Brain
Enid, OK

@ the old switcharoo - mesa, AZ - "Don't confuse budget with earnings. The country "earns" as in GDP of in the 15 trillion dollars per year. The government provides services that many so called americans are unwilling to pay completely for in their taxes so we are borrowing money even though we have enough earnings to pay for the government's activities. Conservatives love to complain but still want their farm subsidies and SS checks."

What part of "the U.S. spends more than it receives in tax dollars or other 'earnings'" don't you understand?

You can't suguracoat it....we're $17 trillion in debt and it's getting worse every day.

And, as a conservative, I don't believe in farm subsidies or Social Security. I'm not a farmer, so I've never been given a farm subsidy, and I would prefer it if the Feds gave me back every penny I ever paid into Social Security and they just leave me alone. You want "security"?.....work and save for it yourself.

Objectified
Tooele, UT

There seems to be some confusion about the federal deficit. The article wasn't always crystal clear about a few things.

1) The ANNUAL federal deficit has recently been going down. Instead of over a trillion ($1,000,000,000,000) dollars annually, which it has been during most of Obama's years, it's recently fallen to about 2/3 of a trillion. So even though the ANNUAL deficit is falling, the TOTAL federal deficit is still growing.

2) The TOTAL federal deficit is currently over $17 trillion and will be approximately $18 trillion ($18,000,000,000,000) by the end of this year. The federal government is still spending nearly $2 billion ($2,000,000,000) more every DAY than it takes in.

3) The total federal deficit has essentially doubled since Obama come into office. That means (in essence) it's risen as much during his term as in all previous administrations combined.

This problem is not going away. Without intervention, It will eventually cause massive inflation per established economic law. Without bigger changes, our economy will eventually collapse. It's simply a question of time. Sadly, politicians are becoming cowards by kicking the can down the road.

Objectified
Tooele, UT

@ Say No to BO:

It's easy to confuse the annual federal deficit with the total federal deficit.
The ANNUAL deficit has recently gone down, but unfortunately still exists. And as long as there is any type of annual deficit, the TOTAL deficit will keep growing... each year hitting new record highs.

The world has never seen the type of federal deficit the USA currently has.... not at any time in history or by any other country. In fact, the deficits of all other countries in the entire world combined don't equal what the USA currently has. It's totally unprecedented and legitimately scares economists in the know.

Conservatives are changing their focus to Obamacare because they smell blood in the water. They anticipate getting quicker political gain with that issue than with continuing the deficit fight which could cause another government shutdown and then backfire on the conservatives.

But kicking the can down the road won't solve the problem. Without big economic policy changes, economic disaster is just a question of time. Our current house of cards will collapse. But of course short-term political careers are more important than long-term national success.

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