Comments about ‘Is the U.S. national debt higher than we thought?’

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Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21 2013 3:20 p.m. MDT

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Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Let's see, aren't unfunded liabilities offset by uncollected revenues? The Medicare and Social Security payments of the future can't be added to the debt unless you also include the taxes we will collect in the same years. Another "sky is falling" view of reality.

Christopher B
Ogden, UT

Barack added more to the national debt in his first term than all other presidents combined.

Christopher B
Ogden, UT

Remember when barack said he'd cut the deficit in half during his first term?

He increased it.

Salt Lake City, UT

As I've been saying for at least a decade, Social Security, Medi-care/caid are all part of the biggest Ponzi scam ever. Though there was **supposed** to be some sort of fund into which all the dedicated contributions toward these programs were **supposed** to be held, the fact is they have all been pilfered by, who else, **the Federal government**, for many years!

This charade is only thinly obscured by the funny money policies concocted by the Treasury and Federal Reserve, but only because of an electorate that is grotesquely corrupt and/or inexcusably negligent.

No matter which one of these numbers are the most accurate, they all spell economic disaster.

Dishonesty will ALWAYS be rewarded, ultimately, with unpleasant justice.

tranquility base, 00

"we have to much debt!" But don't think we're going to pay it because that would mean raising taxes or giving up unlimited warfare.

Kent C. DeForrest was absolutely correct, conservatives love to look 50 years into the future with liabilities but never consider 50 years of revenues.

Hayden, ID

@ Kent C. Deforrest and redshirt007. Here is some information for you; NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) "For the first time in nearly 30 years, the system will pay out more benefits than it receives in payroll taxes both this year and next, the government officials who oversee Social Security said on Thursday".

No charge for this view of actual reality for you! Have a nice day!

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Stop the presses. A few conservatives think debt isn't just bad, it's badder than we thought.

Sandy, UT

I'm pretty sure Kotlikoff's projections included future tax revenues, or didn't you read that far?

Salt Lake City, UT

Christopher B: "Barack added more to the national debt in his first term than all other presidents combined."

More fantasy from conservatives.

How about some historical reality instead, ok?

During the presidency of George W. Bush, the gross public debt increased from $5.7 trillion to $10.7 trillion, an increase of 88%.

By February 2012, in the aftermath of the worst recession since the Great Depression, tax cuts and at least $3 trillion spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, public debt had increased to $15.5 trillion, an increase of 45%.

So in terms of which president has increased the debt the most dramatically, that distinction belongs to Dubya.

Btw, you are aware that deficits are now _falling_, right?

high school fan
Huntington, UT

And over the years we, the People, just kept electing them over and over and over. We have nobody to blame but ourselves because we have failed to do our duty.
We fail at civics, we fail at economics , we fail in politics.

Hayden, ID

The exploding national debt is proof Americans have discovered they can vote themselves entitlements out of the treasury! That's why Obama is the President and why entitlement spending has more than doubled since he took office! But hey, who cares about the debt, we can pass it on to our grandchildren!

Murray, UT

To all those who laud the ever increasing deficit spending, there is only one place this can lead. The bubble burst called Bankruptcy.

Don't you care at all about the next generation? I guess not. As long as you get yours, right?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Their going to need a MUCH bigger sign than the one in the picture for sure.

To me the issue isn't just the size of the number we put on the sign. That number is huge. More money than the average American can even quantify in any visible or understandable way. If they tried to... it would shock them.

But the size of the number isn't what bothers me. It's that we are getting close to the day when even if we applying 100% of our taxes only to paying the debt... it will not even pay the interest. Even if we dedicate everything we collect to the debt, the debt will continue to increase.

That's bad. That's like a father realizing even if you pay 100% of what you earn to your debts... you can't even pay the INTEREST on your loans (much less pay off any principle). That's when a family realizes its too late, keeping up is only an illusion, and bankruptcy is the only eventual possible outcome.

I hope we do something different BEFORE we get to that point of no return.

Othello, WA

RE: blue

Actually the final number on the obama first term debt is 16.4 T. not 15.7, and that is about a 53% increase in debt during the obama regime. He is on pace to crack 20T. for national debt, by the end of his 2 terms, and that puts him right in the same league as Bush, as far as debt numbers go.
Since you usually like looking at half the picture, let me give that a try also. In Bush's first term as president (4 years) he increased the debt by 31%. That's a number Bill Clinton would be jealous of, and very impressive given he had to deal with 9/11 and the start of the war on terror. Of course this is all a bit of a joke, since Presidents don't create the budget all by themselves. However, it is interesting to see what has happened to our debt, since the democrats took over congress in 2006!

The Skeptical Chymist

Let me inject some numbers into this exercise.

In the last year in which President Bush presided over the budget, Oct 2008 - Sept 2009 (remember, Obama took office in Jan 2009, but had no real control over the budget for the remainder of this period), the deficit was $878.7 billion. In the last full year of his presidency that I can find tabulated (Oct 2011 - Sept 2012), the deficit was $555.7 billion. OK, he didn't cut it in half - but he did reduce the deficit (which is different from the debt, remember?) by 36.8%. Most of this is due to the painfully slow recovery from the financial meltdown of 2008, and if we ever manage to get the economy moving at its full capacity the problem of deficit spending will largely cure itself. In the meantime, we should be borrowing more and spending on real, productive infrastructure needs, where we generate real value for the money we spend while simultaneously putting people to work. Sadly, that will not happen with the likes of Mike Lee in office.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

So what.

The national debt has never had any effect on the actions of politicians or our government.

The only value to be assigned to the national debt is to give the out-of-power political party an imaginary weapon to scare the public.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To illustrate the point about how people misuse statistics, consider the following.

Yesterday Fox News criticized welfare by a study that showed that welfare recipients received more money per hour in cash and benefits than the hourly rate of working people. The classic fallacy of apples and oranges is the comparison of the non cash benefits to the hourly rate of starting employees.

Fox didn’t give us any clue about the amount of cash versus the value that they had assigned to the benefits.

People who are working hard to tear down our government are not Americans.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Ultra Bob,
RE: "The national debt has never had any effect on the actions of politicians or our government"

The debt may not have any effect on the actions of our politicians, but I hope it has some effect on how we vote. I would HOPE the people paying the bill would care, and not re-elect people who keep kicking the can down the road to a future generation.

If the debt doesn't effect current politicians... vote in some who will do something about it (and that doesn't necessarily mean Republicans, they have proven just as bad on debt).

Provo, UT

@ MM

"@ Kent C. Deforrest and redshirt007. Here is some information for you; NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) "For the first time in nearly 30 years, the system will pay out more benefits than it receives in payroll taxes both this year and next, the government officials who oversee Social Security said on Thursday"."

Of course SS will pay more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes. The payroll taxes were cut temporarily for 2 years. That won't be the case now that the payroll taxes are now set and the tax cut expired (something that many conservatives were all upset about too). You cannot have it both ways. Complain when they are increased (because cuts were let to expire) and then complain when revenue is down (because of the tax cut).

Hayden, ID

@ freedomFighter. If you will do some fact checking you will see that those tax cuts expired at the end of 2010.

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