It is not the money taxed or spend that is so much the problem as it is the
waste, fraud, corruption and wealthy greed of money that is the problem. Put
Americas extraordinary wealth to honest work and the Nation will flourish and
its economic problems resolved.
Andrew Jackson is the only president to pay off the national debt. It's
been accumulating ever since.FDR's "Great Society"
vastly bloated the government and its ability to spend. Social Security was
invented, with the eligibility age set well above the average life span. The
average American would never have collected a dime in SS if lifespans
hadn't increased, and SS wasn't set up to increase the retirement age
as lifespans increased. Of course congress spent every cent ever paid into
it.That has resulted in several generations collecting much more SS
than they paid in. It's a pyramid scheme, and the number of workers paying
into it per retiree is dropping rapidly as the baby boomers retire. We'll
be down to two workers per retiree soon, and that isn't supportable.The 1960s "Guns and Butter" policies of LBJ that introduced
welfare and medicare vastly expanded mandatory spending and destroyed the
family, since fathers were no longer needed.Of course people always
vote for the politicians who keeps the goodies coming.
@Spoc,Your question about ratifications is an insightful one. The
answer is that the law against ratifications applies to funds appropriated by
Congress. Not all federal spending is done under appropriated spending, so
things like the interest paid on debt and nondiscretionary budget items like
social security don't count as ratificationsratifications. But they are
debts that Congress has legally obligated itself to pay. Hope that clarifies.
Most of you, including the editorial itself, are trying to rearrange the deck
chairs on the Titanic. The problem is the economic system itself - American
capitalism which produces fantastic inequalities of wealth and income despite
most people being pretty much alike in their efforts. The so-called
entitlements and transfer payments are band-aid measures to somehow even things
out, but they are largely ineffective in spite of your hand wringing over them.
Without entitlements so-called the system would collapse due to the fantastic
top heavy distribution of wealth. Most of the Republicans and half of the
Democrats in the congress don't want a fix because such would enrage heavy
campaign donors. By calling for a limiting of entitlements and not
looking at revenues you are helping to bring about a collapse of the entire
system. As a socialist I find this encouraging, though I loath the resultant
Back to the debt ceiling.I have a debt ceiling on my checking
account. It is there to prevent me from becoming so indebted that I cannot
recover. If I continue to write checks when that limit is reached, I can be
prosecuted for obligating the bank to pay funds I do not have available to
me.In government circles, if I cause the government to incur an
obligation for funds not authorized, I have committed what they call a
ratification and I will spend time behind bars.One of the reasons
offered for why the debt ceiling should be raised is that the House, Senate, and
President have already obligated the government to spend money beyond what is
authorized by the debt ceiling and those debts must be paid. Have the H, S, and
P not therefore committed multiple ratifications? Why aren't they being
We should trim the defense budget by the amount they spend spying on US
citizens. Or perhaps use that money to stop the infiltration of drugs and thugs,
and possibly terrorists trying to blend in, from the south. It is crazy that we
spend so much defending against our own people. But other defense
spending is necessary. We have a target on our chest, and we need to be prepared
to defend ourselves.
2bits, Your congress/president combination ideas are interesting. If
you look at deficits by congressional party, the only congresses that don't
grow the deficit by leaps and bounds are controlled by the republican party,
although I don't trust the current establishment republicans to carry that
torch.Mixed congresses have nearly as much debt growth as democrat
controlled congresses. Democrat controlled congresses are the biggest debt
growers.The president is pretty much irrelevant to deficits, except
when the congress is mixed. Then he has had more sway. Harry Reid does
Obama's bidding at the moment, but it is what Harry wants anyway.So if I could choose who wins and who loses, I would choose a republican
congress, both houses, and a democrat president. Except I don't
want Hillary. She should have stood up to her husband when he was, well you
know. Surely there is some moderate democrat that is strong, and would behave
well while holding the presidential power? Maybe? I wish?Oh I give
up. Rand Paul for president!
2 Bits,Per the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Defense and
defense related spending was 19% of the 2012 budget. I could not find the 2013
figure.Not arguing with you - just making a small correction.
Figure out how to prevent the effects of inflation and population growth on
government, then we can talk about having a firm "debt ceiling". Now
if they want to have something indexed to population growth and cost of
goods.... perhaps. But minus solving those two problems, and ever increasing
debt ceiling is a fact of life... and we just need to learn to deal with it
intelligently and not emotionally.
@2bits. Our debt can never be paid off. Our monetary system is debt based. Too
many people keep advocating for the wrong solution and the wrong solution is
thinking we can pay off the debt and be a cash economy. Every dollar in
existence is debt or represents debt.
My word Mr. Richards stop this incessant "the constitution only
authorizes" . This is purely your opinion and you lost a hundred years ago.
Let it go. We are not going to go back to no social spending. Court after court including the Supreme Court has validated this kind of
Defense is just 13% of the budget. It's that ALL Democrats
can worry about and cut? Defense is the Federal Government's
JOB! It's the main reason they are there. It's the main reason we
are a group of United States (so we can DEFEND each other)!Even if
you cut Defense 100%... it would only trim 13% off the budget. Even IF we did
it (which I hope we don't). How long would it take us to pay off our debt
even if we had no military and applied that 13% to paying off our debt? We would still NEVER pay it off. That's not the problem!Healthcare and pensions are 39% of the budget... why not do something about
bungalow595 billion for defense. Our annual budget these days is 3
trillion plus. No way the defense part of the budget is the biggest.
Entitlements, SS, Medicare, ect are what laps up the vast majority of that 3
trillion.You also said the Republicans win elections by playing the
blame game. So who is to blame if Obamacare goes off the rails? Plus, who is
to blame for taking the debt from 10 to 17 trillion? If not Obama, then not
Bush either. Blame goes to who is in power. That's how American politics
works. And why many Democrats who are running for reelection this year are also
running away from Obama right now.
Defense spending is an authorized use of funds. At least six of the seventeen
enumerated duties of Congress relate to defense. Not one duty of Congress is
related to social spending - not one! We can debate which areas of defense
spending should be cut, but we cannot demand that defense spending be cut until
we first demand that all social spending be eliminated. We have a Constitution
where the people have authorized government to use tax dollars for certain
purposes. Six of those purposes are for defense. Not one enumerated duty
relates to social programs. Not one.
"We agree with those who, like Sen. Lee, believe that permanent structural
spending reform is something America desperately needs. " What does this
mean? That only spending is the problem - particularly entitlements so-called?
If FICA taxes didn't top out at $116,000 of personal income, and higher
income income levels were taxed in full, this would greatly alleviate the
problem. So it turns out we have a taxation problem in addition to a spending
problem.Moreover, if taxation was as progressive as it was in the
1950's most of the deficit problem would disappear. Of course the blowback
on such a view, and one for which liberals have no answer is: why is it just to
tax higher incomes and profits at higher rates?The answer to that is
right in front of us. The capitalist system itself produces top heavy
distributions of income and wealth. It's not because the people at the top
levels necessarily work harder than those at lower levels - they don't.The Deseret News is advocating for cutting off seniors - face it. You
need to think harder about this even if it violates your ideology.
Take Social Security "entitlements" off the table. Those who paid into
Social Security were promised that they would receive full benefits when they
retired. Their income was not taxed by what they would need, but by what they
made. Now the Democrats, who spent the money, want to steal from the "old
folks" who were forced to pay into their Ponzi scheme. Take Social Security
out of the General Fund. Force those who have spent Social Security funds on
non-social security "programs" to repay every dime before spending
anything else. Hold hearings and begin prosecutions against those who used
Social Security funds to fund "pork".Spending must stop.
Revenues must increase. When 90% or more of all Americans are working, there
will be revenue enough to pay our bills. Reduce or eliminate restrictions on
business so that American business can hire Americans. Throw out ObamaCare.
Throw out Obama. He caused the mess. Throw out Harry Reid, he refuses to abide
by the Constitution. Throw out John Boehner, he cares only for his seat. We know what is happening. We, the people, must clean house or perish
as a nation.
The problem is... roughly 50% of the population doesn't care one iota about
the deficit or the debt at any given time.When Republicans are in
power... they and their followers don't care.When Democrats are in
power... THEY and their faithful minions don't care.So how do
you expect to do anything about it???So party in control never cares
about the deficit or the debt. And all the minority can do is complain and try
to block spending (which is futile since they are in the minority).===That's why I think the best situation we can have is... a
Democrat President, with a Republican/Conservative/Libertarian or some
combination Congress (like we had most of the Clinton administration).The Democrat President will have lots of lofty liberal goals... but the
Republican Congress will keep him grounded (and entitlement spending a little in
control).---I also think the best condition for Utah is
a Democrat Governor, and a Republican Legislature (to watch him).The
Governor will have lots of progressive goals (which is good to an extent)... but
the Legislature will force him to keep his spending and taxing in control
(temper extreme progressive entitlements)
I have to live within my means. Why can't the government?
The problem is more than spending. Under Obama, the number of civilian
government employees is down. The annual debt is down. There are other
measures being taken by the Adminstration. Republicans talk a big game, but
they oppose cuts in sp[ending programs that help their Districts. But if you
want to turn things around, how about a tax increase like Clinton pushed
through. Yes, it cost him the House, but the U.S. economy thrived and we
experienced surpluses, which were immediately trashed by Bush. I'm telling
you, in practice, yes in reality, the GOP is the worst thing in the world for
the budget of the U.S. Government and the welfare of the American taxpayer.
History shows it very clearly.
Brer Rabbit,Not quite. From a capital markets perspective default
is default even if govt. bonds are getting paid if other bills are going
unpaid.Kind of like a credit score. You have paid your mortgage
faithfully. But you are three months behind on your credit card. So . . . your
credit score tanks even though you are up-to-date with the mortgage company.
It would be unnecessary to default on the interest on the national debt, putting
the at risk full faith in US credit. There is plenty of income from taxes to pay
far more than the interest on the debt. Th problem is that Congress and the
President are unwilling to set a budget that looks at priorities. It is now just
a grab bag of political wants. Wants and needs are not even separated. Congress is not willing to gore the sacred cows that are eating up our
resources without a real return. As long as the voters are not willing to stand
against this, not much will change until a serious, and maybe an irreversible
economic collapse forces a change.
"There are all kinds of levers to pull to re-adjust such a situation.
It's just the conversation about which lever to pull and how much, needs to
be had within the realm of reality, and that's the issue with likes of the
tea party."Here's the reality I was speaking about;;1) As someone else said the nation will never be debt free because of both the
monetary system and a debt based economy. So get over the rant that we could
tax all rich people 100% and never pay back the debt. Taxing the rich is not
intended to bring the debt to zero. It's intended to make the debt
manageable and less inflationary.2)The recession of '08 was a
demand recession and nearly wrecked the WORLD economy. Because it was demand
based EVERY country that responded with austerity failed and many had double dip
recessions. So, the stimulus did in fact prevent a recession, and the ensuing
debt was first of all well spent and secondly borrowed at nearly 0% interest.
So in order to compare it to any other President you have to dollars plus
interest, which no conservative ever does.
It's a fact that taxe revenues as a percent of GDP have not been this low
since the 1950's. Simply bringing revenue back up to historical averages
(18%) and tweaking entitlements and defense solves the problem. If the GOP
really was serious about debt reduction they would propose raising revenue as
well as restructing entitlements. They want to have their cake and eat it too.
bungalowFirst off, I for one will be the first Republican to admit
that W was very irresponsible with our debt. He crossed the 10 trillion dollar
mark in his 8 years. But that doesn't justify Obama taking it to the 17
trillion mark in 6 years.And secondly, when talking percentages like
123% or 188%, it really doesn't mean much unless you consider the amount
being increased. Increasing a trillion dollars by 123% is much worse than
increasing a billion dollars by that much.
So which entitlements are you asking to reform? How much money can be saved?
What will be lost and gained? How will it impact the end users? How will it
impact the deficit and national debt? This is just another cut,
cut, cut editorial without any concrete solutions. To paraphrase from another
frequent poster - Before I die, I'd like to see one Republican tell me what
to cut, how much to cut, and what the impacts will be.
Liberal Larry, just what has Obama done to reign in anything? What you accuse
Bush of doing is a drop in the bucket to the unrestrained spending of the last
five years.I'm for a balanced budget amendment.
@Ronnie W."Obama hasn't done anything to fix the debt problem.
"We have a budget deficit projection of 744 billion for 2014.
That's almost half of the 2009 budget year of 1,413 billion.@2bits"You evidently don't think things through. Every tax
increase takes money out of the economy (and puts it into the Government). A tax
increase means people have less to spend every 2 weeks. That means business have
their revenue cut by that percentage."Not exactly. Consider
something like unemployment or food stamps, that money gets quickly cycled back
into the economy. If you cut gov't spending instead of raising taxes,
you're getting the same effect."in the long run you have
less working people to tax, less sales to tax, less investing to tax... so LESS
Tax revenue overall,"The CBO estimates that the Bush tax cuts
are reducing revenue by around 400 billion a year. You say we'd see a
revenue cut with a tax increase, but what we get is a revenue cut with a tax
Let's not forget there are three culprits in the debt/deficit predicament-
the House, the Senate, and the President, and they all are culpable. And here
are the real deficit statistics:FY 2013: $680 billion FY 2012:
$1,087 billion FY 2011: $1,300 billion FY 2010: $1,294 billionFY 2009†: $1,413 billion FY 2008: $458 billion FY 2007: $161
billion FY 2006: $248 billion FY 2005: $318 billionSaying the
2013 deficit was the lowest it has been since 2008 ignores the fact that it was
still higher by nearly 50% and the Obama deficit is 150% higher on average.I ranted when Bush signed the first (non)stimulus and we've seen scarce
little benefit.When the Federal debt exceeds GDP, it means there is no way
on earth it can be repaid even if we are all taxed 100%. It's not that hard
to understand. Democrats refuse to negotiate- Harry Reid won't even
pass a budget; Republicans can't scrape together enough backbone to stick
to their principles or are themselves culpable of pork. Let's start
with a fresh batch of congressmen and train them right this time.
The last successful fiscally conservative president was, in my opinon, Andrew
Jackson who gave us a responsible economy based on real money and who worked to
successfully bring an end to "national" banking which sadly was
re-introduced in 1913. Reagan had some good ideas and he did put
Social Security on a sound footing by supporting an increase of the
contributions of those who would benefit in the future from the program, and
also by encouraging the increase of the age of retirement to 66 and 67 in the
future. Both of these became law. Social Security contributions would keep the
program sound until 2030 or thereabouts, although government embezzling and a
falling birthrate, has jeopardized these "savings" of the people for
their old age, based on the way the program is administered de facto. Reagan
could not, of course, introduce money bills for Congress; that can only be done
by the House. He had little control of their activities and his veto could be
Let's translate the "debt ceiling" debate into terms we can
understand.Your friend has gone to Wendover, and spent every dollar
they have gambling. They have maxed out their credit cards, mortgaged their
house, hocked the family jewels, and put their car up for collateral. It is
obvious they have a gambling addiction problem.Now, you want to help
them overcome their problem. As a good friend, you can either (a) loan them a
million dollars, or (b) drag them out of the casino and force them to stop
gambling.Well, Congress chose to loan themselves another million
dollars (borrowed from their children's credit card, by the way...)We need some adults in Congress who recognize that the problem is not
the amount of money being borrowed, but the amount being spent.Some
say just raise taxes. Well, every time in the past they have promised to cut
spending if taxes were raised, the tax increase happened, but none of the
spending cuts. Fool me once...Stop the spending, and borrowing, and
pay off the debt!
Are you kidding! What is this, Saturday Night Live?
Re: "Why do they keep calling it a debt ceiling"? (Nate)Because it limits how much the government can borrow in our name.We may keep changing what the limit is... but it's still a
"ceiling"/upper-limit. The current ceiling/limit prevents the
government from borrowing more, when that limit has been reached. Then they
have to fight to get more money from their mom's purse. But I
acknowledge that we will always just increase it.===RE:
"What's wrong with raising taxes?" (Maverick)You
evidently don't think things through. Every tax increase takes money out
of the economy (and puts it into the Government). A tax increase means people
have less to spend every 2 weeks. That means business have their revenue cut
by that percentage. So profits dip. So people get layed-off. Those people
have no income to tax, and instead drain the government coffers.So
if you think it through... in the long run you have less working people to tax,
less sales to tax, less investing to tax... so LESS Tax revenue overall, if you
just raise taxes every time you want more money.
Obama is taking a measured approach to reducing the debt. The deficit has
dropped every year of his administration. As to the big 2009 outlay, sometimes
you have to borrow a lot to save yourself from disaster. Then you pay it off
gradually. That's the way we all work. No need to panic as long as GDP
continues to grow.
A major problem is states, like Utah, demand the feds spend money. But, of
course, we want other states to have fed funding cuts - but not us. Look what
happens every time cutbacks at HAFB are proposed. Our leaders spring into
action to keep the money coming in. Utah is a welfare state. It receives more
in fed funds than it pays into the system. WE are the problem.
@LiberalLarryOur kids deserve more than this. Every discussion
can't degrade into "He started it!" If we continue to care more
about the blame game than the present opportunity to fix the problem, we will
never get anywhere. Obama hasn't done anything to fix the debt problem.
Even if Bush has started it, Obama has been every bit has reckless.
Our monetary system is debt based. It always has to expand otherwise monetary
contraction will occur.The only way to solve this, is to move to a
debt free based monetary system.
Barack has added as much to the national debt as almost all past presidents
combined.And he still thinks he's not spending enough
An excellent opinion piece.We do need to get our house in order.
That must include entitlements to be meaningful at all. And sidestepping the
foolish brinkmanship of the past year or two was essential.Two
additional points.First, the bad blood created over the past few
years is a serious problem. Nobody wants to consider doing anything that
originates from the other side of the aisle. Besides the sheer question of
votes (you need a majority to pass legislation) this is really too bad - because
both sides have good ideas (once you get the shouters to sit and be quiet in a
corner somewhere).Second, as mentioned by FT above, we need to
consider revenues. Much of that could likely be handled by simply patching many
of the holes in the current tax law and making the effective tax rate closer to
the nominal tax rate.
Prag....Our debt right now is surpassing GDPFTI'm
glad that you at least recognize that BO is very divisive.Lib
LarryAlmost too wrong to even comment on. But here goes. Since 2009
Obama and Congress have added 7 trillion to the debt. The Dems have been a HUGE
part of our debt problems.Real MavYou could tax all the
billionaires, and millionaires 100% and hardly even touch the trillions of
dollars we have in debt.
FT has hit the nail on the head. There will be no debt reduction without
revenue reform. Looking at historical tax revenue as a fraction of GDP, we (the
United States) are collecting almost 5 basis points to little in taxes. For
example, during the God of all Republicans (Ronald Regan's) administration,
the federal government collected an average of 18.5% of GDP in taxes. During
the entirety of the horrible socialist Barak Obama's we are averaging just
over 15.5% of GDP in tax collection. All while dealing with a much larger (as a
percentage of the total population) population of retirees using Social Security
and Medicare. The editors of this paper are as foolish as the general public
when it comes to federal debt. There are two ways to lower debt (although you
would never hear it from the clowns who run this paper); you can reduce spending
or you can increase revenue (or both if you really want to bring the debt down
fast). I would really love to see an adult discussion that includes both
options. Unfortunately, all you will ever hear from Republics is "cut
spending, cut spending!!!"
What's wrong with raising taxes? If we want to resolve our
national debt then we need to stop playing around and realize that a tax
increase is necessary.
There is no doubt that the GOP is to blame for our debt problems, but it
isn't the current crop of radical right wingers that are to blame. The GOP needs to remove the historical blinders and review the well
documented monetary failures of the Bush/Cheney administration. It
will take more than Obama's 8 years to repair the Republican damage.
Was there any mention of revenue reform in this article? How can you discuss
debt reduction without mentioning how revenues are collected and how much is
needed? I'm all for Mike Lee pushing the issue of debt but let's not
forget his and Ted Cruz's foolish strategy last Fall cost this country over
25 BILLION dollars. Not since Bill Clinton's passage of his 1992 Deficit
plan(which not one Republican voted for) has there been a serious effort by
Washington to reign in our Debt. A leader has to lead and Mike Lee has not been
able to do that. So far, outside of BO and Ted Cruz he's been one of the
most divise, do nothing members of Congress.
Hello Mountanman, I'm Pragmatist. Nice to meet you. I to care about the
debt, and guess what most democrats do care. We care differently than you do,
so maybe that counts as not caring, I don't know. First of all
from a national perspective it's not true that a debt can't continue
to grow forever. It doesn't mean it should, it just can, if the GDP
continues to grow. As a nation's citizenry continues to grow
and an economy continues to change entitlements will always be
"unsustainable" if you look far enough out. Again it doesn't mean
they are bad or faulty it simply is a snapshot of a moving object compared to a
static process.There are all kinds of levers to pull to re-adjust
such a situation. It's just the conversation about which lever to pull and
how much, needs to be had within the realm of reality, and that's the issue
with likes of the tea party. They are fighting two hundred old wars
within the walls of a made up world.
I echo "Nate", from Pleasant Grove, who asks why we still call this a
debt "ceiling".Referring to this completely meaningless
number as a ceiling or limit while routinely ignoring what both those terms are
meant to imply (a point beyond which we will not go) is now far beyond being the
almost comical example of irresponsibility that some comedians used as joke
fodder 30+ years ago.Now, with a debt exceeding 17 **trillion**
dollars (not including "entitlement" debt, which would raise it to
beyond 100 **trillion**) and steadily climbing, it is a Damoclean sword, ready
to smite us for our chronic fiscal imprudence.Our continuing
dishonesty and denial are no defense for the inevitable economic calamity that
is absolutely inevitable unless we reverse our course. I desperately hope we
do. But, if only for the sake of honesty, I must admit I doubt we will.
"Using the debt ceiling as a political football is telling the American
people that this country’s full faith and credit can be sacrificed, and
that’s not irresponsible." Huh? That is too irresponsible. This
must be a typo. And I agree, it's time for everyone to get
together and rein in social security and medicare. Our politicians are
chickens. Don't join the AARP until they get reasonable. And to the
majority of well off older persons, be willing to give up some benefits for the
fiscal health of the country.
Before I die, I would like to meet ONE Democrat politician that cares about the
national debt! They don't care but our children and grandchildren will
care. What is our entitlement greed doing to their futures?
It is just such commen sense that any person who works for money, needs money,
or spends money should understand. Whether Democrat, Republican, or Communist,
everyone should see that it is impossible for anyone, or any government, to
continue to borrow and increase a debt forever. So when will any of our leaders
in Congress or the White House, with the exception of people like Mike Lee,
finally realize that something has to be done to stop this expanding debt? If
it isn't stopped by us, it will be stopped by a financial meltdown with
inflation looking like Germany in the 1930s. And some of you might actually
remember what came out of that. History repeats itself.
Why do they keep calling it a debt ceiling?