Richard Davis: Raise the debt ceiling, then talk about spending less

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  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 19, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    Lost, Yes, debt has skyrocketed. But, what you seem to want to gloss over, is that through history, the GOP is just as likely to run up the deficit as the dems.

    I dont defend the Dems or BO. I just merely point out the hypocrisy.

    Reagan took it to new levels, and, with the exception of the Clinton years, it has just ballooned.

    And it would have Ballooned under Romney also.

    And for your "GOP congress" under Slick, what happened with that same GOP congress under Bush. They went crazy, including Boehner, McConnell, Canter and Ryan. They never met a spending bill under Bush that they didn't like.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Sept. 19, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    The debt held by the public refers to money borrowed from investors outside of the federal government. The total debt represents debt held by the public and money the federal government owes itself, including for programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

    It’s accurate that Clinton delivered the first four consecutive surplus budgets in more than 70 years.

    But the total debt increased by roughly $400 billion (due to increases in Social Security and Medicare spending).

    BTW reductions in funding for discretionary (i.e., non-entitlement) programs enacted 2011, primarily in the Budget Control Act, have produced $1.5 trillion in savings in discretionary spending for fiscal years 2013 through 2022

    Nothing is going to be accomplished by this Congress because Republicans can't deal with reality. Congressional Republicans--in control of 1/3 of govt. think they are going to get Democrats and Obama to go along with dismantling Obamacare (or delaying implementation until the next election).

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    you want to compare bush's deficits to BOs? don't forget, when slick got the deficit down, he had a repub house.

    BO increased the debt more in 3-3/4 years than bush did in 8. BO's deficits were worse when he had a dem house than when he had a repub house. yeah, I'll draw those comparisons all day long.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    LOWER the debt ceiling. Ask your bank to decrease the limit on your credit card. Then ask the politicians to do the same with the nation.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Sept. 19, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    A couple of meta points. The analogy of personal finance to federal finance is about as flawed as any analogy possible. First of all the government can just print out of thin air..because that's where money comes from. It's not dependent of how much gold, or wheat we have, we make it up (and so do banks by extending credit). Secondly the federal govt. has always run a deficit and as so many have pointed out it's not the absolute size that matters it's the relative size that counts (to the world), %of gdp. Who cares if Bill Gates borrows a million dollars, the bank certainly doesn't.

    Badgerbadger, "No thanks. I don't want more debt, although I know it is inevitable, but at least have a spending reduction plan ". The President inherited a 1.4 trillion dollar budget from Bush, proposed his own 1.4 trillion dollar deficit. 2013/973B, 2014/744B, 2015/576B, 2016/528B. There's your plan.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 19, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    The solution is for our government to not spend the money.

    Proposing NOT paying the bill for things we agreed to buy is just plain ludicrous.

    @lost - wanna compare Slicks debt to GW Bushs? And remember, GW had a gop house and senate for 6 of his years.

    I will be first to admit that we have a spending problem, but it is just as likely to be caused by the GOP as the Dems.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 5:59 a.m.

    I posted numbers from the US treasury in rebuttal to mcclark’s erroneous assertion that slick gave us a surplus, but the DN refused to post them. I wonder why? Is the DN afraid of the truth?

    From the treasurydirect webpage: (DN, this is NOT a URL, it does NOT violate your rules, please post!)

    Gross federal debt at (millions)

    1/19/97 - 5,309,775
    1/19/98 - 5,492,897 INCREASE of $183B
    1/19/99 - 5,619,058 INCREASE of $126B
    1/19/00 - 5,727,151 INCREASE of $108B
    1/18/01 - 5,727,777 INCREASE of $626MM

    Nope, no surplus – cannot have one when gross debt is increasing.

    I don’t know where you got your erroneous numbers, but these come from the US treasury.

    we were not comparing debt or deficits to GPD, we were talking gross federal debt, which HAS increased every year, even under slick willy.

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    Joe 5 1998 99.28 B Surplus
    1999 176.16 B Surplus
    2000 320.76 B Surplus
    2001 168.16 B Surplus Bush's first year
    2002 205.2 B Deficit
    2003 47.8 B Deficit
    2004 511.14 B Deficit

    This does not count Bush putting two wars on the country's credit card that we will be paying for the next 25 years. Facts are facts and combining years to come up with the math you want does not change that.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 4:34 p.m.

    After dealing with this idiotic issue for decades now, I think my biggest complaint is with the corruption of our language.

    When this arbitrary and seemingly meaningless amount can be raised so often and with such little regard to rules of simple economic common sense, why do we STILL refer to it as a debt "limit" or "ceiling"?

    Both of those words, in this context, are meant to convey some sense of limitation or maximum. However, as we've seen so many times and for so long, our national debt "limit" is anything but!!

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    Lost in DC and Joe5

    You need a lesson in modern economics. Government debt has always been based on its ratio to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Relative to the GDP the debt did go down under Clinton. By the way the biggest debt creator in recent history was Ron Reagan, he tripled the federal debt. Obama will never come close to that.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 2:25 p.m.

    Current revenues ARE sufficient to fully fund SS and medicare, pay interest on the debt, and fund defense.

    “The Obama administration is correct in refusing to play politics with the debt limit.”

    Absolutely right! BO’s misadministration WOULD be correct in refusing to play politics with the debt ceiling, but that is just what he is doing. Why do you think he went on a rant monday against the repus? he was playing politics.

    Blaming it on the house when the senate won’t even vote on the house budgets, and BO says he would veto house budgets is disingenuous at best. Everything coming out of congress is loaded with dem pork or the senate won’t even vote on it and BO would veto it.

    nope, no debt reduction during slick’s administration. According to the treasury dept, gross federal debt INCREASED every year under slick. No reduction, no balanced budget. Please stop repeating untruths.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    mcclark: Like most liberals, you have your facts confused. The debt was not being paid off during the Clinton administration. In fact, the national debt increased every year Bill was in office. However, the Republican Congress demanded a balanced budget and growth of the national debt was very low.

    In 93-94 (two years), under a Democratic Congress, debt increased ~$500M ($250M/yr).

    In 95-2000 (six years), under a Republican Congress, debt increased ~$700M ($116M/yr).

    The same situation repeated itself in reverse since Clinton.

    In 01-06 (six year), under a Republican Congress, debt increased ~$2.8B ($467M/yr).

    In 07-12 (six years), under a Democratic Congress, debt increased ~$7.85B ($1.31B/yr).

    Facts can be messy things, can't they?

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 1:42 p.m.

    Skepitcal---We were paying down the debt during good times, when Clinton was Pres. Then Bush and "deficits don't matter" Cheney decided that was too responsible, let the next guy (Obama) worry about it.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:10 p.m.

    The article had merit until he included the part about the rich paying their share. They should, but their contributions would not make a dent in the now almost 17 trillion in debt. Just today I was reading an article about the richest Americans and at about 70 billion sits Bill Gates. Take every penny he has, and that 70 billion is a drop in the debt bucket. Take even 50% from the rich and it won't come close to solving the problem.


    You do realize that the Republicans control only 1/3 of government don't you? Boehner signs the legislation that ultimately get to him by Obama and Reid in the Senate. So your idea of throwing the bums out is noble, just don't forget to throw them ALL out.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    skeptical: I don't disagree. As I mentioned in my first post, I don't have a problem with raising the debt ceiling. In my own finances, I have periods of deficit spending when I've purchased a car or a home. But whenever I've done that, I had a plan to satisfy the incurred debt. Where is the plan from the government and where is the commitment to adhere to the plan?

    You're living in Normal Rockwell world with the paradigm you propose. It ain't gonna happen because spending buys votes. So what legislator is going to want to make the hard decisions when times are tough and, even more, make the rational decisions when time are good.

    The argument you make is sound. But I hope you don't consider me naive enough to believe it will work with our current way of managing the country.

  • The Skeptical Chymist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 11:36 a.m.


    Noncomlib is correct, the government should act to smooth the ups and downs of the economy. The government should spend more than it takes in during recessions, and should make up for it by taking in more than it spends during the good times. This will keep the economy going during recessions and will keep it from getting superheated during good times.

    Even Milton Friedman, conservative economist extraordinaire, didn't think deficit spending is bad. What is important is that the deficit spending be on items that have value. If we do deficit spending, it should be spent on things that will need to be done anyway, like (1) repairing/expanding infrastructure, which benefits the economy in the long run, (2) educating our population, which again benefits the economy in the long run, and (3) diversifying our energy sources, so we are not so dependent on forms of energy with hidden long-term costs.

    And yes, we need to run the government with a surplus during good times, rather than cutting taxes. It's like saving money when you're employed, so you can live off your savings when you're laid off.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    Nonconlib: My company has had four labor reductions this year. They had staffed to support a certain business level, then found that they could only earn about 3/4 of their projections. The quickest way to get healthy was to reduce the labor force and suffer the negative results.

    So goes the government. Earnings will provide only a certain level of spending. They can never earn enough to put everybody on the government payroll. The quickest path to fiscal health is to reduce their budget to match their earnings.

    I disagree with the half-Keynesians. Deficit spending offers no long term benefits. It just kicks the problem down the road. Are we really so selfish that we will saddle our children with the bill of our self-indulgence?

    We will never be confused with the "greatest generation;" those who gave their lives in WWII so we could be free of tyranny. We won't even sacrifice our lusts for the next generations, much less our lives. Do we really need the latest cell phones, big screen TVs, satellite dishes, and video games? What do you have that you would be willing to sacrifice for the future?

  • Nonconlib Happy Valley, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 8:24 a.m.


    The problem here is that both parties (but especially the GOP) are half-Keynesians. They agree that deficit spending is necessary during downturns to prevent catastrophe, but they refuse to tax sufficiently to produce a surplus during economic expansions. Instead, they somehow think they can simply slash their way to a balanced budget. But drastically slashing government spending would simply produce another recession. Ideology has held both common sense and sound economic policy hostage for some time now (since Reagan). We had a brief reprieve during the Clinton years, but the Bush tax cuts and the absolute refusal by the GOP to allow them to expire has left us with no way out of this corner we've painted ourselves into. Ever wonder why Romney/Ryan never were willing to put any numbers to their bizarre balanced-budget claims?

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    Give the president more debt capability, so he run off and campaign for gun control is more like it. Once he gets the money, he will be gone from the Washington governing scene.

    No thanks. I don't want more debt, although I know it is inevitable, but at least have a spending reduction plan firmly placed into law, and I don't want gun control either.

  • Roger Terry Happy Valley, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    Richard, stop it! You're talking common sense. You're being reasonable. Stop it. We can't deal with this sort of talk. We prefer wild, reckless, irrational, dangerous, partisan political rhetoric, especially if it proves that we hate the president. That's really all that matters. If we oppose Obama on everything, somehow this country will be a better place and all of our problems will magically disappear. Compromise is so 1787.

    Sept. 18, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    Congress controls spending. Congress determines where the money goes and through what channels. Congress determines borrowing limits. Congress controls the debt ceiling. All of these things are managed by congress. Who is in charge of congress? John Boehner. The government cannot spend money without his signature. If the current congress cannot manage the country's finances in a way that inspires confidence, then they need to be replaced. Including John Boehner. But they cannot be replaced with a group of people who just say no to everything. They have to be replaced by a group of people willing to compromise and work together on spending. Unlike the current congress. The problem is not national leadership. The problem is not state leadership. The problem is congressional leadership.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Sept. 18, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    Give me another drink of alcohol then we can talk about going to an AA meeting to get help.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 6:46 a.m.

    Every time they raise the debt ceiling, Congress just spends until we face the next crisis. What would make this time different? When does the circus stop?

    Personally I have no problem increasing the debt ceiling but I am very skeptical it will bring Congress to serious discussions on the budget or spending. So, a year from now, or two or five years from now, we'll be right where we are ... only worse because the hole is deeper.

    My children have borrowed money from me and I have increased their "debt ceiling" now and then due to their changing circumstances. But we sit down and review their financial situation before I bail them out, not after. That doesn't make any sense at all.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 5:27 a.m.

    Absolutely right. The debt ceiling shouldn't even be a matter of political debate. Most countries don't have anything like it, and it's not constitutionally mandated. It's routine business, and should be routinely handled.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 1:59 a.m.

    Nah, too reasonable. There's no way they'd go for that.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:48 a.m.

    This is a really stupid idea! I can't just go to my bank and say, "Gimme more credit." I've got to live within my means, why can't the goobermint?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:27 a.m.

    If cutting the deficit was a priority then Mike Lee wouldn't be talking about creating more entitlements and handing out more money to irresponsible people. His family tax credit only proved how much of a phony his "deficit hawk" desires really are.