The dangers of financially illiterate politicians

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  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 21, 2014 7:59 a.m.

    To "mark" but it is a lie to claim that debt is the fault of a Republican President.

    The fact is that Congress sets the budget and sets the spending for the US government. When you look at it that way, you find that when Democrats are in control that Democrats out spend Republicans by a ratio of 3 to 1.

    During the time that Republicans controlled the Presidency and Congress they averaged $400 billion deficits. During the time that Democrats controlled the Presidency and Congress they averaged $1.2 Trillion deficits.

    Explain how $1.2 Trillion is less than $400 billion as you claim.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2014 7:12 p.m.

    "Facts don't matter and where they don't fit, they're just fabricated out of whole cloth."

    Right, that's exactly what Republicans and conservatives do. It is amazing how they will just twist facts around to fit their agenda. For instance look at red shirts claim. He'll blame the debt on President Obama, until someone points out that the debt has risen for more under Republican presidents in the last 40 years, then he will turn around and try to claim that the debt has risen faster under democratic congresses. Well, President Bush and the Republicans has total control of the house, senate, and presidency for what six or seven years of Bush's presidency? And they sure did a find job pushing the debt and deficit through the roof. Even considering they were handed a surplus. (Yeah, redshirt will argue the surplus thing. But he's wrong.)

    Obama had a democrat house and senate for two years. Then Republicans were back in control of the house.

    But, whatever, the point remains conservatives love making up their own "facts".

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    April 18, 2014 10:40 a.m.

    No use trying to convince GaryO the sun doesn't rise and set on the liberal illuminati. Lost cause. Facts don't matter and where they don't fit, they're just fabricated out of whole cloth. Harry Reid is a prime example of that stratagem.
    The article posits "People want government to do more and more..." We cannot include the ever-burgeoning Tea Party whose very existence is based on the premise the government must do less especially in areas where they have no expertise, such as the albatross Obamacare, GM and banking bailouts, market manipulation, etc. Both parties have their culprits.
    The solution- term limits for all. I would recommend in addition the disqualification of family members for one generation for that office. But that may be too much to hope for. Let's at least start with term limits.

  • RedShirtUofU Andoria, UT
    April 16, 2014 11:47 a.m.

    To "GaryO" actually, Democrats are the ones that spend the most.

    Since 1981, when Congress was controlled by Republicans the debt increased by $3 Trillion, or $300 billion/yr on average. However, when controlled by Democrats the debt has risen by $8.79 Trillion or $732 billion/yr. That is according to the US Historical Tables.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    April 16, 2014 7:11 a.m.

    Some simple logic, for the likes of Gary Obama up there. If one triples a debt and the debt is 100 dollars. That means the debt is now 300 dollars. Very managable. If one increases the debt by almost 40% when talking trillions of dollars, as Obama has done, that is a very unmanagable debt. The debt has gone from 10 trillion to 17 trillion during the 5+ years of Obama. I'll take Reagan doing it with billions over Obama doing it with trillions anyday.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    April 15, 2014 10:06 p.m.

    Hey Hawkeye -

    You really shouldn't blame the Democrats for ANY of the many, many mistakes of the GW Bush administration, certainly not GW's Great Recession.

    It was GW himself who demanded that Fannie and Freddie give highly-risky, subprime, low-interest, no-down-payment loans to five and a half MILLION dirt poor minority families.

    “I set an ambitious goal. It's one that I believe we can achieve. It's a clear goal, that by the end of this decade we'll increase the number of minority homeowners by at least 5.5 million families . . . Achieving the goal is going to require some good policies out of Washington. And it's going to require a strong commitment from those of you involved in the housing industry . . . Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac . . . have committed to provide more money for lenders. They've committed to help meet the shortage of capital available for minority home buyers.” - GW Bush 2003

    And the rest is history.

    Face it Hawkeye, Republican leadership is nothing but bad news for America.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    April 15, 2014 9:43 p.m.

    Hey Objectified - Sorry, but your “points” have NO basis in fact.

    The skyrocketing price of world oil caused economic problems during the Carter administration. But the high price of World Oil was not Carter’s fault.

    And Reagan deserves NO credit for the fact that the price of word oil plummeted during his administration to less than a third of what it had been during the Carter administration.
    It was cheap energy that got the economy rolling again . . . Not Reagan’s policies.

    But in spite of the fact that Reagan had everything going for him, he still could not capitalize on it. If he had not lowered taxes for high earners, revenue from that rip-roaring cheap-energy-fueled boom could have balanced the budget. Instead Reagan TRIPLED the national debt.
    And Moderan “Conservatives” love him because of his irresponsibility.

    Republican Leadership has been TERRIBLE ever since Reagan took office in 1980.
    That’s because Republicans have deluded themselves into thinking Reagan’s Voodoo economics really works, when 30 years of it clearly shows it does NOT.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2014 8:55 p.m.

    For all those who are pointing fingers at various Presidents and political parties, need I remind you who it was that elected them?

    True, the corruptions of people like William “Boss” Tweed of New York, George Ryan, Jesse Jackson Jr. and Rod Blagojevich of Illinos, James Traficant from Ohio, Tennessee's Ray Blanton, Ray Nagin, Huey Long and Edwin Edwards of the infamously corrupt New Orleans/Louisiana, the whole city administration of Bell, CA, even, apparently, our own John Swallow and a few of his fellow "law men", and on, and on, and on, are not always apparent to voters. But, there are more than a few of the people on the aforementioned list and many, many others not mentioned whose crimes and generally low character are not only well known to voters, they are sometimes part of what some consider the "human" element that helps them relate to their constituency. And therein lies the real problem.

    The **real** problem is the people. It is we, ultimately, who are represented by those we elect. Ultimately, it is only WE who can clean up the messes they make on our behalf. It is, therefore, WE who must do better.

    April 15, 2014 8:55 p.m.

    Only Obama could double the deficit, then have the hubris to brag when he cuts it in half. Only his blind lemming followers would swallow it and expect rational people to congratulate him for it.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 15, 2014 8:27 p.m.

    Does a president who loves America, and trying to fix things,--spend hundreds of millions for lavish vacations, and gifts for his wife, on the tax payers dime?

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2014 6:55 p.m.

    "Paying for Bush's mistakes…." is one reason Mr. Obama cannot solve them. Until he realizes that he is the problem and not straw men, Bush or Reagan, he will never successfully address them. Partisan extremists don't help a sick economy by making it sicker.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2014 5:35 p.m.

    "for Obama's obvious financial blunderings"

    I'm honestly not sure what those "obvious" blunderings are. The deficit is half as much as it was a few years ago, Obamacare pays for itself (that's why the repeal is scored by CBO as increasing the deficit), we've gained jobs every month since the census workers were let go due to their tax being complete (and gained private sector jobs every month since January 2010).

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 15, 2014 3:38 p.m.

    When we talk about political ignorance, it is not the politicians who are ignorant but the people who elected them. I doubt that you could find many, if any, politicians that do not know exactly what they want and how they might get it. And I also doubt that you would find many, if any, of their supporters who know the real motivation and agenda of the politicians they elect.

    However it is an ignorance of innocence because ordinary people are pitted against well educated, trained, highly motivated people who have the agenda to KEEP the people ignorant. From the very beginning of our lives we are lied to by the people we trust most. Right up to the mother of all lies, that there are Good men who would not do Bad things.

    Evolution, as it has in all things before us, will eventually decide whether the human race survives as we might expect with the peace and harmony for all people or becomes extinct like other unsuccessful attempts at life. We might help it if we take the first step and find the real truth.

  • bribri86 Phoenix, AZ
    April 15, 2014 2:48 p.m.

    Gary Obama,

    "Obama is still paying for GW’s mistakes."

    When you turn the page on your talking points, you'll see that you were supposed to stop using that argument last year because they don't want the republican's to run on the same platform in 2016. "[Fill in candidate name here] will still be paying for BO's mistakes for years to come."

  • shesaidohkay Utopia, UT
    April 15, 2014 12:05 p.m.

    My earlier post may have suggested I promote debt which I do not. My suggestion is that the problem here is human nature. Power feels good, so does having money. There, I said it.
    Screaming "FIRE" has gotten us no where except to the voting booth which in turn has accomplished nothing except to guarantee some snake oil salesman a potential book deal, talk show or a cushy future lobbyist job. The rhetoric never changes, neither does the results. We vote like we're electing a prom king. Then we're astounded at the inevitable betrayals.
    I don't have any answers but surely keeping public office from being key to the path of billionaire-ism (made that up) should be a start. It costs millions to run a campaign (excuse for constant fundraising and crack-like addiction to big donors)- why? Justify lobbyists? Can you imagine the insider trading opportunities (even though they are ILLEGAL). Cushy government contracts? Just the willingness to run for office should be a "red flag".

    Instead of fighting amongst ourselves about talking points we should rethink political financial incentives and who would agree to serve without them! NEVER hear that on the campaign trail.

  • Objectified Tooele, UT
    April 15, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    @ GaryO:

    You predictably picked on Republicans (Reagan and Bush) in this matter, as you always do regarding any political issue. You've become extremely predictable regarding your obvious and ongoing political bias.

    But as a matter of point, please keep in mind that during the entire combined 16 year tenure of both Reagan and Bush, they did not add to the federal deficit (in dollars spent) as much as Obama did during just his first 4 years in office... by a substantial margin.

    Please write in verifiable specifics instead of using general political rhetoric. It will eventually lead to an increase in believability. Cherry picking certain facts used entirely out of context never helps an argument either.

  • liberty or ...? Ogden, UT
    April 15, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    Unfortunately 10CC is the model attitude of why are currency will eventualy fail we listened to your lobbyists and now 6 years later we are 3 Trillion more in debt on track to equal 20 Trillion by 2020 if not earlier. Not one cent has paid on the debt only added. Our Dollar has lost up 25% of its purchasing power within the last 4 years, more if you count the inflation on food and fuel costs. China, India, and Russia are already in deals about replacing the Dollar as the worlds reserve currancy. (Something Tea Partiers were warning against in 2010 and people like you said would never happen) You are all like fiscal heroin addicts or spouses still wanting to have all the stuff you currently can't afford and promising that you will only in the future buy the BMW instead of the Porsche ignoring your other spouse letting you know the reality that you not only can't have that you have to cut up the credit card, sell the truck, cancel the vacation, etc. Shock Therapy? We are almost beyond economic life support. Worse you are about to become economic slaves to your debtors. Russia already knows this.

  • Concinnity Tooele, UT
    April 15, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    For anyone to still be blaming Bush for Obama's obvious financial blunderings 6 years later is not only misguided, it's absolutely ridiculous and demonstrates an unreasonable political bias that skews that person's perceptions. That later comment by GaryO, caused a huge loss in his credibility regarding this and similar topics.

    @ 10CC:

    You should write more regarding the terrible political policies of both parties that led to the desire of Tea-Party candidates to want to take such drastic measures in reducing our runaway federal spending deficits. If it wasn't for the cause, the effects wouldn't need to be dealt with so harshly. You seem to be glossing over that point.

    Current politicians in Washington DC need a heavy dose of something or some type of shock therapy to change their current path of running our country toward financial ruin. To increase our entire national debt, built up over a 230 year period, by over 40% in one 4 year period is absurd and inexcusable. And yet, that is what has recently happened.

    Very few people can actually comprehend how much money $17,000,000,000,000 is. And yet our current federal deficit exceeds that amount.

  • CottageCheese SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 15, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    Long time Democrats AND Republicans do not care what happens to the country financially. As long as they stay in office, they keep their POWER and MONEY. Ridiculous salaries and pensions, insider trading, sweetheart deals with major corporations to keep them in office.

    We need to stop looking at DC through the lens of democrats and republicans.

    We need to start looking at it through the lens of WE THE PEOPLE AND THEY THE POLITICIANS.

    They keep us distracted with the dem vs. repub narrative, while all along, both of them are getting and accomplishing exactly what they want.


  • Hawkeye79 Iowa City, IA
    April 15, 2014 10:16 a.m.


    "GW mimicked Reagan as much as possible, while he more than DOUBLED the national debt and left the nation in the worst financial distress since the Great Depression."

    Why do you disagree with our nation's economists who have concluded that the housing bubble was due to both parties, with the foundation having been put in place by Clinton-backed finance and housing policies?

    The remainder of your post suggests that the reason is likely blind partisanship, but I'm willing to hear you out.

  • shesaidohkay Utopia, UT
    April 15, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    Our country has been indebt since 1776 except once when it was retired in the 1830's (which proceded a deep recession by the way). Even your much loved Cheney said deficits don't matter- google it. You can watch the liberals magically put those dirty word in his mouth. We have no "due date", never have never will. Other countries have and have had explosive debts and inflation yet there has never been the need for a bug out kit or bunker. It all works out in the end.

    What we need is an IQ requirement to be in office or better yet to vote. Of course I'm joking, that would be against everything this country stands for. Actually, I think our elected officials are a direct reflection of who voted them in. "We the people" doesn't say much. We adamantly fight for the right to be mislead.

    Of course those of you who send those "worthless dollars" to your favorite entertainer's Goldline in exchange for a few cents worth of gold vote for me, I know how to pay my visa bill.

  • Objectified Tooele, UT
    April 15, 2014 10:02 a.m.


    One other point...
    Jimmy Carter has been the only president in the history of our country whose policies caused double digit inflation, interest rates and unemployment rates... all at the same time. It's a difficult to cause to happen, but his democrat based economic policies caused such an occurrence. Personally, Carter was and is a very honest and respectable person. I admire his personal life and behavior. But that is separate from his misguided political stances regarding financial matters. Those policies were a disaster.

    Democrats need to someday understand that higher taxes lead to economic stagnation. Both Democrats and Republicans need to keep in mind that excessive spending that leads to runaway deficits is never a good thing. Deep deficits lead toward economic ruin on both a personal and national level.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    April 15, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    There are a lot of comments here about DC, and there are significant problems back there. But there are big problems here as well.

    UTOPIA was a well intentioned idea by some elected city councils and mayors, but it has been a big bust, constantly requiring the cities to give them more money.

    SLC is bonding for a new Broadway style theater. But they haven't yet put the old Utah Theater back into play. There have been multiple main water and sewer lines break, many are over 100 years old, yet instead of using the money for the infrastructure, they pay large bond payments every year.

    Salt Lake County issued a Parks bond, but they can't keep up with Parks maintenance. They chose to make bond payments on new projects, rather than fix up our old parks. They spent $2 Million+- on a well intentioned sidewalk project, but didn't obtain the proper right-of-ways. We will pay for that in the next 7 years.

    And then there was IProvo, a project like UTOPIA that was finally bailed out by Google.

    How long before we clean up our local governments?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    April 15, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    bribri86 -

    “Why pick on republicans?” Because Republican presidents are by far the biggest offenders when it comes to financially mismanaging the country.

    They are by far the most irresponsible. Reagan irresponsibly lowered taxes to buy votes and TRIPLED the national debt. GW mimicked Reagan as much as possible, while he more than DOUBLED the national debt and left the nation in the worst financial distress since the Great Depression.

    Obama is still paying for GW’s mistakes. In fact the whole nation is still paying for Republican financial mismanagement.

    It’s a wonder that any sensible people would vote Republican.

    But it’s no wonder that others do.

  • bribri86 Phoenix, AZ
    April 15, 2014 8:38 a.m.


    Why pick on republicans. There are plently of democrats that have further hurt us financially. You know, like Jimmy Carter and Barrak Obama (spent more than ANY preceding US President). I'll give you that the best financially sound president we've had since the 70's was Bill Clinton, but only in his last term and likely because he didn't have the house and senate in his back pocket.

  • JNA Layton, UT
    April 15, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    To Gary O

    You make a very good point. Please add Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, extremely dangerous indeed

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    April 15, 2014 8:16 a.m.

    No one to blame but ourselves when we send Senators to DC who can't manage their own finances. Lee admitted he had too much house for his budget by leaving the bank $500k short and requiring a taxpayer bailout that he then has the guts to criticize. Illiterate indeed.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    April 15, 2014 6:35 a.m.

    Way back in the FDR days a Harvard professor named Robert Merton wrote about unintended consequences. His paper will soon be 80 years old, but the same old problems persist.
    Our politicians are not our best and brightest; nor are their staff. Washington is driven by greed and conflicting agendas.
    There are solutions to bad policy, but first theygottawanna.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 15, 2014 1:05 a.m.

    No one who can't manage their own finances should be elected to manage public finances.

    Voters should insist on financial disclosure, including any credit score.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    April 14, 2014 7:15 p.m.

    Washington DC is FULL of illiterate politicians and our national debt proves it, period!

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    April 14, 2014 6:52 p.m.

    I would expect there to be some pretty ignorant politicians around the nation.

    But I would hope the politicians who steer the nation in DC would be more coherent, but this headline reminded me of the Tea Partiers in DC who were set to give the economy heavy doses of shock therapy when the debt ceiling vote was coming up, apparently oblivious to the tsunami an instantaneous 40% cut in federal spending would bring.

    It took CEOs flying in from around the country to lobby first term Republicans and explain how the nation's financial system is built before they pulled the bus back away from the ledge.

    Macro and Micro Economics should be required courses for people with that much power.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    April 14, 2014 4:37 p.m.

    "The dangers of financially illiterate politicians"

    Financially illiterate politicians? . . . Like Ronald Reagan? . . . GW Bush??

    Good point! Dangerous people indeed.