In our opinion: It's already been 9 years since the last good deficit plan; time to take a second look

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  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2019 9:04 a.m.

    Instead of putting all the blame on the government, let's look in the mirror.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 7, 2019 6:48 a.m.

    To "Frozen Fractals " So what you saying is that you didn't care when Obama was generating massive debt, and that you believe the myth that his spending actually did anything. However, lets look at it this way. If government spending is good during a recession, that means it can only be that much better during a strong economy, so again, why care when Trump does the same thing that Obama did?

  • WallE Walla Walla, WA
    Jan. 6, 2019 5:06 p.m.

    I agree with the article. A group smarter than any of us should be commissioned to solve this problem...

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 9:16 a.m.

    dulce et decorum est - , 00 "I have given a short explanation of my position that the existence of the US dollar within our monetary system requires a federal debt,.."

    a_voice_of_reason "When government debt is so high that the tax base can no longer support the debt and fund government services.."

    I think you both are correct and simply describing two ends of the same issue. I do disagree with your apocalyptic projection voice of reason. It's of course possible but highly improbable given Americas position in the world economy and the position of the dollar.

    The theme that runs through this thread that calls for a continual balanced budget is ridiculous and unrealistic.

    Debt is not the enemy. Debt is the fuel of modernity, and in fact has always been the fuel of progress.

    Politically the irony is rich to see the conservatives here preach the absolute necessity of debt repayment and at the same time support a President who clearly doesn't believe in the practical or moral necessity of debt re-payment.

    This man offends conservative principles at their most basic levels and still has support here.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 8:30 a.m.

    If Obama were increasing deficits in his second term when the economy was stabilized, I'd have a problem with it.

    If Trump were increasing deficits during a recession, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

    In both cases I might have an issue with individual actions resulting in those things (the same way a Republican would prefer reducing the deficit with spending cuts rather than tax increases) but speaking generally about the deficit those are the times when I feel the deficit should be increased and lowered.

    One should design their governing philosophy around non-partisan rules. Like attributing shutdown blame to whoever is trying to insert legislation into the budget fight (like the wall this time by Trump or Dems trying to reinstate DACA a year ago, or the GOP trying to defund the ACA under Obama).

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 9:57 a.m.

    @Frozen Fractals is right - there's an enormous difference between deficit spending during a big recession, and irrational deficit spending during a boom economy.

    China quietly reduced their share of US debt from 22% of the total to 18%. Japan decreased theirs from 21% to 16%. They sense a coming US monetary crisis and are lowering their exposure.

    Fed Chair Powell starts to increase rates gradually, and is threatened with being fired.

    Normally interest rates are increased to cool off an overheated economy, to tame inflation.

    Now we might to increase interest rates to attract new buyers of our ballooning debt.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:54 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701
    "First, tell us did you care when Obama was increasing the debt by over $1 Trillion each year for several years? "

    Stimulus spending is essential during bad economic times like the worst recession in decades. Obama's deficits were on a clear decreasing trend after 2010 because reducing deficits is what is supposed to be done in better economic situations. Trump inherited a decent economy, allegedly made it better if his supporters are to be believed, but is sending deficits skyrocketing.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:48 p.m.

    It's inflation and population/GDP growth that leads to more revenue almost every year. Tax cuts reduce revenue. It's pretty obvious. After all, don't you all brag about how much less money you're paying in taxes because of the tax cut?

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 4:28 p.m.

    Without reading the article; the best deficit plan is what I proposed years ago.

    End the "forecast expected revenue than plan to spend that and even more no matter what " way the government works.

    Instead, set a "budget" (and idea of what priorities money should be spent on... which is NOT an "expenditure bill"); then spend only what you take in as you take it in. If the IRS is receiving money quarterly based the actual expenditures for the next three months on the quarter that passed (how much money was actually brought in the last three months).

    That is quite simple; and it would cut the deficit to $0; that is there would be no more deficit at all; because they would only be spending the actual money that they bring in. Like most of us have to do.

    On the rare occasion debt is needed; that should be voted on very carefully and only one item!

    Otherwise; a "budget" is supposed to be a guide where the priority is; but the actual expenditure should never be more than the actual revenue -- that is what it means to "balance a budget" which even the State of Utah doesn't do despite it being constitutionally required.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 3:46 p.m.

    The media also plays a central role in this problem (politicians being afraid to do anything to balance the budget). Because people in the media always characterize any attempt to balance the budget as... "Not more police, we're going to have to lay off firefighters, your school is going to suffer, your children are going to suffer, etc... It happens every time. And politicians back down. And voters tell them they better back down.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 3:05 p.m.

    Good analysis I think.

    I think he hit the core problem and the reason it failed, and why politicians of both parties turned against it...
    "it was chock full of the kinds of tough decisions that probably would have cost many politicians a chance at re-election"...

    That's why these plans always fail.

    It can get you elected to TALK about a balanced budget, but it will for sure get you Fired if you actually do the things it takes to accomplish a balanced budget.

    Talk is fine in our politics today, but action, Action of any kind, is feared will cost you the next election (if it causes pain to any voter). So nothing gets done. Absolutely nothing.

    And mostly because the people in office don't want any voter to get angry and vote against them. And they know if they act/vote to pass something that cuts somebody's favorite entitlement program... they will anger some voter and probably be out of a job.

    It is ridiculous, but it's the reality we live in today.

    It's not really their fault. It's our fault. Because we keep making it abundantly clear to them that if they actually do cut any spending... we will fire them. Either party.

    We tell them do nothing. With our votes.

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 2:40 p.m.

    The only answer I see and may be only be a start is term limits for congress. Maybe then, they will be more concerned about creating a legacy and less concerned about creating opportunities to make money.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 2:07 p.m.

    @Redshirt
    "To "one vote" before you continue on your rant. First, tell us did you care when Obama was increasing the debt by over $1 Trillion each year for several years? If you didn't care when Obama was raising the debt why do you suddenly care now?"
    While not directed at me, I'd like to reply. Many Obama supporters cared when the debt was increased a couple of trillion dollars during his first term. If the deficit was going to be decreased, especially the first few years he was in office, it would have required some huge budget cuts that would have deepened the economic crisis and greatly increased the individual misery millions of Americans were experiencing. The fact is his budgets reduced the annual deficits after the first year due to an improved economy and the spending freezes that were enacted.
    The budget deficits we've seen the past two years were just irresponsible and not needed. Their intent was to satisfy the wealthy along with "starving the beast" in hopes that the size of government could be reduced one day.

  • cpafred Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 1:45 p.m.

    “In its most recent report on April 6, CBO said total tax receipts were up 2 percent in the first half of fiscal year 2018, from October to March, compared with the same six-month period in fiscal year 2017.

    However, that same report said corporate tax revenues for the first six months of the year were down $22 billion – a 22.3 percent decline from the first six months of fiscal year 2017.

    Corporate tax revenues declined $10 billion in the final three months of calendar year 2017, from October to December, and fell an additional $12 billion in the first three months of 2018, from January to March, for a total cumulative drop of about $22 billion, according to the CBO monthly reports.”
    (Fact check)

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 4, 2019 1:21 p.m.

    To "one vote" before you continue on your rant. First, tell us did you care when Obama was increasing the debt by over $1 Trillion each year for several years? If you didn't care when Obama was raising the debt why do you suddenly care now? Other than the President being a Republican, what has changed that has made you realize that massive debt is bad?

    To "dulce et decorum est" but historically we didn't fund the dollar with debt. Up until 1971, so for nearly 200 years, the US was on the Gold Standard yet we had a stronger economy then. There were even times when the US government was nearly out of debt, and dollars were still found and being used.

  • dulce et decorum est , 00
    Jan. 4, 2019 12:46 p.m.

    @ Redshirt1701

    I have given a short explanation of my position that the existence of the US dollar within our monetary system requires a federal debt, as best as I could within the limits of a comment thread. I am afraid you have only provided an assertion. Could you engage with my explanation or provide some account of your own as to how money is created in our fiat monetary system that allows for the US dollar to exist without a national debt?

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 12:36 p.m.

    @dulce et decorum est - , 00
    "To think about the debt of a sovereign government like one would about household debt is misguided, because the government issues its own currency. Modern Monetary Theory has a lot to say that is helpful in understanding this distinction. I am not so worried about the deficit, especially where inflation is not currently an issue."

    You're right that they are very different. The comparison is because it is what people understand. But you should still be worried. Think of post-WWI Germany. When government debt is so high that the tax base can no longer support the debt and fund government services that the citizens are reliant on it creates a crisis. The problem spirals as debt-holders demand higher interest making the debt less affordable. The government now must print money to pay its debts causing hyper-inflation. Suddenly banks collapse as the value of the loans they have made are worthless. Individuals suffer as their entire monthly salary can't buy the food they need. Printing money doesn't erase debt - it shifts the problem. Money can be create - value can't. We have value to repay, and it's catching up to us.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 12:32 p.m.

    Spot on!

    This is why a balanced budget amendment is so important and should be supported by both parties. Requiring a balanced budget does not suggest it must be reached through spending cuts or tax increases. It simply forces Congress to do it's job and make deals to balance the budget. It would provide the political cover to Congress to make the hard decisions required to balance the budget. Right now there are no consequences. If they make the tough decisions they lose their jobs. If they don't, they keep their jobs and decades down the road the crisis is someone else's to deal with. It's time to change that reward system. The crisis is coming. This is not a warning like Y2K...a big scare that was nothing. This is real. Several European nations have faced debt crisis - it's not pleasant for the government and it's even worse for the people. We are headed in that direction, and moving faster and faster as time goes on. If we act now it will be a mild pain. Every year we wait will significantly increase the pain that has to be felt to fix the problem. If we wait until the crisis hits it will destroy the well-being of hundreds of millions of people for years.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 12:07 p.m.

    The Donald increased the National Debt by a Trillion a year for money to the rich.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 11:56 a.m.

    Economics is a tough discipline, and there are few really good economists, because the subject requires practitioners to keep in mind virtually everything. In dealing with U.S. public debt we must keep in mind who buys it, the vulnerability of the mass of our citizenry to collapse, the distributions of wealth income nationally and globally, among others.

    You have barely scratched the surface.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 11:25 a.m.

    @Redshirt
    Yes, no doubt the tax cuts increased revenues, even when you exclude the one time returns from corporate money being repatriated from over seas. This has historically been the case when tax cuts have been enacted. The issue is spending and governments role within our society. Democrats want government to have a larger role within our society, Republicans less. My argument is no matter what government's role actually is, Democrats have been more responsible in subsidizing it. Republicans strategy has always been to "starve the beast" in hopes the people elect more of them instead of Democrats to reduce spending. That hasn't happened and it never will. If the GOP was serious of reducing debts and spending they would have done it when they were in charge. They didn't and the facts clearly show it.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 4, 2019 11:25 a.m.

    To "dolce et decorum est" I don't think you understand how money works. If the Feds payed off all debts, we would still have money in the US.

  • cpafred Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 11:19 a.m.

    “In April, the CBO’s nonpartisan budget analysts projected that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, factoring in all economic effects, would still add nearly $1.9 trillion to the total deficit between 2018 and 2028. The law would increase the primary deficit by $1.3 trillion and raise debt-service costs by roughly $600 billion, CBO said.”
    (Source:Fact Check).

  • David Centerville, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 11:14 a.m.

    Regarding Obama's fiscal management--he commissioned Simpson-Bowles but ignored their recommendations outright.

    Obama gave us the largest social program in decades, adding Trillions to the budget over coming decades.

    Obama submitted budgets to Congress that were jokes...even Democrats voted against Obama's budgets.

    And during Obama's years, Democrats in the Senate never passed a single budget. One aspect of Reid's legacy was to never pass a budget that would reveal Democrats true agenda.

    Lastly, Obama never balanced a budget during his tenure. He reduced deficits, but that was also because Republicans forced some form of fiscal restraint. Were Republicans acting as fiscal stewards? Were Republicans serious about fiscal policy.

    Absolutely not. We now know that Republicans talk about fiscal restraint, but only to win office. Once in office they spend like a Democrat.

    This is why neither party can be trusted with a pen and a checkbook. Otherwise they would seriously address social spending and entitlement reforms. Have Democrats embraced entitlement reform? Once they do then you can claim Democrats are fiscally responsible.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 11:10 a.m.

    Unrepentant--You speak as if Democrats are fiscally responsible.

    Clinton enjoyed budget surpluses but Congressional Republicans had as much impact upon those surpluses as Clinton. Gingrich and Republicans gave us a Contract with America that called for social entitlement reforms and fiscal restraint. After a major victory during mid-term elections, Republicans forced Clinton to move to the political center and accept conservative ideas and a more conservative governing position. Lost was the effort towards nationalized healthcare. Clinton triangulated to win re-election, and what that triangulation looked like was adopting a conservative, moderate political position.

    Additionally, the dotcom stock bubble lead to great wealth...for a time until the bubble burst. The increases in bottom lines lead to increased Treasury revenue. The bubble burst and lead to the recession that Bush inherited.

    So credit Congressional Republicans for the budget surpluses. Would Clinton have realized those surpluses with just tax increases? Not likely.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:56 a.m.

    @Redshirt1701 – “According to the CBO and the WSJ the tax cuts have paid for themselves in new tax revenues.”

    The CBO did not say that, but an ideological supply-sider (Stephen Moore) writing an opinion piece in the WSJ did – so you’re half right (but 100% wrong).

    Current estimates by nonpartisans analysts (at CBO and others) show the corporate tax cut costing the government ~$600B in revenue while contributing to ~$200B in economic growth. Translation – growth has only paid for ~1/3rd of the tax cuts.

    Further, the CBO estimates the total tax cuts will increase GDP ~0.7% per year between 2018 and 2028, and that is not nearly enough growth to pay for the tax cuts.

    The fact is revenue is actually down from what CBO projected prior to the tax cuts.

    PS – in the future, go to the source for your data and not the spin doctors.

  • dolce et decorum est , 00
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:45 a.m.

    @DN Subscriber

    “This . . . should be on the front page, every day until we are debt free.”

    Just like in the game of Monopoly, where the bank has to give everyone $200 to get the game going, the federal government must spend money into existence for us to have any money in our economic system. When it spends this money, the federal government incurrs debt to the private sector. This is how balance sheets work. Hence, if there were no more federal debt, there would be no more money supply.

    On those rare occasions where the government has run a surplus instead of a deficit, it is taking more money out of the private sector than it is putting into circulation. This is why, without exception, every government surplus is followed by an economic downturn—think the dot-com bubble after the Clinton surplus.

    The sovereign creator of a fiat currency is not in the same as an ordinary household, business, or even state or local government and analyzing it as such leads to misunderstandings at best and, all too often, terrible policy.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:46 a.m.

    From the piece...

    As Ezra Klein of the Washington Post wrote at the time, “Almost every politician professes to admire it, almost none of them are willing to vote for it, and almost none of its supporters know what’s in it.”

    Thank you Ezra.

    As someone else commented it was/ is/ will continue to be politically expedient for republicans to blame President Obama.

    In spite of trump's tv lawyer rudy g's encomium that their is no such thing as truth the truth is that the republican majority has made a cynical decision to continue spending at will. The same republican crowd who screamed for 8 years that spending was out of control.

    As far as Ezra's last point is concerned...

    I took his challenge to find out what Simpson-Bowles was all about.

    It took about 2 minutes to find a laundry list of sites devoted to the subject of Simpson-Bowles.

    I chose the Tax Foundation appraisal.

    Realizing the right-wing leaning of the Foundation, nevertheless I read the entire opinion.

    I would recommend other intellectually curious DN readers to do a similar search.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:47 a.m.

    From the piece...

    As Ezra Klein of the Washington Post wrote at the time, “Almost every politician professes to admire it, almost none of them are willing to vote for it, and almost none of its supporters know what’s in it.”

    Thank you Ezra.

    As someone else commented it was/ is/ will continue to be politically expedient for republicans to blame President Obama.

    In spite of trump's tv lawyer rudy g's encomium that their is no such thing as truth the truth is that the republican majority has made a cynical decision to continue spending at will. The same republican crowd who screamed for 8 years that spending was out of control.

    As far as Ezra's last point is concerned...

    I took his challenge to find out what Simpson-Bowles was all about.

    It took about 2 minutes to find a laundry list of sites devoted to the subject of Simpson-Bowles.

    I chose the Tax Foundation appraisal.

    Realizing the right-wing leaning of the Foundation, nevertheless I read the entire opinion.

    I would recommend other intellectually curious DN readers to do a similar search.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:21 a.m.

    The irony of the arguments by so-called Trump conservatives matches the 'blame both parties' argument. There is no equivalence.

    In a GOP presidency, we don't have balanced budgets, nor any realistically forecasted. We have had now 3 Republican Presidents who have governed in the 'good times', years when we ought to pay off our debts. These 3 administrations failed to do so, ran up the credit card even more and one notable Republican President reigned over the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yet Republicans carry on about fiscal rectitude. Bah!

    The last 2 Democrats in office have a different record. One of them might have given us the balanced budget we required (with a not so gentle nudge from the GOP controlled Congress admittedly) had not his successor gone on a spending spree with tax cuts and a misguided war. The other was given an economy in the absolute dumps, which recovered reasonably well with reduced deficits along the way. He handed his successor the opportunity to use good times to pay off our debt. Opportunity lost.

    The Democrat and the Republican administrations are not the same and intimations otherwise fail the sniff test.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 4, 2019 10:01 a.m.

    To "Tyler D " but the tax cuts didn't cause the deficit. According to the CBO and the WSJ the tax cuts have paid for themselves in new tax revenues. The groups that watch Federal Spending have noted that spending in all categories in the Government is up.

    So, tell us, what is the point on the Lauffer curve where taxes hurt the economy? The most recent tax cuts would indicate that we were beyond that point since the tax cuts were able to pay for themselves in new revenue.

    To "FT" politicians have voted for PayGo ideas before, but will they actually live by it. You also have the problem that many budgetary items have automatic increases from year to year, are they going to get rid of those too? You see Washington just plays games with us in hopes that we don't really pay attention to their games.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 9:49 a.m.

    Simpson-Bowles was authorized during the Obama years. Their committee proposed a combination of steps to reach a balanced budget and get a handle on our federal spending and debt. Measures such as tax increases and reduced spending across the board (military, social, etc). This is likely still the best way to approach this topic. If Republicans think reduction of social programs is the only option, and if Democrats think more taxation is the only option, nothing will ever happen. We need a balanced approach that involves everything--moderate increased taxes, moderate reduction in across the board spending. It will likely hurt, and we will need brave politicians who will do the right thing.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 9:47 a.m.

    House Dems voted for paygo, but it was a tactical play to consolidate power with Pelosi. She must approve any bills that add to the deficit. This is to reign in extremist bills such as free healthcare for all, or free housing, free college and other such programs that are favorites of socialist dems. Pelosi is trying to keep the party more moderate heading into the presidential election. Will Dems reverse paygo if they win the WH in 2020? Likely.

    I do however find it extremely frustrating that Republicans, the so-called fiscally responsible party, has been totally irresponsible with spending. I am very frustrated with conservative and Republican voters that are giving Trump and Congressional Republicans a pass with the tax cuts and spending that added $1.2 T to the federal debt in 2018. At one point a military leader during Obama's presidency stated that federal debt is the biggest threat to our nations defense. It won't be long before the biggest expenditure in the budget is interest payments for the federal debt. This will effect defense spending, social security, medicaid, and other social programs.

    Both parties are running us into bondage.

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 9:15 a.m.

    I have a simple idea that none of the government people can quite figure out. How about if the government spent the same amount, or less, than the amount taken in? That's how I live and I do quite well and I'm never in debt.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 9:04 a.m.

    On their first day in power the Democrats voted to the principles of Paygo. This means any new expenditures need to be funded, without increased debt. It's amazing the self proclaimed Republican party would never agree to such principles when they ran all branches of government. Both parties are guilty of excessive spending but the Democrats have proven to be more responsible when it comes to deficit spending. Even Obama held firm that the ACA must not add to the deficit. The GOP ignored all that with their irresponsible tax cut bill that added trillions to our national debt at a time when we our prospering economically.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 9:02 a.m.

    This is an important editorial which should be on the front page, every day until we are debt free.

    "Sometimes, real enemies foreign and domestic are not the kind that readily come to mind. However, they are just as threatening to national security as a foreign army or terrorists.
    Simpson-Bowles was not perfect, but it was a great starting point for a discussion. Unfortunately, few in Washington today seem interested in that conversation."

    Sadly, politics today is about power of incumbency and winning reelection. Voters, especially the vast majority who pay no attention at all to news, and know nothing about economics or history, do not respond to thoughtful pieces like this. Or to charts and graphs, or predictions that their children are already enslaved to pay for past spending. These voters respond to "Santa Claus" showing up with gifts with no thought as to how they were (or must eventually be) paid for.

    The thought of killing "Santa Claus" is political suicide and politicians won't even discuss that.

    In reality, our country is doomed to collapse from our unsustainable and unrepayable debt.
    Debt interest costs are more than Defense now.

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 8:50 a.m.

    "Inasmuch as all money is debt, there is no private wealth without public debt"

    Please keep bringing this point back as this discussion moves forward. The simple I can't run my household like this argument is infuriating.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 8:48 a.m.

    But we really like jets that cost $100000000 each and that we will never use.

    Our biggest problems are caused by ego driven people seeking a career as a politician and our ridiculous 'campaign finance' system that is legalized bribery. Nothing will change without term limits and ridding our system of the influence money that corrupts everything that our government does. So...never is when we will get better representation.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Jan. 4, 2019 8:14 a.m.

    Here’s the Republican playbook in a nutshell:

    When in power, cut taxes. All other things being equal, this will reduce revenue going to fund government.

    [Now for those of you who think cutting taxes raises revenues, go back and look at the Laffer Curve. Even staunch conservative Arthur Laffer showed that cutting taxes below a certain point will reduce revenue. And we’re way below that level on the curve.]

    In the meantime, ignore the deficit or run propaganda stories about how deficits don’t matter or that cutting taxes always raises revenues (a scam you can now see through after educating yourself on the Laffer Curve).

    When the other side takes power, start screaming bloody murder about debt and deficits and propose draconian cuts to government to fix it. Notice that Republicans NEVER acknowledge the cause of the deficit (their own tax cuts) let alone propose raising taxes to correct the problem.

    It’s amazing that something like half the country continues to fall for this scam.

  • dulce et decorum est , 00
    Jan. 4, 2019 7:12 a.m.

    To think about the debt of a sovereign government like one would about household debt is misguided, because the government issues its own currency. Modern Monetary Theory has a lot to say that is helpful in understanding this distinction. I am not so worried about the deficit, especially where inflation is not currently an issue. Inasmuch as all money is debt, there is no private wealth without public debt. My concern is that we are incurring our debt to funnel ever more and more money to the very top of the economic pecking order instead of to support socially essential and beneficial investments.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Jan. 4, 2019 6:11 a.m.

    Blaming Obama is convenient. That was years ago.

    Where is the financial rectitude in the GOP these days? How is it a tax cut was not paid for with corresponding spending cuts last year?