Cutting Through The Crap

Friday, August 5, 2011

Debt

[Click image to enlarge.]

Never hurts to be reminded.

A guy who sends me the occasional email, and who I've generally thought reasonably smart about the economy, recently wrote that the debt is so huge there's no way to solve it. All the gold in Fort Knox, he said among other things, would barely make a dent.

But that's not relevant, seems to me. The point is that if we were to achieve a balanced budget -- you know, like Clinton did -- we'd pay off the debt eventually. If you owe $500K on your house, but can't scrape together the cash to pay it off all at once, it doesn't mean it's impossible to pay it off. All you need to do is keep making payments and avoid taking out second and third mortgages.

In the case of the US, it's not quite that simple, of course, because obligations will continue to increase (mostly because of old guys like me -- although I don't plan to partake of Medicare. I have my own solution to illness). Which is why everyone but teabaggRs and a few Democrats know that long-term balance will have to include cuts that change the slope of rising costs of entitlements and defense, and will have to include revenue unless we really do want to remove all hope of future survival. To achieve balance with cuts alone -- and not even Paul Ryan's draconian plan gets near balance -- would mean the end of education, environmental protection, infrastructure, and, most social programs. About that there's really no argument.

The mathematics of balance are simple; it's because of the politics that solution seems impossible, especially as long as teabaggRs have the corner on stupidity and the rest of the Rs have abandoned all pretense of respecting the rules of democracy.

It's a fair assumption that voters, too steeped in selfishness and willfully stupefied by the RW scream machine, won't give the Senate back to Democrats in numbers to defeat filibuster; and won't return the House majority to them. I look forward (in the way one looks forward to disease and torment) to seeing if Democrats, when they become minorities in both houses, will resort to the destructive tactics the Rs have used. And, of course, to the screams from Rs if they do.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"My own solution to illness"??
Yeah, right, thats what my late Grandfather Drackman used to say...
No "Breathing Machines" for him, when the Grim Reaper showed up at the door, he had a double barrell 12 gage loaded and ready to beat old Grimmy to the punch..
Then he got the Alzheimers (Granddad, not the Reaper) and got not only a breathing tube, but an eating tube, pissing tube, shitting tube, and if he'd still had a prostrate, probably a prostrate tube..
And when he finally kicked the bucket, I found out his shotgun was missing a firing pin, damn thang wouldnt even shoot, just like Granddad's thang.
And he had a Living Will, and Advanced Directive, doesn't matter if Grandma leaves it in the drawer under the lawnmower warranty...
And I don't get it, if the Com-Promise was so horrible howcome Gabby Gifford voted for it???? Hmmm?Is SHE a Tea-Bag-R(How DO you do that?)
Or Your, I mean Our Nappy Haid-ed President? He's the one who signed it BTW...
But hey at least the Market's finally doin better...

Frank

Tom P said...

Sadly, prudent public policy will always take a back seat to political expediency-in this instance (again?) I see the result as more about the 2012 elections and protecting/advancing the political futures of the leaders in both parties than anything else.

We simply can not do more things for more people and spend less money-so the question is where does the money come from? And like the question "is the glass half full or half empty?" It depends if you are pouring or drinking. Those that pay taxes (pouring) say "that is enough", those that don't (drinking) say "I'm still thirsty"

My take-We should all prepare for a Medi-Care means test, a rise in the age for eligibility for both Medi-Care and Social Security and reduced benefits from each. Expect access to care to be reduced as physicians (rightly so) opt out of providing care for less than the cost of care

Sid, not sure I like your own solution to illness but I am sure I do not care for Franks comments about the President-while I am not a fan comments like that are inappropriate. On a postive note, Frank did make any mention of women/chicks/sweet things or estrogen related shortcomings

Sid Schwab said...

We agree on much, Tom P. I've said many times that appropriate cuts in Medicare and Social Security must be done, as well as in defense. Means testing the former two, for sure. The "effectiveness research" part of the ACA is, no matter how the RWS™ characterize it, absolutely necessary, as are other hard end-of-life choices.

I enjoy paying taxes as much as I enjoy an abscessed tooth (not that I've had one.) But I understand the need; and I recognize that the current rates are historically low, and that the rates during the Clinton era didn't seem to hurt growth; and that if the Bush cuts would have created jobs, they'd have created them by now. The opposite, as we know, is observably true, and yet teabaggRs still insist otherwise going forward (if "forward" is a word that applies.)

And the main thing I worry about is that continued spending cuts with no revenue increases will lead to further layoffs by states (teachers!!), and no money to pay for the most basic needs we have as a country -- the things I've listed over and over. Roads, bridges, education, research, power plants of whatever flavor. College education. Any decent education, for that matter.

It simply doesn't add up, teabagger posturing notwithstanding.