U.S. Debt Reaches $22,000,000,000,000

We have previously discussed the soaring debt in the country as both Democrats and Republicans plunge this nation into shocking debt levels. This week we passed another milestone in our debt surpassing $22 trillion for the first time in history. That is a jump of $30 million in just the last month alone. In the meantime, members of Congress and the White House continue to demand more massive levels of spending.

Our debt is rising to a record level and at a faster rate. Yet, there is no response from the public as our leaders send us down the road of destructive debt that will saddle the country for decades.

The combination of spending and the $1.5 trillion tax cut has resulted in adding a trillion dollars in the last 11 months.

We now have an utter lack of responsibility and leadership. Both parties are satisfied that their respective bases simply care more about partisan fights than budgetary policies. It is dangerous not simply because we are selling off the future of our children but that there is little concern over this new record level of debt in terms of its damage to our economy or even any threat to political interests.

183 thoughts on “U.S. Debt Reaches $22,000,000,000,000”

  1. By the bones of St. Ronnie of Reagan could this number be right? St. Ronnie and Dubya and the one with the big brain, the stable genius, the one who can fix it alone, the one who would eliminate debt in his term of the President told us that tax cuts and trickle down economics would pay for itself. Well it has been not so, there’s only one thing we can do. We must cut back on those people that have two jobs and washing machines, and refrigerators and so help me a telephone. Cut their SSI, Medicare and those damn school lunches and let them pay the debt. There are people out there that have to send their kids to shabby private schools and have to wait and fly last years private jets models. Enough is enough, corporations are having to scrape by having their corporate headquarters move from island to island. Their kids have to wait until they are at least 12 to start collecting their trust funds. We should start a GoFund page to help these poor souls out so they can at least have a vacation that’s not on this side of the world with the riff raft that have to work for food.

        1. There’s no truth in anything he wrote, merely emotional spew. The difference is lost on you and on him.

          1. Some humor and some truth are paired, together to make a joke. While I get you lack humor and truth in your world, others might not feel that way. Please don’t read my posts if it gets your panties in a bunch.

  2. First of all in real dollars before BOTH parties left wing factions, RINO and DINO contributed to the devaluations (30% during the Obama Eight Years alone) the figures are meaningless unless placed against a real and accurate standard. Never rmind using 1909 as a gauge try using 1965.

    Secondly I don’t give two hoots nor one holler about GDP unless we get an honest picture starting with the follow on to GDP which is NDP. Half truths and 30% off truths are not truths at all just as using Mulligans as as the 5% gimmee on unemployed subtraction not the 10% off the top subtraction instituted by Clinton the First.

    Third calling going into debt to the point of bankruptcy such as 2008 and then claiming a miracle recovery is as bogus as the trickery used to put us in that position. It’s not a recession when the reasons for it are out and out theft of a RICO variety.

    The simple and exact proof of that is the COLA measure ment which went from well below two percent to a one point zero two after the ‘miracle’ resulted in stagflation. Worse what it could be called is an attack on the elderly and retirees. Heavy borrowing,led to inflation led to devaluation with the group least able to recover paying the bill as the COLA’s phony market basket did not count the heavy inflation then devaluation.

    It would be true but far to simplistic to blame the biggest Barney Francks and Dodd, plenty of RINOs joined in caving to the left on command. Same with ethanol scam which led to another 30% in the price of food as it affected not only human grain products but animal feed – leading to the ‘sick’ cutesy remark in answer to how it would affect the foreign aid program “We’ll just up the amount in the budget by 700 billion or so.”

    All to produce a product that destroyed engines but had only one use and that was buying votes in the grain belt at the expense of rest of the country. and the world.

    I’ll close with the phony balanced budget by asking whose budget. The Clinton White House, the CBO or the OMB budgets? Of the three only the last one was eventually accurate. and to bring it back to the first para did any of them factor in the inflation, devaluation of the dollar?

    Only Grandpa and Grandma who saw their carefully saved retirement funds blow up in their face.
    .

  3. U.S. Debt Reaches $22,000,000,000,000

    Dear future generations of American citizens thank you for allowing those of us living in your past and in the current present – we who are wholly incapable of living within our means – to squander your potential for tomorrow today.

  4. TOM & ABSURD WERE DISCUSSING “THE GREATEST GENERATION”

    The so-called “Greatest Generation” was that demographic group born between 1915-1930 (World War I through the 1920’s). They endured the Great Depression and fought in World War II.

    That generation developed a shared sense of responsibility. It was ‘their’ country and they were all in it together. That mindset dominated American thought until the 1980’s when The Greatest Generation began retiring.

    Begining in the 1980’s, a new mentality developed. “Greed Is Good” was actually a line from the movie “Wall Street”. But it came to embody a new way of thinking that developed in the 80’s.

    No longer did Americans feel a shared sense of responsibility. Instead a deliberately selfish view came into vogue. “I got mine, you get yours”, best summarized this mindset. President Reagan unwittingly pandered to this mentality.

    Reagan’s 1980 stump speeches kept hitting certain notes that dominate Republican thought to this day. “Business knows better than government”. “Government is the problem and ‘not’ the solution”. “Local government knows best”. Republicans embraced these slogans as a gospel that continues to drive all their policies.

    From an objective reality, these slogans are a negative, self-defeating gospel.

    In ‘Business knows best’ and ‘Government is the problem’, we have a lopsided sense of cynicism. It presumes that government is inherently lazy and out of touch. Yet this same mentality takes an optimistic view of business. Like ‘businessmen care about people’ and have ‘real solutions to offer’. ..Nonsense..!

    In reality, business cares only about quarterly profits. ‘Their’ quarterly profits! Hence the saying, “Greed is good”. Therefore if business is driven by greed, one can’t logically say, “business knows better than government”. When the Great Recession hit we learned how irresponsible business can be.

    It was during the 1980’s that Republicans developed the idea that tax cuts were a sustainable, all-purpose policy. This evolved from their “starve the beast” mentality. The idea being that since “government is the problem”, it must be constantly checked through endless tax cuts. Like endless tax cuts are mathematically sustainable.

    Since the 1980’s, Republicans have championed tax cuts regardless of conditions. Levels of government debt seem to have no bearing. Tax cuts are always proposed as a cure-all solution. Even in the best of times, tax cuts are pushed. Last year’s Republican tax cuts were signed by Donald Trump with no consideration for government debt.

    Historically economic expansions were used to ‘pay-down’ government debt. But Republicans simply threw that idea in the trash and cut taxes anyway. Which leaves us with less slack for cutting taxes when the next recession hits.

    Greed is only good for those cashing in on the moment.

    1. “Last year’s Republican tax cuts were signed by Donald Trump with no consideration for government debt.”

      The number one concern of government is to protect the nation and its borders from those wishing to cause harm from the outside and the inside. That is the primary reason the 13 colonies joined together.

      As we have seen, our military was in bad shape and our enemies were pushing us leading to an existential threat which would eventually mean war. Trump’s first concern was the situation of our military and was correct in that assessment for without a strong military the odds of war climb. Thus the first expenditure even without any other budget considerations had to be military spending. That should have been done outside of negotiations for a budget but Democrats used America’s military weakness to continue spending and increasing the deficit.

      1. As we have seen, our military was in bad shape and our enemies were pushing us leading to an existential threat which would eventually mean war.

        ???

        1. DSS, I don’t know what you don’t understand. A weak US is more likely to lead to war than a small US. I am talking about a major war. Our military was in bad shape. We had to canabalize our own ships in order to get adequate force off of North Korea early in this administration and many of our planes were not fit.

          This does not mean that a strong military should be used to fight all over the world. That can be a misuse of the military and we are seeing that Trump wishes to withdraw military (a debateable issue) so a strong military to him was hard power. The debt is horrid and dangerous as well, but the economy under Trump despite the debt has been excellent. Hopefully, Trump will now work to reduce the debt, but I don’t see that happening to any great extent until after the 2020 elections’ when hopefully Republicans will be in control and the spending type of Republicans will be reduced in number.

            1. I didn’t mention a pre-emptive strike by a foreign power. However the Russians ( a relatively weak power with nuclear weapons) were pushing into Ukraine and the Middle East. In the Middle East we have a set up for a nuclear war should Iran get the bomb and a method of delivering them. In the China Sea we note the Chinese movement of expansion. None of these necessarily mean war with a strong America, but with a weak America all these movements by all the powers could be exaggerated and that can lead to conflict and an ever widening war.

              Take note of WW2 and Hanson’s column’s regarding a show of strength. Better yet get his book on WW2.

              1. I agree except:

                a) Iran is not a big threat, just talk. They could have had a bomb if they wanted one. They could just buy some from the Russians or Pakistanis perhaps. They maintain a strong conventional presence in the region that makes Israel uneasy, which is why they maintain a constant diplomatic harangue against them. But one can understand how and why they are strong with their allies in Syria and Hizb’allah in Lebanon. Seems to me however they are a lot less crazy than the kind of jihaadist mercenaries our “saudi allies” have turned loose hither and yon. THe world would NOT be a safe place if the Iranian regime collapsed like Qadaffi’s did. Ditto that Assad.

                b) the Russians have been in Ukraine for… centuries. And they always had the port in Sebastopol. That they covertly armed and organized rebels east of the Dneiper was a pretty modest response to the US and EU meddlers collapsing the Yanukovich regime through organized chaos.

                And in the middle east & they have been a force for stability especially in Syria, port of Tartus. amidst the jihaadist created chaos.

                We should not wish for Russia to suffer too much or get weaker or collapse. China is already getting mighty cooperative with them and weaker Russia is the less they can resist that. Strategic cooperation with Russia is key to long term global stability it seems to me.

                Behind these other things and in its own right, China is a huge issue. Huge. The trade war is not just good for workers it is a major supply chain reorientation given the unsustainable reliance on the for manufacturing of critical gear like video motherboards just as a good example

                https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies

                Will Xi Jinpeng continue to consolidate power like the paranoid old Mao, sending the country deeper back into communistic totalitarian misery, or will he resume a more stable and balanced trajectory such as his predecessors wisely did, bringing much needed prosperity to the long suffering Chinese people, and less meddling and intimidation to their neighbors?

                If he goes the crazy old Mao way, a big hot war could result that would be very bad for China and bad for America too.

                Pray for Donald Trump to make a good negotiation in the trade disputes, that shows the Chicom head that America is not dead yet, still has a backbone, but that our economic rivalry can be managed to mutual benefit and need not deepen into worser problems.

                1. We should not wish for Russia to suffer too much or get weaker or collapse.

                  What are you babbling about? Russia isn’t suffering or getting weaker, absolutely or relatively.

                  1. Not babbling but you like to start off a point of discussion with an insult I notice. Did anybody ever tell you that is not an effective rhetorical technique? But I know that you like to imitate George Will with the haughty remarks and so forth.

                    Anyhow to the point. Russia got plenty weaker when the Yanukovich government collapsed.

                    You call that butt hurt. Look at it from their perspective and it’s a serious issue. There’s been one annexation of former allies to another into NATO since the collapse of East Germany. That has been a form of expansionism over a couple decades or three, that any serious country would not take wisely even if it had brought its own expectations more into line with reality.

                    Take a look at the map. Pretty obvious it’s gotten weaker isnt it?

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlargement_of_NATO

                    1. Russia got plenty weaker when the Yanukovich government collapsed.

                      They didn’t get weaker at all from that. The Russian economy was ailing from 2013-16 because of unfavorable movements in the terms of trade. Countries whose export trade is dominated by a single commodity suffer recessions of that nature. The country didn’t lose any population. Their military equipment didn’t evaporate. They weren’t suffering from intramural disorders. What it cost them was a trade deal. Trade deals are always of very modest significance.

                      There’s been one annexation of former allies to another into NATO since the collapse of East Germany. That has been a form of expansionism over a couple decades or three, that any serious country would not take wisely even if it

                      The term ‘expansionism’ doesn’t mean what you fancy it means. Also, ‘ally’ is a synonym of ‘satrapy’ only when you’re being arch. The number of American billets in Europe saw it’s post-war peak more than 50 years ago and is now down to 62,000. The largest contingent in any quondam Warsaw Pact country would be the 700 men stationed in Roumania. A serious country might notice that.

                    2. its true that they suffered from declining oil revenues

                      it’s also obvious that when Russia’s contiguous and important neighbor lost a pro Russian president in a coup that replaced him with an anti Russian government, yes, Russia got weaker.

                      That is, unless, “weaker” doesn’t mean what I fancy that it means! Maybe you can explain how that actually was a neutral. I can see you tried but I am not convinced.

                    3. lost a pro Russian president in a coup that replaced him with an anti Russian government, yes, Russia got weaker.

                      There was no coup.

                2. b) the Russians have been in Ukraine for… centuries. And they always had the port in Sebastopol. That they covertly armed and organized rebels east of the Dneiper was a pretty modest response to the US and EU meddlers collapsing the Yanukovich regime through organized chaos.

                  Yanukovich resigned and left the country because the military and security forces wouldn’t take orders from him anymore and his own caucus in the legislature had abandoned him.

                  It wasn’t a ‘modest response’ to anything. They’ve been financing the harassment of the Ukraine for five years because they’re butt-hurt over the loss of a round in the country’s political disputes. The net effect of their activities has been to ruin the internal position of the Russophile strand of thought in Ukrainian politics. Parties congenial to Russia are good for maybe a quarter of the ballots nowadays, and that part of the public favoring a merger with Russia is now down to about 4% of the Ukrainian public.

                  1. The Ukrainians do have a real national identity apart from Russia. And a sovereign state thanks to the generous and largely symbolic decision of Khrushchev, and the later collapse of the USSR. So while I recognize their valid ethnicity and national status, to the extent they have a state, it’s because they are lucky, mostly.

                    They do not and does not need to be at odds with Russia. They want to resist perceived Russian bullying and persuasion and so forth. They are entitled to their opinion. But they are not entitled to drag the US into their schemes nor should the US war mongers take the opportunity or do so more than they have already.

                    There has been much clever Western persuasion in many forms aimed at Ukraine during th post soviet years. The result a precipitous result in the collapse of the Yanokovich regime that “I was babbling about.”

                    The Russian reply to resist this east of the Dnieper was modest and measured. And now, the US should resist the urge to act belligerently in the Black Sea. Very foolish temptation. The coordinated rhetoric in the publications that service these topics obviously recommends it but that is unwise.

                    Just the opinion of a humble nobody in flyover, of course.

                  2. Absurd,…
                    Yanukovych was about 4 years into the 5 year term of his 2010 election as president when the “protests” really gained steam in late 2013 and into 2014.
                    Watching the anti-Yanukovych protests on a variety of networks, I saw some of the violent clashes between police and those protesters.
                    When they stormed and seized key government bulidings, the stand-off intensified and there were attempted negotiations, including an offer by Yanukovych to resign months earlier rather than serve out the entire remaining part of his elected term.
                    The boxer Klitsco, a leading opponent of Yanukovych, was involved in those negotiations and attempted to keep the violence in check.
                    He was physically attacked by elements of the anti-Yanukovych “demonstraters” for his efforts.
                    You are correct that Yanukovych ultimately lost control of the military and the police.
                    The unwillingness of those forces to either put down or contain the “demonstraters” put him in actual danger, and he fled Kiev and ultimately to Russia.
                    The Parliament THEN voted him out for “failure to perform his duties”; however, it was difficult for him to perform those duties when he was fleeing from a mob that had already overtaken key government buildings.
                    There were other options, other means of pushing Yanukovych out. The way it was done may have produced satisfactory results for the U.S. and Western Europe by displacing a pro-Russian elected President, but it enraged Putin.
                    Putin may have encouraged and aided the subsequent regional revolt in Eastern Ukraine in any case, but the uprising that forced out Yanukovych gave Putin some additional cover and incentive to support a pro-Russian, “counter-uprising” regionally within the Ukraine.
                    I haven’t closely followed the recent mass protests against Yanukovych’s successor. They do not appear to be reaching the fever pitch of the 2014 revolt, but seem to indicate serious and perhaps dangerous divisions even in Kiev and Western Ukraine.
                    Removing Yanukovych, especially in that manner, does not seem to gave fufilled inflated expectations that an orderly and fairly united Ukraine would follow Yanukovych’s removal.
                    I still think it was a major mistake for his opponents to force him out in the way that they did, when there were better options available for a change of government.
                    Maybe “coup” isn’t a technically correct description of the way they booted Yanukovych, but IMO his ouster was “managed” very badly by his opposition

                    1. You’re complaint is, in context, rather twee. There were no breaches in institutional continuity and everything was resolved according to constitutional procedure and electoral contests.

                      In the intervening years, Russia seized one Ukrainian province and supplied an insurrection in two others, in effect seizing the country’s second largest city.

                3. “Iran is not a big threat, just talk.”

                  Iran may not be a big threat to us but they are to the area and will be a nuclear threat. If the area starts to burn we have a high likelihood of becomming involved. There is also an EMP threat from nations with nuclear weapons and space technology.

                  Where do you think a lot of their expertise comes from? One also requires a delivery system.

                  I think you are uninformed about that area of the world.

                  “. But one can understand how and why they are strong with their allies in Syria and Hizb’allah in Lebanon. ”

                  Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and Iran is their supplier of money and rockets. They supply Hamas as well. Iran continues to be the largest funder of state terrorism.

                  Saudis have never been our friends but today they are sought of allies. Maybe they can be pushed to change maybe not but I think the former has a reasonable chance.

                  The government of Iran is going to collapse. The question is when.

                4. I think your understanding of Ukraine , Russia and the Crimea is poor. That Russia has had intermittant control is true. It isn’t a good thing when our leadership permits an enemy to occupy areas that were independent because the US acted weak. I am not saying that Ukraine should have been part of NATO. Buffers are needed but demographics tell us that Russia itself is weak and getting weaker especially with the amount of oil the US has and other countries have found. When the wall fell we should have done more to ally with Russia and its people if only because they have nuclear weapons and similar threats to our own.

                  I can’t deal with China at this time but IMO they are the major threat that has had its power increased by the stupidity of prior administrations including what I consider Bill Clinton’s betrayal to US interests when he dealt with them.

                  1. Russia’s total fertility rate (1.75 children per woman per lifetime) is only slightly lower than ours (1.80) and, unlike ours, has seen considerable improvement in the last 20 years.

                    Russia is neither weak nor getting weaker. It has the world’s 6th largest productive base and it has the most handsomely supplied military bar the United States and China. Unlike Germany and Japan (who are more affluent), it’s not hopelessly shy about smiting its adversaries.

                    Since 2000, the least dynamic economy among the majors has been Japan. Comparative growth rates in nominal per capita product (PPP) over the years running from 2000 to 2017 have been as follows:

                    Japan x
                    United States: 1.0267x
                    France: 1.038x
                    Britain: 1.046x
                    Brazil: 1.132x
                    Germany: 1.293x
                    Indonesia: 2.055x
                    India: 2.662x
                    Russia: 2.763x
                    China: 3.654x

                    Russia is currently a high-end middle income country. It’s a reasonable wager they’ll enter the ranks of the world’s affluent countries within the next decade.

                    1. “Russia is neither weak nor getting weaker. ”

                      We disagree. Except for nuclear weapons Russia is relatively weak. It’s population fell though recently there has been a slight increase but their fertility rate is below sustainability, the workforce is plagued with alcoholism and they survive off of their natural wealth especially oil whose price is plagued with greater production elsewhere. Reductions in the price of oil cause great pain in Russia’s economy.

                    2. Life expectancy at birth in Russia is somewhat depressed compared to occidental countries. It’s about what it was in the United States in the dark days of … 1973.

                      Again, their fertility problems are no worse than ours and less severe than Germany’s or Japan’s. Nearly all affluent countries are suffering from fertility deficits. The only exceptions are Israel and France.

                      Their export sector is dominated by fuel and minerals, not their economy as a whole. Fuel and mineral exports over the last 10 years have accounted for about 18% of nominal GDP in a typical year and total natural resource rents have accounted for 13-14% of nominal GDP. NB, 20 years ago natural resource rents accounted for about 1/3 of their nominal GDP.

                    3. DSS, your comparison of numbers do not reflect the strength of a nation. The US is strong with its population and has a tremendous GDP with an extensive industrial base and relatively high productivity. Our fertility rate has been enhanced by immigration leading to citizenship of mostly of good and productive people.

                      Russia is very much dependent on oil revenue and those revenues are under question in great part due to American oil production which has made America oil independent. A large portion of Russia’s revenues are used to fund their military and much of the rest go to the oligarchs with only small amounts reaching the Russian citizen. Alcoholism is rampant and the lifespan has fallen considerably over time. Productivity is low.

                      There is no way to rationally compare the Russian economy in a positive sense to the US.

                    4. DSS, your comparison of numbers do not reflect the strength of a nation.

                      Yes, they do Allen. It’s just that the data contradict your thesis and you’re being an ass about it.

                    5. “Yes, they do Allen. It’s just that the data contradict your thesis and you’re being an ass about it.”

                      DSS, I guess with all those metrics you have used (totally incomplete to a point of being farcical) you believe that Russa is of similar strength to the US and will follow the same upward growth the US is showing. I’m not being an ass in providing my opinion but your proof is asnine.

                  2. I can’t deal with China at this time but IMO they are the major threat that has had its power increased by the stupidity of prior administrations including what I consider Bill Clinton’s betrayal to US interests when he dealt with them.

                    China’s rapid economic development has been a function of their own acumen, not anything the Clinton Administration did do or did not do.

                    1. We disagree again. When we permit our intellectual property to be stolen we cause our value to fall and their value to rise.

                      “China’s rapid economic development has been a function of their own acumen,”

                      There is no question regarding their acumen, but they would not be where they are today but for theft of western intellectual property.

                    2. Allan, have you ever tried to quantify the contribution of technology thefts on economic development?

                    3. “thefts on economic development?”

                      DSS, your question was very generalized. I hope you don’t believe that a good deal of Chinese economic and military developmentover the past decades has not been based on theft.

                    4. function of their acumen yes. they have a lot going for them as a nation and a people and an economy.

                      but decades of failure to address industrial espionage by them has made the rise so much easier

                      i would blame that more on private business than government failures but it’s a sure thing the government has failed to sufficiently respond sufficiently as well

                      quantifying the effects of their trade secret, patent theft and so forth, what i call industrial espionage, is an interesting question. you ask it of him but its a good question. i hear a lot of people saying China does a lot of industrial espionagre and I believe them. Maybe you can answer your own question, but
                      here is a paper from 14 i found addressing the question a little.

                      https://create.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CREATe.org-PwC-Trade-Secret-Theft-FINAL-Feb-2014_01.pdf

                      let us know what you think the impact is?

                    5. DSS, your question was very generalized. I hope you don’t believe that a good deal of Chinese economic and military developmentover the past decades has not been based on theft.

                      Your evasion is noted.

                    6. DSS, your question was: “Allan, have you ever tried to quantify the contribution of technology thefts on economic development?”

                      I responded: “DSS, your question was very generalized.”

                      To which you now say: “Your evasion is noted.”

                      Your question is extremely generalized. We are talking about China not other nations and no other nation has stolen as much technological intellectual property along with many industrial and military secrets as China. My question wasn’t evasive. Your question was just throwing a poorly worded question into the air and hoping it would land right side up. The question wasn’t even relevant. Now that you have to consider my second statement “I hope you don’t believe that a good deal of Chinese economic and military development over the past decades has not been based on theft.” you probably realize that your question was a bad response, or you do not recognize the amount of Chinese theft, or you wanted to shift the argument by attacking or any one of many other possibilities all to justify your argument that is plain wrong.

                    7. My question was a precise challenge to you. You keep saying this is important. How important is it? That’s the question you won’t answer.

                    8. “My question was a precise challenge to you. You keep saying this is important. How important is it? That’s the question you won’t answer.”

                      I don’t think I have missed any questions though it is near impossible to know with all the generalizations in your questions. Even in this present response you use too many pronouns, this, it and you haven’t corrected yourself so that one can know the exact question you are asking. I already told you ” We are talking about China not other nations and no other nation has stolen as much technological intellectual property along with many industrial and military secrets as China. ” so the generalized question is near meaningless.

                      Perhaps you wish to reword the entire question without pronouns using the appropriate quotes recognizing that it is highly doubtful that anyone on this list has done an indepth study of any country’s theft and the impact on its economy. I don’t even think I used the word “important” and no longer have a certain reference to the comment(s) in question.

                      The closest I can come to what I think you are disputing is: “There is no question regarding their acumen, but they would not be where they are today but for theft of western intellectual property.” The they in this quote is the Chinese.

                  3. Now you’re trying to put words in my mouth. What part of the descriptive phrase ‘high-end middle-income country’ don’t you understand?

                    Allan, you said:

                    Russia itself is weak and getting weaker especially with the amount of oil the US has and other countries have found.

                    Which isn’t true. There is no component of this statement which is true. Russia has had a remarkable recovery over the last 20 years encompassing production and real income, military equipment, fertility levels, and public health. Is it the best place in Europe to live? No it is not. It’s really not that difficult to understand the distinction between present-tense standards of living and rates of improvement, but for effect you’re pretending you don’t get it.

                    And there’s nothing remarkable about American growth rates. Japan, Britain, France, and the United States have had similar rates of growth in per capita product since 2000. Countries nearest the technological frontier tend to have modest rates of growth.

                    1. ” What part of the descriptive phrase ‘high-end middle-income country’ don’t you understand?”

                      DSS, I didn’t address the phrase above. The comments being made to Kurtz had to do with Russia’s standing and abilities both in war and peace. The discussion revolved around Ukraine, the Crimea and areas of the Middle East. I stand by my statement that Russia is inherently weak and getting weaker.

                      Over the past 20 years much of the world has grown in certain ways and most recently Russia has grown along with the world in some ways but overall has been unable to radically change its economy which is necessary for a strong military in the future (outside of nuclear weapons pending a Star Wars type of solution). Where does it get its foreign cash from? The vast majority from oil (and its mineral wealth and timber). Will its oil prices go up or down? With the amount of oil produced by the US likely it will fall in a relative manner. Who does it sell its oil to? It uses its pipelines. But the US has a lot of natural gas that can be liquified and shipped abroad to these same places so its soft power to threaten its western neighbors becomes markedly reduced and prices can be constrained.

                      It is true that Russia recovered somewhat from the worst of times but that growth from a devatated economy doesn’t make it strong. We have had variably high and low prices in the oil market that created both good and bad times but the extended great times of oil for Russia I beleive are gone.

                      2008 wasn’t just bad for America, but they were bad times for Russia with low oil prices and stagnation. It’s more recent upsurge lags many other nations so I think you are looking at the bounces in the upward direction and no tlooking at where Russia is actually heading. In the domestic front I think the workers wages have fallen over the past couple of years and the number of people in poverty have increased. Some believe the numbers in the middle class are much lower (maybe half) than what has been reported.

                      The Russian Ruble has had trouble in the world markets and that is not a good sign. It’s difficult to look over short time periods but unless Russia can change its economy radically I believe my preditions will hold. Each time it extends its military it is burning up capital necessary for the economy.

                      A few data points standing alone in a vast forest are meaningless and sometimes prevent people from seeing the forest through the trees.

                    2. for my part i was just saying the collapse of the Yanukovich government left it strategically weaker.

                      weakness and strength in such conversations are always relative statements about some factor, defined or not.

                      Our conversation partner is somewhat prickly and likes to nitpick for fun, obviously. I understood what you said, and I understand the difference in opinions that we have. I welcome a friendly conversation!

                      Now i saw something today that relates to a different aspect of the conversation, the mass media regularly parrots anti-Russian viewpoints.

                      The anti-Russian rhetorical habit informs the anti-Assad habit. For example

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlXhRBsOwpA

                      here someone dissects coverage of morning joe attacking tulsi gabbard for rejecting a wider war in syria. the interlocutor observes that the US has assisted groups in the “Syrian resistance” against Assad…. that are basically terrorists.

                      These people are all one stripe of liberal- leftist or another but the Morning Joe crew has a certain habit of repeating belligerent anti Russian talking points. I enjoyed watching Jimmy Dore dissect them.

      2. Alan, then it appears that the tax cut was inappropriate. We didn’t need it because military readiness should have taken priority.

        1. Peter,you are very bi-polar in more than one sense of the word. We could spend on the military while reducing the debt and changing the tax law. Now with a better economy and a stronger military we can work on the debt, but that will not happen with the Democrats in power. Just look at the Dems new powerhouse, O’Crazyo and her New Green Deal and how the Democrats are fighting to show who can be more leftist which means spending more and more damage to the economy along with who cares about working families.

          1. AOC is gift from heaven. Not because she is cute. But because the Green Deal thingee is total insanity. She wants to rebuild every building in America? Total, abject, nuttiness.

            AOC FOR DEMOCRATIC PARTY CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT!
            anybody could win against her.

            PS NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION. AWAITING DEMOCRAT APOLOGIES…

          2. Alan, the economy was already soaring when Trump signed that tax bill. There was no excuse to load more debt on debt. No excuse at all! If anything we should have raised taxes then.

            What’s more, public opinion polls show that Trump’s tax cut was a loser politically. That’s why Republicans didn’t even use it during last fall’s midterm election season.

            Furthermore, new polls reveal that even ‘Republicans’ think the rich should pay more in taxes. They should! No logical argument can be made for cutting taxes on the wealthiest.

            1. “Alan, the economy was already soaring when Trump signed that tax bill. There was no excuse to load more debt on debt. No excuse at all! If anything we should have raised taxes then.”

              The corporate tax cuts were necessary for our economy and our workers. I wasn’t that concerned with the personal tax cut and if the Democrats weren’t involved I think the entire bill would have been different and better.

            2. By the way Peter, the name is Allan with two L’s. I don’t care how you spell it but I noticed others posting with a similar name and the double L and 2 A’s might avoid confusion.

    2. “Greatest Generation” was young when largest relative size increase of debt, FDR, and then when they got younger and were in charge, was also the one that initially ballooned the national debt to finance the Vietnam war under LBJ

      https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

      The tradeoff of course, was the destruction of greater Germany as a competitor to the Anglosphere. Which left the US at the top and able to finance things to unimaginable proportions, from which we all benefit.

      Probably it will never be repaid. I would not say probaby defaulted however; it may just roll forwards for quite some time.

      Give it 100 years and a global currency regime will probably ensue that replaces it. If civilization endures.

      1. I meant to say the tradeoff for FDR’s debt expansion was defeat of Germany as economic competitor. The payoff for LBJ’s debt expansion was everything since.

        The gold standard was destroyed by the Vietnam war. Economist MIchael Hudson was a witness and has written the best on the topic. I am not a gold bug and neither is he. But understand it limited the growth of debt.

        Here is an interesting article about it

        https://michael-hudson.com/2017/11/germanys-choice/

        Introduction to GERMAN edition of Super Imperialism, 2017.
        In theory, the global financial system is supposed to help every country gain. Mainstream teaching of international finance, trade and “foreign aid” (defined simply as any government credit) depicts an almost utopian system uplifting all countries, not stripping their assets and imposing austerity. The reality since World War I is that the United States has taken the lead in shaping the international financial system to promote gains for its own bankers, farm exporters, its oil and gas sector, and buyers of foreign resources – and most of all, to collect on debts owed to it.

        Each time this global system has broken down over the past century, the major destabilizing force has been American over-reach and the drive by its bankers and bondholders for short-term gains. The dollar-centered financial system is leaving more industrial as well as Third World countries debt-strapped. Its three institutional pillars – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization – have imposed monetary, fiscal and financial dependency, most recently by the post-Soviet Baltics, Greece and the rest of southern Europe. The resulting strains are now reaching the point where they are breaking apart the arrangements put in place after World War II.
        The most destructive fiction of international finance is that all debts can be paid, and indeed should be paid, even when this tears economies apart by forcing them into austerity – to save bondholders, not labor and industry. Yet European countries, and especially Germany, have shied from pressing for a more balanced global economy that would foster growth for all countries and avoid the current economic slowdown and debt deflation.

        Imposing austerity on Germany after World War I
        After World War I the U.S. Government deviated from what had been traditional European policy – forgiving military support costs among the victors. U.S. officials demanded payment for the arms shipped to its Allies in the years before America entered the Great War in 1917. The Allies turned to Germany for reparations to pay these debts. Headed by John Maynard Keynes, British diplomats sought to clean their hands of responsibility for the consequences by promising that all the money they received from Germany would simply be forwarded to the U.S. Treasury.

        The sums were so unpayably high that Germany was driven into austerity and collapse. The nation suffered hyperinflation as the Reichsbank printed marks to throw onto the foreign exchange market. The currency declined, import prices soared, raising domestic prices as well. The debt deflation was much like that of Third World debtors a generation ago, and today’s southern European PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain).

        In a pretense that the reparations and Inter-Ally debt tangle could be made solvent, a triangular flow of payments was facilitated by a convoluted U.S. easy-money policy. American investors sought high returns by buying German local bonds; German municipalities turned over the dollars they received to the Reichsbank for domestic currency; and the Reichsbank used this foreign exchange to pay reparations to Britain and other Allies, enabling these countries to pay the United States what it demanded.

        But solutions based on attempts to keep debts of such magnitude in place by lending debtors the money to pay can only be temporary. The U.S. Federal Reserve sustained this triangular flow by holding down U.S. interest rates. This made it attractive for American investors to buy German municipal bonds and other high-yielding debts. It also deterred Wall Street from drawing funds away from Britain, which would have driven its economy deeper into austerity after the General Strike of 1926. But domestically, low U.S. interest rates and easy credit spurred a real estate bubble, followed by a stock market bubble that burst in 1929. The triangular flow of payments broke down in 1931, leaving a legacy of debt deflation burdening the U.S. and European economies. The Great Depression lasted until outbreak of World War II in 1939.

        Planning for the postwar period took shape as the war neared its end. U.S. diplomats had learned an important lesson. This time there would be no arms debts or reparations. The global financial system would be stabilized – on the basis of gold, and on creditor-oriented rules. By the end of the 1940s the Untied States held some 75 percent of the world’s monetary gold stock. That established the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, freely convertible into gold at the 1933 parity of $35 an ounce.
        It also implied that once again, as in the 1920s, European balance-of-payments deficits would have to be financed mainly by the United States. Recycling of official government credit was to be filtered via the IMF and World Bank, in which U.S. diplomats alone had veto power to reject policies they found not to be in their national interest. International financial “stability” thus became a global control mechanism – to maintain creditor-oriented rules centered in the United States.

        To obtain gold or dollars as backing for their own domestic monetary systems, other countries had to follow the trade and investment rules laid down by the United States. These rules called for relinquishing control over capital movements or restrictions on foreign takeovers of natural resources and the public domain as well as local industry and banking systems.

        By 1950 the dollar-based global economic system had become increasingly untenable. Gold continued flowing to the United States, strengthening the dollar – until the Korean War reversed matters. From 1951 through 1971 the United States ran a deepening balance-of-payments deficit, which stemmed entirely from overseas military spending. (Private-sector trade and investment was steadily in balance.)

        U.S. Treasury debt replaces the gold exchange standard
        The foreign military spending that helped return American gold to Europe became a flood as the Vietnam War spread across Asia after 1962. The Treasury kept the dollar’s exchange rate stable by selling gold via the London Gold Pool at $35 an ounce. Finally, in August 1971, President Nixon stopped the drain by closing the Gold Pool and halting gold convertibility of the dollar.

        There was no plan for what would happen next. Most observers viewed cutting the dollar’s link to gold as a defeat for the United States. It certainly ended the postwar financial order as designed in 1944. But what happened next was just the reverse of a defeat. No longer able to buy gold after 1971 (without inciting strong U.S. disapproval), central banks found only one asset in which to hold their balance-of-payments surpluses: U.S. Treasury debt. These securities no longer were “as good as gold.” The United States issued them at will to finance soaring domestic budget deficits.

        By shifting from gold to the dollars thrown off by the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit, the foundation of global monetary reserves came to be dominated by the U.S. military spending that continued to flood foreign central banks with surplus dollars. America’s balance-of-payments deficit thus supplied the dollars that financed its domestic budget deficits and bank credit creation – via foreign central banks recycling U.S. foreign spending back to the U.S. Treasury.

        In effect, foreign countries have been taxed without representation over how their loans to the U.S. Government are employed. European central banks were not yet prepared to create their own sovereign wealth funds to invest their dollar inflows in foreign stocks or direct ownership of businesses. They simply used their trade and payments surpluses to finance the U.S. budget deficit. This enabled the Treasury to cut domestic tax rates, above all on the highest income brackets.

        U.S. monetary imperialism confronted European and Asian central banks with a dilemma that remains today: If they do not turn around and buy dollar assets, their currencies will rise against the dollar. Buying U.S. Treasury securities is the only practical way to stabilize their exchange rates – and in so doing, to prevent their exports from rising in dollar terms and being priced out of dollar-area markets.

        The system may have developed without foresight, but quickly became deliberate. My book Super Imperialism sold best in the Washington DC area, and I was given a large contract through the Hudson Institute to explain to the Defense Department exactly how this extractive financial system worked. I was brought to the White House to explain it, and U.S. geostrategists used my book as a how-to-do-it manual (not my original intention).

        Attention soon focused on the oil-exporting countries. After the U.S. quadrupled its grain export prices shortly after the 1971 gold suspension, the oil-exporting countries quadrupled their oil prices. I was informed at a White House meeting that U.S. diplomats had let Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries know that they could charge as much as they wanted for their oil, but that the United States would treat it as an act of war not to keep their oil proceeds in U.S. dollar assets.

        This was the point at which the international financial system became explicitly extractive. But it took until 2009, for the first attempt to withdraw from this system to occur. A conference was convened at Yekaterinburg, Russia, by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The alliance comprised Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kirghizstan and Uzbekistan, with observer status for Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia. U.S. officials asked to attend as observers, but their request was rejected.

        The U.S. response has been to extend the new Cold War into the financial sector, rewriting the rules of international finance to benefit the United States and its satellites – and to deter countries from seeking to break free from America’s financial free ride.

        The IMF changes its rules to isolate Russia and China
        Aiming to isolate Russia and China, the Obama Administration’s confrontational diplomacy has drawn the Bretton Woods institutions more tightly under US/NATO control. In so doing, it is disrupting the linkages put in place after World War II…….

        1. “I meant to say the tradeoff for FDR’s debt expansion was defeat of Germany as economic competitor.”

          Kurtz, true to a small extent but it had more to with the fact that Europe had to be rebuilt.

          1. No debt, no victory in WWII. No victory in WWII, no need for Europe to be rebuilt. Victory in WWI and II equalled defeat of Germany as a Continental power and reduction of them to a quasi autonomous part of American translatlantic postwar system.

            1. Mr. Kurtz,..
              The Marshall Plan and the reconstruction of Japan were not totally altruistic investments/ policies on the part of the U.S.
              The were largely implemented as a check against post-war Soviet expansionism.
              The Soviet ambitions were not limited to Eastern Europe, and there were Comminist Parties and Communist movements in Western Europe.
              In addition to the humanitarian reasons, the U.S. had strategic interests in rebuilding Germany and Japan
              and Western Europe.

            2. we are in a nice place now, in part because we deliberately squashed Germany with two wars. Now maybe their belligerence brought the heat down on them but the outcome of our present day ability to finance this enormous debt is directly related to victory in World Wars I and II.

              Germans are doing fine today, a nice place too, with the exception of being invaded by foreigners, which is pretty much their own fault for allowing, in the same sense it’s our fault for allowing it here too.

              I am mindful that the big wars on germany are justified often in the same breath with language that demonizes nationalism as a political force. yet, It is not necessarily an awful thing for a country to have a certain amount of healthy nationalism. Germans have lacked it and their country has an overabundance of non-European foreigners to manage now, in part as a direct consequence of their failures in World Wars I and II and the rhetorical angle that has been taken their in the interim.

              a failure to maintain proper boundaries with other people and other nations can be a creeping slow problem at first and then explode into crises unexpectedly. that is the not nice place that both Germans and Americans should be concerned about before letting in more millions.

              1. “we are in a nice place now, in part because we deliberately squashed Germany with two wars. ”

                A very odd statement that is intrinsically wrong. One can say alot of things about those two wars but you can’t act as if Germany was innocent. They rearmed and attacked their neighbors with tremendous desires to expand.

                I am not quite sure how you think the US caused Germany to cross over their border into other nations sovereign territory so I will leave it to you to explain that fact.

                1. Good point. between December 1934 and December 1938, Germany had without firing a shot acquired territory which more than made up for their continental losses in 1918 and 1919 and for some portion of the productive capacity of the overseas dependencies they’d lost on the battlefield as well. Also, every piece of Germanophone territory in Europe contiguous with Germany had been acquired bar Alsace-Lorraine, the Swiss cantons, and some small bits of Tyrol and East Prussia. Neither Alsace-Lorraine or the Swiss cantons had much of a pan-German population, so you really couldn’t integrate them well. The bits of Tyrol were held by Germany’s Italian ally; one bit of Prussia was a de facto dependency of Germany and the other was seized without incident in March 1939. Hitler went to war anyway, because he actually subscribed to that rubbish about lebensraum and what not.

        2. The gold standard was destroyed by the Vietnam war. Economist MIchael Hudson was a witness and has written the best on the topic. I am not a gold bug and neither is he. But understand it limited the growth of debt.

          No, the classical gold standard was discontinued in 1933. The Nixon administration elected during the period to discontinue the Bretton Woods system during the period running from 1971 to 1973. The VietNam War had little to do with it. The challenges of macroeconomic policy in a regime of fixed exchange rates were too much for the political system. In any case, neither gold nor fixed rates are necessary for salutary policy in an economy such as ours (the standard model has it that fixed rates are proper for small open economies).

          It really is unnecessary for you to post text walls you don’t understand. The word-salad meister who produced it is a fringe thinker.

          1. Wrong on both counts smart azz Spas. Point one:

            Gold standard used as money, specie, ended in 33. Gold standard in the postwar Bretton woods system officially ended in 1973 as a consequence of an earlier crisis in the system that arose due to the Vietnam war debt.

            https://www.richmondfed.org/faqs/gold_silver

            Is U.S. currency still backed by gold?
            No, when the United States stopped selling gold to foreign official holders of dollars at the rate of $35 an ounce in 1971, it brought the gold exchange standard to an end. In 1973, the United States officially ended its adherence to the gold standard. Many other industrialized nations also switched from a system of fixed exchange rates to a system of floating rates. In August 1974, President Ford repealed the prohibition on the public’s owning gold or engaging in gold transactions. Today, no country bans private ownership of gold.

            1. an earlier crisis in the system that arose due to the Vietnam war debt.

              Had nothing to do with any war debts and we weren’t piling up much debt in re VietNam. It was a response to anxieties over the balance-of-payments.

              Again, Bretton Woods was not a classical gold standard as changes in competitivelness between countries were not subject to adjustment through gold flows and reciprocal inflation and deflation. The fixed exchange rates were stated in terms of the price of gold and countries maintained gold stores. Adjustment was to be achieved by defending or altering your exchange rate.

          2. I understand them well. Your arrogance shows its ugly face again in the insult.

            And Michael Hudson is not a fringe thinker. That you think so it reflects your own ignorance. Or, maybe you know who he is, and somehow he is a competitor of yours? You do show a facility with bean counting and stats.

            In spite of that strength, or, perhaps typical of those who are bean counters, you have a certain personality weakness. It’s called being a jerk. I try and ignore that since i agree with you most of the time but I have to let you know, today, since you are so grossly in error.

            So, is he some kind of competitor of yours? Is that what triggered your pique?

            1. And Michael Hudson is not a fringe thinker.

              He’s the economics department’s Howard Zinn. He produces oodles of topical commentary, filling whole monographs with it. He places a paper in an economics journal about once every four years, and they’re discussion papers. An actual theoretical model or empirical study among his papers is quite unusual. (I did locate one published in 1968). Paul and Unz love cranks.

              1. So what? You’re talking like some university admin. Go publish more!

                That he produces a wide range of commentary on topics is not necessarily a bad thing, if the commentary is wise.

                1. No, I’m actually talking like a librarian who sorts literature into categories. I’m also talking like a sometime student of economics and geography.

                1. No I don’t. He’s fundamentally producer of what was called the ‘Revisionist’ line on the Cold War, much more in tune with the Institute for Policy Studies than with any economics faculty.

                  1. I see merit in the revisionist line on the cold war. But I am not a progressive. I don’t know much at all about the IPS.

          1. No, he’s peddling fringe discourse. Now it’s the monetary system. Tomorrow, the Kennedy assassination.

            1. That’s right I am not advocating return to gold standard.

              Now Spas, here’s the bio of your fringe discourser. Seems pretty respectable to me but then again I am just a nobody from flyover. Not a hotshot bean counter with fancy Beltway insights like Spaz.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hudson_(economist)

              Here’s three things he prolly doesn’t like about Michael Hudson

              1) he is on RT sometimes. Spas has a neoconish dislike of Russia.
              2) peace advocates like him. Spas dislikes peace advocates. Thinks we should spend more on the military apparently from today’s discussion.
              3) various right wingers like Michael Hudson even though he is something of a leftist in the political sense. right wingers that Spas dislikes. Ron Paul, Unz, etc.

              1. No, Kurtz. ‘Respectable’ economists publish in economics journals. They publish theoretical models and empirical studies. They’re grounded in prevailing theories when they’re buttressing them and when they’re critiquing them. They write like economists, not like contributors to The Nation.

                He’s an old guy and entered the academy when the job market was quite soft. He’s also a graphomaniac. Zinn wrote a great many books too. However, over a period of 50 years, he published only about 3 works of original history making use of primary sources. Fundamentally, he wasn’t much of a historian. The same applies in the case of this fellow Hudson.

            2. Yes you have shown your gullibility before in accepting the incredible Warren commission report. We need not reprise that topic. Although some people think it has a certain nexus to Vietnam. I don’t know if I buy that. But I sure don’t buy the “Lee Harvey Oswald lone nut” fantasy.

              1. Why not try some inductive reasoning? Try an inventory of what has to be true for Oswald to be anything other than guilty as hell.

                1. he may have been guilty but he was not a solo actor. that is the issue.

                  you dismissed the HSCA conclusion that there were other actors already so i take it you are of the belief that he was a lone actor. I do not accept that. yes there was a broader based conspiracy. that is what abundant credible information suggests. a wider conspiracy does not mean that LHO did not take a shot at JFK. Sure he did. But there were other players too. Who took other shots. Who and why. Information has come to light and I don’t need to justify my conclusions. It is not cranky in the least. Blakey himself is no crank and he said the CIA lied to him. I have pointed this out before. The HSCA was flawed not in its conclusion that others were involved but because it did not go far enough. Because Blakey took them at their word which was an error. That is not what Commie Mark Lane said about Blakey, he called it a whitewash. I do not call it a whitewash but I say it was flawed in the respect in which Blakey has said and admitted in retrospect that it was flawed, ie, in that he did not subpoena the CIA and took their statements at face value. And we now know from other sources the CIA lied and had connections to persons of interest in the investigation that it concealed.

                  Now you can dismiss me as a crank or whatever I am not craving your approval. But if you’re trying to impeach me because I think LHO was not the only actor, that’s your own gullibility showing through.

                  1. he may have been guilty but he was not a solo actor. that is the issue.

                    Guy didn’t play well with others in any venue. No stretch to believe he acted alone.

                    you dismissed the HSCA conclusion that there were other actors already

                    That ‘conclusion’ was based on the notion that there was a second gunman demonstrable through acoustical evidence. The acoustical argument has been discredited by three distinct sets of arguments and was weak enough that laymen picked up some of the problems with it, so I’m not seeing why the Select Committee’s conclusion carries any weight.

          2. the dollar has supplanted gold as a medium of international exchange. our massive debt which was the subject of this essay would not have arisen were we still operating under any facsimile of the gold standard. a lot of spoils systems that hold social order in place in the US would not have grown to their current levels either. some people think that means the welfare state and some think the warfare state. those things exist in whatever degree but a lot of other social rackets do too. almost everything inefficient about America today was made possible in some way by the victory in WWII and what came after right up through going off the gold standard, eventually.

            gold bugs are often crazies would like to see that all end quickly. they think that what came after would be better. as if bringing back specie would bring back mom and apple pie. no, first off all, if you die in the process, it’s not better.
            And the process could spin out of control fast. A dramatic collapse in the international financial order, could lead to riots in American big cities, interruption in food shipments, then ethnic-tribal bloodshed, maybe or maybe not growing into a bigger sort of civil war, not like the one we had in the 19th century, but more like Yugoslavia. All that could happen in 30-90 days with a big enough financial shock.

            Americans generally do not understand at all what goes into that sort of thing. not unless they have travelled a lot whether that means for fun or work like in the military. Of course a lot of migrants come here and understand it quite well. Which is why they came here in the first place. Many people who have traveled can hardly believe that the US hasn’t collapsed yet once they have seen how things work elsewhere outside “the West.” And yes it is hard for me too to understand how the US can sustain the level of social diversity and conflict that we have without disintegrating. But then there are the aforementioned spoils systems which sustain it. Without those, the SHTF. Without the ability of the US federal government to keep on financing big debt, spoils systems will collapse and yes the SHTF. That is why the conversation matters.

            Definitely most white people here don’t get it. The coffee house Democrat crowd in the big cities does not understand it, and the average suburbanite does not either. Gold bugs don’t get it either. That is the only cranky thing I would have to say about the Ron Paul crowd. They do not appreciate the misery that some of their policies would invite down upon their own heads. No a return to gold standard is close to unimaginable and would probably never happen without a major disaster in the first place and then would be followed by more disasters and what came after would probably make this all seem like a really pleasant memory.

            What would be better is what is happening already. A leadership direction from an American president that goes away from military belligerence and foreign adventures, refocuses on economic development and fair trade, and domestic stability. And allows other countries in the world to more guide their own destinies, and quite trying to make them do this or that. Enough forced internationalization. A sort of devolution from globalism. That is a good thing. If it happens, that is, and if it does not happen too fast. And there is no default on US debt in the process.

            one thing that is heartening, and that is the states remain independent sovereign entities that can and do continue to operate if the federal shuts down. so long as the federal government does not collapse or evaporate the states can handle 99% of real social governmental functions. The key thing the federal government does is help provide the muscle behind the money system. That means the power to maintain borders and a facsimile of law and order, and the power to tax, and take and break things, and systematically and effectively kill its rivals both abroad… and here at home. So a sufficient military budget is necessary and so are old fashioned barbaric relics like “Walls” if not the barbaric relic called gold.

            1. the dollar has supplanted gold as a medium of international exchange. our massive debt which was the subject of this essay would not have arisen were we still operating under any facsimile of the gold standard.

              Again, deficits have been financed through the bond market, not through printing money.

              Japan’s debt to GDP ratio is quite a bit higher than ours, even though the Yen isn’t nearly as salient as an international reserve currency.

        3. U.S. Treasury debt replaces the gold exchange standard
          The foreign military spending that helped return American gold to Europe became a flood as the Vietnam War spread across Asia after 1962.

          Again, Kurtz, this man quantified nothing. If he did, it would demonstrate his sub-arguments are nonsense. Military billets abroad have since 1945 varied between 13% and 30% of total military manpower. The ratio of American military expenditure to domestic product declined almost without interruption from 1953 to 1978, with just a modest increase from 1964 to 1966. The country was, relatively speaking, demobilizing during those years. It was simply that the decline in the relative dimensions of the military sector was less pronounced than it might have been otherwise and resources available to the military were reapportioned between theatres. Military service was less common among those born during the years running from 1939 through 1954 than it had been for those cohorts born during the years running from 1930 through 1938. The notion that there was some big money puke of significance to any country outside of Indo-China is tommyrot.

          1. Don’t fly off the handle like a jerk and then pretend you can have a nice chat.

            Anyhow you’re often talking about military spend and sizes relative to history. The important question is not relative to the time when there was conscription and then after. Which you probably know is reflected in the example you just gave.

            The important question for military spending is what is genuinely necessary. You don’t address that in your rote repetitions about billets and so forth. Keep on talking about the trees and forget the forest is that approach.

      2. The deficits incurred during the period running from 1961 to 1969 were unnecessary, but they were modest in their dimensions in comparison to those incurred between 1969 and 1999. Again, Lyndon Johnson’s last budget was balanced.

        1. LBJ set the country firmly on a course to expensive social equality schemes. I don’t know if those are what have taken up a lot of the spending but I suspect so. I do not have easy access to information about growth in federal spending by category. I do not doubt that the war effort expensive as it was was dwarfed by later social spending. If that is what happened. Some things can be cheap to start but hard to maintain.

          I am thinking of various social schemes that are difficult and expensive to maintain that have been slouching forwards for decades here. I would grant that military spending is often more constructive than other types of spending. That does not mean that it is necessary, or that it might not be wasteful too.

          The military itself is also not just a military here but a big social engineering project. It’s an entangled participant in various social schemes, moreover, such as the racial equality of results experiment, and the “everyone can go to college” experiment, both of which are founded on dubious beliefs about humanity. Now it also is a battleground for such craziness as whether castrati can call themselves girls or not, and tote a gun, and vice versa.

  5. Doesn’t anyone remember that at the end of the Clinton administration, George W. Bush inherited an economy and a tax schedule that was generating a surplus, not increasing the debt?

    1. The ratio of federal debt to domestic product began to decline at a discrete point in time: 1995. What happened that year? Well, the Democratic Party lost control of the committee structure in both houses of Congress.

      1. Tabby, you’re forgetting that the late Bush Sr raised taxes. And Bill Clinton raised them a little more. Those tax hikes, the end of the Cold War and the Hi-Tech Revolution, put us on the road to surplus.

        But Bush Jr. mindlessly cut taxes before embarking on war. The first president to ever do that! We’ve been on the road to soaring debt ever since.

        1. So why didn’t your Black Baby Jesus Obama fix it? He had 8 years to do so, but only made it way, way worse.

            1. Except all the policy tools to resolve the banking crisis were in place when BO took office and production levels began to recover in May 2009, well before any effect of the stimulus could have been felt.

              Recall BO sabotaged Bowles-Simpson. He didn’t give a rip.

              1. Tabby, “Production levels began to recover in May, 2009”..?

                The economy’s free-fall finally hit rock bottom at about that point. Which was good! We needed to establish a bottom. But unemployment continued rising for the rest of that year. The economy didn’t recover all recession losses until about 2013.

                1. It didn’t hit any ‘rock bottom’. The rate at which goods and services were being produced declined by 5% over the period of about a year. That’s an unusually severe recession, but nothing more. Monetary policy and the portfolio of responses to the banking crisis proved sufficient. All of these were in place before Obama took office. He himself hardly knew what was going on.

                  1. Tabby, the economy was in a free-fall from September of 2008 until May of 2009; about 6 whole months. That was a long, scary drop. And as I said, unemployment continued up for the remainder of 2009.

                    I don’t know what you’re asserting here. It seems like you just want to question Obama’s fitness without any specifics. Just a vague, general putdown that presumes everyone agrees with your assessment of Obama.

                    1. Peter, every salient element of the financial sector rescue was in place and operating before BO took office. That included:

                      1. Financing the deficits of the GSEs
                      2. TARP
                      3. The guarantee on bank bonds
                      4. QE
                      5. The Maiden Lane deals
                      6. The special rescues of Bank of America and Citigroup.

                      Now, a number of professionals and scholars were highly critical of the improvisation in which the Fed, the FDIC, and the Treasury was engaging. Charles Calomiris was one among them, maintaining that there was a regular protocol for these sorts of crises that the salient agency chiefs had disregarded. Please note that every single measure listed above was in place before BO took office and he himself made statements which indicated he hadn’t a clue what was going on (“Sweden had, like, five banks”). The most salient officials in the last year of the Bush Administration were the Fed Chairman, the Chairman of the FDIC, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Three of these five officials continued in office after Obama was inaugurated.

                      What the Democratic Party added was the porkulus bill and the auto industry rescue, both of which were scandalous.

            2. FishWings, in the minds of Republicans, The Great Recession was an elusive and fluid event. It began 4 months before Obama took office yet the blame falls entirely on Obama. And despite the Great Recession, Obama should have balanced the budget and paid-down the debt.

              Still, The Great Recession supposedly continued until the day Trump took office. At that point the economy took off like a jet. Yet for reasons entirely unclear, Trump can’t pay-down the debt . And it’s grossly impolite to suggest that he should.

              1. It began 4 months before Obama took office yet the blame falls entirely on Obama. And despite the Great Recession, Obama should have balanced the budget and paid-down the debt.

                You don’t listen to Allen very carefully. Thesis is this:

                1. Obama hadn’t a clue how to negotiate with anyone. He was aloof from his own caucus, much less the political opposition. Jimmy Carter was as well, but Carter has technical know-how and a tincture of personal integrity that Obama lacked. (Carter was the last president with a real allergy to public sector borrowing). This was on top of the routine problem you have with the Congressional Democratic caucus, their predictible reneging on every agreement.

                2. Obama gave priority to building a policy monument to himself rather than resolving the financial sector’s problems. Trouble is, he’s a third-rate lawyer who doesn’t know economics and statistics from tiddlywinks, so he and the Democratic caucus (in spite of their fancy policy advice) create an actuarially unsound structure.

                3. The policy response to the financial crisis was, after he took office, corrupted by the Democratic Party’s wish to use the crisis to attend to its patron-client networks. So, you had the stimulus, which was nothing but a compendium of wish-lists and had nothing to do macroeconomic stabilization. You had the series of deals over the auto industry rescue which short-circuited the bankruptcy process and screwed-over secured creditors in favor of the Democratic Party’s UAW clients.

                4. See Casey Mulligan’s critiques. He continually promoted policies which acted to reduce demand for labor and inhibit salutary agreements between employer and employee. Obamacare, extended unemployment benefits, jacking up the minimum wage, &c. were all injurious.

                5. He signed off on Dodd-Frank, which didn’t correct structural flaws in the system. It just put discretionary power in the hands of officials that the Democratic Party can use to build patron-client relations. He who hands out the waivers gets the donation.

                6. The foregoing reduced labor demand and investment by generating regime uncertainty.

                1. In a nutshell.
                  Thanks, absurd.
                  Unfortunately it falls on deaf ears here. No one can speak against their Messiah. It was all Bush’s fault, and now it’s all Trump’s fault. Pay no attention to that 8 year cone of silence in the middle.

        2. No, George Bush did not ‘raise taxes’. Legislative power subsists in Congress, not the presidency. He agreed in 1990 to a tax increase the Democratic caucus preferred and the Democratic caucus enacted an additonal hike in 1993. The ratio of federal debt to domestic product continued to increase during the period running from 1990 to 1995. Not too difficult to craft a hypothesis as to why…

          1. Bush Senior agreed to that tax hike because it was the right thing to do. And the trajectory of the 1990’s shows it was the right thing to do. There’s nothing wrong with tax hikes if they pay-down debt.

            1. Bush Senior agreed to that tax hike because it was the right thing to do.

              It’s only ‘the right thing to do’ if it acts to reduce public sector borrowing. It didn’t do that because the Democratic caucus took the new revenues and spent them on their pet projects. Which is just what Mr. Reagan told Mr. Stockman would happen if he agreed to a tax hike. They couldn’t play Lucy with the bloody football anymore when they lost control of the Congressional committees.

              Clinton, unlike Obama, knew how to make deals with people.

              1. Tabby, the budget was balanced by the end of the 1990’s. That was a major achievement for bi-partisan compromise.

                Yet for some reason you portray it as a squandered opportunity. I’m not sure why that it is.

                It seems like the squandered opportunity came ‘after’ Clinton when G W cuts taxes only to embark on war.

                1. Again, tax rates are adjusted by Congress, not the President. All military operations were also approved by Congress. And the federal deficit was running at 1.2% od GDP in fiscal year 2006-07. It began to explode the moment Nancy Pelosi took the gavel.

                2. Yet for some reason you portray it as a squandered opportunity. I’m not sure why that it is

                  I haven’t portrayed it that way at all. No clue where you get that notion.

                  Clinton was willing to negotiate with the Republicans when the Democrats lost control of Congress. (Influenced in part by Dick Morris). Obama just behaved petulantly and contumaciously. You can see the difference in results.

                  1. You’re right about Clinton being a negotiator. Obama was aloof. But regardless of the president at hand, there are institutions which help bring them to power. I submit the Democratic party as a political institution has eroded badly since Bill Clinton left office, for whatever reasons. Hillary may have been the reason, ironically.

                    Maybe the Republican party has too.

                    Have they both bottomed out? Oh, I don’t think so. Republicans are sorry foot draggers behind Trump’s popular leadership. And Democrats are saboteurs. The American political culture appears to be terminally ill.

                    In a situation like this, temporary gain and advantage becomes everything, and as the time horizon between the present task and the seemingly inevitable critical event shortens, people all will get more and more grasping and expedient. Is this decline possible to arrest? Sure but it will take our own Thermidorian reaction to the social chaos the bad guys have unleashed. And i don’t see that reaction coming together very well, unfortunately, any time soon.

    2. Jay S.,
      About a week before the 2000 Bush-Gore election, a friend and I were discussing the prospects for the next president, Clinton”s successor.
      We agreed on a couple of things; that the election was a toss-up, and that whoever was elected was going to run inio economic problems.
      There were favorable tailwinds that Clinton had coming into office in 1993.
      The end of the Cold War had already started the huge reduction in armed forces and manageable defense budgets.
      The economy was turning around after an average, fairly mild recession; that was too late to benefit Bush 41, because the unemployment numbers remained fairly high, as is common, after the recovery and higher employment lags higher GDP.
      “Timing was everything”, or nearly “everything”, with respect to the economic factors in Nov. 1992.
      Had the the election been held a year earlier, Bush 41, on the heels of a spectacular victory in the first Gulf War, and with an economy still chugging along, would have been in much better shape to win the election.
      As it was, the economy was turning around as Clinton was elected….a clear benefit to an incoming president, but no help to Bush 41 as that recovery was not yet apparent to voters.
      Bush 41 hiked taxes; Clinton initially hiked them more. The Fed’s overtightening in 1990-1991 and the tax hike were two major factors causing the Bush 41 recession, but the recovering GDP, additional tax revenues, the Fed’s loosening monetary policy ( lowering interest rates) all favored the incoming Clinton Administration.
      The S&L crisis/ mess was costly, and that was behind us by the time Clinton was sworn in.
      The Bush Administration tackled and resolved that drag on the economy; that was appropriate, since the Reagan-Bush Aministration helped to cause the S&L crisis.
      Bush 43, by contrast, inherited an economy that was about to slip into recession after a record expansion. He “walked right into” a recesseion that started 2-3 months after he took office, and his policies had nothing to do with that.
      Gore would have faced the same problem.
      On top of a stock market crash that preceeded the early 2001 recession ( the dotcom bust started 8-9 months before Clinton left office, 9-11 dealt anither damaging evonomic blow.
      I’m no excusing subsequent mistakes, like overdoing the tax cuts or launching a discretionary war ( Iraq….Afghanistan was attacked for valid reasons).
      But the fact is that if a president comes into office near the tail end of an expansion and on the verge of a recession, there is little to nothing that he can do to avoid it.
      And when the reverse is true, as with Clinton in 1993, a president is fortunate to get elected as the economy is turning around.

        1. Woosty,..
          I guess you’re referring to your vote in the 1992 election.
          Had Bush 41 won that election, he would have benefited from those same favorable conditions that Clinton had when he was elected.
          Not sure what your reasoning is that Bush 41 “was not capable of saying no to the Golden Fleecing of America”.

  6. >> The combination of spending and the $1.5 trillion tax cut has resulted in adding a trillion dollars in the last 11 months.<<

    False. It is entirely due to spending. The federal government confiscated more money after marginal tax cuts were lowered than it confiscated in the prior fiscal year.

    In the fiscal year ending Sept 30, 2017 – before marginal tax rates were cut – the government confiscated $3.315 TRILLION. After the marginal tax rates were lowered, in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018, the federal government confiscated $3.329 TRILLION from its subjects.

    On an absolute basis (not relative to GDP) that is more money than any government in any galaxy in the history of the universe has ever confiscated from its subjects.
    https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/files/reports-statements/mts/mts0918.pdf

    If the federal government were it's own country, the $3.329 TRILLION it confiscated would be more than the entire GDP of every country in the universe except China, Japan, Germany and the US private sector itself. Of course, that record breaking haul was not enough to make good on the prior promises the 536 people made to get themselves elected. They borrowed an additional $779 BILLION on top of the $3.329 TRILLION they confiscated.

    1. If we just dis-establish and cancel the federal government and all its programs, would you favor that? You know, no national army, navy, air force. No national parks or monuments. No social programs – terminate social security, medicare, etc. No national science foundation, no centers for disease control, no food and drug administration. No federal bureau of investigation. No national court system. No federal highway administration.
      That is, just have state-level government, with all the states just flying in formation next to one another. Would life be better that way? Maybe as a first step, we could return to the Articles of Confederation…..

          1. 1. Powerwash every federal agency and end in each any authority to make grants to corporate bodies, that’s state agencies, state colleges, philanthropies, commercial companies &c. You could let out contracts. Preferably sealed-bid. Also permissible: federal disaster relief and payment in lieu of taxes. Selected programs to be retained noted below.

            2. End also grants to persons with an institutional address. What you might retain would be term-fellowships wherein such a person would be employed by a federal agency and their regular employer indemnified. Have the federal government do its research in-house with its own employees. If university-based researchers want grants, tell ’em to hustle corporations, foundations, and state legislatures.

            3. End all scholarships offered by federal agencies except to (1) federal employees on special training assignment; (2) veterans (or their spouses in lieu of said veteran); (3) the children of itinerant federal employees (e.g. servicemen, Foreign Service &c), if the employee is vested; (4) reservation Indians; (5) residents of the small insular dependencies.

            4. In re federal welfare benefits, you have what might be called ‘broad clientele’ and ‘narrow clientele’. In re ‘broad clientele’, limit benefit programs to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, and SSI. In re ‘narrow clientele’, add the following: federal disaster relief, federal public defender, federal legal aid in civil cases, child protective and foster care (in re reservation Indians and perhaps the small insular dependencies), remote-areas clinics and schools (for reservation Indians &c), postal and transit subsidies (for remote areas), refugee resettlement programs, and the Job Corps.

            5. Elaborate on and repair the Earned-Income-Tax-Credit. As is, the calculations are too complex and it’s also vulnerable to fraud.

            6. As noted, there are some (arguably transitional) exceptions to #1: Medicaid, maintenance of Interstates and U.S. Routes, and unemployment compensation. In re the short-haul Interstates and the U.S. Routes, just define the route and distribute the signage, and (perhaps) place the route under federal trusteeship if the state government keeps failing safety inspections. In re the long-haul Interstates, finance the maintenance through road tolls. The toll revenue would be distributed to dedicated funds in each state on a per-acres-of-macadam basis. Above and beyond this, distribute an unrestricted grant to state and territorial governments (not local governments, bar Indian reservations). You’d have a global budget which would be distributed according to a formula which had population, per capita personal income, and per capita wage rates for non-professional employees as arguments.

            7. Place age-eligibility for Social Security and Medicare on an escalator wherein retirement ages are cohort specific, and gradually phase out early retirement. The object should be to have a fixed ratio of beneficiaries to working adults. Amend the definition, award process, and post-award review process for Social Security Disability and SSI.

            8. Dismantle and sell institutions of credit operated by the federal government, especially the ExIm Bank and the Farm Credit System.

            Some of the implications of this you can see. The Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development could be eliminated completely, with any residue (e.g. the NAEP and the agency which regulates lead paint) distributed to other departments. The budget of the Department of Agriculture could be cut more than 90% as farm subsidies, SNAP, and miscellaneous nutrition programs disappear. The budget of the Department of Transportation could be cut in half. Various components of HHS would be eliminated or see their budget cut in half. The National Science Foundation could be nearly eliminated, as could the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (There are dozens of small stand-alone agencies you could erase in the course of eliminating grant permissions, the NEA and NEH most prominent among them). . You could cut a 10 digit sum out of the Labor Department’s budget by eliminating shizzy job-training programs. Most of the Federal Communication Commission’s budget consists of telecom subsidies which should be discontinued.

            The organization of the executive was not addressed in your question, but there’s lots to be done there. Breaking up the Department of Energy ought to be an object, and re-sorting federal law enforcement functions and agencies as well. Consolidation of stand-alone agencies into a series of departments ought to be a project on the table.

    2. Scott, it’s difficult to tell what case you’re really making here. The fact that you keep using the term “confiscate” leads us to think you’re part of a survivalist group.

      The U.S. is now in the 9th year of an economic expansion. For that reason Treasury revenues may look robust. But the U.S. has a constant stream of Baby Boomers retiring. And they are putting pressures on S.S. and Medicare.

      Demographers knew 40 years ago that we would have a high percentage of retirees at this point. Yet Republicans convinced themselves that tax cuts were a sustainable policy regardless of demographics.

      1. Perfect. First, let’s denigrate Scott as a commenter by implying that he is part of a fringe group. Then, we’ll ignore his clearly stated point that the deficit is not a result of spending plus the tax cuts, because he demonstrated that the Treasury haul was greater AFTER the tax cuts. No one is fooled, Peter H, except for the usual L4Whatever, Natacha, Fishwings, etc. Because they prefer being fooled.

      2. The fact that you keep using the term “confiscate” leads us to think you’re part of a survivalist group.

        Who in the f*** is us? Be specific, because you have to this point had a 100% failure rate at guessing what I think.

      3. Demographers knew 40 years ago that we would have a high percentage of retirees at this point.

        Yes, this has not been a secret for a very long time. So what do people do when they want to retire. If they have any financial sense, they develop a projected budget based on estimated income. They downsize homes, cut expenses, etc. And they keep cutting until they cannot cut anymore. If they are still not there, they will have to consider supplementing their income and/or not retiring.

        So what has the federal government done with that projected retiree figure? Cut spending? Downsized anything substantial? Nope. There has been no sustained effort by any party to reduce federal spending. What has been the Republican approach? Tax cuts. What has been the Democrat approach? Government handouts?

        If the future retiree planned the way our federal government has planned, he would get himself weaponized to shakedown those he didn’t believe needed their own wealth (Peter), he would bribe everyone else with the shakedown funds to support his extortion racket (Paul), and pass on any shortfalls for someone else to worry about.

        A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. George Bernard Shaw

  7. “We now have an utter lack of responsibility and leadership.”
    Now?
    How about 30 years of lower taxes and more spending. This train wreck has been a long time in the making. If history is any example, eventually the wheels will come off and the debt will come due.

  8. There is no reason for this but the gross irresponsibility of the political class. We are ruled by people unworthy of the offices they hold, and most of the voters regard this with cud-chewing indifference.

    Recall what Harry Truman said. On entering the Senate, he says to himself, “I can’t believe I got here”. After six months, he says, “I can’t believer they got here”. But the they in question managed after the armistice in September 1945 to reduce the census of men in uniform by more than 90% and to balance the federal budget, tasks complete by June 1947. They also didn’t panic during the co-incident business recession, which was in certain respects more severe than that which the country suffered in 2008 and 2009. My grandparents contemporaries were the real Greatest Generation. These adults left the room around about 1960.

    1. Absurd,…
      An interesting footnote is that the economists were planning for the rocky transition from a total war economic environment to rapid demobilization, but those plans estimated that the WWII would end in Japan in mid-to-late 1946, perhaps even longer.
      They were thrown by the “early” end of the Pacific War when the atomic bombs were used.
      You are correct about the severity of the economic contraction in first year or so after the war ended; I think GDP was down over 10% in 1946.
      I know people who came of age during the Great Depression who spent the rest of their lives looking over their shoulder for a return of a 1930s-style Depression.
      That mentality made some people risk-averse to a fault. While “the Greatest Generation” got down to business and managed the severe economic downturn at the end of the war, I would guess that some people were panicking with the Depression so fresh in their minds.

  9. The politicians have given life to debt, it’s alive and hungry each day it needs more to grow. It smiles when it hears “more tax, fee healthcare, free college, free housing, free,free,free”. It will ultimately consume its creators.

    1. Yes. The only things the population should collectively pay for, i.e. around a trillion dollars a year, is killing, maiming, and displacing people around the world, bombing cities, embargoing ports, and giving Israel billions of dollars annually. We need to stop paying for anything that helps US residents.

      1. You might occasionally do someone the courtesy of keeping your fantasies to your therapy sessions and your diary.

  10. I voted against every one of my local and national representatives except two – both least worst. I’ve written to my representatives, who, IMO, do not care. The debt will eventually crush us but I’m certain that, somehow, it’ll be my fault. Shrug.

  11. Tar and Feathers

    This is not going to change until the political class in the United States is removed from power. But then again people usually get the politicians they deserve–as long as they are complicit in returning these same fools to office the outcome is predictable.

      1. They’re not that interested in lobbyists. House members are interested in constituent complaints. Senators are interested in donor complaints.

  12. The roll of world police, wars & nation building has a price tag Examples:

    The decline and fall of the British empire

    5 Reasons Why the Roman Empire collapsed

    1. Invasions by Barbarian tribes
    2. Economic troubles and overreliance on slave labor
    3. The rise of the Eastern Empire
    4. Overexpansion and military overspending
    5. Government corruption and political instability

    1. The roll of world police, wars & nation building has a price tag Examples:

      The ratio of military expenditure to domestic product is currently 0.038. Bar one year, it’s as low as it has been at any time since 1940. The share of military billiets allocated to postings abroad has, for 70-odd years, bounced around 20%. (It is currently lower). In relation to the civilian economy, the military of the 1950s was larger than today’s military by a factor of three. Dwight Eisenhower turned in 3 balanced budgets and Lyndon Johnson’s last budget was balanced (in the midst of the VietNam war).

      Both liberals and paulbots despise the military so make inane throwaway comments like yours. They’re talking out of their a**es even when they utter something in good faith.

    1. I. Bob,…
      Over the years, decades really I have seen various estimates of where the debt “breaking point is” , or “when reality hits home”.
      Absent extraordinary circunstances like WWII and unique circumstances that allowed that debt to be “outgrown” due to mostly balanced budgets and GPD growth at a solid, healthy clip, what in the “modern era” is the breaking point?
      Let’s say the past 50-60 years as that “modern era”, when Debt-to-GDP was still steadily declining, followed by the explosion of debt is the current and previous two administrations.
      The 21st Century segment of that modern era.
      I’ve heard so many estimates of where that “breaking point” is that I won’t even attempt to really summarize those estimates.
      Briefly, they range from 40% debt/ GDP ratio to virtually unlimited debt/ GDP ratio as the tolerable limits before “reality hits home”.
      Of course, we’ve far exceeded that 40% “breaking point” ratio, are now over 100% debt-to-gdp threshold and heading higher, so what is the point, the ratio, at which reality hits home?
      I’ve become convinced that nobody really knows that breaking point, and that there really is no magic number, or even rough, reliable estimate, of where that point is.
      It seems more apt to take the form of a slow strangulation on the health of our economy, over time. Maybe every former and current Presidents and members of Congress will all be long gone by the time our economy goes into the end stages of COPD.
      Maybe everyone reading this and commenting here, with the likely exception of L4D/ Diane😉, will be gone as well.
      But I’m also convinced that the budget hawks are, for the most part, long gone. Look at how many candidates have recently campaigned on a theme, or even including a theme, of fiscal restraint/reducing deficits.
      You’ll see a JT column every now and then, or a candidate giving lip service to it, but that’s about as far as it’ll go toward any serious action.
      In the meantime, I need to hear from a candidate who will slash taxes, provide MediCare for all, hike federal minimum wage and Social Security benefits, balance the budget, implement subsidies for a New Green Deal, eliminate homelessness, and raise the standard of living for all.
      That’s more of what we need to hear to address this nettlesome debt issue.😉😊😂

      1. Untill you complete the equation and add in the final step turning GDP into NDP will you have anything worth using.

  13. They’re like drunken sailors on shore leave with a wad of one dollar bills at a strip club. Except they’re your one dollar bills!

    1. That has been how our politicians have been silently acting for decades. Maybe that comment will actually snap people into being grown-up and serious about how the government manages money. Democrats hate Trump enough to maybe do something constructive about the debt.

      1. He’s desperately seeking “Generational Welfare” and “Affirmative Action Privilege.”

        Logic and rationality, we don’t need no stinking logic and rationality…or merit.

        He throws all the mud to see what sticks.

        The end justifies the means.

        “Generational Welfare” and “Affirmative Action Privilege,”

        “Don’t Leave Home Wiffout It!”

      1. The reporting exists, i showed it to you. You may choose to believe nothing you don’t personally witness, maybe you won’t accept that either? Or maybe just watch Trump’s actions regarding the debt. That tax cut for the rich didn’t help, getting rid of the estate tax, oh yeah, we were going to grow our way out of the defecits he caused? People are getting their tax returns and the middle class has found out his plan was a scam.

        1. “People are getting their tax returns and the middle class has found out his plan was a scam.”

          Enigma, you are the scam. I think one reason the refunds are lower is because less was taken out. Also there are statistical problems with averages but any one but a scammer can based on the tax law run the numbers for those earning middle class incomes and see that they are taking home more money. Scammers and fools can’t do that so they remain ignorant.

            1. AS usual you use third parties and spin. All one has to do is go to the tax code and for the desired income plug in the numbers. There is a significant increase in salaries for those working families in the middle income class. WE don’t have to fudge all the numbers or lie. We just have to look at the tax codes.

              To the Nancy Pelosi’s of the world the tax relief is not so large. Of course not when she can use millions of dollars of taxpayer money to get her all over the world while she is a multi millionaire. Hopefully this tax relief is only a start for the middle class and that all the working middle class families will find more money in their bank accounts

              The strange thing is that I support the tax bill and it is costing me a lot. That is because I worked hard and have been lucky so I am happy to pay the extra dollars while you think suddenly I am making a windfall.

              You are an angry man that seems to hate the people that one would think would be closest to your heart but instead you play politics with their lives. You don’t care how many young blacks are killed in the inner cities controlled by Democrats. You don’t care how many are killed through abortion and today you don’t even care if the death of the infant occurs in a self sustaining body outside the mother. You don’t care that the schooling is inadequate and you don’t care if there aren’t jobs available for those with little experience.

              Enough of you, be gone. You are a stain that cannot be removed.

        2. enigma, how is it a scam if people find out that they actually made a smaller interest-free loan to the government during 2018? Or do you not understand how tax withholding and refunds work?

          1. FFS, the scam is the way it was sold as a “middle-class tax cut” when it was nothing of the kind. Trump changed withholding rules immediately to make checks a little bigger. Paul Ryan was bragging about a woman that was thankful she was getting “an extra $1.50 weekly” which would allow her to pay her Costco membership. Then people discovered that on average they were bgetting 8% less in a tax return, money some people count on to pay major bills because they are not likely to save that amount during the year.
            The usual suspects were the true beneficiaries of the tax plan. corporations that didn’t as a rule raise salaries but bought back shares and increased dividends. The very wealthy (who also got relief from the estate tax) were the real beneficiaries, like for example; Trump, Kushner, Mnuchen, Ross, hell… the hole cabinet except Ben Carson who isn’t in their bracket.

            1. Hey Enigma. Are you disappointed the illegal 25th amendment coup plot against Trump by McCabe and company failed? At least so far?

              I just want to know.

              1. Sounds more like na discussion to me, one that i’ve wondered about but felt it had little prospect of implementation, gicven the cronies in the Cabinet.
                How was it illegal by the way? The provision is in the Constitution. No way for it to be invoked without discussing it first.

                1. a fair question. with many good answers.

                  by analogy: how about if one of a would be client wants me to help him get a parent declared incapacitated even though they are not. no mental or physical incapacity. i as a lawyer can’t cooperate with such a false and frivolous course of action. I don’t take a tally of judges who may approve it or witness that may be willing to sign false oaths. that is unethical. i would not do such a thing. not even against a Democrat or a very bad person or even a criminal. i would not arrange false evidence and invoke inapplicable laws. allow Dershowitz to explain.

                  https://www.mediaite.com/online/alan-dershowitz-on-mccabes-claim-doj-looked-at-ousting-trump-via-25th-amendment-clearly-an-attempt-at-a-coup-detat/

                  these FBI managers are all lawyers by training and should not be framing up the lowest dirtbag for nonexistent crimes. even though sometimes, people say, they do. let alone nobodies like you or me, we know we can be framed up. but these audacious coup plotters had extensive discussions on framing up a president as incapacitated when he is not?

                  FALSE INVESTIGATIONS ON FALSE PRETEXTS ARE ABUSE OF OFFICE AND MAY ALSO VIOLATE ANY NUMBERS OF LAWS. THROW THE BOOK AT THEM! DEFEND LIBERTY AGAINST THOSE YOU DISLIKE AND THE LIBERTIES YOU SAVE MAY ONE DAY BE YOUR OWN!

                  1. If you start with the premise there is no crime/misconduct/treason, the only conclusion is that removing him would be illegal. There had been at that point an ongoing investigation into his ties to Russia, one that presumable had to have shown probable cause to be signed off on. Let’s also imagine that they, the FBI, have a few more facts than you and I are aware of?
                    Today’s events have shown that prosecutors have sworn to judges that Manafort kept lying about his contacts with Russia while campaign chair which was what got his deal thrown out and a recommentation of 19-24 years and millions in fines and forfeitures, Stone was in communication with Russians AND Wikileaks, a House committee has charged that two other Trump lawyers lied to the ethics office about his payoffs to Daniels and MacDougal. All this happened today! The Russian conspiracy is already laid out in front of you, just keep pretending you can’t see it. We also found out Sarah Sanders has been a Mueller witness. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall there.

            2. Enigma, it seems you prefer trash to actually reading the IRS rules.
              Those rules can be used to see what a person’s income tax would look like if one plugged in the numbers and they have clearly showed that the middle class is doing a lot better.

              However, if you wish to be a dumbster diver continue doing so. [Yes, I know that dumpster has a “p”. I just thought using a a b in dumbster diver was more appropriate for you.]

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