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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:55 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:13 pm
Posts: 8
VinTek wrote:
Actually, the debt was going down when most of that stuff was being built. We peaked in debt as a percentage of GDP in WW2 (and I think even you would agree that it was a good thing that we won that) and except for the Reagan/Bush1 and Bush 2/Obama years, had been going down ever since. So with the exception of those years, the Boomers seem to have been keeping debt in check, all while creating new things upon which modern society is based.


It was under the greatest generation control, not the baby boomers, that the Debt was decreasing. The debt began increasing as a percentage of gdp as the control started to phase away from the greatest generation and began being taken by the Baby boomers. I doubt that 18 year old baby boomers had much effect on national debt and direction of the country. Power dynamics and shifting of control begins when the new generation begins reaching their 30s and start taking higher positions such as managerial and political power.

kombat wrote:
See the statement and chart above. Debt was going down during the years in which the majority of those highways were being built. Debt really started climbing during the years in which...wait for it...the Gen X folks became eligible to vote. As for the figure of $14T, let's just say that most of it also came during a time when Gen X had the power to vote.


Look above, being 18 years old does not translate into them holding political power. The current mess is the fault of baby boomers (and older generation X) greed and wrecklessness. It is understandable given that they grew up during the most prosperous era in American (world?) history and it may have skewed their outlook, but the result is that everyone is paying for it now.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:08 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1753
ArmorPierce wrote:
It was under the greatest generation control, not the baby boomers, that the Debt was decreasing. The debt began increasing as a percentage of gdp as the control started to phase away from the greatest generation and began being taken by the Baby boomers. I doubt that 18 year old baby boomers had much effect on national debt and direction of the country. Power dynamics and shifting of control begins when the new generation begins reaching their 30s and start taking higher positions such as managerial and political power.

Actually, the record is mixed. Rather than re-display the chart for the upteenth time, I'll just refer to it. The reason the chart references Presidents is because they're the ones who propose the budgets and historically, the Congress passes something very close to what the President proposes. So just for giggles, let's classify each President as a member of a generation so we're on the same page.

Truman - pre-WW2
Eisenhower - pre-WW2
Kennedy - Greatest Generation
Johnson - Greatest Generation
Nixon - Greatest Generation
Ford - Greatest Generation
Carter - Greatest Generation
Reagan - Greatest Generation
Bush 1 - Greatest Generation
Clinton - Baby Boomer
Bush 2 - Baby Boomer
Obama - Baby Boomer

Seems pretty mixed to me. The Debt went down while members of the Greatest Generation were in charge up until Reagan, who drove the Debt up up. This persisted until Clinton, a Boomer, pushed the Debt back down. Then Bush 2 reversed course and pushed the debt up again, and that has persisted through the present administration.

ArmorPierce wrote:
Look above, being 18 years old does not translate into them holding political power. The current mess is the fault of baby boomers (and older generation X) greed and wrecklessness. It is understandable given that they grew up during the most prosperous era in American (world?) history and it may have skewed their outlook, but the result is that everyone is paying for it now.

Were you paying attention during the last 2 elections? Do you honestly think Obama would have won without the youth vote? You really think that the power to vote doesn't matter?


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:13 pm
Posts: 8
VinTek wrote:
Actually, the record is mixed. Rather than re-display the chart for the upteenth time, I'll just refer to it. The reason the chart references Presidents is because they're the ones who propose the budgets and historically, the Congress passes something very close to what the President proposes. So just for giggles, let's classify each President as a member of a generation so we're on the same page.

Truman - pre-WW2
Eisenhower - pre-WW2
Kennedy - Greatest Generation
Johnson - Greatest Generation
Nixon - Greatest Generation
Ford - Greatest Generation
Carter - Greatest Generation
Reagan - Greatest Generation
Bush 1 - Greatest Generation
Clinton - Baby Boomer
Bush 2 - Baby Boomer
Obama - Baby Boomer

Seems pretty mixed to me. The Debt went down while members of the Greatest Generation were in charge up until Reagan, who drove the Debt up up. This persisted until Clinton, a Boomer, pushed the Debt back down. Then Bush 2 reversed course and pushed the debt up again, and that has persisted through the present administration.


Reagan being a member of the greatest generation does not matter. His constituency was heavily baby boomers who as a generation wielded considerable strength. The oldest of the Baby Boomers were already pushing 40 and had garndered considerable political power and clout. I would say reagen was in between the beginning shift of power from the greatest generation to the baby boomers.

ArmorPierce wrote:
Look above, being 18 years old does not translate into them holding political power. The current mess is the fault of baby boomers (and older generation X) greed and wrecklessness. It is understandable given that they grew up during the most prosperous era in American (world?) history and it may have skewed their outlook, but the result is that everyone is paying for it now.

Quote:
Were you paying attention during the last 2 elections? Do you honestly think Obama would have won without the youth vote? You really think that the power to vote doesn't matter?


The power to vote does indeed matter but political clout is gained through pandering to issues that those have wealth and willing and able to donate to further cause. Do you think that any politician can win by pandering purely to the 18-25 year old demographic? They would not even gain enough endorsements and funds to run a national campaign. This is not to mention that there just isn't enough in terms of numbers.

This is not to mention the fact that despite beliefs to the contrary, Obama has been increasing national spending at the slowest rate than any other president in recent memory. A lot of the current increase in spending was locked in place before Bush 2 left office and combined with tax rate decreases which resulted in decreased revenue has netted out resulting in additional climbing of the national debt.

Quote:
Rex Nutting, a journalist who writes for the MarketWatch website affiliated with The Wall Street Journal looked at the data and found that rhetoric and reality don't quite match up.

Nutting found that, contrary to repeated allegations from the president's political foes, including Mitt Romney, that Obama has been on a federal spending tear, he actually hasn't.

Indeed, Nutting, spending under Obama has actually occurred at a slower rate than it did under previous White House occupants.

You actually have to go back decades to find a presidency — Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s to be precise — in which spending happened at a slower rate.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/05/22/153293789/under-obama-federal-govt-spends-at-lowest-rate-in-decades-says-journalist


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:17 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1753
ArmorPierce wrote:
VinTek wrote:
Seems pretty mixed to me. The Debt went down while members of the Greatest Generation were in charge up until Reagan, who drove the Debt up up. This persisted until Clinton, a Boomer, pushed the Debt back down. Then Bush 2 reversed course and pushed the debt up again, and that has persisted through the present administration.


Reagan being a member of the greatest generation does not matter. His constituency was heavily baby boomers who as a generation wielded considerable strength. The oldest of the Baby Boomers were already pushing 40 and had garndered considerable political power and clout. I would say reagen was in between the beginning shift of power from the greatest generation to the baby boomers.

Ah, you're one of those who makes a statement (like Debt being based on generational differences) and when confronted with actual facts, says "it does not matter." Okay, let's go with that. So if Reagan's constituency is Boomers, what difference does it make? Clinton's constituents and Bush 2's constituents were Boomer's as well. One decreased the debt and one increased it. It all supports my statement that it's pretty mixed.

ArmorPierce wrote:
Look above, being 18 years old does not translate into them holding political power. The current mess is the fault of baby boomers (and older generation X) greed and wrecklessness. It is understandable given that they grew up during the most prosperous era in American (world?) history and it may have skewed their outlook, but the result is that everyone is paying for it now.

And now that the Gen Xers are in their 40s, what are they doing to change things for the better? Or are they just content to blame their predecessors? What will Gen Y say about them in a decade?

ArmorPierce wrote:
The power to vote does indeed matter but political clout is gained through pandering to issues that those have wealth and willing and able to donate to further cause. Do you think that any politician can win by pandering purely to the 18-25 year old demographic? They would not even gain enough endorsements and funds to run a national campaign. This is not to mention that there just isn't enough in terms of numbers.

Isn't that what a representative democracy is all about? Isn't it about representing ALL of the people instead a given segment (like a generation) or of just a majority? What's your point?

This is not to mention the fact that despite beliefs to the contrary, Obama has been increasing national spending at the slowest rate than any other president in recent memory. A lot of the current increase in spending was locked in place before Bush 2 left office and combined with tax rate decreases which resulted in decreased revenue has netted out resulting in additional climbing of the national debt.

ArmorPierce wrote:
You actually have to go back decades to find a presidency — Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s to be precise — in which spending happened at a slower rate.

Again, is there a point to your statement? We pretty much agreed earlier on in this thread that the most meaningful measure of the Debt was against the GDP. I'm not sure how your statement about spending is really relevant. So we spent more in every presidency since Eisenhower -- and we STILL reduced the debt until Reagan came into office. And we did it AGAIN while Clinton was in office.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:21 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:11 am
Posts: 3
Would anybody like to explain the Trillion Dollar Coin thing to me? To me it sounds like economic voodoo, but that's not to say I don't think it would work. Economics is half rigorous scientific quantitative data and half howling fantod perspective.

The idea in this thread that gained the most traction for me intellectually was of US representative passing a 100 year plan. It's not like we could actually follow one -- even if we fully intended to our culture is structurally conflictual with it, from very short term offices to our fondness for innovation and rapid technological growth. Economics is a long view discipline and thus American culture doesn't entirely pace with it.

BUT, back to the howling fantods, giving people the impression that there's a plan is significant because then they can go along with believing that it will be followed while the Invisible Hand does its work. It can increase investor confidence while allowing policymakers to muck around in the short term. Earlier a metaphor was used of 'kicking the can' -- pushing off the really hard decisions to later -- and our biggest problem is that we've been kicking the can all of two months at a time instead of decades into the future. The problem with this is that regardless of whether our economy is solid or not, it makes everyone feel like it's volatile. If we're going to make a hard decision we should make it now and get to work. If we're going to keep putting it off we might as well increase the scale to centuries.

--PolarisDiB


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:38 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:50 am
Posts: 98
I was really shocked by the numbers mentioned in this thread. 25% of Canada's GNP going up in interest payments and 10% of the USA. That's lots. Since in my country they've been talking about this for months/years I wondered how bad it would be. Somewhere near Canada I would assume from all the media it's getting. But it actually is 2.1%.

To me this is a strong support for Polaris' plan. Apparently in Holland the budget isn't that bad, but all the press about it is so negative it seems like the countrie is falling over. By getting a 100 year plan (or just a 30 year plan as long as mortgages take?) you could very well get a lot of this short term stress under control.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:52 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1753
Here's a reality check for those who complain that taxes are too high. Where would you go to get lower taxes? Mexico? Chile? Turkey?

Here's http://finance.yahoo.com/news/low-u-taxes-compared-other-171521903.html in terms of tax rates.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:07 am 
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VinTek wrote:
Here's a reality check for those who complain that taxes are too high. Where would you go to get lower taxes? Mexico? Chile? Turkey?

Here's http://finance.yahoo.com/news/low-u-taxes-compared-other-171521903.html in terms of tax rates.


Yes, we pay low taxes. And all the while we spend generously on the military to fight all over the world and on many other things that benefit the entire world such as scientific investigation and application (think tsunami warnings and communication satellites).

Taxes are also much lower than they were even 30 years ago. It's am imbalance that we see as a debt and deficit. That part is math. The politics comes in deciding what we spend our money on.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:02 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1753
DoingHomework wrote:
Taxes are also much lower than they were even 30 years ago. It's am imbalance that we see as a debt and deficit. That part is math. The politics comes in deciding what we spend our money on.

This is all very true. What I don't really understand is the the folks who scream the loudest about tax increases are the ones who aren't whacked at all when there's talk of tax increases. Most of us here are middle-class and while the rich have benefited the most from the tax cuts over the past generation, the middle class benefited as well. Looking at the graph below, it's important for folks to remember that the marginal tax rate isn't the same thing as the average tax rate and that taxes are applied to the adjusted gross income, not the total income.
Image
What's really hurting the middle class failure of wages to keep up with inflation and the tendency for what used to be considered luxuries to become "necessities" in modern times. Seriously, there are people who consider giant screen TVs, large SUVs, cable, tablets and smartphones as necessities. While I would certainly certainly agree that these are nice things, I lived most of my life without them (actually, I don't have those things now either) and managed to be just fine.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:24 pm 
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And now today these yahoos (with apologies to Yahoo) are staging a political side show with this ridiculous bill to extend the debt limit bu a few months. They are playing pure politics. It's just dumb and they know it. They are only interested in the headlines and political theater. Unfortunately there are enough Americans who are dumb enough to think they did something good that they will get a a week or so of press.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:02 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
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I actually find it encouraging that they're not playing chicken with the debt ceiling.

If they're smart, they'll use the time to craft a Grand Bargain similar to the Simpson-Bowles recommendations, taking the initiative away from the administration. Then the Dems will be stuck in a reactive mode. If both sides can ignore the far right and the far left, something actually useful might result.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:34 pm 
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VinTek wrote:
I actually find it encouraging that they're not playing chicken with the debt ceiling.

If they're smart, they'll use the time to craft a Grand Bargain similar to the Simpson-Bowles recommendations, taking the initiative away from the administration. Then the Dems will be stuck in a reactive mode. If both sides can ignore the far right and the far left, something actually useful might result.


Wow, you must have doubled up on your optimism pills today!

I think the republicans are playing defense at this point. They realize they look like the bad guys all the time. I really think people are sick and tired of them just obstructing everything and holding the country hostage. So if this is truly doing something then it is good. But the news conference complete with a logo and background graphics suggests otherwise to me. I think they are just trying to sell the idea that they are doing something while really just trying to keep anything from happening again.

Raising the debt ceiling should be a ministerial action. Treasury must borrow more to implement the laws and spending already ordered by Congress. So there should be no question they do it and no conditions attached whatsoever.

When it comes to spending I think there is room for debate. I would like to see a substantial reduction or elimination of the deficit even if it is painful. I could support some pretty good arm-twisting on the part of the republicans on that issue. But they've got to be ready to cut defense, oil subsidies, and their other favorite causes as harshly as everything else if they want to have any credibility and I'm doubtful they will offer up any cuts in those areas.

And this whole no-budget-no-pay thing is a lie. There is no risk they don't get paid. The worst thing that happens is they have to wait until the end of the session to get their check. If there is a better way to advertise the fact that they are all independently-wealthy millionaires who are out of touch with the rest of us, I don't know what it is. They should have adopted Buffets idea - if they pass a deficit budget they are ineligible for re-election.

(Can you tell that I took an extra dose of cynicism pills this morning?)


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:52 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1753
Nah, it ain't the pills. We're just looking at the same issues from different perspectives. I suspect that we're in agreement a lot more than our posts would indicate.

And in the past hour, my own view of the situation has become markedly more cynical. Boehner has tasked Ryan to draft http://finance.yahoo.com/news/paul-ryan-balance-budget-10-190721348.html;_ylt=A2KJNTvHaABRfyAAhvrQtDMD without any revenue increases. Ryan's previous budget didn't balance the books until 2040 so moving the goal up 16 years is going to mean even bigger cuts.

It will be interesting to see if Ryan's new budget actually calls out the cuts in detail. I think the GOP is in the process of painting itself into a corner.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:12 pm 
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VinTek wrote:
Nah, it ain't the pills. We're just looking at the same issues from different perspectives. I suspect that we're in agreement a lot more than our posts would indicate.

And in the past hour, my own view of the situation has become markedly more cynical. Boehner has tasked Ryan to draft http://finance.yahoo.com/news/paul-ryan-balance-budget-10-190721348.html;_ylt=A2KJNTvHaABRfyAAhvrQtDMD without any revenue increases. Ryan's previous budget didn't balance the books until 2040 so moving the goal up 16 years is going to mean even bigger cuts.

It will be interesting to see if Ryan's new budget actually calls out the cuts in detail. I think the GOP is in the process of painting itself into a corner.


We probably are in agreement.

Appointing Ryan is disappointing. He has become a lightning rod for attacking social security and other popular programs. Even if the guy is brilliant, anything he comes up with will be heavily criticized. With any negotiation the people in the room are usually as important as the substance of the debate. Stacking the deck with a guy like Ryan will not be conducive to an agreement. They should have picked someone like McConnell and maybe even a guy like Gingrich who at least have a little more experience and respect. I think with Ryan in the center of things the talks will fail and we'll be back to this point in a few months.


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 Post subject: Re: The National Debt - How Bad Is It and Who's Fault Is It?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:19 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:50 am
Posts: 98
VinTek wrote:
Here's a reality check for those who complain that taxes are too high. Where would you go to get lower taxes? Mexico? Chile? Turkey?

Here's http://finance.yahoo.com/news/low-u-taxes-compared-other-171521903.html in terms of tax rates.


Funny thing that statistic. It again proves that statistics don't prove anything.

In there Belgium is ranked number 1 for the most taxes paid. The Netherlands is somewhere around number 10. Yet a lot of people who live in the border district of NL move to Belgium because that'll save them so much money in taxes. If you live on the border with Germany however you would rather move there, and a lot of people are doing that too. Just to get out of the Dutch taxes.

To me that means that a lot of important numbers are missing from that article. Say, property taxes, inheritance taxes, dog taxes, road taxes, waste taxes, wealth taxes, or the really interesting one, 'eigen woning forfait' the taxes on the rent you could earn on your house if you'd rented it instead of living there.


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