Author Topic: US Financial Condition if it were a household  (Read 15164 times)

tooqk4u22

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US Financial Condition if it were a household
« on: January 07, 2013, 12:20:50 PM »
Saw an interview with Richard Kovacevich on CNBC online and to simplify the US financial picture so it resonates better with the general population he dropped some zeros and depicted it as follows:

A family with household income of $22,000/year is spending $38,000 per year and already owes a $163,000 on its credit card - obviously it won't get paid back without massive changes.

I think a message like that is simple enough for masses to get - we need change....its a debt emergency as a result of non-MMM ways. 

The good news is that the fiscal cliff was averted and the household income noted above will now be $22,630/year but spending will still be $38,000 per year - Awesome, Way to go Washington....you really get it.

Regardless of your view on who should pay more or less taxes, you should keep in mind we all being taxed more through dollar devaluation/inflation. 

Jamesqf

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 01:22:08 PM »
Unfortunately, I think the masses will just be asking where the can get one of those credit cards :-(

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 02:48:12 PM »
Unfortunately, I think the masses will just be asking where the can get one of those credit cards :-(

Too true, very sad. 


sherr

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 03:35:06 PM »
Not that I disagree that there's a problem, but hold on a sec. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt) tells me that the total US debt is $16.370 trillion. Treasury Direct (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm) tells me that the government had $359.8 billion in interest expenses last year. Unless I'm mistaken, that works out to an average annual interest rate of 2.2%. Which is only 0.4% higher than inflation and hardly comparable to credit card debt.

smedleyb

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 04:48:38 PM »
Saw an interview with Richard Kovacevich on CNBC online and to simplify the US financial picture so it resonates better with the general population he dropped some zeros and depicted it as follows:

A family with household income of $22,000/year is spending $38,000 per year and already owes a $163,000 on its credit card - obviously it won't get paid back without massive changes.

I think a message like that is simple enough for masses to get - we need change....its a debt emergency as a result of non-MMM ways. 

The good news is that the fiscal cliff was averted and the household income noted above will now be $22,630/year but spending will still be $38,000 per year - Awesome, Way to go Washington....you really get it.

Regardless of your view on who should pay more or less taxes, you should keep in mind we all being taxed more through dollar devaluation/inflation.

Stop spending $10,000 a year on guns and ammo.

And get that rich uncle to cough up an extra $2-3K per year.  He won't even feel it.

Get a little Mustachian on the rest of the budget.

Bang, problem solved.


tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 05:32:22 PM »
Not that I disagree that there's a problem, but hold on a sec. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt) tells me that the total US debt is $16.370 trillion. Treasury Direct (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm) tells me that the government had $359.8 billion in interest expenses last year. Unless I'm mistaken, that works out to an average annual interest rate of 2.2%. Which is only 0.4% higher than inflation and hardly comparable to credit card debt.

On one hand your right (although it is really 2.5% when you add back the one time adjustment) but on the other hand there is (i) your not right and (ii) the issue/risk is greater than you know.

First, the outstanding debt is a mix of bonds/bills/notes that have maturities that range from a few weeks to 30 years, which is the basis of the average that you cite, but note that the 10 year treasury is typically the benchmark used for comparison.  The 10yr T is currently at 1.9% (a week ago it was at 1.7%) and that is .7% behind inflation.  The US 3 month is at .06% - historically the difference between this and the 10yr is the expected inflation, but this is not a good indicator now because of operation twist.

Now the really bad news - the US debt is almost is significantly comprised of short term maturities and not the preferred long term that should be floating - this is having the effect of keeping interest costs low as you point out but also exposing our nation to extreme volatility (not unlike the one of the causes of the housing crisis when people got variable rate loans that reset in 1-5 years).  THe 5-year treasury is at 0.8% now. 

Hate to break the news to you but we financing long term issues (because as noted above we can't pay it off ever) with short term variable rate debt.

Any questions?

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 05:38:20 PM »

Stop spending $10,000 a year on guns and ammo.

And get that rich uncle to cough up an extra $2-3K per year.  He won't even feel it.

Get a little Mustachian on the rest of the budget.

Bang, problem solved.

That seems to be the dems strategy, which ignores the comparable incompetence of the republicans, but keep in mind that it is actually impossible to cut $10,000 from guns and amo (defense) as defense only accounts for 20% of the budget - $7,200 in the analogy above.  So one that won't work and two whether you like spending on defense or not - we still need it on some level - maybe you can cut the $7,200 down to 6,000 or so.

And tapping your rich uncle - even if you take all of his income you don't even balance the budget for the current year. 

Maybe we can offer Canada a merger opportunity and they can be our white knight - fat chance, they don't want the baggage and even they know they wouldn't be able to provide the same services to our population without extreme hardship/taxes.

smedleyb

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 06:01:35 PM »

Stop spending $10,000 a year on guns and ammo.

And get that rich uncle to cough up an extra $2-3K per year.  He won't even feel it.

Get a little Mustachian on the rest of the budget.

Bang, problem solved.

That seems to be the dems strategy, which ignores the comparable incompetence of the republicans, but keep in mind that it is actually impossible to cut $10,000 from guns and amo (defense) as defense only accounts for 20% of the budget - $7,200 in the analogy above.  So one that won't work and two whether you like spending on defense or not - we still need it on some level - maybe you can cut the $7,200 down to 6,000 or so.

And tapping your rich uncle - even if you take all of his income you don't even balance the budget for the current year. 

Maybe we can offer Canada a merger opportunity and they can be our white knight - fat chance, they don't want the baggage and even they know they wouldn't be able to provide the same services to our population without extreme hardship/taxes.

How about $9,300 on guns and ammo?:

That brings our grand total to an astonishing $931 billion.

And this will turn out to be a conservative figure. We won’t spend less than that, but among other things, it doesn’t include the interest we’re paying on money we borrowed to fund past military operations; nor does it include portions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that are dedicated to national security. And we don’t know if this number captures the entire intelligence budget or not, because parts of intelligence funding are classified.


http://billmoyers.com/2012/05/23/the-real-defense-budget/

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 07:23:57 PM »
Take your liberal approach based on an extremely liberal commentary and even then if you cut 100% it still would only be $9300, again regardless of your view we still need some level of defense.  Do we need to protect the world, absolutely not.  Do we need to pay for those ($1380 of your figure) who served in the past and care for them in the futur - yes.  Get out of world affairs. And your a financial guy....do the math for the economy if you cut defense fully, good luck.   

BTW - your little link started with $5300 and I started with $7200 and maybe and the real number is probably $8000.

This seems to be the ongoing debate, fiscal conservatives are willing to cut everything and liberals don't want to cut anything.

Bull shit


EDIT:  I would also point out that in my OP I did not make reference to what should or shouldn't be cut.  Also with some growth the numbers could get better, but it still won't solve the problem. 

« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 07:53:45 PM by tooqk4u22 »

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 07:28:19 PM »
FWIW - I know this forum leans liberal but I am constantly surprised that it does not resonate and translate to the management of this country, maybe I shouldn't be as that is the status quo. I point out that we need to cut and immediately get attacked - again everything should be on the table.   

I am for exploring all manner of cuts and also for expanding services in a thoughtful and financially prudent way, but that is not happening. 

sol

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 07:49:14 PM »
Stop spending $10,000 a year on guns and ammo.

What?!  But we NEED at least as many guns as everyone else in the world combined.  What if we have to fight everyone on earth at the same time? 

For reference, there are currently 196 countries in the world and the US spends more than 193 of them combined.  Put another way, if we had to simultaneously wage war against the 10 largest armies on the planet (China, the UK, Japan, Russia, Saudia Arabia, India, Germany, France and Brazil and that's a hell of a WWIII, us against everyone else) we would still comfortably outspend them all combined by roughly 50%.  All of this BS about "global readiness to fight a two-front war" is ridiculous when viewed in this context.  A 50% defense cut, phased in over a decade or two, would still leave us essentially unchallenged as the only superpower.

It wasn't that long ago that people were concerned about the negative consequences of our spiraling budget surpluses, back under Clinton's tax rates, no ongoing wars, and no Medicare part D.  That's one option to balance the budget, just restore the rates and cut back to a 90's era social safety net and defense architecture.  Not sure why Congress finds this so hard.

Honest Abe

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 07:59:48 PM »
Fiat currency means we can print whatever we need as long as 1. The economy continues to grow and 2. It maintains its value vs. other currencies. The dollar will continue to be debased as long as we are not on a gold standard.

 Until then enjoy the American Dream which goes like this: I bought my house in 1980 for $35k and now it's worth $400k!! (You didn't get richer, your money is just worth less)

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 08:01:13 PM »
Stop spending $10,000 a year on guns and ammo.

What?!  But we NEED at least as many guns as everyone else in the world combined.  What if we have to fight everyone on earth at the same time? 

For reference, there are currently 196 countries in the world and the US spends more than 193 of them combined.  Put another way, if we had to simultaneously wage war against the 10 largest armies on the planet (China, the UK, Japan, Russia, Saudia Arabia, India, Germany, France and Brazil and that's a hell of a WWIII, us against everyone else) we would still comfortably outspend them all combined by roughly 50%.  All of this BS about "global readiness to fight a two-front war" is ridiculous when viewed in this context.  A 50% defense cut, phased in over a decade or two, would still leave us essentially unchallenged as the only superpower.

It wasn't that long ago that people were concerned about the negative consequences of our spiraling budget surpluses, back under Clinton's tax rates, no ongoing wars, and no Medicare part D.  That's one option to balance the budget, just restore the rates and cut back to a 90's era social safety net and defense architecture.  Not sure why Congress finds this so hard.

Sol - we have more guns because we are the global police officer...this needs to stop.  Going over the fiscal cliff may have been the best option - but even then it was only $2trillion over 10 years with forced tax increases and budget cuts - clearly not enough to fix a $1.5trillion current year deficit.  Clinton was a great moderator and bridged the gap, as did other politicians in history, clearly this characteristic is extremely deficient in Washington right now.  Keep in mind though that the Clinton surplus was aided by the dot com tax gains.

sol

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2013, 08:18:51 PM »
Keep in mind though that the Clinton surplus was aided by the dot com tax gains.

Oh totally; we had "dangerous" surpluses because we had a combination of rapid economic growth and higher taxes to capitalize on that growth.  Now we have neither.

From my perspective the solution to our current budget debacle just seems so obvious.  President Bush, taking his cues from Alan Greenspan and company, reigned in the surpluses with massive tax cuts which were supposed to pay for themselves by spurring further economic growth.  Which might have worked had we not already been in a growth spurt.  Instead the economy slowed, he pushed for huge new unfunded social wellfare programs, and then a couple of unfunded wars.  A bad combination of reducing revenue and increasing spending, and look what it got us.  A predictable budget deficit.

So the solution is to reverse the process, roughly.  If we restored the Clinton tax rates, cut Medicare part D and the war spending, we'd be close to balanced with even moderate economic growth.  Instead, I suspect we'll cut more government programs, like education grants and scientific research and veteran's benefits, in order to preserve a much lower tax rate, or a slightly lower tax rate and slower economic growth.  It's just a matter of how you make the trade offs.  The current mood seems to favor protecting business interests at the expense of the poor people who support those businesses, but that could change.

The defense spending is a tricky one, because you can't very well just turn off the spigot.  That one has to be gradual cuts, with retraining programs and such for all of the people who will be put out of work.

The entitlements spending is easier for me to swallow.  Yes, we're going to have to raise the retirement age as average lifespans continue to increase.  The benefit payouts promised to social security recipients in good times turned out to be unsustainable, so they'll have to be scaled back with something like the chained CPI.  Despite Democratic bellyaching, neither of these things seems all that earth shattering to me.

The tax rates are probably politically impossible given the recent round of negotiations.  Instead of raising the marginal rates, I suspect they'll instead cap deductions and maybe slow the rate at which the brackets increase every year.  Together, those are effectively the same as raising the tax rates even though the percentages will look the same to the majority of people who aren't really paying attention.

So the path to the grand bargain seems pretty clear to me.  A minority of new extremist Republicans basically ruined Boehner's negotiating position, so he'll either boot them or they'll get wise to how they're hurting their cause by refusing to accept some of what they want and so being force fed none of what they want.  Once that is done, I think the next round of negotiations will grant a one year continuing resolution (aka reduced spending in light of inflation) and a moderate increase in the debt ceiling that is largely but not 100% offset by cuts to discretionary spending.  The real question is whether or not the two sides will also agree to trade entitlement cuts for tax reform as outlined above.  Balancing the budget requires that they do so, but I'm not terribly optimistic that current politics will allow it.

fiveoh

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 08:27:30 PM »
Saw an interview with Richard Kovacevich on CNBC online and to simplify the US financial picture so it resonates better with the general population he dropped some zeros and depicted it as follows:

A family with household income of $22,000/year is spending $38,000 per year and already owes a $163,000 on its credit card - obviously it won't get paid back without massive changes.

I think a message like that is simple enough for masses to get - we need change....its a debt emergency as a result of non-MMM ways. 

The good news is that the fiscal cliff was averted and the household income noted above will now be $22,630/year but spending will still be $38,000 per year - Awesome, Way to go Washington....you really get it.

Regardless of your view on who should pay more or less taxes, you should keep in mind we all being taxed more through dollar devaluation/inflation.

I saw the same interview on tv, unfortantely the majority American public wont see it and/or would'nt care.  They are too busy keeping up with who Kim Kardashian is screwing now or how their fantasy sports team is doing...

Jamesqf

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2013, 09:31:28 PM »
Sol - we have more guns because we are the global police officer...this needs to stop.

No, we have more guns because we're the global target, and have been for most of a century.  We are (depending on your decade) the land of racially impure mongrels, evil capitalist oppressors of the groaning proletariat, the Great Satan playing host to infidels and lascivious women who show their faces in public...

Of course your ideas on all this may differ, but since I am a racially impure mongrel, make a good living off of capitalism, and fully appreciate women who show their faces (and other parts), I would kinda like the US to go on being this kind of place. 

destron

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2013, 10:02:06 PM »
This comparison is invalid because it does not take into account the fluctuating nature of the "income" of the federal government. Things look bleak when tax revenue is down, but it was not that long ago that there was a projected surplus. All told -- we are definitely spending more than we make, but the numbers here are way off for the average income of the federal government IMO.


Stop spending $10,000 a year on guns and ammo.

And get that rich uncle to cough up an extra $2-3K per year.  He won't even feel it.

Get a little Mustachian on the rest of the budget.

Bang, problem solved.

That seems to be the dems strategy, which ignores the comparable incompetence of the republicans, but keep in mind that it is actually impossible to cut $10,000 from guns and amo (defense) as defense only accounts for 20% of the budget

Hate to tell you this, but this is simply not true. The 20% figure is if you only account for the budgeted DOD spending. This does not include fbi, homeland security, veteran affairs, veteran pensions, interest on money borrowed to pay the defense budget and a host of other very large costs. More than half of discretionary spending goes to defense. Oh yeah, don't forget that the money for the wars in the middle east do not come from the defense budget. As such, defense spending is by far the largest portion of federal spending.

bo_knows

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2013, 06:17:02 AM »
There's a very similar conversation going on over at Early-Retirement.org (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f28/government-budgets-versus-family-budgets-64467.html#post1267719

Quote
Budgetary puritans ... view the world’s largest economy as an indebted family that needs to get back to basics. “The federal government needs to tighten its belt just like every hardworking American family has had to do during our economic recovery,” [said one Congressman].

The economy-as-family metaphor is familiar, emotionally intuitive—and incorrect. It’s a fallacy of composition: What’s true for the part is not necessarily true for the whole. While a single family can get its finances back on track by spending less than it earns, it’s impossible for everyone to do that simultaneously. When the plumber skips a haircut, the barber can’t afford to have his drains cleaned.

British economist John Maynard Keynes explained the futility of trying to shrink an economy into prosperity via thriftiness in his A Treatise on Money in 1930: “Mere abstinence is not enough by itself to build cities or drain fens,” Keynes wrote. “If Enterprise is afoot, wealth accumulates whatever may be happening to Thrift; and if Enterprise is asleep, wealth decays whatever Thrift may be doing. Thus, Thrift may be the handmaiden of Enterprise. But equally she may not. And, perhaps, even usually she is not.”

So let’s try a different metaphor. The economy is not a family but an engine that’s stuck in low gear. It doesn’t need a disciplinarian; it needs a mechanic.

The primary goal of government should be to get the economy running at full throttle once again. That will restore jobs and wealth and increase tax revenue, which narrows budget deficits.

I don't think it's nearly as simple as the original metaphor, and it makes a lot of the debate in this thread moot.

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2013, 06:23:26 AM »
Keep in mind though that the Clinton surplus was aided by the dot com tax gains.

Oh totally; we had "dangerous" surpluses because we had a combination of rapid economic growth and higher taxes to capitalize on that growth.  Now we have neither.

From my perspective the solution to our current budget debacle just seems so obvious.  President Bush, taking his cues from Alan Greenspan and company, reigned in the surpluses with massive tax cuts which were supposed to pay for themselves by spurring further economic growth.  Which might have worked had we not already been in a growth spurt.  Instead the economy slowed, he pushed for huge new unfunded social wellfare programs, and then a couple of unfunded wars.  A bad combination of reducing revenue and increasing spending, and look what it got us.  A predictable budget deficit.

So the solution is to reverse the process, roughly.  If we restored the Clinton tax rates, cut Medicare part D and the war spending, we'd be close to balanced with even moderate economic growth.  Instead, I suspect we'll cut more government programs, like education grants and scientific research and veteran's benefits, in order to preserve a much lower tax rate, or a slightly lower tax rate and slower economic growth.  It's just a matter of how you make the trade offs.  The current mood seems to favor protecting business interests at the expense of the poor people who support those businesses, but that could change.

The defense spending is a tricky one, because you can't very well just turn off the spigot.  That one has to be gradual cuts, with retraining programs and such for all of the people who will be put out of work.

The entitlements spending is easier for me to swallow.  Yes, we're going to have to raise the retirement age as average lifespans continue to increase.  The benefit payouts promised to social security recipients in good times turned out to be unsustainable, so they'll have to be scaled back with something like the chained CPI.  Despite Democratic bellyaching, neither of these things seems all that earth shattering to me.

The tax rates are probably politically impossible given the recent round of negotiations.  Instead of raising the marginal rates, I suspect they'll instead cap deductions and maybe slow the rate at which the brackets increase every year.  Together, those are effectively the same as raising the tax rates even though the percentages will look the same to the majority of people who aren't really paying attention.

So the path to the grand bargain seems pretty clear to me.  A minority of new extremist Republicans basically ruined Boehner's negotiating position, so he'll either boot them or they'll get wise to how they're hurting their cause by refusing to accept some of what they want and so being force fed none of what they want.  Once that is done, I think the next round of negotiations will grant a one year continuing resolution (aka reduced spending in light of inflation) and a moderate increase in the debt ceiling that is largely but not 100% offset by cuts to discretionary spending.  The real question is whether or not the two sides will also agree to trade entitlement cuts for tax reform as outlined above.  Balancing the budget requires that they do so, but I'm not terribly optimistic that current politics will allow it.

Sol - I don't disagree, with the exception of putting the blame on a squarely on republicans.  Both parties are incompetent, played a role in setting the stage and ensuing issues. The partisanship is too extreme right now.   

If you look at spending since 2000 the budget has risen steadily - the two biggest culprits are defense spending that went from $400B to $900B and social programs that went from $300B to $800B.  Clearly both sides are spend happy, and no reason why both categories couldn't go down materially.

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2013, 06:53:42 AM »
There's a very similar conversation going on over at Early-Retirement.org (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f28/government-budgets-versus-family-budgets-64467.html#post1267719

Quote
Budgetary puritans ... view the world’s largest economy as an indebted family that needs to get back to basics. “The federal government needs to tighten its belt just like every hardworking American family has had to do during our economic recovery,” [said one Congressman].

The economy-as-family metaphor is familiar, emotionally intuitive—and incorrect. It’s a fallacy of composition: What’s true for the part is not necessarily true for the whole. While a single family can get its finances back on track by spending less than it earns, it’s impossible for everyone to do that simultaneously. When the plumber skips a haircut, the barber can’t afford to have his drains cleaned.

British economist John Maynard Keynes explained the futility of trying to shrink an economy into prosperity via thriftiness in his A Treatise on Money in 1930: “Mere abstinence is not enough by itself to build cities or drain fens,” Keynes wrote. “If Enterprise is afoot, wealth accumulates whatever may be happening to Thrift; and if Enterprise is asleep, wealth decays whatever Thrift may be doing. Thus, Thrift may be the handmaiden of Enterprise. But equally she may not. And, perhaps, even usually she is not.”

So let’s try a different metaphor. The economy is not a family but an engine that’s stuck in low gear. It doesn’t need a disciplinarian; it needs a mechanic.

The primary goal of government should be to get the economy running at full throttle once again. That will restore jobs and wealth and increase tax revenue, which narrows budget deficits.

I don't think it's nearly as simple as the original metaphor, and it makes a lot of the debate in this thread moot.

I said it was simplistic but it is not moot.  In principle I agree with Keynesian philosphy but the problem is that over the last several decades we spent aggressively during good times and during bad times - it use to be you save during the good times for a rainy day and when it rained you spent to normalize the economy - that has not been the case for a long time.   Even under Clinton much of the surplus was due to the overheated economy that collapsed in 2000.  Debt in either actual amounts or as a % of GDP has been rising dramatically since the 80's under all of the presidents and parties. I am not drawing party lines - just like Obama inherited Bush's stuff, Bush inherited Clinton's and so on and so on - congress has more to do with it than anything. 

This comparison is invalid because it does not take into account the fluctuating nature of the "income" of the federal government. Things look bleak when tax revenue is down, but it was not that long ago that there was a projected surplus. All told -- we are definitely spending more than we make, but the numbers here are way off for the average income of the federal government IMO.

I think I said as much in one of my posts - but our economy is sluggish and even 4% growth won't solve the problem any time soon.  You need full bag of tax reform, spending cuts and growth to give us hope to get out of this and not be Greece in a decade.

Hate to tell you this, but this is simply not true. The 20% figure is if you only account for the budgeted DOD spending. This does not include fbi, homeland security, veteran affairs, veteran pensions, interest on money borrowed to pay the defense budget and a host of other very large costs. More than half of discretionary spending goes to defense. Oh yeah, don't forget that the money for the wars in the middle east do not come from the defense budget. As such, defense spending is by far the largest portion of federal spending.

When you lump everything it might be greater than 20% and maybe 25% but it is not half - even Obama wouldn't preach that message. 

I think I saw a military truck driving on the road so be sure to include all transportation funding under defense and I am sure there are some retired soldiers that are receiving medicare and social security so please include those as well.  I am sure if we work at it we can prove that defense spending really accounts for 100% of all spending.

bo_knows

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2013, 07:01:56 AM »

I said it was simplistic but it is not moot.  In principle I agree with Keynesian philosphy but the problem is that over the last several decades we spent aggressively during good times and during bad times - it use to be you save during the good times for a rainy day and when it rained you spent to normalize the economy - that has not been the case for a long time.   Even under Clinton much of the surplus was due to the overheated economy that collapsed in 2000.  Debt in either actual amounts or as a % of GDP has been rising dramatically since the 80's under all of the presidents and parties. I am not drawing party lines - just like Obama inherited Bush's stuff, Bush inherited Clinton's and so on and so on - congress has more to do with it than anything. 


All I'm saying is, as expected, there are a lot of strong opinions in here that think that extreme cuts or extreme tax hikes or both are in order.  While I'm a bit disgusted at the lack of action from congress, I can see why jumping into large-scale changes could be a bad idea.  There seems to be a very fine line between "cutting back" and "completely stalling the economy".

Living in DC, I'm certainly not looking forward to yet another debt ceiling "crisis", FFS.

sherr

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2013, 07:18:57 AM »
Not that I disagree that there's a problem, but hold on a sec. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt) tells me that the total US debt is $16.370 trillion. Treasury Direct (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm) tells me that the government had $359.8 billion in interest expenses last year. Unless I'm mistaken, that works out to an average annual interest rate of 2.2%. Which is only 0.4% higher than inflation and hardly comparable to credit card debt.

On one hand your right (although it is really 2.5% when you add back the one time adjustment) but on the other hand there is (i) your not right and (ii) the issue/risk is greater than you know.

First, the outstanding debt is a mix of bonds/bills/notes that have maturities that range from a few weeks to 30 years, which is the basis of the average that you cite, but note that the 10 year treasury is typically the benchmark used for comparison.  The 10yr T is currently at 1.9% (a week ago it was at 1.7%) and that is .7% behind inflation.  The US 3 month is at .06% - historically the difference between this and the 10yr is the expected inflation, but this is not a good indicator now because of operation twist.

Now the really bad news - the US debt is almost is significantly comprised of short term maturities and not the preferred long term that should be floating - this is having the effect of keeping interest costs low as you point out but also exposing our nation to extreme volatility (not unlike the one of the causes of the housing crisis when people got variable rate loans that reset in 1-5 years).  THe 5-year treasury is at 0.8% now. 

Hate to break the news to you but we financing long term issues (because as noted above we can't pay it off ever) with short term variable rate debt.

Any questions?

No questions, but I think you misread the tone of my comment. I absolutely agree that the government has a spending problem. However, I still maintain that even with the complicating factors you mention that comparing the US debt with a household's credit card debt is an extremely poor comparison at best, and outright dishonest at worst.

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2013, 08:02:47 AM »
No questions, but I think you misread the tone of my comment. I absolutely agree that the government has a spending problem. However, I still maintain that even with the complicating factors you mention that comparing the US debt with a household's credit card debt is an extremely poor comparison at best, and outright dishonest at worst.

The credit card analogy merely indicates that we are spending above our means and not that it is at 15% credit card rates - call it a HELOC if that makes you comfortable because those are at 3% right now.  It is also a depiction of our debt to income, which is not good and getting worse.

So the average is 2.5% and mostly constists of notes/bonds with maturities of less than 5 years - that is a lot of interest rate risk.  It is not unimaginable to think that rates could rise to 4% on average causing our interest payments to double to $640B a year - that would just create another enormous hole of $240B - how does that get paid for.  The problem is that foreign buyers don't want to go long, only the US is buying the long bonds - hence if they safehaven status goes away because of better investment alternatives then rates will spike.

The point is it just can't go on and the longer it takes to put curbs in place the worse it gets - and as said elsewhere many many many times nothing proposed by the the democrats or republicans is actually a cut - IT IS SLOWING THE RATE OF SPENDING GROWTH (i.e. cutting things 5-10 years out that are planned for). 

Example - I plan to take a vacation to Miami in 5 years and fly first class, stay in the best hotels, get room services, massages, play golf on the best courses.....I estimate that with my MMM ways I can get the cost down to about $20k (maybe more if DW wants some additional luxuries).....turn the page and I realize things aren't so bright, that's fine, I will still take the trip but now I will stay in a best western, play golf on municipal courses, and spend time at the beach - cost is now estimated at $5000.  WOW - I am really smart and financially prudent I just cut $15000 out of my budget - nevermind that I make minimum wage and owe $100k. 

sol

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2013, 08:49:47 AM »
nothing proposed by the the democrats or republicans is actually a cut - IT IS SLOWING THE RATE OF SPENDING GROWTH (i.e. cutting things 5-10 years out that are planned for). 

This is true for many areas of the budget, but not for discretionary spending.  Remember that we've been under a continuing resolution for three years now, which means the government has been required to spend the exact same amount of dollars this years as last year, and the year before that.  That's not a slowing of the growth rate, that's a zero growth rate.

Or a negative growth rate, when you consider that inflation hasn't gone to zero over the past three years.  Entitlement and defense spending are still growing, sure, but everything else the government does (transportation, science, education, infrastructure, etc) has had flat budgets which pay for less and less every year. 

Personally I'd rather see them cut entitlements and defense, and restore inflation-level growth to all of the things that government provides for us that actually make society function and/or encourage economic growth.

destron

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2013, 08:56:34 AM »
I think I saw a military truck driving on the road so be sure to include all transportation funding under defense and I am sure there are some retired soldiers that are receiving medicare and social security so please include those as well.  I am sure if we work at it we can prove that defense spending really accounts for 100% of all spending.

Military pensions are not the same thing as social security. Military pensions and veteran affairs are directly related to defense spending. That is like saying that paying for police pensions are not part of the cost of the police department.

Saying that debt servicing military spending doesn't count as military spending is like saying the interest on your mortgage isn't part of housing spending.

Saying the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not part of military spending... well, that just doesn't make any sense to me.

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2013, 09:08:55 AM »
nothing proposed by the the democrats or republicans is actually a cut - IT IS SLOWING THE RATE OF SPENDING GROWTH (i.e. cutting things 5-10 years out that are planned for). 

This is true for many areas of the budget, but not for discretionary spending.  Remember that we've been under a continuing resolution for three years now, which means the government has been required to spend the exact same amount of dollars this years as last year, and the year before that.  That's not a slowing of the growth rate, that's a zero growth rate.

Or a negative growth rate, when you consider that inflation hasn't gone to zero over the past three years.  Entitlement and defense spending are still growing, sure, but everything else the government does (transportation, science, education, infrastructure, etc) has had flat budgets which pay for less and less every year. 

Personally I'd rather see them cut entitlements and defense, and restore inflation-level growth to all of the things that government provides for us that actually make society function and/or encourage economic growth.

Again, I agree with you - but the problem seems to be that any changes to entitlements or defense are off the table and those are the two biggest issues.

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2013, 09:10:15 AM »
I think I saw a military truck driving on the road so be sure to include all transportation funding under defense and I am sure there are some retired soldiers that are receiving medicare and social security so please include those as well.  I am sure if we work at it we can prove that defense spending really accounts for 100% of all spending.

Military pensions are not the same thing as social security. Military pensions and veteran affairs are directly related to defense spending. That is like saying that paying for police pensions are not part of the cost of the police department.

Saying that debt servicing military spending doesn't count as military spending is like saying the interest on your mortgage isn't part of housing spending.

Saying the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not part of military spending... well, that just doesn't make any sense to me.

Clearly you didn't get the sarcasm....my main point was that you are off your rocker if you believe that it all totals to half of spending. 

sol

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2013, 09:16:07 AM »
Again, I agree with you - but the problem seems to be that any changes to entitlements or defense are off the table and those are the two biggest issues.

It is precisely because people like you and me, of different political stripes, can agree on what the real problem is and how it needs to get fixed, that I am so baffled about why Congress can't come to the same decisions.

Hence the line in my post above about whether or not they'll continue to do the bare minimum to keep the system limping along, or actually get together on a deal that starts to resolve the problem.

Sadly, I think this may be one of those good parent / bad parent situations, where one side or the other is going to have to play the bad guy for the greater good.  It's a terrible way to run a family and a terrible way to run nation, but in the absence of a consensus parenting plan it may be the only option.  When Mom and Dad are fighting, presenting a unified front for the benefit of the children seems less important than scoring argument points.

sol

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2013, 09:22:17 AM »
Quote
The economy-as-family metaphor is familiar, emotionally intuitive—and incorrect. It’s a fallacy of composition: What’s true for the part is not necessarily true for the whole. While a single family can get its finances back on track by spending less than it earns, it’s impossible for everyone to do that simultaneously. When the plumber skips a haircut, the barber can’t afford to have his drains cleaned.

I think this is an excellent point, and I agree that you can't generate wealth and prosperity by telling everyone to do less.

But perhaps more importantly, this speaks directly to the current policy conflict unfolding between Keynesian and Hayekian economics.  The Republicans are backing Hayek by pushing for austerity.  Nevermind that Europe is double dipping into recession because they made the same choice; America seems incapable of learning from the mistakes of other nations in this regard.

For anyone who's interested, a few minutes spent googling those two names will reward you with a much deeper understanding of what's currently happening in the global economy. 

Lagom

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2013, 09:36:28 AM »
As a lefty myself, I too am nevertheless mistified why things like defence spending and social security are totally off the table. The "need" for the former is blatently wrapped up in residual Cold War paranoia, the defence lobby, and our continued insistence on playing policeman to the world. The latter was initially intended as welfare for seniors, and yet now is seen as an entitlement that middle class people "count on" for their retirement. In both cases, they seem not only good targets for belt tightening, but obvious areas of unecessary spending. Big, fat, low-hanging fruit that everyone wraps in invisible armor...

I was just speaking with a Baby Boomer the other day who was going on about how congress better not cut social security because he wasn't sure if he could afford to retire on the 120k/year that his savings could currently generate :BOGGLE:

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2013, 09:59:43 AM »
I think I saw a military truck driving on the road so be sure to include all transportation funding under defense and I am sure there are some retired soldiers that are receiving medicare and social security so please include those as well.  I am sure if we work at it we can prove that defense spending really accounts for 100% of all spending.

Well, it was the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, you know. Eisenhower wanted to match the advantages the autobahn system seemed to give Germany in WWII, in case of invasion (from... Canada? Mexico? The Russkies were just too far away to be a serious threat. The Soviet fleet was then and always has been a sad joke. At the end of WWII, they weren't even a match for the Royal Canadian Navy.)
So that's another fuckup we can toss at the feet of the military-industrial complex. If it weren't for the incredibly market-distorting trillion-dollar subsidy (cumulative) the highways represent to automotive and trucking interests, the free market would have stuck with the private rail network-- one which, at the time, was once the envy of the world. America would not have peaked its petroleum production until the 1970s, or perhaps even into the 1990s if some of the wilder electrification plans had been carried out, which would have put a huge dent in your trade deficit and many other problems your nation now faces.
Now Amtrak is a joke and the highways are crumbling even at the current unsustainable level of infrastructure funding. As we say in the Franco-Ontarian dialect, le whoops.

destron

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2013, 11:25:50 AM »
I think I saw a military truck driving on the road so be sure to include all transportation funding under defense and I am sure there are some retired soldiers that are receiving medicare and social security so please include those as well.  I am sure if we work at it we can prove that defense spending really accounts for 100% of all spending.

Military pensions are not the same thing as social security. Military pensions and veteran affairs are directly related to defense spending. That is like saying that paying for police pensions are not part of the cost of the police department.

Saying that debt servicing military spending doesn't count as military spending is like saying the interest on your mortgage isn't part of housing spending.

Saying the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not part of military spending... well, that just doesn't make any sense to me.

Clearly you didn't get the sarcasm....my main point was that you are off your rocker if you believe that it all totals to half of spending.

And my point is that defense spending is a very significant portion of the federal budget that needs to be heavily trimmed (in addition to entitlements) in order to make our government solvent.

I did not say that defense was half of spending. I said it was more than half of discretionary spending, which is one category of the federal budget.

There is a really good wikipedia article (it is also well sourced) on defense spending if you are intrested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_defense_budget

Here is a chart of federal spending, showing the defense budget as $689 billion (20%) and discretionary spending as $660 billion (19%): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Federal_Spending_-_FY_2010.svg

iamsoners

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2013, 11:30:23 AM »
There are a lot of reasons why boiling down the national picture into a single family household picture is a problem and overly simplistic.

But, going with it for a minute, as personal finance people, I don't know why everyone looks at these numbers and doesn't say CRAP, that family needs to earn some extra income!  You can argue about cuts all day but let's say you cut spending in half to $17,500 leaving you $4,500 to put towards credit card debt every year. Congratulations, you're looking at a pay off date of 35+ years under extreme austerity.

The clear answer is that family has to raise it's income too.  You can't cut your way out of this problem, it's not possible.

Jamesqf

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2013, 11:47:55 AM »
British economist John Maynard Keynes explained the futility of trying to shrink an economy into prosperity...

(Sigh) Yeah, and Freud explained how the mind works so we have no more mental illness, Christian Science did away with the need for medicine, "Creation Science" explains the origins of life... Why the heck can't reasonable people file these things in the "not even wrong" bin?

Quote
So let’s try a different metaphor. The economy is not a family but an engine that’s stuck in low gear. It doesn’t need a disciplinarian; it needs a mechanic.

A better metaphor yet would be a guy commuting 50 miles to an office job in a jacked-up 15 mpg pickup (bought on credit, naturally), who insists that all his money problems are due to a conspiracy by the oil companies to raise the price of gas.

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2013, 12:01:48 PM »
Again, I agree with you - but the problem seems to be that any changes to entitlements or defense are off the table and those are the two biggest issues.

It is precisely because people like you and me, of different political stripes, can agree on what the real problem is and how it needs to get fixed, that I am so baffled about why Congress can't come to the same decisions.

Hence the line in my post above about whether or not they'll continue to do the bare minimum to keep the system limping along, or actually get together on a deal that starts to resolve the problem.

We all have issues that are near and dear to our heart, which is fine, but it is sad that so few people are unwilling to recognize the main issue at hand.  As you said we have different political views but seem to agree there is an massive issue that needs to be dealt with. 


There are a lot of reasons why boiling down the national picture into a single family household picture is a problem and overly simplistic.

But, going with it for a minute, as personal finance people, I don't know why everyone looks at these numbers and doesn't say CRAP, that family needs to earn some extra income!  You can argue about cuts all day but let's say you cut spending in half to $17,500 leaving you $4,500 to put towards credit card debt every year. Congratulations, you're looking at a pay off date of 35+ years under extreme austerity.

The clear answer is that family has to raise it's income too.  You can't cut your way out of this problem, it's not possible.

Yes, we do and some was just added to the tune of $63 a year, great 4% of the deficit (not budget) is now covered.  Taxes should go up, even if temporarily, but not at the expense of funding bloated, wasteful, or unncessary programs - it has to be both and then hopefully things will stabilize and we will start seeing growth again.

Crash87

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2013, 03:30:10 PM »
The government runs differently than a household.

Taking on debt to invest is not necessarily a bad thing. Taking on debt to cover operating expenses is. I have no idea whether the US debt is being used to cover operating expenses or invest in projects, just thought it's worth mentioning the government doesn't work like a household.

AdrianM

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2013, 07:11:28 PM »
This thread is Hilarious, Only one person has a clue.

The rest are stuck in an argument about narrative.
http://politicalprof.tumblr.com/post/11732709849/control-the-narrative

Fiat currency means we can print whatever we need

projekt

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2013, 07:20:58 PM »
This thread is Hilarious, Only one person has a clue. The rest are stuck in an argument about narrative.

Very true. Not that people are clueless, though. They just can't see the forest. Fundamentally, when that "proportional family" is paying itself with the revenue from its own family business, whence it buys the majority of its supplies and services, the "home economics" are a lot different from the real household.

fiveoh

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2013, 08:03:55 PM »
As a lefty myself, I too am nevertheless mistified why things like defence spending and social security are totally off the table. The "need" for the former is blatently wrapped up in residual Cold War paranoia, the defence lobby, and our continued insistence on playing policeman to the world. The latter was initially intended as welfare for seniors, and yet now is seen as an entitlement that middle class people "count on" for their retirement. In both cases, they seem not only good targets for belt tightening, but obvious areas of unecessary spending. Big, fat, low-hanging fruit that everyone wraps in invisible armor...

I was just speaking with a Baby Boomer the other day who was going on about how congress better not cut social security because he wasn't sure if he could afford to retire on the 120k/year that his savings could currently generate :BOGGLE:

They are off the table because they are political suicide and most of the politicians only care about themselves, not what is good for the country. 

Hamster

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2013, 09:26:42 PM »
No, we have more guns because we're the global target, and have been for most of a century.  We are (depending on your decade) the land of racially impure mongrels, evil capitalist oppressors of the groaning proletariat, the Great Satan playing host to infidels and lascivious women who show their faces in public...
Sorry, I couldn't let the statement go unrebutted. I think that justifying our massive military spending based on a perception that we are a global target for the past century is paranoid and misguided. No number of weapons could have prevented the one attack on US soil since the 1940s, but a less interventionalist foreign policy could have.

You mention the "Great Satan". Well, the foundational reason Iran hates us and has such an anti-US stance is because in 1953, the US and Britain orchestrated the overthrow of the *democratically elected* government of Iran because they nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP). Instead of a democratic system, we installed the Shah as an authoritarian monarch, and provided CIA support to Iran's repressive secret police. That is what led to the popular discontent that resulted in the 1979 Iranian revolution which gave us the current extreme regime in Iran. This is not some conspiracy, but well-documented, and also the interpretation of the CIA itself, a scenario they refer to as "Blowback". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d'%C3%A9tat

Remember Saddam Hussein? Yeah, before he was a "bad guy", he was "our guy". Since he was the enemy of the Iranian State. We supported him militarily and with intelligence, through his use of WMDs against the Kurds. Until we didn't like him anymore... GWBush used Saddam's gassing of the Kurds as justification for the invasion of Iraq post 9/11. True, "He used WMDs against his own people", but that was with our tacit support. And of course, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11...

Speaking of 9/11. That guy, Osama Bin Laden... He made his name as a supporter of the Mujahideen in the 1980s, a group who the US supported against the USSR in Afghanistan. We gave them guns, money, training... In return, some of them formed the Taliban, provided the haven for Bin Laden to train terrorists, and decades later we go back in to clean it up after Bin Laden coordinates an attack on the US.

So, to take the George W Bushian "They hate us because we are free" position is naive, and completely disregards the direct effect of US actions which directly fostered the anti-US sentiments. If we weren't messing around in other countries for political or corporate interests, then we wouldn't need all these guns. The outcome has been a mess for us, and for the states we've messed with. If they really hated freedom, they would have been attacking Hong Kong in the 1990s or something...

Jamesqf

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2013, 11:40:03 AM »
You mention the "Great Satan". Well, the foundational reason Iran hates us and has such an anti-US stance is because in 1953, the US and Britain orchestrated the overthrow of the *democratically elected* government of Iran because they nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP).

Sigh.  Learn a bit about actual history, then try to explain why an event which occurred in 1953 explains fourteen previous centuries of wars waged against the infidel,

Even accepting the story of the US overthrow of a socialist government as fact, instead of leftist whines of the same sort we heard when the Berlin Wall fell, Iran is but one small part of the Dar al Islam, so it likewise seems difficult to use this as an explanation.

As for Saddam, bin Laden, et al, have you never heard of divide and conquer, or sowing dissention amongst one's enemies?

tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2013, 02:05:43 PM »
The government runs differently than a household.

Taking on debt to invest is not necessarily a bad thing. Taking on debt to cover operating expenses is. I have no idea whether the US debt is being used to cover operating expenses or invest in projects, just thought it's worth mentioning the government doesn't work like a household.

For those of you making this argument - let me settle it.....NO SHIT.  The OP is not intended to say it runs like a household but merely to depict the magnitude of the imbalances if it were so simple minded people can at least understand it from a basic simplistic perspective so that we as a country can get together and force our politicians to do something.

But your right, just like a business it is ok to take on debt to invest in productive investments but not to float overhead....unfortunately much of what we spend on is overhead and when the US makes investments they seem to fail miserably or at best be ridiculously over an already inflated original budget. 



tooqk4u22

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #42 on: January 09, 2013, 02:09:01 PM »
This thread is Hilarious, Only one person has a clue.

The rest are stuck in an argument about narrative.
http://politicalprof.tumblr.com/post/11732709849/control-the-narrative

Fiat currency means we can print whatever we need

Funny because its true..not only can we print more and more we can also just wipe out the debt.  The reality is that the US has sufficient land, natural resources and agriculture that we can surive if the world cut us off.  Of course we would have a far different standard of living, but maybe that is not such a bad thing.....time to find my back 40.

WageSlave

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #43 on: January 09, 2013, 02:14:31 PM »
I used to work for a big Fortune 100 company.  At one of the quarterly events where the VP gave a "big picture" presentation to everyone, his theme was, "Great companies make tough decisions during good times".

At the time, I cynically thought it was just the higher-ups' way of rationalizing more cutbacks and austerity, despite the company raking in massive profits.  I left around 2006, so wasn't there during the big 2008 meltdown.  From talking to former colleagues, I know that some hard-core belt-tightening went on.  But on the other hand, I read some articles that talked about how that company ultimately weathered the meltdown/recession substantially better than most companies of its size.

There's already a debate on this thread as to whether the household budget is a good analogy for the government, so I'm sure it's probably also debatable whether or not a large company's management can be compared to the goverment's... but still, surely the high-level, commonsense principles apply: use the good times to prepare for and ultimately weather the bad times.

Seems to me that this kind management is effectively incompatible with the political system.  Let's say times are great, and two candidates are running for office.  One's campaign strategy is one of optimism: "times are great, we should enjoy ourselves, relax our spending restrictions, cut taxes, and we can still afford more stuff".  Versus the stoic candidate's campaign: "yes, times are good, but we have to use this opportunity to stay focused and prepare for the next downturn", or, perhaps more appropriately, "yes, times are good, but we need to use the surplus to pay off the excesses of our past."  Who (besides MMM's readership) is going to vote for the stoic candidate?

Self-employed-swami

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #44 on: January 09, 2013, 02:25:11 PM »
Maybe we can offer Canada a merger opportunity and they can be our white knight - fat chance, they don't want the baggage and even they know they wouldn't be able to provide the same services to our population without extreme hardship/taxes.

This made me LOL!

In high school, I was taught (and it seems to be a reasonably popular belief) that it is our manifest destiny to eventually become the 51st state. 

If you want to join Canada, and enjoy our benefits, ya'll had better prepare for our high marginal tax rates~

http://lsminsurance.ca/calculators/canada/income-tax/taxes-2012

:)

DoubleDown

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Re: US Financial Condition if it were a household
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2013, 11:47:51 AM »
Caught 15 minutes of the movie "Dodgeball" the other night. The tournament announcer said, "It's time to separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, the awkwardly feminine from the possibly Canadian!"

WTF my Canadian brethren?  Why do they speak of you so?