Russ Feingold

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Re: Russ Feingold

Postby GreatCarouser » Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:42 pm

Of course the debt will never be a problem as long as we can continue to 'pay it forward' to the next generation. They are only a 'theoretical' consideration anyway. As long as we continue to produce at a rate greater than the debt consumes us we can keep juggling forever.

It's great to print money legally, isn't it? Also great to never fear any creditors because they can't 'enforce collection'. Truly, it's good to be the king....
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Re: Russ Feingold

Postby Shapley » Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:08 pm

Barfle,

I cited the Civil War as the first egregious violation of the Constitutional design, but I hardly think it was the first violation. It is often cited as the beginning of the end of our republican form of government.

GC,

Keeping in mind that close to half of the Federal debt is owed to the federal government, i.e. 'intragovernmental holdings' (borrowing from Social Security, etc.), the actual debt is significantly lower than the 8.4 trillion cited ( Which, by the way, is about $40 billion less today than it was Friday).

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Re: Russ Feingold

Postby barfle » Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:39 am

A debt is an obligation to pay, so no matter who you borrow from, you have an obligation to pay, sooner or later. That's something I have seen the federal government do very little of over the period I've been paying attention.

But, as long as nobody's clamoring to get their money back, it's not really a problem. How to keep them from clamoring to get their money back could be, though.

The thing I personally find fascinating is the interest expense of so much debt. There were some small but measurable declines during the later Clinton years, but the present "conservative" administration has it breaking records again. About 14% of the federal outlay for FY2005 was for debt interest. A third of a trillion dollars vanished, simply because congress can't figure out that spending money you haven't earned is more expensive than spending the money you actually have.
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Re: Russ Feingold

Postby Shapley » Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:14 am

Barfle,

Actually, We pay money back all the time, there just always seem to be people waiting in line to lend us more. I, myself, have relieved the government of it's debt to me by cashing in my Savings Bonds. At the same time, however, my retirement plan seems to have purchased a few treasury notes, so they're back in my debt again. And so it goes.

I guess it's not unlike the credit card companies. Seems like everytime I get the things paid off, I need a new lawn mower or the family is ready to go on vacation. The credit card companies are always willing to lend me some more money to fill these 'needs'.

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Re: Russ Feingold

Postby barfle » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:21 am

It's actually the "clamoring" part I'm expressing concern about. Every organization with a large customer or supplier base has statistics that tell them fairly accurately how many eggs they are going to sell in a given week. But egg sales can be affected by things like salmonella outbreaks or someone eating an omelet in a hit movie.

I don't know what it would take for the Chinese we've borrowed from to lose faith in the notes they've purchased, but I would be surprised if there weren't a trigger we should make sure doesn't get pulled.

I probably get three or four offers in the mail every week for credit cards. That doesn't mean it's wise to accept them all.
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Re: Russ Feingold

Postby shostakovich » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:37 am

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be:
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry."

from Shakespeare's Hamlet

As I was looking up quotes on borrowing and lending, I was surprised to find so many that suggested the human race is mainly divided into two species: borrowers and lenders. YUCK!
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Re: Russ Feingold

Postby OperaTenor » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:40 am

Originally posted by barfle:

But, as long as nobody's clamoring to get their money back, it's not really a problem. How to keep them from clamoring to get their money back could be, though.

That is a looming problem, isn't it?

Think of it this way: We're rattling our nuclear saber at Iran. The Chinese not only own the largest chunk of our debt(ironically, I think that's where a lot of our current defense spending is coming from), but is currently experiencing huge growth in oil demand. China buys an awful lot of its oil from Iran.

If we nuke Iran, who's it gonna piss off?

Let's face it: That idiot in the White House wants to destroy the world, and at the rate he's going, he just might get 'er done by the end of his second term.

<small>[ 04-20-2006, 12:41 PM: Message edited by: OperaTenor ]</small>
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Re: Russ Feingold

Postby Shapley » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:46 am

From the U.S. Constitution:

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States; [emphasis mine]

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.


Notice that, while the Constitution authorizes Congress to borrow money, it doesn't say a thing about paying it back....
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