National Debt

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National Debt

Postby shostakovich » Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:25 pm

I thought my work was done today, but then I read the paper. Congress has just raised the limit of debt to $9 trillion, $3 trillion of which is covered by foreign nations. From the newspaper:

"The nation's first 42 presidents took 224 years to roll up $1 trillion in foreign-held debt. In the last 5 years, that foreign-held amount has more than doubled, and promises to keep soaring."

Later on, from Comptroller General David Walker:

"Continuing on this imprudent and unsustainable fiscal path will gradually erode, if not suddenly damage, our economy, and ultimately our national security."


Frankly, I don't see why the threat was not exposed during the last campaign. The rising debt was known. Any politician who avoided the T-word to save his/her ass at the expense of the country should be roundly condemned now and for the rest of the year.

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Re: National Debt

Postby OperaTenor » Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:37 am

Yes, we've gone around about the dangers of this astronomical, exponentially rising debt are to the country, but the response has always been, "debt is good".

It's just more extremely near-sighted, blinder-focused perspective that will unduly burden our children.

At this point, it looks like we'll be lucky if that's all that happens.

<Oops, I just made a political post. Darn. I guess the genie's back out of the bottle.....>
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Re: National Debt

Postby analog » Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:46 am

Well, here's one REAL gloomy prediction...

http://newropeans-magazine.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3463&Itemid=85

And I thought Harry Browne was pessimistic!
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Re: National Debt

Postby barfle » Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:47 am

I keep wondering when the Japanese and Chinese are going to get gun shy about buying US debt. Then the defecation really will hit the ventilation.
:eek:
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Re: National Debt

Postby analog » Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:15 pm

I worry more about when they come to cash in their chips. They could pretty near buy the whole wheat belt.

<small>[ 03-18-2006, 03:36 PM: Message edited by: analog ]</small>
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Re: National Debt

Postby OperaTenor » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:20 am

Yes, we'd be reduced to third world status in about two heartbeats, and become the next superpower's agricultural supplier.
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Re: National Debt

Postby Shapley » Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:50 pm

OT,

St. Patrick's Day is over, and with it the special dispensation that allowed me to discuss politics.

However, I feel obligated to point out a glaring error in your post:

RE:Yes, we've gone around about the dangers of this astronomical, exponentially rising debt are to the country, but the response has always been, "debt is good".

My argument and, I believe, that of Haggis has not been 'debt is good' but rather that the debt is not as big of a deal as everyone makes it out to be.

I would comment more, but I gave up politics for Lent.

V/R
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Re: National Debt

Postby OperaTenor » Sun Mar 19, 2006 10:37 pm

Hmm, then I guess I get the last word. :p

While that generalization may be acceptable, this is one exception where it absolutely is not, for two primary reasons:

1) The obscene, astronomical size of the debt, and
2) The large percentage of it that is foreign-owned.

And no, your characterization of your argument doesn't wash, either. You contended that running a deficit is a sign of a healthy economy, and that this humungous deficit GWB is running up is no big deal.
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Re: National Debt

Postby Shapley » Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:06 pm

Quod scripsi, scripsi.
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Re: National Debt

Postby Shapley » Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:25 pm

http://www.fms.treas.gov/bulletin/b2006-1ofs.doc

Notice that, according to table OFS-2, the percentage of foreign debt dropped significantly around the year 2000, and has only recently passed the high mark previously set in 1997-1999. Based on this, I think one thing is obvious, foreigners like to invest in America when the American economy is good.

The funny thing is, I don't recall anyone making a big deal out of foreign ownership of the debt in 1999.

V/R
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<small>[ 03-20-2006, 01:17 PM: Message edited by: Shapley ]</small>
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Re: National Debt

Postby barfle » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:34 am

Originally posted by Shapley:
The funny thing is, I don't recall anyone making a big deal out of foreign ownership of the debt in 1999.
I seem to recall it being a topic of pundit conversation in the 1980s. I don't know if that qualifies as a "big deal" in your book or not.
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Re: National Debt

Postby Shapley » Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:01 am

Barfle,

Yes, it was a topic in the Republican '80s, not in the Democrat '90s, and now it's a topic again in the Republican '00s.

There seems to be a common thread here, but I can't quite put my finger on it...

V/R
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Re: National Debt

Postby piqaboo » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:01 pm

I remember it being a very large topic in the late 90s.Along with the Japanese purchase of all things American. Think back a bit.... you can do it......
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Re: National Debt

Postby OperaTenor » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:51 pm

Hi Shap,

In 1999, I considered myself a conservative. I have since edjumacated myself.

:D
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Re: National Debt

Postby Shapley » Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:16 pm

Piq,

I Googled it a bit, trying to find editorials about it, but came up blank. Of course, I didn't take the time to wade through 250,000 or so hits, so I might be mistaken. Most of the hits were recent articles citing the situation in 1999, as I did.

I do recall some television shows in the '70s that bemoaned the amount of our debt held by OPEC nations, but I don't recall if that was during the Nixon or the Carter era, or both. Probably both.

V/R
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I'm getting too political with this topic. As long as it was about economics, I was okay, but now that I'm getting political, I'll have to give it up till Lent is over.

<small>[ 03-21-2006, 01:40 PM: Message edited by: Shapley ]</small>
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Re: National Debt

Postby shostakovich » Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:04 pm

The funny thing is, I don't recall anyone making a big deal out of foreign ownership of the debt in 1999.

V/R
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-----------------------------------------------------
Monica was the news. Increasing debt was not. Outsourcing was not a big item news issue then. We trusted our legislators (marginally?) more then. Clinton wasn't doing EVERYTHING wrong. The president's party was not running from him. Gas prices were half what they are now. We were not lied into a disastrous, unnecessary war.

This is now.

It's amazing just how much it takes for the public to notice incompetent leadership in a supposedly "moral" man.
Shos
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Re: National Debt

Postby Shapley » Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:26 pm

RE:We were not lied into a disastrous, unnecessary war.

What about the NATO invasion of Bosnia. Never mind that it did not in any way coincide with NATO's mission. If the President had been honest, he would have told us that we were sending troops into Bosnia so that NATO would have a reason to continue to exist after the fall of the Warsaw Pact.

V/R
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Re: National Debt

Postby OperaTenor » Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:38 pm

Originally posted by shostakovich:


It's amazing just how much it takes for the public to notice incompetent leadership in a supposedly "moral" man.

Shos
That may be part of it, or what the general public view may be, but to me it's more a question of what's behind that.

I've come to the opinion that it's all in how we get our information, and how hard we're willing/able to work for it.

I used to think of the MSM as "liberal": That every news paper was defacto a bleeding heart organization. That may have been closer to true sometime in the past, but, especially in the last several years, news organizations have generally come to the conclusion that they are in business to make a profit, and that providing accurate, up-to-date, factual information is secondary to selling copy.

This is a comprehensive and accurate(I believe) view of journalsim today, and largely supports my contention(o happy coincidence).

The root of the problem is there is no simple way to find out what's going on in your own town anymore, much less the world, based on objective and thorough information. The current solution(and I was afforded the opportunity to ask Dante Chinni directly about this) involves a lot of work on the part of the consumer. We can only be assured of getting accurate information by culling varied sources throughout the media, and throughout the world, and then running that through a sieve to sort out the facts. It all sounds well and good, but who has time for all of that?! The vast majority of us don't have time to become information junkies because we're struggling just to make ends meet. We end up relying on a primary news and information source(unfortunatley, not enough people have seen OutFoxed!), and end up with at best an incomplete perspective, and at worst(Faux), a heavily biased, skewed view of the world.

I guess the bottom line is, we're in this mess becuase we're either unwilling or unable to make the quest for truth(and therefore justice) a top priority in our lives. If Faux News characterizes GWB as a "moral" man, and uses carefully selected and edited information to back it up, who are most of us to try to see past it? If GWB stuffs a pair of socks in the crotch of his flight suit, makes sure Sandy Eggo isn't visible to the cameras(you know, just out there past the carrier island), and hops off that plane with a helmet tucked under his arm, who's to say he's not Teddy Roosevelt and John Wayne reincarnated into one fearless leader?!
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Re: National Debt

Postby OperaTenor » Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:42 pm

Originally posted by Shapley:
RE:[b]We were not lied into a disastrous, unnecessary war.

What about the NATO invasion of Bosnia. Never mind that it did not in any way coincide with NATO's mission. If the President had been honest, he would have told us that we were sending troops into Bosnia so that NATO would have a reason to continue to exist after the fall of the Warsaw Pact.

V/R
Shapley [/b]
How many U.S. troops died in combat there?
How many civilans died there as a direct result of our actions?
How much war already exsisted there compared to Iraq prior to our involvement?
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Re: National Debt

Postby haggis » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:46 pm

Bosnia,
Absolutely the worst (and best) example you could have picked, Shos. What’s changed there? We still have thousands of GIs committed there with no end in sight. They will still be there after the GIs in Iraq come home and nothing will change. Bosnia will be/is ranked as a U.S. failure of monumental proportions. Not because any GIs died (they didn’t/haven’t) but because we did nothing to stop the genocide, in fact we probably have aided it. I retired from the USAF 2 years before I had intended because they wanted to send me there and I didn’t want the stains of America’s cowardice to be the last military legacy I contributed to in my 30 years.

In Bosnia such "firmness," as demonstrated by President Clinton in the form of aerial bombardment, came from a paralyzed America only after three years of genocidal war and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. In Kosovo, the firmness came in the same form; but it did not "stop armies," at least not for seventy-nine days, and it is a difficult argument to make that it saved lives—or at least that it saved Kosovo lives.

Maybe some day there will be a method to calculate how many Kosovars had to be displaced, how many had to die, so that NATO could prosecute its "perfect" war. How many fewer might have died if the "campaign" had targeted—or had plausibly threatened to target—the men with guns who were killing and expelling the people America's President had sworn to protect? Such a war would have held risks for Americans and apparently the politicians then did not have the guts to tell their countrymen that fact.

That’s what we’re proud of? How about Haiti? When Clinton was forced to send American troops into Haiti he did it in a way certain to avoid casualties—few Haitian paramilitaries were disarmed or other risks taken,(I know, because I help write the rules of engagement for the Air Force units that were on the ground there)—and the invading force suffered no casualties while Haiti today remains arguably worse off than before.

In any honest effort to bring change where chaos and evil reign, the price will always be blood. Some people, Shos and now OT, I guess, don’t believe that the price is worth it. I’m, sorry that we didn’t get the chance to pay the butcher’s bill in Iran when our embassy was taken, I truly believe that drawing a bloody line in the sand there would have spared many American lives in the decades that followed.

I believe that President Bush should be held responsible for his words and for persuading the American people that some causes, once embraced, are worth the risk. I suspect that Shos and OT feel the same, just not as sure of the outcome that I am.
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