Can America afford to be great anymore? Many say, “no”


A friend posted this on Facebook:

“As of today our total national debt is roughly $17 1/2 trillion. Of that number nearly $12 1/2 trillion is publicly owed. Can you even get your mind around it?”

To which I responded:

As a portion of GDP, our national debt was much greater in 1946.

So, the Congress did what it had to do.

Congress borrowed money to educate millions of returning veterans, and to subsidize their homes. The greatest education aid and housing aid programs in history, both in the GI Bill.

Poster honoring the Marshall Plan, to rebuild Europe after World War II -- on borrowed money.

Poster honoring the Marshall Plan, to rebuild Europe after World War II — on borrowed money.

Congress borrowed money to give it away to our allies in World War II, to rebuild their industrial capabilities, on the assumption that an ally with a strong industrial base and good economy is stronger, and can come to our aid if and when we need it.

Congress borrowed money to give it away to our enemies in World War II, to rebuild their industrial capabilities, because a nation with a good economy and health trade tends to stay out of war. Those nations became our allies.

Congress borrowed to build the greatest road system in history, connecting nearly every corner of America — under the pretense that such a road system would allow us to move troops and armaments quickly from coast to coast in event of a defense emergency.

Congress borrowed to finance space exploration, to go to the Moonbecause, you know, it’s hard.

Congress borrowed to build a library in every county in America, and fill it with books — so that if there were ever nuclear war, everybody who survived would be close to the information necessary to rebuild civilization.

Congress borrowed to build the world’s greatest air transportation system, with airports for sport, business and commercial aviation all over the place.

Congress borrowed to build sewer systems and water systems, doubling down on public health service spending, to prevent disease and make health people.

Funny things happened. Our economy boomed. The world economy boomed. Millions of new jobs were created, filled by people who paid whopping taxes. And the debt sorta melted away.
___________

When I hear people complain about our national debt, and how we as Americans must stop spending money, I hear them saying, “We cannot afford to be great anymore. Our time as the world’s leading economy and leading democracy has passed. It will be a lot cheaper for the nation to curl into a national fetal position, and then taxes won’t be so high.”

That’s what I hear the GOP saying, when they urge tax cuts for the rich, while taking away food stamps from the families of our military deployed overseas.  (Can you imagine anything like that happening during World War II? Not even “interned” families of soldiers went hungry.)

In 1946 — and in 1948, 1950, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1968, and other election years — there were plenty of Americans who said “we can’t afford the Marshall Plan; we can’t afford foreign aid; we can’t afford to build all these roads; we can’t afford to go to the Moon; we can’t afford to pay for college (or other schooling) for all these veterans/students.”

What would America look like, had leaders listened to those people, and then NOT borrowed the money to build America?  What would the world look like?

I don’t think George Washington spent 8 years at war to curl into the fetal position and give up.

Am I wrong?

The future of an America that is afraid to be great, even if we need to borrow money to do it? (Image from Brogan Knight)

The future of an America that is afraid to be great, even if we need to borrow money to do it? (Image from Brogan Knight)

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49 Responses to Can America afford to be great anymore? Many say, “no”

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Again, no one should have to visit the tax man and a mortician on the same day…even Paris Hilton.

    Of course, in reality, no one visits the mortician and the tax man on the same day, unless they choose to. If one’s benefactor dies on April 14, taxes have a year and a day to get settled. A death on December 31 may shorten the time, but probably not.

    Estate taxes affect only the very, very rich, and very stupid who don’t plan transitions to the next generation well. A farmer with a lot of land, and little cash, should devise the land in increments (keeping a life estate) to his heirs, avoiding taxes, and making a smooth transition. Perhaps more effective, devise the land to a trust to be held for the heirs. Taxes reduced dramatically.

    Reality is that the increase in wealth is facilitated by the government’s making the wealth increase possible. It’s in the best interest of the nation to collect fair taxes from the very wealthy.

    Those who complain about “death taxes,” are not patriots.

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  2. lowerleavell says:

    Sounds like there have been some very recent estate tax changes. According to “taxpolicycenter” the estate tax dropped to $1 mil in 2013 and an estimated $40 billion dollars was collected in estate taxes. 114k plus estates payed the tax. So apparently the tax exemption has jumped to 5.43 million in 2 years? Interesting. It appears I’ve been working with old data. It always does, but it should never surprise me how fast tax rates, rules, and codes change in this country!

    In principle, I’m still not a fan of any death tax. However, if capital gains taxes have never been taxed then I would understand setting up a policy to simply tax capital gains at the 5.43 mil level (ish). Take away taxes on farming property so that farmers of the next generation do not have to sell off acreage to pay for their loved one’s death.

    Again, no one should have to visit the tax man and a mortician on the same day…even Paris Hilton.

    Like

  3. JamesK says:

    This is the results of Republican economic beliefs: http://reverbpress.com/politics/conservative-failure-kansas-schools-close-early-due-state-budget-cuts-video/

    They run up massive deficits and debts by giving more and more tax cuts and welfare to the rich and then demand that the poor and the middle class be the ones to sacrifice to pay for it.

    Tell me, Joe, why shouldn’t the ones who have benefitted from the GOP’s precious “supply side economics” be the ones to have to pay to fix it?

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  4. JamesK says:

    So far in the 3.5 months since the Republicans took over the senate they have handed out over half a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the top few and large corporations. Then there is their trillion dollar plus bailout promise to Wall Street.

    And who is going to have to pay for trillion and a half dollars, Joe?

    You, me, Ed and the rest of us average Americans..

    If you wonder why America can’t afford to be great anymore, Joe, it’s because your party has sold out the country and our best interests.

    And yet there you sit..still supporting them despite the fact that they are actively seeking to screw you over.

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  5. JamesK says:

    From: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=2655

    Much of the money that wealthy heirs inherit would never face any taxation were it not for the estate tax. In fact, that’s one reason why policymakers created the estate tax in 1916: to serve as a backstop to the income tax, taxing the income of wealthy taxpayers that would otherwise go completely untaxed.
    Under the current tax system, capital gains tax is due on the appreciation of assets, such as real estate, stock, or an art collection, only when the owner “realizes” the gain (usually by selling the asset). Therefore, the increase in the value of an asset is never subject to income tax if the owner holds on to the asset until death.[13]
    These unrealized capital gains account for a significant proportion of the assets held by estates — ranging from 32 percent for estates worth between $5 million and $10 million to as much as about 55 percent of the value of estates worth more than $100 million. (See Figure 3.)[14]
    The estate tax also serves as a modest corrective to other tax rules that provide massive tax benefits to income from wealth, such as the fact that capital gains are taxed at lower rates than wages and salaries. The top 0.1 percent of taxpayers — those with incomes above $3.2 million — will receive more than 50 percent of the benefit of the preferential capital gains rates in 2015, worth about $500,000 apiece.[15] Other tax rules allow part of the income of the very wealthiest to go completely untaxed, even with the estate tax.[16]
    Since the estate tax serves, in part, to tax capital gains that have not otherwise been taxed, some people have proposed taxing estates at the top capital gains rate, currently 23.8 percent. This argument is flawed: the capital gains tax rates typically apply to nearly all capital gains income, whereas the estate tax applies only to the part of an estate that exceeds the exemption level. The estate tax’s average effective rate of 16.6 percent in 2013 was below the capital gains rate.)

    So, Joe, this isn’t really a case of taxing something that was already taxed….this is a case of making sure something that wasn’t taxed yet actually gets taxed.

    Why should Mitt Romney’s children get their entire future fortune tax free?

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  6. JamesK says:

    And joe this claim of yours that “taxes cause companies to fire people” is nonsense. If that was true then there wouldn’t have been any jobs between 1947-1979 when taxes on the top few was more than double what it is currently.

    Nor does cutting taxes create jobs. If that was true George W Bush wouldn’t have had the worst job creation record of any President since Herbert Hoover.

    And again, Joe, why should any of us average Americans have to pay just so Paris Hilton and the rest of the top .2% can have a tax cut? Does Paris Hilton really need a tax cut?

    Oh btw, Joe, the top rate of the estate tax is already 40%.

    To quote: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/01/republicans-have-a-new-plan-to-cut-taxes-for-the-top-2-percent/

    That’s how many households pay the estate tax now: 2 out of 1,000. Why so low? Well, the first $5.43 million that an individual or $10.86 million that a couple leaves behind isn’t taxed when they pass away. The estate tax, with its 40 percent top rate, only kicks in for anything more than that. And even then, creative accountants and big deductions can shield a lot of the rest from Uncle Sam. So it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between the top marginal tax rate and the effective tax rate that estates pay. Since the super-rich only owe the estate tax on some of what they own, they actually pay, on average, 16.6 percent of the value of their estate. Republicans like to say that this is still too big a burden on small businesses and family-owned farms, but the reality, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, is that only 20 of them—in total—owed any estate tax in 2013, and then at just an average rate of 4.9 percent.

    The bigger problem, though, is that a lot of times the estate tax isn’t a double tax. That’s because of a loophole called “step-up basis” that lets heirs avoid paying any tax on some capital gains. Here’s how it works. Suppose you bought $1 million of stocks that become worth $10 million by the time you pass away. That’s a $9 million capital gain you’d owe tax on, which, at the 23.8 percent rate, works out to about $2 million for the IRS. But—here’s the magic—you can make that capital gain disappear from the government’s point-of-view if you don’t sell your stock and leave it to your kids instead. Why? Because the capital gain your heirs are taxed on isn’t based on the original price, or basis, you bought it at, but rather the new price that they inherited it at. So, in this case, your kids would only owe taxes, whenever they sell the stock, on any gains above $10 million—and your $9 million gain before that would go untaxed. Now in theory, you could get rid of the estate tax, and, as long as you also got rid of step-up basis, it at least wouldn’t be a massive giveaway to the top 0.2 percent. But that’s not the Republican plan. They don’t want to tax heirs at all: neither an estate tax nor step-up basis. In other words, a $246 billion gift to the Paris Hiltons of the world over the next decade.

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  7. JamesK says:

    And again..can you name anything the Republicans have done that actually benefits poor and middle class Americans, Joe?

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  8. JamesK says:

    As for this: The dead person doesn’t care – so in that sense I don’t care. But the family who just lost their mom or dad is now faced with possibly breaking apart a company, laying people off, etc.

    Let me know when you can come up with actual evidence of that happening.

    Because your party’s concern is hypocritical on two fronts.

    That tax cut is going to have to be paid for by the rest of us. Why you think I, Ed, and you should be made poorer just so Paris Hilton can have relief from a tax that doesn’t even actually harm her I have no damn idea. That tax cut will add nearly 400 billion dollars to the deficit. Aren’t you and your party the ones who keep on claim you’re oh so worried about the deficit?

    And how does that tax cut help the rest of us, Joe?

    Back when the Democrats held the senate for two years during W’s presidency the Republicans wanted to get rid of the estate tax then.

    Their supposed reasoning? Because they want to help small businesses and family farms.

    So the Democrats proposed a compromise. They would agree to lift the exemption on the tax to $50 million dollars.

    The Republican response? They refused.

    So the Democrats proposed lifting the exemption on the tax to $100 million dollars. Meaning no estate worth less then 100 million dollars would have to pay the estate tax.

    The Republicans still refused.

    So much for the Republicans concern for small businesses and family farms.

    That tax cut is nothing more than a giveaway to people who 1: aren’t harmed actually by the tax and 2: who have quite enough money as it is.

    There is no business that has ever been broken up or forced to fire people because of the estate tax. Your party has been making that claim for years and has never…not once..provided any evidence to back the claim up.

    So again..Joe…why should you and I and Ed and the rest of us average middle class and poor Americans have to pay and sacrifice just to give the top .2% of the country a tax cut they don’t need and will not benefit the rest of us?

    oh btw.. it is .2% not 2%.

    Why? because only 2 out of every 1,000 households pay the estate tax.

    That doesn’t work out to 2%, Joe, that works out to .2%.

    if it was 2% it would be 2 out of every 100..not every 1000.

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=5293

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  9. JamesK says:

    Joe…why do the richest top 2% need a tax break that we’re going to have to pay for?

    And the person who died isn’t paying the tax..its the person who inherits. WHy? Because they suddenly got an increase in income.

    The estate tax is an income tax.

    It shouldn’t be taxed..why? Because the richest few percent are somehow special?

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Found one in the spammer, Joe. Hope that’s all. Can’t figure out why Kismet likes you so much.

    Like

  11. Ed Darrell says:

    Hey, Paris Hilton is down to just three Ferraris. She NEEDS that tax break.

    The single mother in Tupelo, Mississippi doesn’t mind working eight more hours a week to help pay for Paris’s cars, does she? Nor would a Chik-fil-A manager in Arizona. Hilton’s gotta have her baubles!

    Like

  12. lowerleavell says:

    Another comment hit the spam filter, I think. Weird.

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  13. lowerleavell says:

    It’s actually 2%, not .2%. As investor daily quipped, “You shouldn’t have to visit the undertaker and the taxman on the same day.” Personally, I oppose the tax in principle – you should be able to pass on your company and your assets to your children (or whoever) without paying taxes on your death. Honestly, the only thing that happens to warrant the tax is someone dies! Gives whole new meaning to death and taxes! To me, it smacks of vulture type conduct to prey off the carcasses of the dead for taxes. Grave robbers, shaking down corpses for money, if you will. Have we really come to that as a society where we’re defending that practice??

    The dead person doesn’t care – so in that sense I don’t care. But the family who just lost their mom or dad is now faced with possibly breaking apart a company, laying people off, etc. because of the government. Shoot – the top rate is like 40% and Obama wants it to go higher! Can you imagine working all your life to build a company only at your death to see 40% of it given over to the government??

    Anyway, there’s a lot there, but suffice it to say that even if I disagreed with the vote in principle (which has no chance of ever passing farther than the house, btw) you still haven’t said any reason to vote for the opposition.

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  14. JamesK says:

    So yesterday the GOP voted to give the top .2% a $269 billion dollar tax break that the rest of us are going to have to pay for. How? Because they voted to repeal the estate tax..a tax that doesn’t affect 99.8% of the country.

    And you say the Democrats are changing the framework of this country, Joe?

    No, Joe, it’s the Republicans doing so because they have spent the last forty years changing the country from a country where everyone can get ahead into a aristocratic oligarchy.

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  15. JamesK says:

    can you name one actual thing, JOe, that the GOP has done that actually benefits the poor and the middle class with actual provable evidence of said benefit?

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  16. JamesK says:

    and actually, Joe, I’m not trying to get you to vote Democrat. I’m trying to tell you that your party is not going to change until it is absolutely forced to. As long as you and yours keep on, no matter how noxious your party has become, voting for it..they will not change. Because they have no reason to….you still vote for them.

    and the claim that the Democrats are worse for the country then the Republicans is downright laughable. We’re not the ones trying to change the framework of the country, Joe, your party is. it used to be that if you worked you got ahead in this country.

    But for near 40 years now, Joe, ever since the rise of Reagan’s supply side economics and your party coming into actual power that is no longer the case.

    And you want to think the Democrats are changing the framework of the country? really?

    The only framework that has changed that has been detrimental to your party, Joe, is the loss of absolute white dominance.

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  17. JamesK says:

    to quote: I think you misjudge many on the right, or at least some, but the problems on the Left and their vision for reworking our entire national framework, dwarf the problems of the GOP.

    oh really? how? specifics please.

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  18. JamesK says:

    last time I checked, Joe, there are more options then just the GOP and the Democrats.

    Like

  19. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe, even if what you believe about the Democrats is true [see previous post; substitute “GOP” for “Democrats,” and vice versa]

    Like

  20. lowerleavell says:

    James, even if what you believe about the GOP is all true (which is an enormous “if”), what do you think my opinion of the Democratic ideals and candidates must be if I am still willing to vote for the GOP candidate over their rivals on the Left?

    Pointing out problems in the GOP is not a reason to vote for their rivals anymore than saying I should support Stalin because Hitler is evil.

    I think you misjudge many on the right, or at least some, but the problems on the Left and their vision for reworking our entire national framework, dwarf the problems of the GOP. I am frustrated and often angry with “my” party but absolutely appalled and sickened at their political opposition. So I do the best I can in the primaries to help guide who we are nominating but after that I tend to hold my nose as I go to the polls and vote for the one smells less like decayed flesh.

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  21. JamesK says:

    And Joe I have told you countless times that the GOP will never change until you and all you average Republicans stop supporting and voting for them.

    You and yours are just as much to blame as those in your party you rail against.

    They are destroying the country and you and yours won’t stop helping them. And then you wonder why your lives are getting worse and worse economically.

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  22. JamesK says:

    *inserts the word “party” after “modern day Republican”

    Like

  23. JamesK says:

    I did? My apologies for that as well.

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  24. JamesK says:

    and in another example of the GOP, once the party of..you know…conservation (which shares the same root word as “conservative”) has abandoned its roots and is wanting to sell off the country to the highest bidder:

    reverbpress.com/news/senate-republicans-vote-to-sell-off-our-national-parks/

    Modern day Republicans…..not content until they have utterly destroyed the country.

    Like

  25. lowerleavell says:

    Yeah Ed, my last comment hit the spam filter, I think.

    James, I don’t mind. You’ve called me a terrorist before so boneheaded is a big step up. ;-)

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  26. JamesK says:

    The part I apologized for is I shouldn’t have directed it at Joe specifically.

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  27. JamesK says:

    As I remember from when I wrote the paragraph you’re asking about, Ed, the word that I had in my head was “boneheaded.”

    So no, I don’t think it is a euphemism. At least not meant as one.

    Like

  28. lowerleavell says:

    James, you post as if you’re posting to the chairman of the RNC. It’s just little old me over here. If you want to actually converse with what I think (the point of blogging) rather than the entire umbrella of the GOP, let me know.

    James said, “You small government republicans are no better and the libertarians in your party are a disaster.”

    I’m hoping they’ll balance each other out. Right now it’s kind of a tug-of-war, but I’m hoping that some wisdom will come out of it where the important aspect of governmental function will be made more effective and the wasteful aspects of government will be done away with.

    James said, “You think all spending is bad.”

    You really don’t know me at all, do you? When have I ever said spending is bad? It’s just a basic math issue here. I’m not a fan of wasteful and stupid spending, but investing tax dollars where they meet the needs as designed I’m all for. For example, in AZ most people I talk to would go for a hike in our tax rates if we knew it would actually make it into teacher’s pockets and into the classrooms. The problem is that a massive part of our budget goes to pensions and welfare. The problem isn’t taxes, or even spending in my mind – the problem is that that the constituents don’t trust their government officials to actually use their tax dollars wisely of effectively.

    But it’s tough, because more and more I don’t trust my fellow citizens have the best interest of the country in mind either. I saw a report that showed over 6 million social security cards of people over 112 are still active – making it possible to steal identity – over 67,000 of them were still actively being used. The IRS estimates it paid out over 5.8 billion in 2013 as a result of fraudulent usages of social security numbers….just an example of government not running effectively and our citizens (if they are citizens) taking advantage in defrauding the taxpayer.

    James said, “At no point in the last 40 years has your party sacrificed anything of its own to deal with the debt. So why in God’s name should we listen to you and your party on the subject?”

    You do remember that when Clinton (who got credit for it) balanced the budget it was with a Republican congress, right?

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  29. JamesK says:

    From: https://www.nationalpriorities.org/charts/partial/discretionary/

    Care to guess what is the only one of those listed in that chart, Joe, that the GOP doesn’t cut? Care to guess which one of those is the only one that the GOP increases spending on in their proposed budget?

    Does that sound at all moral? Does that sound at all like what a Christian should support?

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  30. JamesK says:

    The following is from National Priorities.org.

    Discretionary spending 2015: 1.16 trillion

    55.2% of it, 640 billion dollars, will go to the military
    6.2% of it, 71.5 billion dollars, will go to education
    5.6% of it, 55.5 billion dollars, will go to veterans benefits
    5.5% of it, 63.9 billion, will go to the government
    5.3% of it, 50.9 billion, will go to housing and community
    4.9% of it, 56.7 billion, will go to medicare and health
    4.8% of it, 56.1 billion, will go to social security, unemployment and labor
    3.3% of it, 38.4 billion, will go to energy and environment
    3.3% of it, 38.2 billion, will go to international affairs
    2.5% of it, 29.2 billion, will go to science.
    2.3% of it, 26.1 billion, will go to transportation
    1.1% of it, 12.8 billion, will go to food and agriculture. (this includes food stamps)

    And yet under the GOP budget the only part of the discretionary budget that does not get slashed is the military.

    Does that sound at all moral, Joe? Does that sound at all Christian?

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  31. JamesK says:

    Actually I should have wrote that paragraph thusly:

    We can’t be so worried about spending and the deficit that it leads us to make asinine shortsighted decisions that harm the country in the long term. Not all spending is bad and not all cutting of spending is good. There is spending we need to make.

    My apologies for not doing so in the first place.

    There are times, Joe, where bailouts are necessary. But it should be done for the right reasons and promising a bunch of rich fatcats a bailout if they crash the economy again is not the right reason. the difference between the bailout of Wall Street and the auto bailout, which I remind you was instigated under W, is the reason why.

    Dwight Eisenhower said “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

    I’m a liberal Democrat, Joe, and yet I’m being more of a Republican than either you or the entirety of the GOP when it comes to this subject. Eisenhower was exactly right.

    At no point in the last 40 years has your party sacrificed anything of its own to deal with the debt. So why in God’s name should we listen to you and your party on the subject?

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  32. Ed Darrell says:

    “Boneheaded?”

    Is that accurate?

    Or, as I suspect, were you using a euphemism because the real description isn’t suitable for a family blog.

    Like

  33. James Kessler says:

    An american making $50 grand pays about $50 dollars in taxes that goes to food stamps. Conversely that same American pays upwards of eight grand in taxes that goes to corporate welfare and tax loopholes to the rich.

    Care to guess which Paul ‘budget hawk’ Ryan cuts in the GOP budget, Joe? care to guess which the GOP has never cut in my lifetime?

    In fact the last republican president to not run up a debt was Eisenhower.

    The GOP constantly bills itself as the Christian party. Have they ever read Matthew 25:31-46? or can we at least agree that the Republican party is CINO?

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  34. James Kessler says:

    No actually, Joe, the difference between you, me and Ed is this:

    You think all spending is bad. We think some spending is bad and some spending is good. You think all cutting of spending is good… we think that yes some things should primarily fall on the heads of those who actually won’t be hurt by the cuts.

    You want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, we dont.

    Kansas is a perfect example of what is wrong with the philosophy of your party. They cut taxes to such a degree that now they’re having to cut spending by hideously large amounts. and now schools in Kansas are going to be ending the school year early. Which means students in Kansas aren’t going to be as well educated, they’ll end up with worse jobs and won’t pay as much in taxes which means Kansas will end up in an economic death spiral.

    You can’t be so worried about spending and the deficit that it leads you to make boneheaded shortsighted decisions that harm you worse in the long term.

    You complain about fat cat big government republicans. You small government republicans are no better and the libertarians in your party are a disaster.

    Now kindly answer my one question. The one that begins with ‘why should we liberals…’

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  35. Ed Darrell says:

    Joe, if you post something and it doesn’t show up, e-mail me. The spam dragon has taken a liking to the flavor of your posts. Almost dumped one.

    Like

  36. lowerleavell says:

    James said, “As for you Joe, if you and your party were really worried about the debt then it wouldn’t be giving out more tax cuts and it wouldn’t be increasing the military budget and corporate welfare. and why did your party just last month promise wall street another multi-trillion dollar bailout?”

    Because our party is ruled by fat-cat big government Republicans. I thought this was more like what you guys would want to see then me. You’re the one into bailouts and massive deficit spending. The difference between these big government Republicans and liberals is merely on who gets the check. I’m with you in that if we’re going to spend the money, give it to the working class who actually needs it. But personally, I’d rather us cinch our belts a few notches and fire these guys who want to frivolously spend all of our hard earned money. Get the government back under control so that it can actually do what it was designed to do – protect and serve the good of the people.

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  37. lowerleavell says:

    Ed said, “Now, Joe, I’m curious: Is there ever a point when you’d borrow to make a better America, a better future for your grandchildren? Or is a great America just way beyond our miserly ways these days?”

    Yes I would say there are proper types of borrowing. Yet take the household budget. If you borrow to buy a house or a small amount to buy a car, or even get a student loan, these are helpful types of borrowing because they are each a way of investing into the family and into the future. Yet if you are living on a credit card to buy groceries, clothing, and even putting your car payment on a credit card, your borrowing is completely unhealthy! If you are deeply in debt and leverage even more debt for going out to each, buying big screen tv’s etc. then your borrowing is counterproductive.

    When we are borrowing simply to keep the lights on, it’s not a time to borrow more so we can appear to be great. America has no “Jones'” to keep up with. We need to be able to afford our operating budget and then we can look into investments, through either borrowing or (ideally) paying for them in cash.

    I am a Dave Ramsey fan. Not a fan of debt for its own sake. Getting out of debt is painful sometimes in a family budget because it means less frills, but living debt free is…well…freeing. Think of the US’s greatness if instead of a deficit we had a surplus. Think of American greatness if we had no multi-trillion debt (with additional hundreds of trillions in unfunded promises) looming over our heads. Think of our buying power if the world banks knew that we had zero debt! It’s almost too late to think like that.

    Greatness is not mortgaging your kids’ bank accounts and borrowing in their names so you can have nicer things.

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  38. JamesK says:

    Yes thank you, Ed.

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  39. Ed Darrell says:

    Did I excise the correct first paragraph?

    Like

  40. James Kessler says:

    At what point, Joe, is the debt going to be enough of a consideration in the minds of the GOP so they stop giving out foolish tax cuts and stop ever increasing the military budget and end all those corporate welfare and tax loopholes for the rich and powerful?

    Why should we liberals agree to kicking the poor and the middle class in the balls in order to pay for that debt when you republicans never make those with the most and those who have most benefitted from your party’s policies that have created that debt pay?

    How come you guys only worry about the debt in so far as it allows you to make the poor and the middle class poorer and worse off?

    Like

  41. James Kessler says:

    Ed, I don’t suppose you can edit my last post to remove mu first paragraph?

    Oh btw, Joe, in the proposed GOP budget do you know how much your party is cutting the taxes of those who make less than a hundred grand a year?

    Ten whole dollars. Don’t go spending it all in one place.

    We have operated under your party’s economic policies for forty years now, Joe. If we can no longer afford to be great…. then its because your party’s economic policies suck. And yet you can’t bother to be honest enough to admit that or say we need to abandon them.

    The vast majority of that debt you claim to be oh so worried about simply wouldn’t exist were it not for your party’s wars, tax cuts and constant giving fellatio to the rich and powerful. and that is that the truth no matter how much you want to deny it.

    Simply and bluntly put, this country will be great again… once you and your fellow republicans be the patriots you claim you are by putting the United States ahead of your nonsense political ideology. Instead of the last forty years where you and yours have sacrificed and damaged the United States in pursuit of your nonsense ideology.

    Like

  42. James Kessler says:

    As for you Joe, if you and your party were really worried about the debt then it wouldn’t be giving out more tax cuts and it wouldn’t be increasing the military budget and corporate welfare. and why did your party just last month promise wall street another multi-trillion dollar bailout?

    Like

  43. Ed Darrell says:

    Now, Joe, I’m curious: Is there ever a point when you’d borrow to make a better America, a better future for your grandchildren? Or is a great America just way beyond our miserly ways these days?

    Like

  44. Ed Darrell says:

    We borrow too much when the purposes of borrowing are not noble, and we can’t pay it back.

    War comes to mind.

    Banks run credit checks before they agree to a mortgage, for example.

    If you run a credit check on the U.S., you find the only blemish is the Tea Party’s influence.

    Like

  45. lowerleavell says:

    Ed – I’m curious if you would say that there is ever a time that we borrow too much money? If borrowing is the answer, why not borrow – say – 250 trillion dollars? Why not more? At what point would our debt be a consideration in your mind?

    Like

  46. Ed Darrell says:

    An often-unsung benefit of borrowing money to grow: Taxes rates, and individual taxes, decline. With more taxpayers making more money, we can afford to cut tax rates.

    Tax rates were very high at the start of the Greatest Generation Building of America, but declined. Government income increased with the decline in tax rates.

    Want to lower taxes? Get a good program for economic development, and go for it. In almost every case, that program for economic development will require borrowing upfront. Taxes will be lower in the end.

    Like

  47. Black Flag® says:

    The US was “great” due to its economic freedom, not from its government spending.

    It is becoming less and less because of government spending and intrusions into the marketplace.

    You want the nation to become “great” again, reduce (end!) government intrusion into the market.

    Like

  48. Black Flag® says:

    A disingenuous argument.
    The debt/GDP in 1946 was due to the war!

    Wholly different situation now.

    Today, you demand government to borrow money so to give to people to do nothing – the welfare state.

    The government CUT its spending, Ed, post war – instead of consuming capital, it allowed industry and commerce to use that capital to grow the economy.

    You want economic lunacy – seize the economic output of the economy to grow the welfare state.

    Like

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