a-bomb peace signBy Peter Galuszka

Remember the federal deficit that lurked behind the corner? Where did it go?

Al Kamen of The Washington Post asks that question in a column today. He writes:

“Not long ago, the federal deficit was projected to destroy the country, our country’s future and just about everything else. The politicians and the news media regularly fretted about what to do. Budget battles shut down the entire government for a couple of weeks.”

He continues: “So, what happened? The simple answer, of course, is that the deficit is way down and, for now, is no longer a big problem.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that the deficit for f/y 2014 is $492 billion or 2.8 percent of GDP. That puts us back in the early years of the George W. Bush administration.

Hmm. Kinda of makes you wonder where all this out-of-control spending is coming from that the Tea Party types talk about so much.

It is off the media radar screen. The Post has a graphic showing that the words or mention of the “national debt,” federal debt” or “federal deficit,” reached a high around the first half of 2010. The conservative Washington Times the most at 18; The Post with 13; and the New York Times with 10. Now it’s around three.

This isn’t to say that federal spending doesn’t merit watching. But where is Jim Bacon when you need him?

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3 responses to “Boomer….Wha?”

  1. larryg Avatar

    well.. some wags might suggest that it’s not near so much about real deficit and debt as it is about the ideological fear that we are sliding into a European type welfare state where the govt looks after everyone and no one has to really be concerned with working to support themselves!

    with those words, can’t you just hear Jim Bacons heart swell with admiration for how well I put it?


    Our problem is – we spend too damn much on “defense” and I think we should be the strongest most dominate country on earth and that we do play a de-facto policeman role – but we don’t need to be as wasteful as we are with defense. It’s become a huge slush fund for states like Virginia to use as a crutch for employment instead of engaging in real economic development policies – that should include better educational resources for those who may not be headed to college or even ones that are but need some help in understanding what a “viable” diploma is in terms of job prospects and paying back your college loan – that you could have kept to a minimum if you actually had a job while you went to school.

    then, of course, Va does totally dumb-assed things like do nothing about health care for the folks who do work – and then when the Feds actually do something – blame the Feds for what? potentially not funding it ? really?

    I’ve said before and say again – cut “defense” not huge crippling cuts but reasonable ones like closing facilities that are not needed and using more weaponry not as reliant on large complements of manpower – i.e. more drones and such…

    on the domestic side – get rid of the mortgage deduction except for one basic median priced home – or even perhaps just the first home.

    get rid of tax-free health insurance and let people go find the insurance they need in the market place…..and require insurance to be portable and have large pools separate from employers.

    encourage more Roth IRAs and less tax-free 401Ks…

    get rid of subsidized flood insurance

    make retirees who make 85K in retirement income – pay $500 a month for health insurance.

    require people who go into nursing homes – who own their own homes – to get reversible mortgages to pay for their care – instead of taxpayers.

    these are just a few – that could cut that deficit to even smaller levels – even in the future.

    our problem is not that we are “doomed” via Boomergeddon. Our problem is that we are lazy and are more than comfortable with the sound-bite “blame someone” mindsets that we seem to be so in love with these days – and perfect fodder for the FAUX-News purveyors.

  2. Never fear, Peter, I’m on top of the deficit/debt situation, even if I’m not writing as much about it. You guys like to talk about “climate deniers.” I guess I’ll have to start talking about “deficit deniers.”

    After a tax increase, a spending sequester and five years into a business expansion, the deficit is “only” $492 billion. Wow, what an accomplishment. Back when Bush was president, the Democrats seemed to think deficits of that size were a calamity. Now that Obama’s president, it’s a sign that everything’s OK.

    Here’s the latest projection from the Congressional Budget Office. Without major changes to current policies and programs, the U.S. will accumulate another $10 trillion in national debt over the next decade and $100 trillion (yes, a 1 followed by two zeros) over the following two decades. Meanwhile, economic growth seems stuck in permanent low gear. I don’t recall anyone of a liberal persuasion predicting that growth would be so weak. I do remember precisely such a prediction in this book called “Boomergeddon.” You ought to read it.

    Every time someone like Al Kamen opens his mouth (or commits his verbiage to writing), he just adds to the public record the fact that Democrats and Liberals totally poo-pooed the nation’s budget predicament and will bear the greater responsibility, despite all the failings and foibles of Republicans, for the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

    1. larryg Avatar

      re: ” economic growth seems stuck in permanent low gear”

      because we have decided to be an ignorant country in a globalized world who forfeits jobs to other countries who do take education much more seriously.

      we truly are becoming an ignorant country that does not value real education that you actually have to use in your job and your daily life instead of something framed on the wall.

      we have “educated” people who “deny” not just climate… but the age of the earth, what caused the housing crisis, … etc.. people who want religion in govt… people who would de-fund public schools and give vouchers instead, people who think corporations are people… people who say they are opposed to abortion but also opposed to birth control.. it never ends!

      we disagree – not only ideologically but on facts – like the age of the earth!

      think about that ..

      people don’t even know how much money we actually do bring in – in income taxes – 1.3 Trillion – the only real discretionary money we have unless we want to get into loony-tune country and pretend FICA taxes are general revenues also.

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