From the U.S. to Argentina in 20 Years

Sometimes commentators scold our political leaders for running up deficits that will have to be repaid by our children and grandchildren. I suspect that many politicians would gladly foist our nation’s obligations onto the next generation if they thought they could get away with it. But they can’t. Our nation’s profligacy will come back to haunt us while most of us are still alive. The day of reckoning — the day the U.S. federal government can no longer fund its programs through taxes and borrowing and is forced into making cataclysmic cuts — is at most 20 years away.

I am not making a prediction based on partisan prejudice. There is plenty of blame to go around. With Vice President Dick “Deficits Don’t Matter” Cheney providing cover, the Bush administration ran up the national debt from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion during an eight-year recess from fiscal responsibility. Having castigated President Bush for saddling future generations with a massive debt, Barack Obama is now on pace to double the rate of debt accumulation. After less than eight months in power, Obama has increased the national debt to $11.8 billion. And his Office of Management and Budget has just issued a revised forecast stating that the federal government will add another $9 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.

Of course, that $9 trillion number assumes no significant changes in taxes and spending (Quick, someone call Nancy Pelosi!), and it assumes an up-beat economic scenario: a strong economic rebound, no recession over the next 10 years, low inflation and stable interest rates. (To review those assumptions, click here and go to the “economic assumptions” tab.) I think we can safely describe that $9 trillion number as a “best case scenario.” A worst-case scenario would be too hideous to contemplate.

A look at the graph above from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shows how deficits continue ballooning in the out years. By then, Baby Boomers will be retiring en masse. To pay for Boomers’ pensions, the Social Security Administration will have started drawing down the big pile of Treasury bills it accumulated when it was running a surplus. To pay for Boomers’ health care, Congress will have to do something not contemplated in the Obama forecast. According to Medicare’s trustees, the program is scheduled to run out of money by 2018. As long as the federal government is still solvent, however, Congress will find some way, by hook or crook, to keep the program afloat.

Projecting beyond 2019, the deficit numbers get even uglier as more Boomers retire and entitlement spending ramps up rapidly. A $1 trillion budget deficit will be a good year.

Of course, the Obama forecast depends upon a number of rosy assumptions. Let’s look at just one: interest rates. The Obama administration assumes that 10-year Treasury notes will creep up from 3.6% this year to no higher than 5.2% at the peak of the next economic cycle. In other words, even with the Treasury Department borrowing ever more massive sums and with the economy growing at annual rates of between 4.5% and 6.1%, with all that implies for private-sector borrowing, 10-year T-bills will remain stable at 5.2% for eight straight years. Do you believe that? I don’t.

Moreover, I will make the case in a future post that the U.S. is the beneficiary of a global capital surplus, which keeps interest rates low, but that the world economy will shift over the next 10 years to a global capital shortage, which will push interest rates higher. You can agree or disagree with me on that point, but there is one thing beyond dispute: Changes in interest rates will become a prime driver of government expenditures.

According to the Obama administration’s forecasts, interest payments on debt in 2009 will be $173 billion. By 2019, the administration says, interest payments will soar to $829 billion. Remember, that’s assuming 5.2% interest rates. But what happens if interest rates return to the level prevailing in 1990 when the 10-year note yielded 8.08%? Under those circumstances, interest rates would be roughly 60% higher and the interest on national debt would grow by an $500 billion a year over and above the forecast.

Using the Obama administration’s own numbers, we can reasonably conclude that the federal government will reach a state of chronic budget crisis within 10 years. Beyond the OMB’s 10-year time horizon, growing entitlements, the ballooning debt burden, the impending global capital shortage and an inevitable recession will push the federal government toward insolvency. At some point, the U.S. will reach the ultimate crisis in which foreign investors are no longer willing to purchase our sovereign debt at any price. When the federal government can no longer fund its spending, the fiscal crisis will precipitate the greatest political and economic upheaval since the Great Depression. We will have become Argentina.

Have a nice day!

(Chart credit: Wall Street Journal.)


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32 responses to “From the U.S. to Argentina in 20 Years”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Glad to see I am not the only 'Debbie Downer' around here.

    Two months may be right for the general collapse- maybe including war with Iran.

    But I am not nearly as pessimistic as the guy below. I think we will have more anarchy and then slow consolidation into a ‘new’ U.S. after a Constitutional forum.

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/russian-professor-collapse-of-america-could-begin-in-two-months.html

  2. what are the things that Obama is responsible for that doubles the deficit?

    I don't want to take the "he inherited" path here but other than doing what Bernanke and Paulson and many other recommended as necessary to keep us from a depression.. I'm not clear about.

    Obama did not come into office intending to do the Tarps and sundry bailouts.. it was not a purposeful Democratic (socialist?) plan to tax and spend and bankrupt the country.

    I believe that had he not done what he has done – we would be in the throes of a depression – that would have spread around the world.

    If you believe in the CONCEPT of the FDIC – that's exactly what the TARP was about – to step in and prevent no less than the collapse of the banking system..

    and we're still not out of it.

    In my area – several developers have had to suspend their plans because the credit market for investments is dead..

    VDOT has had to pull the plug on the HOT lanes for the same reason.

    the one big fault I give him is that trying to reform health care in the middle of these other problems has pushed some folks over the line.. as evidenced by the ranting and raving at the town meetings.

    for me.. I bought in to the Liquidity Trap idea…which puts me in pretty good company – Bernanke and more than a few of his contemporaries…

    Obama's biggest fault is ..very, very bad timing IMHO.

    I'm going to give him at least two years before I will consider condemning him…

  3. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Jim,
    Ring the warning bell! Cue the jeremiads!
    OK, so you want to ring your hands about the deficits (and I am going to lay the blame at the door of the GOP and Bush, not Obama — an inconvenient truth).
    But why trash Argentina? Have you been there? I haven't but I've been to Brazil. If you read the news, regardles of what deficits Argentina might have, its economy contracted for the first time in June since the last financial crisis of 2002.
    I'm no Latin American expoert, but I have had to edit the occasional missive from those parts and you always have some kind of up and down in their rather mixed economies.
    While I think you are right to ask about the impacts of U.S. deficits, why trash Argentina? Why is that country relevant to your argument? Does Argentina track in any way America's economic development history?

    Peter Galuszka

  4. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Peter, I'll confess, I don't know much about Argentina, other than the fact that it went through a bruising financial crisis a few years back. I use it as a symbol for a country that has painful fiscal austerity imposed upon it by outside investors.

  5. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Anonymous 2:18. Prof. Igor Panarin will shortly be proved wrong. The United States will not implode in two months. The federal government may implode in 20 years, but that's a different story. The federal government may be the single-most important institution in the U.S., but it is not the only institution. We will survive. It just will be very, very painful.

    Larry: You need to get off your blame-game kick. The Bush administration could make the same kind of arguments as you're making for Obama: We took over just after the Clinton-era Internet bubble burst. Not our fault. We got clobbered by 9/11. Not our fault. Too bad. I'm not buying it. That doesn't excuse the lack of spending discipline.

    Of course, Obama will blame all the nation's problems on Bush as long as he can get away with it. But he bears responsibility for signing Congress' porkulus package ($700 billion+ in deficit spending), and he has to take the rap for initiating the takeover of the automobile, energy and health care sectors and creating enormous uncertainty in the business community which, I would argue, is delaying economic recovery. He also needs to own up to the fact that he has done absolutely nothing, other than cosmetic moves to grab headlines, to curtail spending in the out years. Indeed, the CBO says the Dems' health care plan will add another $1 trillion in deficit spending over 10 years.

    If you want to give Obama a pass, go ahead. Blame it all on Bush, and give the Dems cover for accelerating the accumulation of debt rather than slowing it. We'll see what happens.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    We need capital investment, but we get traders. I don't often agree with unions — having been screwed by one financially in a closed shop state. But the AFL-CIO is proposing a tax on all securities transactions. Good idea, but an even better one would be to put an 80% tax on all very short term gains of anything held less than six months. Use the proceeds to cut capital gains on securities held for more than five years and/or for a tax credit for basic research ala the old Bell Labs.

    Then require every person being paid for contacting a member of Congress or its staff to reduce the contact to writing and to have it posted on the Internet.

    Prohibit any entity with a government contract from lobbying for any funding related to that contract or its extension.

    TMT

  7. I don't want to give Obama a pass but 8 months is kind of slim for a fair assessment.

    Am I confused are isn't the "porkulus" bill the Stimulus?

    Isn't the stimulus an explicit strategy recommended by many experts and agreed to by Congress?

    I'm just trying to separate out the things that have been done as part of a pre-conceived plan and unexpected things with serious consequences that required a response.. and a certain amount of holding one's mouth a certain way?

    How much of the "pork" spending was preconceived .. planned all along by Obama and how much happened .. as events unfolded.

    I am no apologist for Obama.

    He could turn out to be the biggest disaster since Jimmy Carter (or Bush)… but 8 months is not enough time to decide that – is it?

    I just think – we need to be brutally honest about what is – and what is not….

    Clinton got whacked on heath care. GB got whacked on messing with Social Security then turned around an passed an unfunded Prescription plan "off budget" – a bad habit he acquired with the war….

    when we had the election – I did not hear from the Conservatives nor from the Candidate that the most important thing that needed to be addressed was the problem that now seems to be the central issue.

    The candidate that made that case – was Romney and the Republican base apparently considered his social credentials more important.

    I just don't see an intelligent approach to fiscal conservatism and that essentially leaves a vacuum…

    and jumping on an 8-month President just doesn't seem to have much substance to it..

    wrong?

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    "Good idea, but an even better one would be to put an 80% tax on all very short term gains of anything held less than six months."

    Nonsense. Try this for an example.

    I hold a portfolio of stocks that I have owned or a long time. Every 45 days I rebalance the portfolio so they are all set to equal dollar values.

    Say I own Pepsi and Coca Cola. I'm prettyt much indifferent about which I own, because they are similar. In one period Pepsi is up a dollar and Coke is down. So I sell some of the Pepsi stock and buy Coke. The next period the opposite happens. Every 45 days I sell a ittle bit high and buy a litle bit low, but in the end I still own all the same companies, just not the same exact shares.

    I find this strategy gets me about 2% a year over and above what I would get by simply buying the same stocks and holding them with no trades. This works because my brokerage allows me to trade fractional shares, and I pay a subscription instead of paying for individual trades. I use a 45 day period to avoid the regulations on wash sales.

    Does this make me speculator? Am I with My paltry portfolio responsible for moving the market? Why should I pay an 80% tax? Why would anyone want to put a tax on a free market?

    If I make a few pennies on each trade every 45 days, why should I pay more than if I make $50 over the course of a year? It makes no sense. How do you get to long term profits, unless they are the accumulation of short term ones? The only difference is when and how often the profits are recognized.

    Meanwhile, if you want unlimited trades, or if you want to buy Berkshire hathaway and you can't afford a whole share, then check it out at http://www.foliofn.com.

    You, too, can profit from being a big, bad, mean, uncaring "speculator".

    RH

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    I think the presidents are steering an ocean liner with an oar. They inherit a course and speed and it takes years to alter course a little bit.

    Whatever happens economically in their administration is mostly the result of what happened previously.

    Meanwhile, it now appears we will make a few hundred million in PROFIT on the TARP expenditures. It would be better if we had not needed to make them, but having done so, profit isn;t such a bad result.

    RH

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Blaming this on Obama…that dog just won't hunt. When Bush came into office, we were running budget surpluses. Of course, the burst of the dot com bubble and 9/11 put short term stress on the fiscal situation. However, Bush poured rocket fuel onto the fire with his fiscal policies and Iraq War. I think The Onion put it best, "Black man given nation's worst job." He realized that health care costs, the primary driver of the fiscal problems, had to be addressed and thus "bend the curve." Unfortunately, that's been transformed into "pulling the plug on grandma."

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    "Prohibit any entity with a government contract from lobbying for any funding related to that contract or its extension."

    Isn't that already law, under the Federal Acquisition Regulations?

    Lobbying is reasonable compensation made to an officer or employee for agency and legislative liason program activities not related to a federal award.

    On the other hand, if I'm competing for an award and lose, I can file a protest, which is clearly an attempt to alter an award, and if I am successful the government must reimburse me for legal fees.

    RH

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    That graph looks a lot different if you plot it as a percentage of GDP.

    I have more debt than I once had, but I have more income and equity to cover it, too.

    RH

  13. " Blaming this on Obama…that dog just won't hunt."

    Basically Obama parachuted into a forest fire and had to make some quick decisions and it's highly likely that looking back, he might have made some different ones…

    …. but the folks blaming him for this are not dealing with reality.. IMHO…

    what they are essentially arguing about is whether we should have built Humvees or MRAPS and how many we should have bought (or not).

    in other words, they disagree with the path that Obama decided to take – with the advice and urging of a great deal of folks who were considered experts in the field.

    This is disagreement about what direction should have been taking..

    agreed.

    But blaming an 8-month President on the fundamental basis that he did an irresponsible thing… is

    dumb….

    he did what he thought was best in really bad circumstances…

    and we already had so many problems that having that economic meltdown at that moment is time almost assured further degradation …

    but again.. blaming Obama just convinces me that we have a bunch of partisans who really are not interested in dealing with the issues – just blame – and using this circumstance to essentially lobby to replace him with one of them….

    like the man said:

    " Blaming this on Obama…that dog just won't hunt."

    except in the eyes of people who in my mind just refuse to deal with realities.

    Of the choices that we had for President – perhaps the best guy to really deal with the issues would have been Romney who had a track record (as well as experience with health care).

    but things like this don't affect the ideologues at all, we can't have a president no matter how competent he might be (or not) if he is a Mormon that supports something to the left of Neanderthal abortion policies and is not a member of an "off brand" Religion.

  14. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Guys, playing the blame game is a total waste of time. Back when I actually ran a small enterprise (Virginia Business) we had a fair share of screw-ups. But I didn't waste a lot of time trying to assign blame. In rare instances, a single individual dropped the ball. But most of the time, problems had multiple authors, often resulting from breakdowns in communications, people assuming something that the other guy wasn't assuming, or sometimes, ambiguous orders from above. As a manager, I learned that pinning blame usually just pissed off the person getting blamed, and that it was far more fruitful to focus on identifying the problem and making sure it didn't happen again.

    I see the U.S. fiscal situation similarly. If it makes you feel better to pin 80%, 90% or 100% of the blame on George W., be my guest, go ahead. For purposes of forward-looking discussion on this blog, I'll settle for whatever level of blame you want to heap on him. Then I want to drop the subject because it tells us absolutely *nothing* about what we need to do going forward.

    Furthermore, for purposes of argument, I will not dispute the notion that Obama got dealt a terrible hand, and that Obama deserves to start with a clean slate blame-wise. OK? You *win* the blame argument!

    Now, let's focus on a more productive question: How long can the U.S. sustain the fiscal path it is currently on, and what can we do about it?

  15. " How long can the U.S. sustain the fiscal path it is currently on, and what can we do about it?"

    okay – you've got 3 more years of Obama…and a Democratic Congress…

    now what?

    what do you want Obama to do?

    Like you said.. he was delt a bad hand..he made some decisions.. that may not have been the best..

    so we go forward…

    what should we be doing?

    is the correct path to hammer Obama and to hope and pray that our Pachyderm friends will win the mid-terms on their way to putting a REAL President in power?

    just asking.. that seems to be the theme here … not "here" in BR but out on main street with the Town Halls.

    Do we want the govt to "get out" of health care?

    truly?

    do you think if the govt stays out that the projections for health care becoming 30% of our GDP will ..change direction?

    Should we CUT TAXES?

    will that cure our deficit?

    that's what some RR devotees are saying.. that we got into this mess because we did not cut enough taxes…

    you said .. go forward..

    let's go forward..

    how?

  16. I have to agree with Mr. Larry. What course should we plot to advert the coming disaster? Seems to me that nothing short of total change in leadership across the board, both executive & legislative branches, is in order. Both parties have been abysmal over the past decade. But even before throwing out everyone, constitutional changes are in order. We must have public funding of federal elections, and there must be a line item veto given to the executive. Get those, then toss out both parties.

  17. E M Risse Avatar

    EMR is not sure that Jim Bacon is right about the blame game. Here is a list of folks to blame for dysfunctional human settlement patterns and the economic, social and physical dysfunctions that result from them.

    Of course this list only includes the head of one of three branches of the federal governance structure. The federal level is only one of three (current) levels of Agencies. Agencies are only one of three forms of Organization that make up the first three Estates.

    And do not forget the New Fourth Estate. There are 300,000,000 plus citizens and Pogo nailed blame there. Oh, yes there are also 6.4 billion other humans, and they share ONE planet with trillions of other creatures, organisms, elements and forces in a system humans only recently learned how to poison but can never control … But this is a start:

    The listing skips the old guys that were in office before our parents were old enough to vote. Many wish Tom had drafted a provision in the Constitution that allowed (required?) the governance structure to evolve – as he said it must – to meet the needs of an evolving civilization but that is another story.

    Woodrow thought the most important thing was a league of nation-states but it would have been restructuring governance to reflect the world dominated by Industrial Centers that emerged after the Great War.

    Warren G.? Enough said.

    Calvin was silent while the nation-state BOOMED and got ready to BUST.

    Herbert was a Commerce Secretary who trusted Enterprise dominance.

    Franklin entrusted federal Agencies with dominance on health, safety and welfare and citizens and laid the foundation for an unsustainable trajectory based on unsatiable appetites requiring unending growth.

    Harry though one guy could have all the final answers.

    Ike – now we are getting to the good part – was told what the impact of tearing up the rails and putting Mobility and Access (and thus the future) in the hands of Detroit, foreign dictators and super-national Enterprises. He choose not to listen.

    John inspired nation-state, global and extraterrestrial dreams but neglected the real world where those below the top the Ziggurat actually lived and worked.

    Lyndon learned that you cannot build a Great Society and fight wars. Turns out it would not have been that Great a society because it relied on Franklin’s trajectory.

    Richard wanted to be loved and so tried to do things for which citizens would love him, not a bad idea but not well executed.

    Jimmy had the right ideas but did not have the tools. More important, citizens did not (and still do not) understood what the post 1973 world would REALLY look like.

    Ron incited the Soviets to bankrupt themselves in the short term but championed ideals and attitudes that in the long term impoverish all citizens. In Hollywood, no movie lasts for 40 years and the key is to be loved while you are on the screen.

    George H. W. failed to get any lasting value from the Peace Dividend.

    Bill had a lot of good ideas including balancing the budget. Chapter 1 of The Shape of the Future provides chapter and verse of why he, his vice president, the leaders in Congress and others failed to change the unsustainable trajectory established by those who came before.

    W was a C student from a well connected family who was standing by the water cooler when a cadre of ideologues packaged him as a stalking horse for a dead end agenda.

    Barack, as Larry said, inherited a forest fire – on an earthquake fault. There is hurricane on the way that will turn it into a mud slide as Jim Bacon has suggested.

    And what did the New Fourth Estate (and their parents) do? They voted for all these villains. As noted above, Pogo nailed the real blame.

    EMR

  18. E M Risse Avatar

    And Phil:

    Talk to Groveton about the Antipartisan Party he was going to set up.

    Is there time for McA to run as an independent?

    Almost anything is better than the current trajectory.

    EMR

  19. re: changing the leadership

    geeze – you guys must be looking at different ballots that I am…

    the one's I'm used to say "more of the same" on both the Dem and Republican names…

    EMR – if you're gonna look back.. you need to take up carving tombstones … that you can have the satisfaction of implanting at civilizations demise… but you might want to look in a perpetual fund agreement with a future collaborator.

    I showed you a way to get change.

    It takes about 15% of voter signatures but a successful effort would send shock ways through the business as usual folks.

    boy.. I'd give a pretty penny look over EMR's shoulder at the polls to see which of the "business as usual" folks he votes for…

    or is he one of these dudes that writes in someone… Daffy Duck or Hanna Montanna…

  20. Anonymous Avatar

    What isn't mentioned is that Obama's record deficit that we are presently looking at does NOT include the costs to our economy if 'cap-and-trade' and his 'health care' plans become law. Right now 'cap-and-trade' is on hold and we all know where the 'health care' discussion is at. If these two legislative actions become law all bets are off as to how high Obama will drive the deficit before the end of his first term.

  21. Blame game (summary edition):

    1. Obama – he has jacked up the defecits.

    2. Bush II – he jacked up the defecits.

    3. Carter – proved you can have both economic stagnation and runaway inflation.

    4. Nixon – dropped the gold standard.

    5. Kennedy – largest tax cut (as a percentage of GDP) in US history.

    6. Eisenhower – He built the highways that facilitated the suburbs.

    7. Wilson – Signed the Federal Reserve Act and created the Fed.

    8. Washington – sided with Hamilton over Jefferson and created the First Bank of the United States.

    Blame for today's problems is a tree with deep roots. I agree with Jim Bacon – playing the "blame game" is of no use.

  22. Anonymous Avatar

    Advice from TMT

    Some time back TMT said”

    "Good idea, but an even better one would be to put an 80% tax on all very short term gains of anything held less than six months."

    This is an even better idea, but how about 18 months. Capitalism is not speculation, flipping and gaming.

    But then the pontificator who goes by ‘anon RH’ said:

    “Nonsense. Try this for an example.

    “I hold a portfolio of stocks …”

    “I” “I” “I”

    How does this person look in the mirror? He thinks everything is “I”’ centric.

    If it does not benefit “I” it is steeling.

    His wife’s hay farm would not exist without community. Every one of his wise ass attacks is couched in what is in it for him, to hell with society upon which he depends.

  23. re: blame game

    we're still at it.. it's part and parcel of the current uproar.

    and it's clear to me that these folks are not interesting ingoing forward.

    they are apparently inconsoleable that a Democrat and a person of color got elected and they're "not going to take it no mo".

    It's amazing to me.

    they cannot agree among themselves who should represent their cause.

    They are unwilling to expand the size of their tent so they will not become a permanent minority.

    And showing up with guns at events where the President is – "ok" because the law allows it.

    I watched them shout down a women in a wheelchair while she talked about fearing losing her house because of her medical expenses.

    they shouted her down…

    who are these people?

    In Fredericksburg last night – they were out in force at Senator Warners's Town Hall… booing and hissing with anything said by Warner or others that they disagreed with.

    these folks have absolutely no intention in finding a middle ground and going forward.

    This President did not explode the deficit – as a conscious plan.

    He parachuted into a conflagration that was threatening the country.

    He took the actions that many if not most experts were recommending and yes they knew full well that bailouts and stimulus has serious longer-term consequences but in their judgement to not do the bailouts and stimulus would have resulted in a judgement.

    But the context of the "blame" is as if he do this as a typical tax&spend liberal and that's not reasoned logic much less fair-minded.

    His approach to the medical issue is to get costs under control because we know if they are not brought under control that they will double in costs in one decade, consume 1/3 of our GDP, kill our ability to compete on the world markets and result in even more folks without insurance.

    You can disagree with what he proposes as fixes but to blame him for tackling the problem is just plain asinine.

    What would you think if he just ignored the issue like his predecessor or worse – claim that it is so important it needs to be done "off budget".

    The Blame Obama folks are frinking idiots who add nothing to the discussion and whose goal is essentially to see his presidency fail.

    These folks are disconnected with simple realities and those realities are that if we do nothing about healthcare, energy greenhouse gases, Medicare – the problems are only going to get worse.

    So the man confronts the issues and urges that we work to find some common ground on how to go forward

    and what do we get?

    we get blame .. essentially because he's confronting the issues…

    even for those that say we should forward – it's in the context that we got here because the deficit was "suddenly" pushed over the edge…

    I would submit folks that this is a completely dishonest dealing with the realities.

    we don't like what the future looks like and the messengers are obviously at fault.

  24. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry,

    Your comments are spot on. Certainly, persons have a right to disagree with Obama's proposals and present alternatives in an attempt to reach a compromise. However, that's not what I am seeing. It's all about wanting him to fail, motivated by deep personal animus, and blasting him for raising the issues in the first place. Perhaps this attitude is pettiness, but when the other side comes back into power, especially if it's a direct result of their current actions, they are making me very disinclined to want to work with them constructively. I don't think any of the key issues we face will be addressed until they become absolute crises. In the case of health care and the fiscal situation, it will be ugly but we'll muddle through somehow. However, in the case of global warming, we'll be in a world of trouble literally.

  25. Anonymous Avatar

    Crocodile Tears! We don't have rules any more; each party just escalate. I'd say it started with Ted Kennedy and others Borking Judge Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination and went down hill from there.

    The Democrats attempted to sabotage George HW Bush's presidency. And the GOP certainly did the same to Bill Clinton once they got control of Congress. But for a few Democrats like Max Baucus, the Democratic Party was at war with George W Bush from day one. Why is anyone surprised that many Republicans are out to wreck Barack Obama's administration? Te GOP is simply returing tit for tat and following the accepted standard.

    We have moved to government by retaliation. And neither party has any reason whatsoever to trust the other one to stop.

    So boys and girls, we will live in a constant political war until both sides disarm and agree to a single set of rules that apply regardless of whether we have a Democrat or a Republican in the White House.

    Is it OK for senators to filibuster supreme court nominees? How about nominees to the court of appeals or cabinet appointees?

    If it's OK for Obama to address school kids, it must be OK for President Sarah Palin to do so — to strongly illustrate my point. If the thought of Palin having a captive audience makes one nervous, the same rules must apply to Obama.

    The alternative is more and more of the same. The party in power gets to say "Heads, I win. Tails, you lose." Power equals right. And being out of power means using any means to tear down the other side.

    And of course, the availability of the Internet and other media means that Fred Hiatt and the rest of the MSM clowns don't have control any more.

    So what standards should we have? And if we need to change, how do we get there?

    TMT

  26. Anonymous Avatar

    “I” “I” “I”

    Um, it was an example, couched in the first person. I could just as well said, "EMR owns a portfolio of stocks…." the example would still be good.

    Anyway, what has this got to do with taxing short term profits at 80%, which was TMT's suggestion?

    ——————————-

    How does this person look in the mirror? He thinks everything is “I”’ centric.

    If it does not benefit “I” it is steeling.

    It is spelled stealing, and no, not everything is stealing, it is only stealing when the community takes from the individual for public benefit. The constitution says this is wrong and "he" must be compensated.

    —————————-

    PEC, AFT,and local community officials have all said that farms pay twice as much in taxes as they get in services.

    Aside from taxes, my wife's farm drops tens of thousands of dollars on the local community – far more than it gets back.

    The plain and simple mattter is that the community gets far more tha it gives, however much you prefer to lie about the facts. It is the community that would have to do without, absent the farm.

    —————————-

    If a community has airline service, or train service, and they don't use it enough, it will eventually go away. The farm hasn't got that opportunity. As a result the owners are virtual slaves to the community, at least as this community is run.

    Other communities are more enlightened, and they recognize that the amenities the farm provides must be paid for, in an HOnEST society. As a result, their farms get all kinds of community support, that mine does not.

    —————————-

    Attack the arguments, not the person.

    RH

  27. Anonymous Avatar

    "Every one of his wise ass attacks is couched in what is in it for him, to hell with society upon which he depends."

    This is simply not true. But I believe each of us and government by extension has an interest in teeping Total Cost low. Instead we go around and around on which f the three components of total cost is most important: Production Costs, External Costs, or Government Costs.

    Some people are totally focused on external costs, such as pollution. But they are STUPID to think that they will be better off by lowering one kind of cost – at any expense.

    Especially when they have to give up any pretense at hoest or ethical behavior, and get what they want by stealing.

    I'm perfectly willing to see society improved, and I'm even willing to pay more to get it, unlike the too many taxes crowd.

    But I'm not willing to be the only one who pays, or be part of a small minority that pays, thanks to mob rule.

    My wise ass attacks are based on what is fair and reasonable. I ust don't happen to believe that an 80% tax on one kind of profit is fair and reasonable. I also don't think it is far or reasonable to propose a 100% tax on advertising and entertainment, as EMR once did.

    If we have people standing aroung lying about how beutiful and ephemeral the Emperors new clothes are, then you can expect me to be the kid saying, "but he has no clothes".

    I haven't got anything to do with the advertising or entertainment industry, but I am STILL pleased to say that EMR's proposal was simply a proposal for outright stealing, just because he happened not to like certain groups. I tis no different than what Hitler proposed for the Jews: "take everything they have because we hate them."

    So there is a wise ass attack that has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with what society really depends on: fairness and honesty.

    RH

  28. Anonymous Avatar

    A group of gentlemen in the booth behind me at a restaurant were discussing the new Chevy Volt, and among the topics was the fact that the mileage claim (230 mpg) is manufactured and exaggerated: it is possible under one specific set of conditions.

    Who do they think they are fooling?

    When I got up to pay I stopped at their booth and told them I had overheard their converstion, and I shared with them som of my experience with the Prius.

    And I asked them why they thought Chevy was flying such an obvious pull the wool prank as a 230 mpg claim: what is in it for Chevy, at this point?

    And an elderly gentleman with piercing blue eyes looked me straight in the eye and said with conviction and sadness "Thats the way our society works, now, isn't it? It is all based on lies."

    I guess there are still some people who put value in honesty and fairness.

    RH

  29. re: " Crocodile Tears!"

    perhaps.. but when we get to the point where able bodied men refuse to let a woman in a wheel chair express herself.. and people bringing guns to events with elected officials while holding signs that speak in no uncertain terms of using those guns to "water the tree of Liberty"…

    this is more than "politics" in my view.

    Our fundamental liberty is the right to speak even if that right begets a "bork".

    You say your piece and others decide if they agree or disagree..and then at some point – our Constitution allows us to decide with one-man one-vote.

    I wonder what happens when a hundred or more people show up an event wearing their guns – because "they can" and those same folks believe that it's okay to keep others from expressing their thoughts.

    This is more than "politics" and "Crocodile Tears" because when we have a clear minority of folks who cannot win at elections – wearing guns and shouting down others.. we have a problem – a direct threat to what we stand for but then some of these same folks are just fine with kidnapping and torture in the name of justice also.

    we used to call folks like this THUGS and way back when, I hate to say it – Brown Shirts.

    we have a problem and it's way more worse than "borking".

  30. re: the Chevy Volt and citizens rights to game the tax system and whatever they can creatively exploit to their own benefit.

    so what's new?

    so if GM can do it…. why not me?

    right?

  31. Anonymous Avatar

    "re: the Chevy Volt and citizens rights to game the tax system and whatever they can creatively exploit to their own benefit."

    You really think those are the same?

    I have a tax code and as long as I don't violate the code I can conduct my business anyway I like. "Gaming" the system within the rules is expressly allowed, not expressly forbidden.

    But one thing I AM prohibited from is LYING on my tax form.

    ————————–

    OK, so we also have a code of free speech. Are you suggesting that as long as we don't violate that code it is OK to lie?

    Chevy didn't even lie, technically they are correct: in one particular instance the care will get 230 mpg.

    But the many, many instances in which it won't get that kind of milage, beggars the truth of their statement. It beggars the truth to the point of making the statement a lie, considering the general scheme of things.

    And most people will see it tht way, as the gentlemen at the neighboring table did.

    So my point is not that Chevy can't do it, or shouldn't. My question is why would they want to, since it is so obviously bad PR, not to mention bad science.

    Does Chevy really think its customers are idiots?

    And every time I see a similar kind of partial truth posted as if it were the whole truth and nothing but, then I feel pretty much the same way about the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

    If they aren't telling me the whole truth then they are trying to pull the wool over my eyes. For a first approximation I call that lying.

    On closer inspection, I might see some reason to the argument, but I may never make that inspection and my FIRST reaction when I see something that is obviously hinky will be that they must be lying to me.

    I don't see any benefit in that strategy to Chevy, Dems, or Pubs.

    Doesn't the code of free speech implicity imply that truth ispart of the code? We are often told You are not free to yell FIRE in a crowded theater.

    Unless, of course there is a fire.

    What that homily really says is that we have free speech, but freedom to lie is limited.

    RH

  32. Anonymous Avatar

    George W. Bu$h bear$ 100% of the blame for the collap$e of our country and economy and if everyone will now $tand up and repeaT AFTER ME – I will not blame jonny for what georgie did- I will accept respon$ibility for my actions and the deva$tation it ha$ cau$ed- I will not blame the victim$ for the damage- I will announce to the world that my knowledge and concern for complex financial benchmark$ and $afeguards was non-exi$tant.

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