Monday, January 18, 2010


Personal note to Mayberry:  Read the whole article before you go apeshit. 

No one likes them.  Some feel that they are an invasion of their personal sovereignty, an assault on their basic rights.  I am of the old school defined by that old saw about death and taxes.

I can’t see any simple way around the problems that we are facing other than big program cuts and big tax hikes.  The country owes shitloads of money and, unless we choose to default (which is another question altogether) it will be necessary to pay it back.  Hence taxes.

Ronald Reagan got us all believing that taxes and government were the enemy.  Milty (the moron) Freidman, Arthur Laffer, and that whole class of clowns got us moving down the path to lower taxes and decreased government interference.  Now, this is a defensible enough sentiment, hell, it has been debated strenuously since around 81 BCE.  But the trouble is, all the taxes got lowered, but the spending went on like a sailor on shore leave.  Hence the >twelve trillion dollar federal debt we have amassed. 

Now, no president or congress since Ronnie has reined in spending or debt.  Billie Clinton claimed to have done so, but it appears to me that the surpluses that he “created” were accounting fictions rather than actual savings.  Even if he managed to perform as he claims (Have to ask Monica about this one), I can’t give him a great deal of praise for it, generating revenue during a bubble doesn’t appear to be that difficult just ask John Law or John Aislabie

USDebtSo, we have arrived where we are, each of us owing right around $40K  in government obligations.  Add to that the personal debt load of around $53K each and you have a serious millstone around our necks.

Now, if we are going to remain a country constituted under the current laws and structure of government, this has to be paid off.  A lot of folks claim that the debt isn’t theirs, that they had nothing to do with it.  But, my feeling is, if you have been in the service, or worked for a government entity, or taken money from a government program, you have received benefit from the debt we have run up.  If you have voted in a election, you have given the current system legitimacy, thus, part of the responsibility for paying this debt back is yours.

The trouble is, and we have to ask ourselves the question that everyone seems to be tap-dancing around.  Is it even possible to retire this level of debt (12 trillion Fed, 1 trillion state, 2 trillion local, 35 trillion personal debt, 17 trillion in corporate debt)?

Simply put, if it is possible to retire this debt, and you have received benefit from the largess of the past thirty years, then higher taxes and fewer services are your responsibility.

Tomorrow we will discuss what will happen if it is not possible to retire this debt.


Mayberry said...

Now what made you think I'd go apeshit? Heh heh heh.... I do feel that the only way out of our problems is to suck it up, and let it crash and burn. There is no way to keep taxing everyone into the dirt, spend like there's no tomorrow, borrow unfathomable sums, and expect things to go on as they always have.

Yes, I work for the state, because I couldn't find anything else. Got a family to support. But I will no longer vote, supporting this sham we call government. Oh, by the way, my state job is supported by voluntary purchases of fishing/hunting licenses....

Publius said...

Not possible.
Peak Oil is no longer a hypothesis.
Even if it were marginally possible to imagine paying off this debt today, with each passing month it becomes less and less likely.

Furthermore, children born today are not asked whether or not they want to take responsibility for this debt. Just because a baby receives a government benefit doesn't create a moral obligation for that person to sacrifice future liberty to pay it off. As St. Augustine wrote, "an unjust law is no law."