Getting Serious

February 25, 2011

Charles Krauthammer has a good column today about America’s debt crisis, and hope for the future.

We have heard everyone — from Obama’s own debt commission to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — call the looming debt a mortal threat to the nation. . . . We can see the future. The only question has been: When will the country finally rouse itself?

Amazingly, the answer is now.

I know, I’m amazed, too!

13 Responses to “Getting Serious”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    Again, neither you nor Chucky Meathammer should pretend to care about the national debt when you both support tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires that add trillions to the deficit. I find it hilarious how people like Meathammer think that budget crises (state budget crises at least) should be solved by stripping benefits from retired firefighters, teachers, and police officers who receive on average less than $4,000 a month in pension benefits, rather than by a modest tax increase on millionaires and billionaires.

    It’s truly disturbing that Republicans are so beholden to corporate America that they will side with a CEO who makes millions of dollars a year over a firefighter who risked his life to keep his community safe, for $60,000 a year.

    Chillingworth, why do you want to live in a plutocracy?

    • Leroy, I can never tell when you’re being serious and when you’re joking.

      Giving you the benefit of the doubt and taking you seriously for purposes of argument, I think the short answer to you is that you’re starting from the assumption that the government is like God: All money really belongs to the government (rather than is the private property of the individuals who own it), and it’s up the government whether to give them any, and how much; thus, tax cuts are government spending. From this point of view, there’s no reason to be concerned if government spending is always increasing, because there would be just as much “government spending” even if there were no government spending.

      (The other short answer to you is that you still aren’t citing any sources, the same as when you forfeited the debate about the State of the Union.)

      You keep trying to claim that it’s ridiculous for people who support tax cuts or private property to be concerned about debt and spending; OK, let’s talk about what you believe. Are you concerned at all about government spending? Are you concerned at all about the national debt?

      • Snoodickle Says:

        I think it’s ridiculous for you to continue to vote against your economic interests, and side with a party that wants a true plutocracy where our country is run by corporations.

        P.S. No, I am not concerned about the national debt. China and our other creditors are not going to do anything to provoke a country with nuclear weapons/30,000 Walmarts.

  2. Snoodickle Says:

    P.S.S. I will not be citing sources; you can just assume everything I post is accurate.

    • OK, again, if you’re not going to bother citing any sources, I’m not going to sit here and do all the work for both of us—I mean, I won’t argue with you indefinitely on that basis—but I’ll go at least this round with you.

      I observe that you are admitting (“I think it’s ridiculous for you to continue to vote against your economic interests”) that you are not so much interested in abstractly discussing the common good, as you are more narrowly concerned with your own self-interest—and you don’t understand why I’m not being similarly selfish and unreflective. (Actually, you’ve said that before, too.)

      The government is growing. Re-read the first part of my blog entry about that (or read it for the first time, depending on how much attention you paid the first time before posting multiple comments on it). To review: No matter how you count it, government has grown over the last century, it’s grown a lot, and it’s not clear whether we can ever reverse that. For example, government spending (all levels of government) as a share of total economic activity in the country (GDP) grew from 20% around 1950 to 40% a couple of years ago. I take it as given that you’re not a Communist; so you don’t want that number to be 100%. Neither do I. How high do you think it should be? How high would it have to get before you would be alarmed?

      Or let’s just talk about the debt. I’m not sure what you mean about China; do you think our debt can get infinitely large before there will be any repercussions? President Obama proposed a budget plan that he said would help the federal government live within its means, but which in fact would cause the government to continue running a deficit (source; see also here). Our national debt is already so high that the U. S. government risks losing its AAA rating, which could cause a debt death spiral; combined state and federal debt could be nearly as great as the GDP next year, and we could be spending an eighth of all federal revenue just paying interest on the debt (source). If you include state pension obligations, federal entitlements, and other money that the government in America can’t help but spend, our national debt isn’t even just (“just”) $14 trillion, but closer to $140 trillion (source). “The optimistic view is that our outstanding obligations amount to more than all of the money in the world” (source, emphasis in original).

      How high would national debt have to get—in dollars, relative to GDP, or whatever metric you like—before you would be concerned at all?

  3. Leroy Says:

    I am not sure if the country will “rouse itself”, but I assure you that I am aroused.

  4. Snoodickle Says:


    I did not forfeit the debate about the State of the Union, you were the one who said you would not be making further posts. Also, you forfeited the debate on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    • On the State of the Union, as I’ve mentioned already, you declined to cite any sources. I nevertheless put in the time and trouble to go two rounds with you, responding at length to your points. Your last response, far from stepping up and bothering with any sources, consisted entirely of a short, bad joke (and even that was only repeating what you had already said).

      On “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, putting it in the light most favorable to you, I would say simply that I think we both said what we had to say.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Who are you, Jerry Lewis?

        I’m still curious, though, do you believe that in the situation I described, the gay soldier should be discharged?

        I will mention in advance that I don’t anticipate a straight answer.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        I don’t anticipate a gay answer either.

  5. […] 12, 2011 Just after arguing with a reader about the national debt, I happen to be reading a good piece by Mark Steyn (redundant? “a piece by Mark […]

  6. […] there was “no risk of that”.  People who got all their news from The New York Times thought the national debt was no big deal.  Mark Steyn remarked, [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] and […]

  7. […] If they’re poor or middle-class, and they support lower taxes and less spending on “entitlement” programs (i.e., they want to seize less of the property of the wealthy for themselves), it’s treated as some kind of bizarre anomaly that cries out for explanation (possibly involving staggering stupidity), even a moral failing (e.g., by Paul Krugman or blog commenter Snoodickle). […]

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