Good Question: What Is The U.S. Debt Paying For?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — None of us is a fan of credit cards — we use them, we abuse them — but today’s federal government can’t run without one. The U.S. National Debt is at $14.3 trillion and climbing, according to the U.S. Debt Clock. That’s $130,000 per taxpayer.

But if the national debt is the nation’s credit card, what kind of things are we charging?

“Well, we charge for everything,” said Jay Kiedrowski, a senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

He said the United States doesn’t use credit like most consumers do, making specific purchases. Instead, the government borrows money as a systemic part of the budget.

According to Kiedrowski, out of every dollar in federal spending, the government takes in 57 cents in revenue, largely from taxes.

“So we’re borrowing for the other 43 cents. That in a sense is applied against all of the federal budget,” he said.

The biggest parts of the federal budget, therefore, are responsible for the biggest part of the federal debt. Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, Defense and Wars make up 60 percent of the federal budget. You could say they make up about $8.6 trillion of the debt (60 percent).

“What we’re doing is financing two wars, we financed the stimulus package, at the same time we have a high rate of inflation on health care,” said Kiedrowski.

In 2000, we had a budget surplus, and the government projected that we’d pay off the $6 trillion we had in outstanding debt by now.

But the Obama White House blames the bad economy combined with policy decisions on accelerating the debt.

They say lower revenue from the bad economy added $3.6 trillion to the debt. The Bush tax cuts are assigned $1.8 trillion.

“A tax cut reduces your revenue, which requires you to borrow more,” said Kiedrowski.

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: $1.5 trillion. President Obama’s stimulus spending and tax cuts added another $1.1 trillion.

“In order to get the 43 percent of the budget that’s borrowing under control, you’re going to have to go after everything,” said Kiedrowski.

More from Jason DeRusha
Comments

One Comment

  1. Mary Lehan says:

    It would be good to know, those of us who use one credit card a month and pay off the charges each month pay no interest. And if our homes are paid for we pay no interest on a mortgage. Seems to me Washington D.C. should be able to learn how to do the same. It makes no sense to continue to use the money of the American people to take trips, or buy new clothes, or whatever.
    As an American, I had to learn to live within my income. Government personnel should learn how to do the same. Stop borrowing and pay the bills. PERIOD.

    1. gilley says:

      Yaaa vote Republican, theey give a taax break to the rich, Democrat they give a handout to the poor… Tea people soo far taalk a talk, but don’t do anything other than the standard tax break. tax loopholes, and keeping thee subsidies to rich people..

      1. American made says:

        So gilley what do you suggest?

        1. Ted says:

          I have a suggestion: The Bush tax cuts for the upper class was one major part of this problem. The two wars under Bush made it worse. The unsupported financial regulations during Bush caused our current economic mess. The loss of jobs and the loss of industry to other countries during the Bush years caused a lack of revenue. The lower pay many receive today is a loss of revenue. Cutting more and more to fix this does not fix what was done. We need to let the Bush tax cuts to expire. Pay for these wars and get people back to work. Anything else said is just propaganda for the 2012 election.

    2. Citizen says:

      @Mary. You cannot equate government with private parties. There is no resemblance to your personal situation. America’s founding fathers knew the government had to borrow to sustain itself and care for its citizens–especially during times when there was a great deal of need for revenue–like waging war, or during an economic recession. Bush II refused to fund his wars and kept the costs off the government’s books/budget. Obama was honest and put those costs back on the books, because if we must use your analogy, the government has to pay for those wars eventually. If you think the middle class is able to pony up the money, you are very wrong. Eisenhower taxed the wealthy at 94% and corporations at 35% to pay for WWII. We have to do the same now.

      1. agree with Mary says:

        You almost had me until you starting on Bush-bad Obama-good.

        1. Citizen says:

          Can you read? I didn’t say Obama was “good,” I said Obama was “honest” because he put the war debt back on the books. I have my own personal feelings about Obama, but he is, after all, a sitting president and the office deserves respect. The 2012 election will settle the question once and for all, won’t it. Or don’t you believe in election results, like the rest of the wingnuts out there?

          1. agree with Mary says:

            Start calling names if it makes you feel superior.

            1. Citizen says:

              @agree with Mary. Okay, we can call names back and forth like 3rd graders, but Mary is delusional with her comparison of the U.S. economy to her personal financial situation. You can like her and agree with her all you want because it matters not in the U.S. economic situation except as for whom you cast your one vote.

              1. Billy says:

                Thank God you only have the ability to vote 12 times.

      2. jordanj says:

        Citizen…You say the same thing over and over, “Don’t equate a Government budget with a persona budget. The concept is the same, DO NOT SPEND MORE THAN YOU TAKE IN! Only a fool doesn’t understand that.

        1. Dale says:

          You would be the fool. How do you own a home then without borrowing?

    3. Jim S. says:

      First time I’ve seen a smart, sane, even tempered post on these forums. This thread should have ended, here. My great grandparents, and many of that generation, did not pay for things with money they didn’t have, didn’t believe in using credit, didn’t believe in borrowing. They didn’t see the dignity in it. They owned their home (back before loan lending made homes and cars and everything else astronomical in cost), so there was no threat of homelessness during “hard times”. They had a work ethic, because work was rewarded. When your money is just being channeled through you to your mortgage lender, the work ethic is going to lose its luster.

      Seems straight forward, but you can’t roll a dump truck full of money up to someone’s house and have them say, “no”, can you.

      1. Citizen says:

        @Jim S. Back when people had to pay cash for houses there wasn’t much home ownership in America. People rented or lived in boarding houses, or, as servants, lived with their employers. Companies also provided housing cheaply for their workers–example, Minnesota mining and timber companies. Sears Roebuck Catalog started the financing revolution of enabling people to buy houses on credit for 15 years or so of financing. Henry Ford paid his workers high enough wages so they could buy his cars. No threat of homelessness during hard times? Do you remember the Great Depression? The “Oakies” crossing the country, camping in cars and wagons looking for work? Paying cash is a great idea in theory, but America’s corporations couldn’t exist unless people want things and buy on credit. America is a consumer economy which is why we’re in financial stress now. Consumers are not consuming adequately to drive the economic engines because–OH WOW–there aren’t enough decent-paying jobs being created. Back in your great grandparents time, before around 1910 or so, 70% of the population was self-employed, lived on farms, and a lot of people used a barter system. That time is long gone with the wind, just like slavery. Get over it. A race back to the 19th century is not going to save the U.S.

        1. Carl says:

          The simple concept of living within your means is still important. Your theory of Buy on Credit is one of the main reasons we had the collapse. People overspent their income becasue they had credit. they used their homes as a bailout every 3-5 years to pay off credit card debt. When home prices leveled out they were unable to finace their lifestyle and hence the problem we have today.
          Dont rely on credit to subsidize your lifestyle. I would think your Grandma would have taught you that.

          1. Citizen says:

            My grandmother also taught me not to argue with fools, but here I am doing it! A better way to explain it, Carl, would be to not borrow beyond what you have saved up to pay off the borrowed money. People were greatly misled by the government and financial institutions as to the value of homes. I told everyone I knew for years that the housing bubble was going to burst big time because the boomers buying homes drove it, and soon they were going to be shedding their homes. Credit is a way to deal with unexpected expenses–best example would be needing a new car to get to work, or repairs to an old car to get to work. My family used a credit card to help our children with their educations. I consider that to be a very good use when you don’t qualify for student loans or grants or anything. I consider an education a good investment. Of course, our children were required to come up with half the cost themselves. We brought them into this world, so we financed the other half. And guess what? They got out of college owing zero money. And they help us now when we need it. It’s called paying it forward. Another way to use a credit card effectively is to put all your expenses (carefully!) on one card, build up points, and pay off the card every month. You’ll soon be able to purchase things for free using the points. Unfortunately, in this jobless “recovery” people are using their credit cards and home equity to survive–especially when a job is lost–hence the foreclosure mess. The concept of “simple” living within your means is not a simple concept at all, and we cannot go back in time to the 19th century.

            1. The Architect says:

              It wasn’t lack of money or jobs that caused the great Depression. It was lack of credit.

        2. Jim S. says:

          I’ve heard that, and it’s interesting. I know that people eking out a living on the prairie were owned by bankers, too (useful for plying them to send their kids to school; a story for another time). I know that in the 1870s luxury shopping got started… and that in 1919 loans for cars got started… Also, did you know that during the great depression consumerism actually went up? Radios, refrigerators ‘n junk like that became common household items. And unemployment was 25%, wasn’t it? 75% still had a good thing going… oy, don’t get me started!😉

          My great grans lived in MN 1933 and on. I have met people of that generation who were leery of paying for things by borrowing. I have never met anyone born after 1960 like this (not that they don’t exist, just haven’t met them). Also, they paid cash for their homes and cars, and I noticed that a 40k house then is a 200k house, now. I guess my central query is, does it follow, to you, that loan lending makes things more and more and more expensive such that you have no choice but to pay for it via a loan (like healthcare)? After all, if a widget costs 20 bucks, but you can get a loan for 500 bucks, the widget seller is going to now sell his stuff for 500 dollars, yes? Anyway, gotta log off… A “conversation” on this forum – weird.

          1. Citizen says:

            @Jim S. Yes, the conversation here can be weird. James K. Galbraith (John Kenneth Galbraith’s son) has written a book called “Predator State” which speaks to the very issue you raise about credit raising the prices of goods. Try reading it. My family’s financial philosophy is that we borrow other peoples’ money (rather than spend our own in savings) as long as we have savings on hand to pay off the lent money (in case something happens). That way the financial investments we have which are returning more in interest than the interest we pay to borrow, stay invested. We make money when we borrow!

  2. Funky Munkey says:

    “A tax cut reduces your revenue, which requires you to borrow more,” said Kiedrowski.

    This has to be the stupidest comment ever, I mean ever!. Reduce your spending to match the “revenue”(which is newspeak for stealing your money)
    If Congress did their job, which is to coin it’s own money(gold and silver) we wouldn’t have to borrow from the corrupt banking cartel called the federal reserve and pay interest on borrowed money that was created out of thin air(paper).

    1. gorky forky says:

      Perhaps you just need to read your own comment for stupidity

      1. David J. Conklin says:

        Amen!

  3. Mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

    Get back on the gold standard! China is no fool, look at the amount of gold they are buying!

    1. David J. Conklin says:

      You can’t eat gold. If you’ve got the money to buy gold, buy land instead and learn how to grow your own food.

      1. dan says:

        So to fix our debt plan you as a stout Democrat propose we buy more land and grow our own food? OK???

    2. O-done-a says:

      This gold bubble that’s happening, don’t blame the Chinese. Look to India. The explanation doesn’t seem so dire. And…the stock market IS NOT the economy. Jese. Two separate entities that reflect one another but should never intertwine. That’s why we got here—hedeged debt. Gold is a hedge on the U.S. dollar–yes, but that’s not the whole story of what’s going on with the gold rush. Dereg., credit swaps, leveraged speculation—all given the stamp of approval by good ol’ Clinton then went full steam ahead with Bush and landed on a big spenders lap. All while America slept.

  4. Rico Suave says:

    Better question: How far into debt are we going to go before we put the brakes on all this reckless spending? Bush was bad, Obama is three times worse. Michelle Obama should crusade against the morbid obesity of our federal budget instead of worrying what’s in a happy meal. She can start by hiding the credit cards from her spendaholic husband. Time to put this lazy, fat government on a diet. Yes we can!

    1. David J. Conklin says:

      Lost of cheap shots.

  5. barrister says:

    Why dont the people in the senate & congress take pay cuts? cut their health care & pensions?

    1. jordanj says:

      Agree…Does anyone know what it costs for those people sitting in the White House including their benefits. Look what Weiner took home. Does Peloski still use a jet? Many, many dollars spent without thought. Their thoughts are to cut SS and Medicare, and they have their own retirement and health care plan. Go figure.

      1. O-done-a says:

        U.S. lawmakers used to be exempt from the Social Security system. But that changed in 1984, when all federal employees, including members of Congress, were added to the Social Security system. Congressional lawmakers contribute to, and benefit from, pension programs that cover all federal workers. Before 1984, Congress and other federal employees were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System. Workers and lawmakers hired since then are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System. The pensions under either system depend on the federal worker’s pay and how long he or she worked for the government. By law, the pension can’t exceed 80% of the employee’s pay in his or her last year on the job. Benefits paid under the system are reduced by the amount of Social Security a participant receives. The rest of us would love to have a pension that pays 80% of our final pay, but the reality is that few federal workers, including lawmakers, will get that much. They simply won’t participate in the system long enough. The average monthly benefit payment for federal workers is a bit more than $2,200, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

        1. O-done-a says:

          The reason Congress hasn’t fixed the Social Security crisis is not indifference. It’s politics. The most likely solutions all face strong opposition. If Social Security is going to get repaired, your lawmakers need to hear from you that you want it done, even if it means some difficult or unpopular changes.

  6. David J. Conklin says:

    >Bush was bad, Obama is three times worse.

    Fantasy land. Reagan tripled our nat’l debt and the Bushes cost us another $10 trillion. A lot of what had to be spent in the last couple of years is a result of Bush tax policies, wars, etc..

    1. dan says:

      Wow, wonderful world you live in Conklin! How was the debt at 10 Trillion when Obama took office yet Reagan tripled and Bush added 10 Trillion? I guess there was no National Debt when Clinton left office right?
      Obama has raised the debt by 4 Trillion in less than 3 years. No sense in trying to point to anyone but Obama for his spending spree!

    2. Redneck Purist says:

      Sorry conkers, wrong again. Bush’s deficit was a third the size of Obama’s. Obama has added 4 trillion to the national debt. Reagan may have doubled the budget deficit because he cut taxes and stoked the biggest growth in American history. He DOUBLED the size of our economy. He also nearly doubled revenues by creating more tax payers and increasing incomes. And Obama has his own war spending which he doesn’t include in his budget. Well, if he had one that is. The dems haven’t submitted a budget since Obama took power. Besides, the Bush excuse is starting to wear thin. He’s had almost three years to work his miraculous transformation from the horrible Bush years, to the utopian unicorn years. He has failed. You guys own this mess.

      1. Citizen says:

        You know dan & redneck purist, the lessened tax revenues for the U.S. Government because of Bush II’s reckless tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, just keep exponentially pilling on the debt. And Reagan raised taxes 14 times during his presidency. Check it out. It took Bush II 8 years to get us into this mess, and it’s going to take 20 to get us out. IF, we get out. With the conservative dementia I keep reading, I think the U.S. economy is doomed. Supply side is dead as is the free market (bogus–never existed anyway except in a con’s mind).

        1. dan says:

          I know you study history Citizen, but you tend to look at only the facts that support your case. Its too bad JFK died before he could transform the Democratic party into seeing what tax cuts do for future tax revenue.

          JFK/Johnson tax cuts created a huge growth in revenue from 1964 to 1970
          Reagan Tax cuts raised the same during 1983 to 1988
          Finally Bush tax cuts show a huge revenue boost from 2003 to 2008.

          3/4 of Obama’s failed policies are already written in stone. Dismal tax revenues from the day he stepped into office, but I’m sure the history books will blame bush as well.

          1. Citizen says:

            @dan. And you ignore the true facts. First, Reagan raised taxes 14 TIMES during his presidency. Second, JFK died, there is no proof whatsoever of what you state. Third, from 1964 to past 1970 the U.S. was at war in Vietnam. You remember the Vietnam war, dan? War makes tons of money for corporations and back then corporations still paid some taxes. Also, there was economic expansion of the middle class and boomers simply from the sheer numbers of people consuming which consumption drives the U.S. economy. PLUS, corporations were not sending good-paying jobs overseas–people could pay taxes and still consume. More fiction from you to support your delusions.

            1. dan says:

              So you dont disagree that the last 3 major tax cuts have been followed by huge tax revenue increases? We can debate why how and what, but the fact that we saw it happen 3 times in recent history does say something. I think you have said once before that “History tends to repeat itself”

              1. Citizen says:

                Yes, dan, history will repeat itself unless we learn from it. Or unless people as misguided as you, redneck, and the rest of the right wingnuts like Norquist, Beck, Rove, Limbaugh, Coulter and their ilk destroy America with your delusions.

                1. dan says:

                  Finally you come to the end of the conversation and start with insults. Misguided, redneck, wingnuts blah blah blah. Translation, you have nothing better to say after being proven wrong. Enjoy your day and hope your roses bloom with radiance.

                2. Citizen says:

                  Truth hurts, eh dan? Because you righties are all delusional. History has proved the economics being preached by people like you to be wrong, wrong, wrong. But you can’t stand the fact your precious trickle-down (up), supply-side, monetary, and free market ideas were bogus from the very beginning. And that is what has led to this financial morass we find ourselves in. Your blind faith in these misguided economics is damaging the country I LOVE!

                3. dan says:

                  OOOO, I struck a nerve! Chill out citizen you will get another check in the mail next week.

            2. Citizen says:

              Yes, dan, I will get my social security check because FDR as a Democratic President saw the need to take care of citizens of the United States who worked hard and were productive and contributed to this great country. And because I paid for the social security POLICY! Just like I paid for my Medicare POLICY!

              1. jordanj says:

                Citizen: If you paid for these, why does the Government think they can cut them?

                1. O-done-a says:

                  The Government is not trying to “cut them”. The overall schematic for Reform (one plan) looks like this—and it’s not done to Citizen, but to Citizen’s kids :
                  -Gradually increase the full retirement age to reflect improvements in longevity.
                  -Change to a different measure of inflation that grows more slowly to calculate cost-of-living increases.
                  -Slightly reduce the growth in benefits for the top 25% of wage earners.
                  -Boost the amount of earnings subject to the payroll tax over time.
                  -Bring newly hired state and local government workers into the system.

        2. Redneck Purist says:

          Don’t be a dunce. Saying that Reagan raised taxes is like saying Clinton reformed Welfare. Reagan worked with the dems who controlled both houses. He may have agreed to their tax increases to get other things done. But he NEVER said (like Obama) “Gee, I think we need to raise taxes to fix the economy.” The top tax rate when he left office was less than half of Carter’s top rate. From 70% down to 28%. Every tax increase he made was sent to him by congress. (the dems) I’ll explain who makes budgets and proposes taxes when you’re a little older.

          1. Citizen says:

            Reagan was part of the free market supply siders who convinced (read “conned”) a lot of people including the Dems into believing Milton Friedman’s economic theories. Even Friedman recanted the theories he wrote about in “Free to Choose.” Reagan’s supply-side free-market theory is dead, if it ever really existed except in the minds of people like you. But, Reagan’s tax policies totally set the stage for the economic melt-down we are presently experiencing. I’m plenty old enough to have marched for Civil Rights and old enough to march in the streets again to save the U.S. from people like you.

            1. Redneck Purist says:

              And you marching in the streets is going to save the U.S. how, exactly?

              1. Citizen says:

                @Redneck. That I have to explain civil disobedience to you is sad. However, I will try. Civil rights marches and the numbers of people involved demonstrated to the government that there were plenty of people risking physical harm to tell politicians that Civil Rights needed to be law. The rally around Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech–the sheer numbers of people involved who cared–demonstrated to politicians that we needed civil rights legislation. It’s the numbers of people willing to step forward–because for everyone who actively steps forward and takes to the streets, there are 10 silently agreeing. The United States belongs to all its citizens NOT just to a vocal minority like the tea party and the right. And while great countries listen to the wishes of minorities, they do not allow a small number of people to dictate policy and laws–that would be a fascist dictatiorship in action.

            2. Love Reagan says:

              The weak and small minded will always support more government. Which immigrant success stories do you like to hear? The, I came to America to start a business and now I employ 400 people and living the American dream OR I came to america to live off the welfare system and now have 8 wonderful chidren?
              Your choice will determine your love of your counrty

              1. Citizen says:

                @Love Reagan. Reagan’s immigration bill of 1986 made it more difficult for the Mexican braceros to cross back to Mexico once they left Mexico to work the cattle ranches of Texas. Before that, the Mexican workers freely crossed back and forth across the Rio Grande. Do you think Mexican workers really want to live in America and leave their families? No, they want American jobs with the wages. So, once they couldn’t come and go so easily, they stayed, and brought their families, and the rest is history. They wanted American wages, so now they have to stay in America. They wouldn’t be here if American companies didn’t hire them. As for the welfare system, it is sad, I agree. But, what other solution do you have except some type of reform where the people who can, work? That brings up that knotty issue again of job creation…just can’t get around that lack of job creation, can we.

    3. Carl says:

      Can you tell me how much our tax revenues have shrunk since Obama took office? I will tell you in 2008 we collected $4.7 Trillion, thje very next year in 2009 when your great leader took office they fell over 20% to 3.7 Trillion. 2010 and 2011 are looking dismal as well
      End of History Lesson.

  7. middle of the road says:

    and the really scary part is that Social security and Medicare were completely paid for, but now they are a liability. OUR Government not only borrowed to buy things like wars and votes, but they also spent money they promised to put away for when we are old to help us pay for our standards and healthcare. Yes that is right, our government double dipped and not only stole from our retirement, but also created 130K in debt for each of us. That is EVERY member of congress in the past three administrations.

    1. Mark says:

      Indeed, which just goes to show you… this isn’t the American people’s fault. We bought and paid for services we valued, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Then they spent all that money and more paying for their wars and making their friends rich with tax cuts. Now they expect us to foot the bill and surrender to having no health care and becoming disposable wage slaves fighting for the few remaining jobs for little or no pay (unpaid internships are becoming increasingly common in the hope of someone hiring you) or else they will move it all to China. Class warfare, Warren Buffett had it right, the upper class is winning handily.

      1. Citizen says:

        @Mark. And the serfs keep buying the “propaganda” being dished out by the likes of Norquist, Beck, Rove, Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest of the puppets of the extremists.

    2. O-done-a says:

      Social Security funds and assets were not stolen–appropriated in a shifty manner–yes. Over the years, the surplus has been lent to the federal government to pay for other programs. In return, the trust fund received IOUs in the form of special-issue, interest-paying Treasury bonds. These bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, just as regular Treasurys are. The trust fund has worked this way since its inception in 1939, by the way. Congress didn’t place the fund “off limits” at one point and then later decide to raid it, despite hoax email assertions to the contrary. The tricky part, and the reason some have dismissed the trust fund as an accounting fiction, is that the Treasury needs to come up with the money to make good the bonds when it’s time to cash them in. This cash has to come from somewhere: increased taxes, reductions in other spending or additional borrowing. Although the trust fund assets aren’t scheduled to be depleted for another 26 years, this need for the Treasury to redeem the bonds will put pressures on the federal budget well before 2037

  8. Citizen says:

    Bush lowered taxes on the wealthy while waging two wars which costs were not declared in his phoney budgets. So, you can look at the U.S. debt as the result of tax breaks for the wealthy, corporations, and wars. I say let’s start collections on the wealthy. They’ve had ample time to invest the money and double it, so we should be able to get the principle back, maybe with interest! Eisenhower taxed the wealthy at 94% and corporations at 35% plus. That’s how he paid for WWII. Bush waged TWO wars and lowered taxes. FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE in the extreme. But, that was Bush II’s plan to enrich his wealthy backers and help bring the U.S. government to its knees. Worked well, hasn’t it!

    1. Billy says:

      I guess the Democrat run House and Senate were against entering Bush’s TWO wars? You can blame in on bad intell, but WMD’s were not the sole purpose of the wars.

      1. Citizen says:

        @Billy. At this point in history what is done is done. As my grandmother used to say, if you want to dance, you have to pay the piper. The “dance” is over, the money has been spent, the wars have been/are being waged and the piper’s bill is on the table. Now the wars need to be paid for. Amendment 14, section 4, of the U.S. Constitution makes it illegal for the U.S. Government to not pay its war debt, among others. The debt ceiling will have to be raised and the “credit card” bill is due.

        1. Billy says:

          Please answer my question. If the Democrats wer and are so against Bush’s 2 wars why are they not ending them? No, a minor drop in troop levels is not ending the war.

          1. Citizen says:

            @Billy. You cannot just end a war, bam! When you want to. Are you familiar with what happened during the fall of Saigon when the U.S. did just that? Pull out all at once. It was a horrible bloodbath and totally betrayed the citizens of South Vietnam–people who fought beside us. Obama is ending the wars in a calculated military strategy–in fact, his military advisers think he is pulling out too fast. But, I’m sure you are wiser than the generals and mlitary tacticians. What a phoney critique of Obama.

            1. dan says:

              Again, Democrats voted to start the wars and Obama has had to opportunity to end the war, but even after 4 years we will not see it end. If he had a calculated military mind he would have figured out a way to end it in 4 years.

              1. Citizen says:

                Obama is listening, for the most part, to his military advisers, like all presidents do. I guess you can’t read, either, because I succinctly stated that his military advisers think he is pulling out too fast. Or, are you too busy trying to refute what I say to actually read what I post? Guess you’re just like Billy, then, know more than the generals. It matters not now who started the wars–they’re going on and need to be paid for.

                1. dan says:

                  Now it doesnt matter who started the wars? You were so quick to jump on Bush’s TWO wars, What a waste of time………………………..

                2. Citizen says:

                  @dan. The point here–try to follow this, dan–is that the wars need to be paid for–regardless of who started them, continued them, ended them. Paid for!

                3. Carl says:

                  Wow, Citizen in all your heated comments you must have forgotten to read the story. Out of every Federal dollar spent we borrow 43 cents. This is more about our current spending problem, not the cost of 2 wars. The wars can be paid for but borrowing 43 cents of every dollar needs to stop. Time to pull back the govt open checkbook and yes that may just include reducing your cushy govt pension.

            2. Citizen says:

              Cushy government pension? Carl, is that what you call a few hundred dollars from social security? I can tell you how much my federal pension is–$300 a month. That’s real cushy, isn’t it? I try not to spend it all in one place, like the cost of health insurance. You’re delusional.

            3. Citizen says:

              As a further point, Carl, if you truly understood accounting, you need to look at the 43 cents in that manner. Is not the total wealth (GDP) of the United States worth that? If you look at the United States from an accounting standpoint, could not the value of the lland, the mineral wealth, the workers, the infrastructure of the United States support that debt? Think about the debt in terms of assets backing it. That would be a more realistic way to view U.S. debt rather than just in terms of tax revenues.

    2. Carl says:

      So if these are Bushs’ 2 wars and the Democrats are so against them why havent you pulled the troops out and bring them home? Oh thats right we have increased troop levels in both Yemen and Afghanistan.
      I guess its easier to preach than actually do something. Great how we shut down Walter Reed but are unable to fulfill a campaign promise on GITMO? What a waste of 4 years!

  9. Ann says:

    Jason, if you’re going to take on a serious question in “Good Question”, do the research and your job, and give us a serious in depth answer, not a ‘fluff” piece!

  10. Augustine M. Green says:

    The most distrubing thing about this is the way the GOP tries to do what evever they can to thwart any progress Mr. obama tries to make. During the Bush era, they had no problem extending the debt ceiling. What’s the problem? Iraq has cost the US billions of dollars and this was a war of Mr. Bush’s choosing!!

  11. Citizen says:

    The problem, Augustine, is that the GOP will do anything or say anything to keep Obama from getting reelected. Even to subverting the U.S. economy. I personally think that is treasonable, but I’m just one voter.

  12. O-done-a says:

    Ya know, it’s funny that you all blame the government for our problem. Yes, they opened the door—but WE walked right thru. Yes, they spent a rediculous amount of money on gov’t but WE borrowed all of this Fed backed money to finance a lifestyle that wasn’t real and then added a 2nd mortgage to maintain it. China owns us and we need to pay them back. It’s such a complicated mess that I, seriously, am not concerned one iota about the debt ceiling (it’s imaginary). It’s the downgrade I loathe (it’s real). To raise the debt ceiling and still get a downgrade makes any borrowed money so expensive that it doesn’t even matter ‘cause we can’t afford the interest. A downgrade would add 100 billion in interest at current borrowing levels. The solution is so simple it should have been done 6 months ago. We need to raise the debt ceiling and put a full force plan in place to cut 4 trillion—slowly and methodically to satisfy rating requirments—10 years, as proposed. At the same time we NEED to raise taxes. Americans are not overtaxed, either in historical terms or in comparison with other advanced nations. With revenue as a share of GDP at the lowest level in decades, we can stand to ”enhance” revenues a little. We do have a revenue problem. And to be sure, we can’t wait for 10%+ unemployment before we increase revenue! 10% is real. From what I read, the real recession will hit in 2012 when we see our housing problem get another hit of 20% due to the glut in the market. A further 20% decline in home prices would raise the percentage of homes worth less than the value of their mortgages to a stunning 40%, from the mid-20% range now. It’s estimated it would also cut homeowners’ equity to a mere 8% of total home values, from 19% now and 50% in the early 1980s. Lenders have foreclosed on 3.5 million American homes since 2007–expect millions more foreclosures in the years ahead.

  13. StraycatStrut says:

    “Mr Fundraiser”…. our beloved & all popular President….BO…. is going to raise $1 Billion in fund raisers this year for his re-election. If he were truely a “Good Guy” he would apply that $1 Billion to the Natl Debt as a partial payback……….
    What do you think about that?

    1. Citizen says:

      Great idea as long as all the other GOP and independent candidates promise the same thing!

    2. O-done-a says:

      He already raised 1 billion!

      1. Citizen says:

        I don’t think he’s raised $1 billion, yet. I believe the article stated that’s what Obama would need to raise.

        1. O-done-a says:

          Yeah, you’re probably right–I heard that he hit the 1 billion mark on CNN last Saturday. CNN? Ha! I always have to get the real news overseas.

  14. Citizen says:

    Well said, O-done-a. Don’t forget that the Congressional politicians debating raising the debt ceiling are the same ones that passed all the spending bills that they are now bemoaning having to pay for. Hypocrites unparalleled.

    1. Redneck Purist says:

      Don’t forget this either, Mr. selective memory: Obama and ALL the dems voted against Bush’s debt limit increase in 2006. Did you forget or were you in a coma? Are you still in a coma?

      Here’s what he said back then…….

      “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

      First thing he’s said that I agree with. Choke on it!

      1. Carl says:

        I bet Citizen wont reply to this one. he tends to only quote History that’s in his favor.

        Again this is more about Political re-election than actually acting as a President.

        Great Point Redneck Purists

      2. Citizen says:

        @Redneck. Obviously, you keep assuming I agree with and voted for Obama. Your mistake. I love America and am a patriot. I am not naive enough to believe that politicians tell the truth. After all Governor Rick Perry was a Democrat for 25 years before he became a Rethug so he could get elected to a high office. Mostly politicians will do whatever they have to to get elected, stay elected, and stay in power. Obviously, you seem surprised by Obama’s hypocrisy. I’m not. For me, the bottom line is that America honors its debts, gets a realistic economic policy that doesn’t benefit a few to the detriment of the many, and maintains its nationhood. Anything less for me is treason. Anyone who supports any party, person, or doctrine that subverts the sovereignty of the United States of America is a traitor.

    2. O-done-a says:

      Yep, and add that to the greed on Wall Street + the ignorance of the people and here we are. The chickens have come home to roost. Anyone that thinks politicians are working for them—wrong. Anyone who thinks their neighbors foreclosures doens’t effect them—wrong. Anyone who thinks this debt ceiling doesn’t need to be raised–wrong. Anyone who thinks we don’t need to raise taxes and reduce spending at the same time–wrong.

  15. Southern Mn Mom says:

    Citizen-

    Back from a long mission trip to South Africa. Good to see you are still on the job trying to convince everyone that everything that happens is a GOP plot and Populism is the only answer for America’s problems.

    I missed the results of the battle between the Governor and our GOP Legislators? Did the hated Republicans give in to our “silver spoon socialist” Governor?

    Out of curiosity I counted your posts on this question. 21 of 61. You must be a very bored-

    Mom

    1. Citizen says:

      I am not bored, in fact, I have very little time for the nonsense of most articles on a media website. However, as I stated above, I am concerned about the future of the United States, and O-done-a and I are on the same page as to the economic and financial policies needed. You should have stayed in South Africa. As I remember the politics there, you and others like you fit right in. Now you can count my 22nd post. And I can count you as part of the problem and not part of the solution.

  16. Southern Mn Mom says:

    Citizen-

    I am part of the solution Citizen! Conservatives such as myself will ALWAYS be there to make certain that Marxist/Populist/Socialist fools such as yourself never gain any more power than the ability to blog.

    Mom

    1. The Architect says:

      I have to laugh at your belief that conservatives are the ones that can save the day for all of us.

      Boy have you been sold a load…

    2. Citizen says:

      This is not a blog, Mom–it’s a post. It’s funny that you don’t know the difference! I don’t blog, but I read them. You might try reading The Dismal Political Economist, The Progressive Populist newsletter, the Hightower Lowdown. Then you might be able to define the terms you so loosely and erroneously throw around and with which you label people. Ignorance is truly bliss for you, isn’t it.

  17. Southern MN Mom says:

    Citizen- 26

    Common Sense- 0

    Mom

    1. @ Southern MN Mom says:

      Logical points or contributions of any kind
      MN Momma: 0
      Ridiculous waste of space and bullish bantor
      MN Momma:3
      Are you envious that others are more intelligent than you?

  18. Southern MN Mom says:

    You are such a piece of work Citizen!

    It is obvious you have major issues with your lack of achievement in life. All you do do all day long is try and convince people you are smart. Citizen, it is obvious you are an intelligent person. However I want to remind you here are lot of really intelligent people who never really accomplish anything in life. Change your life! Get up from your computer and put your intelligence and time to something that matters.

    I have always admired intelligent people Citizen, but I have never been envious of them. A great many of the really intelligent people I know or have read about seem to lack common sense and or have some real failing in their life.

    I sincerely hope you learn to deal with whatever is missing in your life son.

    Mom

    1. O-done-a says:

      Uh, I wrote that last comment, not Citizen. Citizen would have gladly authored it. I wanted to make sure you got it.
      Logical points or contributions of any kind
      MN Momma: 0
      Ridiculous waste of space and bullish bantor
      MN Momma:4

      1. O-done-a says:

        Oh, and I love how people just assume Citizen is male! Funny

  19. Citizen says:

    @O-done-a. Thanks for the support. MN Mom is a real bigot. Guess she doesn’t know that I am a retired grandmother with two college degrees and a teaching license and that I certainly don’t lack for achievement in my life. Too bad she doesn’t understand that I am passionate about patriotism and love my country and truly hate ignorance. And MN Mom is truly ignorant and ill-informed. Or paid to be that way.

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