# National Debt And Stuff

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
That may be true, but money doesn't care about fairness.
An old pal (a wealthy guy who has cars worth more than I’ll ever be) proposed that every seven years, everyone should have to randomly “switch wallets”.
IMO, that concept would be the most equitable way to employ any monetary system. (Notwithstanding the reality that it would be impossible to implement; it’s a thought experiment.)
Horrible idea--a huge disincentive towards saving for a rainy day.
Assuming that "saving for a rainy day" is desirable, or worse still, necessary, is unwarranted.

In a hypothetical world where such switching of wallets were implemented, we could (and probably should) expect a significant level of basic support, such as a universal basic income, that would render such savings unnecessary.

What you call "saving for a rainy day" only differs from "stupid and pointless greedy hoarding of money" by the local idiosyncrasy of living in a place where there's no floor under the standard of living.

You are, unsurprisingly, as unaware of this avoidable and unnecessary unpleasantness for the same reason that fish are unaware of water.

#### jonatha

##### Veteran Member
If you make the wallets effectively unnecessary, why bother swapping them?

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
If you make the wallets effectively unnecessary, why bother swapping them?
Well, quite. Perhaps just a single complete reset of wealth, say every century, would be better.

Or a 100% tax on inheritance and gifts within families.

Or maybe, just maybe, every possible simple solution carries more problems than it's worth.

Experience suggests that a long series of gradual and incremental changes towards greater equality is likely the best course. Revolutions are great in theory, but in practice they usually hand power to people even less pleasant than those who were overthrown.

#### Elixir

every possible simple solution carries more problems than it's worth
Yeah, it’s definitely an example of that IRL.
But the fact that the idea, first offered by my friend as a semi-sarcastic throwaway quip, has elicited so much response, is evidence of the kernel of genius that lies at the heart of It.

#### Loren Pechtel

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
That may be true, but money doesn't care about fairness.
An old pal (a wealthy guy who has cars worth more than I’ll ever be) proposed that every seven years, everyone should have to randomly “switch wallets”.
IMO, that concept would be the most equitable way to employ any monetary system. (Notwithstanding the reality that it would be impossible to implement; it’s a thought experiment.)
Horrible idea--a huge disincentive towards saving for a rainy day.
Assuming that "saving for a rainy day" is desirable, or worse still, necessary, is unwarranted.

In a hypothetical world where such switching of wallets were implemented, we could (and probably should) expect a significant level of basic support, such as a universal basic income, that would render such savings unnecessary.

What you call "saving for a rainy day" only differs from "stupid and pointless greedy hoarding of money" by the local idiosyncrasy of living in a place where there's no floor under the standard of living.

You are, unsurprisingly, as unaware of this avoidable and unnecessary unpleasantness for the same reason that fish are unaware of water.
At it's heart this is why people live paycheck to paycheck--and thus are unprepared for trouble.

It also precludes saving up for major things.

#### Elixir

If everyone was involved in the Switch Wallets Program there would be great incentive to cultivate useful skills, and massive social pressure to do exactly that.

#### Elixir

If you make the wallets effectively unnecessary, why bother swapping them?
So everyone has a chance to get a taste of "how the other side lives".

#### Lumpenproletariat

##### Veteran Member
Does anyone have the honesty to answer the following:

Should the current U.S. deficit be increased to 2 or 3 trillion $$? Why or why not? Right now the deficit for 2023 is shown at about 1.5 trillion (debt clock figure, probably this is the projection for the whole year: https://www.usdebtclock.org/ ), so it looks like the current Biden budget includes a small INCREASE in the deficit for this year, or perhaps keeps it at the same level. In 2022 the deficit was 1.38 trillion ( https://www.google.com/search?q=usa...i625j0i390.5148j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 ), down significantly from 2021, while for 2020 the deficit was the highest ever (as a percent of the economy), about 3.1 trillion, and the debt/gdp rose to the highest ever. The correct answer to the above question is: No, the deficit should be kept down to where it is, or reduced down to 1.0 trillion or less, not increased (because debt has to be repaid later). Because higher debt (at such record-high levels) poses a threat to the economy, 5 or 10 or 15 years down the line. Even if there's no colossal "crash" as a result, still the overall net result of this high debt, long-term, is negative, not positive, causing more harm than good (regardless of the instant gratification initially). But if you argue, as most everyone here is arguing, that higher debt is not a problem, then you should have the honesty to say forthrightly: The deficit should be increased to at least 2.0 trillion, or better yet, to 3.0 trillion. We need the money for so many needed programs, to help the poor, to solve homelessness, to provide health care to all, and also to provide relief to poor countries suffering from climate change, and to help so many refugees and victims throughout the world. How can anyone honestly not demand an increase in the annual deficit, to provide another trillion or more$$$to alleviate so much suffering both domestically and throughout the world? Many of the world problems are actually caused by the developed countries, all of which should be increasing their debt in order to pay for the damage we've caused in Africa and Latin America and other regions now being victimized by climate change. It is totally callous and disingenuous to just blame China (and India?) and say it's all their fault, because they burn some carbons, and so we won't do anything unless China agrees to sacrifice to save other countries. You can't call yourself a "liberal" or a "progressive" or a "humanitarian" or anything else positive if your response is so callous. As long as you think higher debt is no threat to the future, but is good for the economy, then you should be demanding an INCREASE in the federal deficit (same for other developed countries also), to 2 or 3 or 4 trillion dollars (in the U.S.) etc. in order to pay for the great need to relieve suffering and save literally millions of lives (probably tens of millions), for improved infrastructure, food production, and disaster prevention and rescue of so many victims. This might mean the U.S. would take the initiative, to be followed by all other developed countries which have any decency, to all increase their debt in order to provide all the funding necessary to fix the damage that has been done and will continue if nothing changes to increase our debt. The only possible reason to not increase the deficit to 2 trillion (annually) or higher, would have to be that you're afraid that there is a risk of economic collapse or crash of some kind if the debt goes up that much, or that fast. And yet 90% of those posting here are saying that there is no risk or danger to the economy if the debt increases. If you believe that, why are you satisfied with Biden's budget which at best is keeping the deficit at about the same level? far too low to address all the need, allowing a continuation of suffering, or increase of it? Why do you want to see all this suffering continue or get even worse? when the solution is so simple? just increase the debt, the annual deficits, as needed? What are you afraid of that you oppose doing what is necessary to save millions from starvation and other suffering? #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum Does anyone have the honesty to answer the following: Should the current U.S. deficit be increased to 2 or 3 trillion $$? Why or why not? Right now the deficit for 2023 is shown at about 1.5 trillion (debt clock figure, probably this is the projection for the whole year: https://www.usdebtclock.org/ ), so it looks like the current Biden budget includes a small INCREASE in the deficit for this year, or perhaps keeps it at the same level. In 2022 the deficit was 1.38 trillion ( https://www.google.com/search?q=usa...i625j0i390.5148j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 ), down significantly from 2021, while for 2020 the deficit was the highest ever (as a percent of the economy), about 3.1 trillion, and the debt/gdp rose to the highest ever. The correct answer to the above question is: No, the deficit should be kept down to where it is, or reduced down to 1.0 trillion or less, not increased (because debt has to be repaid later). Because higher debt (at such record-high levels) poses a threat to the economy, 5 or 10 or 15 years down the line. Even if there's no colossal "crash" as a result, still the overall net result of this high debt, long-term, is negative, not positive, causing more harm than good (regardless of the instant gratification initially). But if you argue, as most everyone here is arguing, that higher debt is not a problem, then you should have the honesty to say forthrightly: The deficit should be increased to at least 2.0 trillion, or better yet, to 3.0 trillion. We need the money for so many needed programs, to help the poor, to solve homelessness, to provide health care to all, and also to provide relief to poor countries suffering from climate change, and to help so many refugees and victims throughout the world. How can anyone honestly not demand an increase in the annual deficit, to provide another trillion or more$$$ to alleviate so much suffering both domestically and throughout the world? Many of the world problems are actually caused by the developed countries, all of which should be increasing their debt in order to pay for the damage we've caused in Africa and Latin America and other regions now being victimized by climate change.

It is totally callous and disingenuous to just blame China (and India?) and say it's all their fault, because they burn some carbons, and so we won't do anything unless China agrees to sacrifice to save other countries.

You can't call yourself a "liberal" or a "progressive" or a "humanitarian" or anything else positive if your response is so callous. As long as you think higher debt is no threat to the future, but is good for the economy, then you should be demanding an INCREASE in the federal deficit (same for other developed countries also), to 2 or 3 or 4 trillion dollars (in the U.S.) etc. in order to pay for the great need to relieve suffering and save literally millions of lives (probably tens of millions), for improved infrastructure, food production, and disaster prevention and rescue of so many victims.

This might mean the U.S. would take the initiative, to be followed by all other developed countries which have any decency, to all increase their debt in order to provide all the funding necessary to fix the damage that has been done and will continue if nothing changes to increase our debt.

The only possible reason to not increase the deficit to 2 trillion (annually) or higher, would have to be that you're afraid that there is a risk of economic collapse or crash of some kind if the debt goes up that much, or that fast.

And yet 90% of those posting here are saying that there is no risk or danger to the economy if the debt increases. If you believe that, why are you satisfied with Biden's budget which at best is keeping the deficit at about the same level? far too low to address all the need, allowing a continuation of suffering, or increase of it? Why do you want to see all this suffering continue or get even worse? when the solution is so simple? just increase the debt, the annual deficits, as needed?

What are you afraid of that you oppose doing what is necessary to save millions from starvation and other suffering?
Do you have the honesty to say whether or not you have stopped beating your wife?

Higher debt is not a problem, as long as the spending adds to the ability of the economy to grow.

Whether a $1T deficit is better or worse than a$3T deficit depends entirely on how the deficit is caused - what the detailed spending and taxation are.

That you not only fail to grasp this, but also preemptively insult anyone who does understand it, makes you both ignorant and belligerent, and not worthy of any further debate.

#### laughing dog

##### Contributor
The honest answer to the disingenuous question is that it asks the wrong question. The deficit or surplus is the outcome of deliberate policy choices and economic performance. If there is a good policy (i.e. one that addresses the issue in a manner with the highest perceived net benefit), then it should be put into place. If that policy results in an increased deficit or lower surplus, then so be it. If the policy results in a lower deficit or higher surplus, then so be it.

#### Loren Pechtel

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Higher debt is not a problem, as long as the spending adds to the ability of the economy to grow.

Whether a $1T deficit is better or worse than a$3T deficit depends entirely on how the deficit is caused - what the detailed spending and taxation are.

That you not only fail to grasp this, but also preemptively insult anyone who does understand it, makes you both ignorant and belligerent, and not worthy of any further debate.
The leftist version of the Laffer Curve.

#### Lumpenproletariat

##### Veteran Member
Does anyone have the honesty to answer the following:

Should the current U.S. deficit be increased to 2 or 3 trillion $$? Why or why not? Do you have the honesty to say whether or not you have stopped beating your wife? Yes, I can honestly answer it: I don't have a wife. And even if I did have a wife, it's also honest to answer: I can't stop beating her if I'm not already beating her to begin with. There's nothing wrong with the question if the one answering it is allowed to give a truthful response -- and such a response cannot be limited exclusively to a "YES" or "NO" answer only. So again, Should the current U.S. deficit be increased to 2 or 3 trillion$$$? Why or why not? This obviously is not a "YES OR NO" question, but is a reasonable question which deserves an honest answer. The answer should include a leaning toward either a "yes" or "no," but also include any necessary explanation. The answer could even require more facts, withholding the "yes" or "no" depending on the additional facts. To claim knowledge of debt and money and banking and gov't budget etc. and refuse to answer this is dishonest. Especially if you claim higher debt is generally good for the economy. With that premise the honest answer would be: The U.S. deficit needs to be increased to$2.0 or $3.0 trillion (or even higher), because of all the extreme need. And similar higher deficit (percentagewise) is needed from virtually all the developed countries, to meet their domestic need and also fulfill their responsibility to other less fortunate nations which are suffering undue hardship. Higher debt is not a problem, as long as the spending adds to the ability of the economy to grow. Whether a$1T deficit is better or worse than a $3T deficit depends entirely on how the deficit is caused - what the detailed spending and taxation are. Given this premise, the honest answer is the same: The debt of all developed countries should increase along with the U.S. debt; or, the current U.S. deficit should increase to more than 2.0 trillion, to meet the pressing needs, because the higher debt is not a problem. That you not only fail to grasp this, but also . . . Those who "fail to grasp" should ask questions, and those claiming to know THE TRUTH should give honest answers based on their premise, rather than running away. It's a perfectly reasonable question: Should the deficit be increased to$2.0 or $3.0 trillion, or more? To reject the question rather than answering it is dishonest. It's legitimate to give your opinion as an answer while also respecting another who has a different opinion. But it's dishonest to refuse to give your answer if you claim superior knowledge and GRRRRASSSP of the subject matter. . . . but also preemptively insult anyone who does understand it, makes you both ignorant and belligerent, and not worthy of any further debate. The topic is "National Debt and Stuff" -- Why shouldn't this topic include a question like: Should the current U.S. deficit be increased to 2 or 3 trillion $$? Why or why not? Where does this topic include the issue of who is "ignorant and belligerent, and not worthy"? #### laughing dog ##### Contributor Higher debt is not a problem, as long as the spending adds to the ability of the economy to grow. Whether a 1T deficit is better or worse than a 3T deficit depends entirely on how the deficit is caused - what the detailed spending and taxation are. That you not only fail to grasp this, but also preemptively insult anyone who does understand it, makes you both ignorant and belligerent, and not worthy of any further debate. The leftist version of the Laffer Curve. Could you explain your reasoning because without it, your response appears more like jibber jabber than careful economic reasoning. #### Lumpenproletariat ##### Veteran Member Does anyone have the honesty to answer the following: Should the current U.S. deficit be increased to 2 or 3 trillion$$$?
Why or why not?
The honest answer to the disingenuous question is that it asks the wrong question. The deficit or surplus is the outcome of deliberate policy choices and economic performance.
But one of those policy choices is whether to raise the debt limit. The choice can be made to NOT raise it, or keep it lower, and that then would result in a lower deficit. I.e., the debt-ceiling vote is one legitimate point where the choice can be made, where it's a legitimate question whether the debt or deficit might be too high. So it's not a disingenuous question.

If there is a good policy (i.e. one that addresses the issue in a manner with the highest perceived net benefit), then it should be put into place.
Everyone disagrees on what is a "good policy" to put into place.

But any "good policy" on this should define what is a proper debt percent limit beyond which the debt is too high. Such as the debt/gdp ratio which was traditionally set at 80% maximum, beyond which it becomes too risky. So a "good policy" would be to adopt some such maximum and try to stay within that limit. And allow exceptions only for a crisis/emergency, after which the debt is to be brought back down to the agreed limit level.

The premise for this is that there is more long-term harm than benefit if the limit is exceeded, regardless of the instant gratification we recognize from the immediate spending spree offered by the higher deficit to satisfy the immediate appetite.

Those who reject this premise are then saying it does not matter how high the debt goes, ever, and so there should be only higher and higher debt to meet all the perceived need, and thus the current deficit should certainly increase to 2 or 3 trillion, or probably higher. And it's dishonest to resist the 2 or 3 trillion deficit and yet also say there is no definable limit or maximum to the debt/gdp ratio. I.e., you can't preach that there's no limit, but then hesitate to run the deficit up as high as necessary to pay for all the many current needs. If you really believe there's no proper limit, then you should be agitating for many more trillions of current deficit, to relieve the widespread suffering today, both domestic and worldwide.

If that policy results in an increased deficit or lower surplus, then so be it. If the policy results in a lower deficit or higher surplus, then so be it.
And that policy should be to keep the debt down to some agreed limit, thus resulting in a lower deficit. This can be done with the debt ceiling vote, to possibly reject the rise if this would run the debt/gdp ratio too high. There is no reason to reject the debt ceiling altogether, or the vote on it, as one of the policy choices, with the argument that this has no legitimate role to play in the choices which determine the debt level. It is part of the legitimate process of choices.

So we're not limited to choosing only spending programs individually and then wait to see if these spending decisions result in lower or higher deficit. We can also choose a limit to the debt, which might then overrule some of the earlier spending choices, because they were bad choices.

Since our policy now is to have this debt ceiling vote, then so be it -- it's good to have this possibility to put limits to the debt which otherwise goes too high. And it's appropriate to ask if the debt has grown too large, and it's dishonest to refuse to answer if it's: 1) too high, or 2) should be raised even higher to meet all the existing needs because higher debt is not something to worry about.

#### laughing dog

##### Contributor
Does anyone have the honesty to answer the following:

Should the current U.S. deficit be increased
to 2 or 3 trillion $$? Why or why not? The honest answer to the disingenuous question is that it asks the wrong question. The deficit or surplus is the outcome of deliberate policy choices and economic performance. But one of those policy choices is whether to raise the debt limit. The choice can be made to NOT raise it, or keep it lower, and that then would result in a lower deficit. I.e., the debt-ceiling vote is one legitimate point where the choice can be made, where it's a legitimate question whether the debt or deficit might be too high. So it's not a disingenuous question. It is a disingenuous question because you answered in the same response and dismissed any possible explanation. Furthermore, the debt limit vote does not address whether the additional spending is a net benefit or not, so your explanation is simply misguided. If there is a good policy (i.e. one that addresses the issue in a manner with the highest perceived net benefit), then it should be put into place. Everyone disagrees on what is a "good policy" to put into place. But any "good policy" on this should define what is a proper debt percent limit beyond which the debt is too high. Then your question was truly disingenuous because it presumes that a debt limit is legitimate. A debt limit that constrains spending that already has been approved is simply a waste of time. #### Elixir ##### Made in America A debt limit that constrains spending that already has been approved is simply a waste of time. Wasting time is the GQP’s 2nd priority, right after destroying democracy to own the libs. #### Lumpenproletariat ##### Veteran Member Does anyone have the honesty to answer the following: Should the current U.S. deficit be increased to 2 or 3 trillion$$$? Why or why not? The choice can be made to NOT raise [the debt limit], or keep it lower, and that then would result in a lower deficit. I.e., the debt-ceiling vote is one legitimate point where the choice can be made, where it's a legitimate question whether the debt or deficit might be too high. So it's not a disingenuous question. laughing dog: It is a disingenuous question because you answered in the same response and dismissed any possible explanation. What? Who? Get that license number! A question is disingenuous because someone answered something or dismissed some explanation? How does that make a question disingenuous? The question is: should the debt limit be raised, or rather, should the current U.S. deficit be increased to 2 or 3 trillion in order to pay for some very pressing needs, which surely do exist and can be addressed if only there was adequate funding? What's not genuine about that question? If the funding can be raised, then what's wrong with raising it, through additional debt, if there's no need to have a limit on the debt? Most of those posting here have said we don't need to have limits on the debt, because higher debt is beneficial for the economy. So then, why not increase the annual deficit to 2 or 3 trillion in order to address the many extreme needs both domestically and worldwide? Why don't you simply give an answer to this simple question, instead of continuing to choke on it? What's the problem you have with this straightforward question? You can't simply dismiss a question because someone somewhere gave some kind of improper answer to something, or dismissed something you think should not be dismissed. If someone asks a simple question like: Is it raining? Do you claim that's disingenuous because someone somewhere answered something the wrong way, or dismissed something? What are you talking about? What's so difficult about giving a simple response? -- you can always qualify it any way you want -- you can say "maybe, in this or that case," etc. But it's not a disingenuous question just because you have difficulty answering it without choking on it. Furthermore, the debt limit vote does not address whether the additional spending is a net benefit or not, so your explanation is simply misguided. Of course that question (whether it's a net benefit) is addressed by those deciding whether to raise the debt limit. Just because their consideration of it is different than yours doesn't mean they aren't addressing it. You're just as free to write your representative and demand that they vote one way or the other, based on your opinion about the spending. Their vote on this is just as legitimate as any other decision they make. The legislators do many procedures, "roll calls" and "quorums" and "points of order" etc., much of which you can quibble about -- but there is a system in place to decide on the questions. Whether the debt is too high, or the limit should be increased, etc., is one more of many judgments they must try to make. You could quibble about all their proceedings and condemn all of it as disingenuous if you don't approve of the process. But they always address the "net benefit" etc. The process is there, not a perfect process, even dirty at times, but they have to make the decisions one way or another. And there is a strong popular sentiment to have some limits put on raising the public debt. There is nothing disingenuous or illegitimate or dishonest about having a procedure for putting limits on the debt. Unless you mean all the politicians are just a pack of liars and scoundrels and criminals and hypocrites who should not be doing anything at all -- half of them belong in jail. But assuming we need these bastards to make decisions, there's nothing wrong with having them decide on whether the debt should be reduced, or not raised, etc. Then your question was truly disingenuous because it presumes that a debt limit is legitimate. No, it's a genuine question because a debt limit is legitimate. Society can choose to have a mechanism in place for limiting the debt. There's a legitimate need for such a limit, because there are patterns of behavior which drive us (individually and also collectively) to run up too much debt. So it's fine to have in place a mechanism which puts a check on the spending which drives up the debt too much. The U.S. has chosen to have such a mechanism, and no one has shown how there is anything wrong or misguided about having such a mechanism. You can argue that the mechanism could be something more efficient than this debt-ceiling vote. But no one has made the case why there should be no such mechanism at all. To just let certain spenders alone decide everything, with no other check, is not an imperative that every society has to agree to. There can be a check on the spenders, threatening to undo their decisions, if it's determined in the checking process that those spenders exceeded some agreed limit. This is similar to the veto power of the Executive Branch, which is a check on the legislators, if they enacted legislation which was misguided. It's called "Checks and Balances" -- and the debt-ceiling vote is a further example of checks and balances in the law-making process. A debt limit that constrains spending that already has been approved is simply a waste of time. No it's not. There are ways that spending can later be cancelled or revised, AFTER it has been approved. If this happens in a way that turns out to be messy, it's the fault of the spenders who should have been more careful in their initial spending procedures/decisions, making certain that the spending would stay within the proper limits. In the case of possible debt-ceiling limits, the worst that could happen would be some kind of across-the-board cut of programs, which would be a small percentage of the program budget. Those administering the program have to take the responsibility to manage that cut. Just because certain people disapprove of the decision doesn't mean it was a waste of time. Simply pronouncing something to be "a waste of time" is not an argument against it. If the debt limit is not raised and some spending is constrained, that is not a "waste of time" but is simply a choice to change something which maybe should be changed. Last edited: #### Cheerful Charlie ##### Contributor It is all a GOP ratfucking trick to force safety net cuts. It has been that for years. Google Starve The Beast for the history of that. #### laughing dog ##### Contributor Does anyone have the honesty to answer the following: Should the current U.S. deficit be increased to 2 or 3 trillion$?
Why or why not?

The choice can be made to NOT raise [the debt limit], or keep it lower, and that then would result in a lower deficit. I.e., the debt-ceiling vote is one legitimate point where the choice can be made, where it's a legitimate question whether the debt or deficit might be too high. So it's not a disingenuous question.
laughing dog: It is a disingenuous question because you answered in the same response and dismissed any possible explanation.
What? Who? Get that license number!

A question is disingenuous because someone answered something or dismissed some explanation? How does that make a question disingenuous?….
It is apparent from the feigned oblivious of your straw man responses that you are not interested in honest differences from your dogmas.

As to the remainder of your wall of text, when spending and tax plans are approved, that means any resulting borrowing or saving is approved - a debt limit is superfluous. It is the remnant of economic ignorance.

#### Lumpenproletariat

##### Veteran Member
one further point (addition to the previous Wall of Text):

If the debt limitation AFTER the spending decisions is too messy, then maybe the proper procedure is to have the debt limit placed BEFORE the spending decisions, and then the spenders are FORCED to stay within those limits imposed. But don't say there cannot be any debt-limit procedure or that such a limit is a "waste of time."