Where the Buck Stops…

So Yahoo! typically posts news articles that are amazingly content-free or are about Hollywood celebs (or both I guess).  But every once in a while, they seem to mistakenly post an article that is somewhat interesting in an academic way.  Now by no means is this one an in depth analysis, but I found it interesting.  It is entitled “Where did the mammoth US budget deficits come from?”  and can be found http://news.yahoo.com/where-did-mammoth-us-budget-deficits-come-211927495.html

Aside from the fact that it will confuse non-ATiM members because it does not distinguish between debt and deficit very well, it is a fairly straitforward look at the budget history and problems.  While it’s probably too simplistic for posters here in general, it could be a base for a more in depth budget discussion…perhaps in preparation for Debate I….or sequestration.

6 Responses

  1. Good article, dave!.

    I would like to see the three entitlements broken out, because it seems easiest to fix SS, and possible to fix Medicare, but seems impossible to fix Medicaid.

    Or take the retirement safety blanket as separate from the health care silos.

    That is not a criticism of the article, btw. and everyone should take a look before WMR and BHO make up stuff Wednesday night.


  2. Mark, you are very optimistic given the following blurb from the article

    (The White House chart puts the total debt at $12.7 trillion, not $11.7 trillion, as does the CBO. The White House uses different underlying economic assumptions.)

    What’s a Trillion dollars between friends? The more I think about the debt and deficit, the more depressed I get about things like my kid’s future and my retirement. I don’t see a way out of this at all, at least from a political POV. My family’s share of the debt is upwards of $260,000 (and climbing). Even if we were wealthy by either of the party’s definitions, this would be difficult to pay off. The government can’t get close to balancing a budget, much less bringing down the debt (see sequestration). Fixing SS might be ‘easy’, but that is only a drop in the bucket. There is no real national dialogue on the whole problem. And elections only make things worse because very few people, if any, ever get elected by promising you less and raising your taxes. SS is called the Third Rail for a reason.

    A trillion is an impressive amount of money. It is easy to say but we forget just how much it is. Take a look here:


    Now image 12 or 13 times that…



    • Dave! – If we can get to balance over a business cycle – say balance over every five years, at some distant time in the future the huge debt will seem manageable. Reading Don Juan’s suggested “compromise” leaves me with no hope that anyone even cares about cyclical balance in the future.

      So I am probably as pessimistic as you. I am only more hopeful in the sense that I am willing to treat the past as past at any given moment when we are ready to go forward sensibly aiming for balance.


  3. Just a quick FYI to anyone who has been frustrated that the iPhone WordPress app did not work: either the iOS6 update or the latest app update, which I just installed, has it working for me now, and it seems very slick. I had not been able to access ATiM via phone for a long time.


  4. It seems to me that we already know the outlines of the deal. Continued current tax rates for all for another year and fewer budget cuts on both sides.

    The question is how much angst will have to be produced in the media to get us there?


  5. “I don’t see a way out of this at all, at least from a political POV. My family’s share of the debt is upwards of $260,000 (and climbing).”



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