I O Who?

Okay Ratty, I know you will probably make fun of me for this, but with our government spending 2 trillion today, when we are already hopelessly “in debt”,

I have been trying to figger out: in debt to whom? Who is our lender?

And what  I’ve gleaned so far is, mos’ly : the American public.    So, um, I know I must be missing sump’n, but:  if you spend your own money earlier than you expected-yeah, so what?  What is all this crap about “our children and grandchilden”?  Let ‘em get their own $$$$.  I mean why not?  Seriously, wealth is always something created, not consumed.

Then, there are also foreign holders of our debt.  In this order: China( 😱) Japan, Brazil (😳) , the U.K.

So could they,like, repossess our country?

What, exactly, COULD  they do?

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37 thoughts on “I O Who?”

  1. MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    I think it gets to a point that Monopoly money will seem more secure than US currency and bonds.

    The economies are all interconnected so if the US goes down there will be widespread disruption. All the people will have there assets evaporate. It will be like having millions of dollars of Enron stock after they go bust.

    A few years ago a 2 trillion dollars debt would have been a punchline for it would have been unimaginable. Now as John pointed out it was insignificant enough to be passed with a voice vote.

    I don’t quite see it this way.

    Borrowing two trillion dollars was significant enough that all our Representatives, except one, pulled some shenanigans to avoid having to personally register their vote in favor.

    Do you think it would have been handle that way 20 years ago?

    How many significant pieces of legislation of over a trillion dollars do you know were passed with a voice vote?

    I wrote that it was “insignificant enough” [emphasis added] to be passed with a voice vote. No where do I think a 2 trillion aid package is insignificant. Do you disagree that it met that threshold to be passed with a voice vote?

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  2. I’m of the Amity Shlaes received wisdom crowd on this one.  WWII did not end the depression so much as displace the ruinous Roosevelt policies which caused a nasty recession to metastasize.

    I’m not quite down with the econtarian train of thought that all military or government spending is waste — even if we are perfect little Homo Economicus, well then so much more the ease with which we may measure the utils we derive in terms of security and favorable trade agreements fostered by government spending.  If we view the government as a notoriously inefficient agent of ours *but still our agent*, then government spending can indeed yield net positives.  After all, the guy who runs the local marketspace gets a cut, but in return, we get the benefits of having an open market, and cheaper than each marketeer hiring staff to (say) clean a single booth.

    All of that the refute the idea that all wartime spending must be waste — the real sin is in having Nazis running about, not in opposing them, and we derive benefit of various sorts by spending a great amount to fight them — maybe they would make us sad through their evil over there, or maybe they would prevail absent our spending of various resources to defeat them and make us sad indeed by torturing us to death.  Fighting a war and blowing things up is not a net positive in a strictly monetary-economic sense, but freely choosing to live without the yoke of Nazi oppression is worth much more than money. (Economics is more than money — it’s decisions).

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  3. 10 Cents:

    Robert A. McReynolds:

    10 Cents:
    There was a great talk about the economics of World War II on EconTalk by Robert Higgs. 

    1. The popular view of economic history is that World War II finally pulled the United States out of the Great Depression. Higgs describes three “facts” that are taken for granted in this analysis, yet are incorrect. What are they, and to what extent do you agree that conventional wisdom has gotten them wrong?

    Woods references Higgs in that link.

    Robert, are you telling me that the people didn’t work in factories and become soldiers? Was it like the moon landing and faked? You must have a special definition of “employment” that I am missing. Is it only employment if considered proper and beneficial?  I agree it was done with “smoke and mirrors” as Robert Higgs has said.

    If it was smoke and mirrors then it wasn’t real was it? But no I am not saying anything of the sort. I am telling you there was no real decrease in unemployment because half of the workforce—those in the war—are completely removed from the equation. You saw a replacement of skilled labor—those men who had been working in factories for years prior to war—replaces with an unskilled labor force made up of women, old men, and teenagers. It’s really just a case of this being a shell game. But again, just listen to Woods, a professor in history.

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  4. 10 Cents:

    MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    I think it gets to a point that Monopoly money will seem more secure than US currency and bonds.

    The economies are all interconnected so if the US goes down there will be widespread disruption. All the people will have there assets evaporate. It will be like having millions of dollars of Enron stock after they go bust.

    A few years ago a 2 trillion dollars debt would have been a punchline for it would have been unimaginable. Now as John pointed out it was insignificant enough to be passed with a voice vote.

    I don’t quite see it this way.

    Borrowing two trillion dollars was significant enough that all our Representatives, except one, pulled some shenanigans to avoid having to personally register their vote in favor.

    Do you think it would have been handle that way 20 years ago?

    How many significant pieces of legislation of over a trillion dollars do you know were passed with a voice vote?

    I wrote that it was “insignificant enough” [emphasis added] to be passed with a voice vote. No where do I think a 2 trillion aid package is insignificant. Do you disagree that it met that threshold to be passed with a voice vote?

    Dang Dime, you’re gonna get me out there defending Congress.  It’s not like they just decided screw it, let’s sneeze out a $2T bill — and it’s also not as though travel and congregation are encouraged these days *particularly* in the DC area.

    I agree with you that a Trillion’s not what it used to be, but then that’s hardly a driving force making this a voice vote.  Would they have been more likely to hold a voice vote for a QUADRILLION dollars?

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  5. HD you are confusing the economic conversation about war with the societal conversation about war. I am not arguing that WWII was unnecessary. I am arguing that it had negative economic effects.

    I again urge all of you save for John to listen to that Woods piece and expose yourself to something new.

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  6. Haakon Dahl:

    10 Cents:

    MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    I think it gets to a point that Monopoly money will seem more secure than US currency and bonds.

    The economies are all interconnected so if the US goes down there will be widespread disruption. All the people will have there assets evaporate. It will be like having millions of dollars of Enron stock after they go bust.

    A few years ago a 2 trillion dollars debt would have been a punchline for it would have been unimaginable. Now as John pointed out it was insignificant enough to be passed with a voice vote.

    I don’t quite see it this way.

    Borrowing two trillion dollars was significant enough that all our Representatives, except one, pulled some shenanigans to avoid having to personally register their vote in favor.

    Do you think it would have been handle that way 20 years ago?

    How many significant pieces of legislation of over a trillion dollars do you know were passed with a voice vote?

    I wrote that it was “insignificant enough” [emphasis added] to be passed with a voice vote. No where do I think a 2 trillion aid package is insignificant. Do you disagree that it met that threshold to be passed with a voice vote?

    Dang Dime, you’re gonna get me out there defending Congress.  It’s not like they just decided screw it, let’s sneeze out a $2T bill — and it’s also not as though travel and congregation are encouraged these days *particularly* in the DC area.

    I agree with you that a Trillion’s not what it used to be, but then that’s hardly a driving force making this a voice vote.  Would they have been more likely to hold a voice vote for a QUADRILLION dollars?

    Congressional Equivocator!

    It is a subtle point and not worth the time to go into it.

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  7. 10 Cents:
    Robert, I see now that you are discounting the military as employment. I would consider that employment in the generic use of the term.

    I think of as a gigantic, romanticized make-works government program. It’s the Right’s version of welfare.

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  8. 10 Cents:

    Haakon Dahl:

    10 Cents:

    MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    I think it gets to a point that Monopoly money will seem more secure than US currency and bonds.

    The economies are all interconnected so if the US goes down there will be widespread disruption. All the people will have there assets evaporate. It will be like having millions of dollars of Enron stock after they go bust.

    A few years ago a 2 trillion dollars debt would have been a punchline for it would have been unimaginable. Now as John pointed out it was insignificant enough to be passed with a voice vote.

    I don’t quite see it this way.

    Borrowing two trillion dollars was significant enough that all our Representatives, except one, pulled some shenanigans to avoid having to personally register their vote in favor.

    Do you think it would have been handle that way 20 years ago?

    How many significant pieces of legislation of over a trillion dollars do you know were passed with a voice vote?

    I wrote that it was “insignificant enough” [emphasis added] to be passed with a voice vote. No where do I think a 2 trillion aid package is insignificant. Do you disagree that it met that threshold to be passed with a voice vote?

    Dang Dime, you’re gonna get me out there defending Congress.  It’s not like they just decided screw it, let’s sneeze out a $2T bill — and it’s also not as though travel and congregation are encouraged these days *particularly* in the DC area.

    I agree with you that a Trillion’s not what it used to be, but then that’s hardly a driving force making this a voice vote.  Would they have been more likely to hold a voice vote for a QUADRILLION dollars?

    Congressional Equivocator!

    It is a subtle point and not worth the time to go into it.

    Which makes it perfect for Ratburger.org.

    First, there have not been all that many bills that involved spending of over a trillion dollars.

    Second, even very large spending bills have passed previously on voice vote, if there was significant bipartisan agreement.   After nearly a week of very vocal and very public wrangling, they pulled together a bill that had over 95 percent support.

    I don’t blame them for wanting to keep their social distance and pass it with a voice vote.

    But, the few who objected had a very valid point that the Members should be willing to go on record as individually supporting the bill.  It is massive, and they should have been willing to put their names on it.

    They will all be blamed for it.  They will all take bows for it.   Most of them will try to play it both ways.  They are all politicians, after all.

    It is just that they all seemed to perceive a roll call vote to be a potential downside at campaign time, so they skipped that.

    Shameful.

    And the loud debate over the past few days has centered on all the additional pork that the Democrats wanted to stuff into the bill.   There was not much said about the consequences of debt.

    More shameful.

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  9. My attempt to make sense of HD’s comment about war has touched off a spate of comments about WW II.  Of all of them , I prefer the idea that it put an end to Roosevelt’s Prog Parade—for a little while.   Because the comment about the UK: the victor but a wretched, parsimonious country for a generation thereafter, indicates persuasively that winning a war doesn’t guarantee economic prosperity. ( Indeed they had an equally awful time after WW I.  “Another such victory and we are lost!)

    After the Boston Marathon bombing, I remember reading that it revealed how quickly the City became a police enclave.  Locked down in hours, no one on the streets.  You’d think that after 9/11 our govt  at every level woulda been focusing on preventing/combatting terrorism   or bioterrorism.  Instead this reveals it has stealthily been developing  the structure for fighting its own citizens.  The net was there, invisible above us.  At the beginning of March, it became visible.  At the Ides of March, it dropped and settled over us.  By the last week of March, the drawstring has been tightened, we have been  safely incapacitated and hung up, suspended in isolation and forced indolence.
    Oh, yeah, this crisis is “real” (although it’s difficult to discern the dimensions  of its reality,  with the constant barrage of conflicting information)  But,  whatever else, it’s also a great opportunity to test out the meticulously engineered and heretofore invisible constraints.   When/if it’s over, we can never again live as if we didn’t know they were there, ready for the next crisis, like, maybe, an inconvenient resurgence of dissenting views.

    (oh and BTW, I still ❤️ The Don.  It was his energy and optimism and insistence on actually favoring our own country over others that brought us to the dizzying pinnacle we had reached, oh, just like 6 weeks ago!  But now, in case you haven’t noticed, if he even attempts to voice any optimism, any hope,  he’s immediately reviled as a mass murderer.  He has no idea what he’s talking about!  No, he doesn’t.  Of course he knows that, so he brought in a team of people who reputedly do.  Unfortunately including the treacherous Dr. Fauci.  “These  are the clouds about the fallen sun..”

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  10. Hypatia:
    My attempt to make sense of HD’s comment about war has touched off a spate of comments about WW II.  Of all of them , I prefer the idea that it put an end to Roosevelt’s Prog Parade—for a little while.   Because the comment about the UK: the victor but a wretched, parsimonious country for a generation thereafter, indicates persuasively that winning a war doesn’t guarantee economic prosperity. ( Indeed they had an equally awful time after WW I.  “Another such victory and we are lost!)

    After the Boston Marathon bombing, I remember reading that it revealed how quickly the City became a police enclave.  Locked down in hours, no one on the streets.  You’d think that after 9/11 our govt  at every level woulda been focusing on preventing/combatting terrorism   or bioterrorism.  Instead this reveals it has stealthily been developing  the structure for fighting its own citizens.  The net was there, invisible above us.  At the beginning of March, it became visible.  At the Ides of March, it dropped and settled over us.  By the last week of March, the drawstring has been tightened, we have been  safely incapacitated and hung up, suspended in isolation and forced indolence.

    OK, but let’s pause to observe that we were not corralled and locked into our homes by jackbooted brown shirts.  We voluntarily abided by the decrees of our lawfully elected representatives and administrators.  Even if you don’t agree with the extents of the halt brought to our economic activities, you can see that the idea of dramatically reducing the spread of this virus has merit.  The decrees to close businesses did not come from some fever-dream of a petty autocrat, it came as a serious recommendation from serious-minded epidemiologists.

    Oh, yeah, this crisis is “real” (although it’s difficult to discern the dimensions  of its reality,  with the constant barrage of conflicting information)  But,  whatever else, it’s also a great opportunity to test out the meticulously engineered and heretofore invisible constraints.   When/if it’s over, we can never again live as if we didn’t know they were there, ready for the next crisis, like, maybe, an inconvenient resurgence of dissenting views.

    (oh and BTW, I still ❤️ The Don.  It was his energy and optimism and insistence on actually favoring our own country over others that brought us to the dizzying pinnacle we had reached, oh, just like 6 weeks ago!  But now, in case you haven’t noticed, if he even attempts to voice any optimism, any hope,  he’s immediately reviled as a mass murderer.  He has no idea what he’s talking about!  No, he doesn’t.  Of course he knows that, so he brought in a team of people who reputedly do.  Unfortunately including the treacherous Dr. Fauci.  “These  are the clouds about the fallen sun..”

    President Trump is already signaling that he intends to relax federal limits on economic activities, and that this will likely involve a close tracking of the spread of the virus to make sure that, as it spreads, the readiness of communities to address it does not get overwhelmed.   I have been watching his task force at work and looking at the numbers a couple of times each week, and I am convinced that Team Trump is doing a great job.   They have established a very large level of trust from me.

    Even including “the treacherous Dr. Fauci.”  I am not so convinced that he is treacherous.  He has a history of sucking up to the folk in power at any given time, which makes him not so much to be feared as an ideologue.  And, consider his prospects from his point of view.  Political polarity has increased to such an extent that his ability to continue to serve from Party to Party has likely reached an end with the Trump Administration.  Also, he is at an age when he should be looking to retire and take a cushy highly-remunerative gig shilling for Big Pharma.   He will not be able to outlast Trump and Pence in government service no matter how chameleon-like he may be, so he should make the best of his service time by serving well.

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