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Author Topic: US Debt Limit To Be Hit  (Read 5957 times)

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Offline AsurasTopic starter

US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« on: April 21, 2011, 01:23:48 AM »
Timothy Geithner, US Treasury Secretary (D) - ABC News

Quote from: Timothy Geithner, US Treasury Secretary (D)
The Obama administration has warned lawmakers that they must raise the country’s current debt limit of $14.29 trillion before May 16 or risk “catastrophic” consequences, according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. In fact, Geithner said Tuesday, the consequences of default would make the recent financial crisis appear “modest in comparison.”

“The consequences of that would be catastrophic to the United States,” Geithner told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. “Default by the United States would precipitate a crisis worse than the one we just went through. I think it would make the crisis we went through look modest in comparison. It would force us of course to cut critical payments to our seniors and it would be a reckless, irresponsible act to this country. I find it inconceivable that the Congress would not act to increase the limit.”

Jim DeMint, Senator South Carolina (R) - Fox News

Quote from: Jim DeMint, Senator South Carolina (R)
Throwing down the gauntlet, Republican Sen. Jim DeMint threatened Monday to block a vote in Congress on raising the U.S. debt ceiling unless he wins a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

"I will oppose any attempt to vote to raise the limit on our $14 trillion debt until Congress passes the balanced-budget amendment," the South Carolina conservative said.

The American Public - Huffington Post

Quote from: The American Public
A new poll released on Wednesday found that most Americans oppose an increase in the debt ceiling, but at the same time support few potential cuts in the federal budget.

The Ipsos/Reuters poll found that 71% of those surveyed oppose increasing the debt limit. This was true even of the half sample who were told that "not raising the debt limit would damage the US' sovereign debt rating, which is like our credit rating: it would seriously damage our credibility abroad, would make it much more difficult for us to borrow in the future, and would likely push up interest rates."

Congress doesn't have a debt limit. They can say they want to spend $5 trillion, $10 trillion, $15 trillion whenever they like.

The debt limit is on the Treasury, which has to actually find the $5 trillion, $10 trillion, $15 trillion that Congress legislates. If Congress says they want to spend $5 trillion, but the debt limit only lets Treasury borrow $1 trillion...this creates an issue.

If the debt limit were to be hit, the Treasury would no longer be able to borrow. It wouldn't be able to fund government spending, Social Security, Medicare, defense. Or pay off the debt we currently owe.

In other words, the government would go bankrupt -- not because no one is willing to lend to us (everyone wants to), but because the Treasury isn't allowed on a technicality to borrow any more.

Now if you remember what happened when some subprime loans and a bank called Lehman Brothers went belly-up (i.e, the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression), you can imagine what would happen if the United States, the world's largest debtor and one of the most reliable, went bankrupt. It would be the greatest and most catastrophic financial crisis in the history of the world. We're talking Mad Max.

Now, fortunately, the Senator from South Carolina is probably talking out of his ass about filibustering the global economy into ruin. Congress will probably play brinksmanship with this for a few weeks before wiser heads prevail (as has happened in the past, surprisingly enough). On the other hand, obviously no one likes the fact that we have to raise our credit card limit every few years because we're spending ourselves out of control. The depressing thing is that they're actually playing chicken over it.

Offline AndyZ

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2011, 01:52:57 AM »
I'm not overly educated on all this, but I like the idea that people want to actually work on fixing this instead of just kicking the pail down the road a few feet and leaving it for someone else to pay for it.  It seems to me like that both Democrats and Republicans have been doing that for far too long.

Could you tell me some about the balanced budget amendment that was mentioned before?

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2011, 02:19:14 AM »
Hate to say it.. it is simple..

Pass legislation to make it profitable for companies to bring jobs back.. (GASP Protectionism.. of course it's not that when Europe/China/Japan/Korea does it)

RAISE TAXES/CUT TAX RATES/REFORM THE TAX CODE TO CUT THE LOOP HOLES.
Supposedly the US has the HIGHEST corporate tax rate in the world.. one of the PRIME excuses the corps use to outsource our jobs...BUT folks like GE have paid as little as NOTHING due to loopholes while receiving some very BIG paybacks.

Seriously, reform the tax code before we have to sell our granddaughters to China (cause at the rate they're going they'll need women in 20 to 30 years).

Sarcasm aside..we need to really REFORM the tax code. BADLY.

Trade Protectionism/Growth wouldn't hurt either.

Offline AsurasTopic starter

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2011, 03:35:29 AM »
I may have been unclear:

The Republicans are threatening to bankrupt the United States by June if the Democrats don't agree to their terms.

My main argument is that no party should threaten to bankrupt the country for political gain.

Nevertheless, there is validity to what the Republicans want, which is fiscal responsibility. However, it's easy for the party that's not in office to demand fiscal responsibility.

Quote from: AndyZ
I'm not overly educated on all this, but I like the idea that people want to actually work on fixing this instead of just kicking the pail down the road a few feet and leaving it for someone else to pay for it.

Everyone cares about it. Nobody wants debt.

The problem is how. It takes raising taxes. It takes major cuts in people getting health care. Major cuts in people getting social security that people need to stay out of poverty.

The poll I pointed out said this. Everyone's for a balanced budget. But everyone's also for medicare and social security. Congress is also for all of these things but, well, there's a contradiction.

And that is why Congress kicks the pail down the road.

Quote from: AndyZ
Could you tell me some about the balanced budget amendment that was mentioned before?

The amendment would say that the government can't spend more than it takes in taxes basically.

This sounds like a good idea, but:

A) We need to wean ourselves off the high deficits we have now
B) There are times when deficits (and surpluses) are good.
C) A moderate level of government debt is good for the economy in general.

Quote from: Callie del Noire
Pass legislation to make it profitable for companies to bring jobs back.. (GASP Protectionism.. of course it's not that when Europe/China/Japan/Korea does it)

What happens if an American employee making your kid's action figure makes $30,000 a year, while a Chinese employee makes $10,000 a year?

Well, go to the toy store and imagine all the prices being three times as much. Extend this concept to everything.

Offline Jude

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2011, 05:15:05 AM »
Raising taxes on corporations that have to produce their product here and are already turning massive profits wouldn't hurt anything.  However, corporations which don't have to do produce here and can easily relocate will do so if it makes good economic sense.  If you pass protectionist laws in order to try and keep them here even after you screw you them, you'd have to use dramatic enough measures to balance out the difference in labor cost.  This will raise prices.  Lets do the actual math.

Right now John Q Worker in China is paid the equivalent of $1.50 an hour to produce widgets.  Lets say it then costs $1 to import the final product and that the dollar spent goes entirely to foreign countries (which isn't realistic, consider that the import process requires American workers manning import facilities plus the vehicles could be American manufactured, etc.).  That means it costs $2.50 to produce these widgets in a foreign country, and lets say he makes about 50 of them in an hour.  Raw materials probably only cost something like $.50, so that means the cost of each is a messily $.06 to produce and ship to America.  Then there's advertising, logistics, the final product needs to make it to the retailer, the retailer needs a mark up to make a profit of their own, and the business itself has overhead and tax to pay.  All of those costs are going to scale to the actual cost of producing and shipping, so lets say that in the end in order to be profitable retailers need to make 4x that number (which is a fairly solid number, for example, publishers/developers of video games get $15 of every $60 sale).  That means the American consumer is going to pay about a quarter for each of these objects.  Not too bad, huh?  Lets do the math again with an American worker.

At the bare minimum the American worker is going to make $7.25, and if they unionize as a lot of people on this forum support, it's going to be a lot more.  It probably isn't even close to realistic to assume that any factory worker is going to make $7.25 in America, but I want to come up with a baseline estimate.  Raw materials will probably cost more to purchase here, but again, lets give America as much leeway as possible and assume $.50 for them too.  Does a worker in America making minimum wage have the same productivity level as a Chinese worker being paid $1.50 an hour?  Nope, but we'll be nice and assume the answer is yes.  There's no import cost, so that's something.  $7.75 at 50 an hour is about $.16 to produce in America.  In the end your product is going to cost about $.65 per item, and that's a generous estimate (in reality it'll be much more because there's so many other places where the cost of labor is going to hit you, not just the first laborer who produces the item, such as quality control).  But by having that item produced in America, you've nearly tripled its price.

Is it worth it to triple the price of a whole slew of basic items with protectionism so that a few people can earn $7.25 an hour?  Sure, that $7.25 an hour is gonna be leveraged over a few times as it travels through the economy, but I don't see how it'll bring about an employment renaissance.

Moves like these really only help the uneducated and unskilled, and there's no real lack of positions available for those workers as is.  These measures would raise the cost of living for everyone though.  This isn't even necessary; are plenty of minimum wage jobs that are hiring, but the unemployed aren't looking for minimum wage jobs because they don't offer what people need to live the standard of living they're accustomed to (not that I blame them for this sentiment).

The thing is, when you're already making profits hand over fist, businesses are more than happy to share the wealth with their country.  It wouldn't have been easy, but it's been possible to export labor since the Great Depression.  A global economy was emerging then, and overproduction on all sides is part of what caused the crisis.  Protectionist laws were passed as a reaction to that overprotection and global economy, which is in part what actually caused the Great Depression.

The answers to our problems usually have a lot of nuance, and that's one of our biggest challenges.  More often than not, Americans want solutions pitched as bumper stickers.  "Ending the tax breaks that send jobs over seas" for example -- does anyone really think that there is a law aimed specifically at giving a tax break to companies that send jobs overseas?  That is so clearly an unintended consequence of another law, and the difficulty there is not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

We live in complicated times, especially so economically, and the only sane thing to do is look back and ask what worked and what didn't work.  Protectionism has never worked in a global economy.  Innovation always does.  We've raised the debt ceiling before without the sky falling, and you have to remember to adjust the debt that your country is facing according to inflation and its ability to pay it off -- GDP.  Are things really as bad as they look?  No, not at all.  But there's pointless fear and alarmism in masses right now over the debt.  It isn't that the debt couldn't be a potential problem, it's that people don't even understand why they're afraid.  They don't understand how the debt becomes a problem exactly and they don't have a rational outlook on how to cut it.

Everyone wants fiscal responsibility, but who is stepping up to say "cut my government services" in order to get it?  No one, not a single group.  Each political segments wants the government to pull the entire sum out of everyone else's state-sponsored pie, and that isn't how sacrifice works.  Everyone has to be willing to give some and feel the burn, from senior citizens through social security and college kids through grants and loans, if we're going to get out of this mess.

I really don't see this happening.  For one, the person who asks the country to truly sacrifice is basically committing political suicide.  Obama does it and he can kiss his second term goodbye, and whoever gets into office will be elected on undoing anything he does for his constituency -- then it'll just be a matter of who's back we'll ride on to get the cuts necessary (SPOILER ALERT:  it's going to be the poor, Republicans will slash aid to the poor).

Offline RubySlippers

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 07:16:19 AM »
I have a simple idea run up our debt until no one will lend to us and then tel them to screw themselves, ration here as we move into a major oil producing nation to take over with a tactical nuclear capability ready to go there and then let the world go to hell.

What are our creditors and the world going to do invade us with our nuclear capability and military now all back home save to protect our oil source nation? World court ok they might win but then they have to enforce the ruling good luck? Security council resolution which we can just override as needed is not an option?

As long as out people are fed, clothed, housed, given health care and have some sort of in nation currency to earn most will be happy enough since most Americans will not make waves. Then just wait the crisis out. And people here wanted us to go to alternative energy this would be a good reason to and under a we have no other choice position.

Well it is an option nobody brought up yet.

Offline Jude

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2011, 07:29:53 AM »
I have a simple idea run up our debt until no one will lend to us and then tel them to screw themselves, ration here as we move into a major oil producing nation to take over with a tactical nuclear capability ready to go there and then let the world go to hell.
Okay, aside from the practical problems with this, you're basically saying we should steal from as many people as possible then through use of force tell our creditors we aren't paying them back the money we took.

That's horrifically immoral.

Offline Oniya

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Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2011, 09:12:59 AM »
I have a simple idea run up our debt until no one will lend to us and then tel them to screw themselves, ration here as we move into a major oil producing nation to take over with a tactical nuclear capability ready to go there and then let the world go to hell.

What are our creditors and the world going to do invade us with our nuclear capability and military now all back home save to protect our oil source nation? World court ok they might win but then they have to enforce the ruling good luck? Security council resolution which we can just override as needed is not an option?

As long as out people are fed, clothed, housed, given health care and have some sort of in nation currency to earn most will be happy enough since most Americans will not make waves. Then just wait the crisis out. And people here wanted us to go to alternative energy this would be a good reason to and under a we have no other choice position.

Well it is an option nobody brought up yet.

Panem et circenses.  Worked pretty well in ancient Rome, eh? 

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2011, 01:18:04 PM »
I have a simple idea run up our debt until no one will lend to us and then tel them to screw themselves, ration here as we move into a major oil producing nation to take over with a tactical nuclear capability ready to go there and then let the world go to hell.

What are our creditors and the world going to do invade us with our nuclear capability and military now all back home save to protect our oil source nation? World court ok they might win but then they have to enforce the ruling good luck? Security council resolution which we can just override as needed is not an option?

As long as out people are fed, clothed, housed, given health care and have some sort of in nation currency to earn most will be happy enough since most Americans will not make waves. Then just wait the crisis out. And people here wanted us to go to alternative energy this would be a good reason to and under a we have no other choice position.

Well it is an option nobody brought up yet.

Wait till China tries the suggested strategy. Not as far as actually nuking the US, but being such an attractive place to build, locate business, invest and sell in they should be able to use some of those first-hold'em-up-then-blackmail-them tactics.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2011, 02:04:19 PM »
Jude, we're about the only developed nation, or group of nations, that doesn't participate in the protectionism racket. The whole reason I got to grow up in Europe was because back in the 70s, the EEC set up a set of conditions where if you didn't have a textile firm in their member's countries you were going to be 'locked' out by tarrifs and trade restrictions.

Burlington Industries set up plants in the Republic of Ireland (where I was), England, Northern Ireland, France and Italy as a result. Airbus has ALL manners of kickbacks, favortism and good boy deals in Europe where they work in MULTIPLE countries for aircraft assembly.

Japan is outright and blunt about their protectionism. Their food costs are so astonishingly high in part to that.

Offline Wolfy

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2011, 03:13:51 PM »
Wellt, Seeya guys, I'm moving to my own island nation. :/ *flees before things come crashing down*

Offline Kate

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2011, 11:43:07 PM »
if the usa wants to solve its economic issues - one sweeping solution

Slash your military spending, pay only what you need to maintain about 1/5 of your high end stuff, piss off less countries
(or more importantly try and not be too quick on warfare "being in the nations / safety / ethical / worlds best interest"
- the rest see as scrap metal and recycle.

You would still be No 1 militarily for ~years~ with that attitude.

Offline Jude

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2011, 03:01:59 PM »
It would be amusing if the US stopped being a global super power, that's for sure.  My bet?  2 months until countries started invading each other again like it's 1844.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2011, 06:29:00 PM »
It isn't countries invading each other that people would have to worry about. It is that are military is the only one in the world that can get to disasters so quickly wherever they are. How often have our naval forces stepped up in the last two decades to rescue people that no one else could get to?


Online Callie Del Noire

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2011, 08:10:36 PM »
It would be amusing if the US stopped being a global super power, that's for sure.  My bet?  2 months until countries started invading each other again like it's 1844.

John Birmingham wrote a book called Without Warning, where literally 90% of the US was wiped clear of life. The impact was pretty bad.. the US forces in the gulf were attacked by the Iranians and Israel had to start tossing nukes. It got ugly with the power vacuum that came out of that destruction (not even covering the environmental impact of most of the 48 continental states suddenly ceasing to have anyone running stuff)

One of the things that always irks me is how folks want to do away with a 'big military' but forget how much force projection comes into play. The gulf/med traffic route would be really nasty, even worse than it is now. Look over some of the historical actions we've done in the past, the pirates of Tripoli most tellingly. Force projection isn't just about showing who has the biggest club, but protection of trade routes.

Offline Kate

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2011, 09:18:07 PM »
I agree navies are handy during disaster relief.

But a "true navy fleet"  and a "disaster relief" fleet are two very different things.

Yes a disaster relief fleet needs the means to defend itself and secure SOME areas.

But the cost of one would be VERY much less than the cost of a navy that also happens to have some disaster relief options
or the size of a navy fleet that has to exist to have the same capacity for humanitarian aid than a dedicated fleet created with that purpose.

Personally I think 1/2 the reason why america has been so involved in so many wars was because they can,
and are getting used to the idea... this is way beyond national security ... and only realy justified by
"national defense" being interpreted as

"what we want in power which is pro-US for 10 years time thus being less of a risk, more of a boon long term, investment in possible future stuff. This intrusive and selfish insolvent in the affairs of others really should be what the UN does.".

If the US cut their budget to 1/5th they still would be king of the hill in a major way (it still can pay the same in military research projects) I mean what is currently operational or "good to go in short notice"

... currently their policy concerning miliatry is being able to bring overwhelming superiority EVERYWHERE AT ONCE....
(ie a bully in ALL playgrounds ... with the attitude of it being justified as everything indirectly effects america thus we have america's interest everywhere) this really is what a UN is needed for, not a country.

I know americans would go "well I do feel comfortable for us being able to exert that power everywhere" but compared ot loosing sons to a war that is "tentatively justified ethically" that doesnt directly effect american defense, or dealing with GFC stuff crippling your family income... its pretty thin.

How much money that frees immediately would be maying that debt off in spades, once you have paid it off then look back on what you want to spend it on.

You know, grow up a little... stop buying toys.

What i dont get is both houses of politics say "yes we need to cut back ... but hmm not on military".

What kind of pressures are on the politicians not to is a a concern for these facts must be obvious to them.

Offline Jude

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2011, 09:37:57 PM »
I agree that we probably need to cut back a bit, but it bothers me to hear people who aren't Americans saying that, because unless you're in one of the nations we've wronged (and we have wronged some, I'm hardly so patriotic that I can't see the mistakes that our country has made), our military power has benefited you.  Do you think places like New Zealand (which has almost no military whatsoever) would be able to live independently and enjoy such a quality of life if America didn't exist?

We really haven't done anything negative toward any European states, Canada, or Asia in a long time, certainly not with our military power (unless you're a Nazi, in which case I guess you can have a legitimate beef with the American Military).

Offline AsurasTopic starter

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2011, 10:25:24 PM »
Total US military spending: $689 billion
US deficit: $1,294 billion

In other words, we could completely abolish the military tomorrow and we'd still be in the hole.

Offline Vekseid

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2011, 10:31:06 PM »
That includes $400 billion in one-time spending, and $200 billion in interest payments.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2011, 10:47:05 PM »
Sorry, we're talking about a military that has 50 year old planes in spots and nothing to match what is being produced by other countries in several areas. Boondoggles like the 'Super'-18, and the cancellation of effective programs like the CSA (combined Support Aircraft) and other programs tells me that we're already being cut to the bone military wise.

I watched at LEAST effective programs in aircraft development that would have led to a 'cheaper' aircraft fleet get scuttled because of 'needed cuts' by both Republican/Democratic congresses. I've seen a LOT of 'FAT' cut from the military that will cost us a LOT more in years to come..then I see programs like the Boeing P-6 program get approved..because Lockheed got the JSF program..and the navy had to be FAIR according to congress.


Offline Kate

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2011, 10:48:04 PM »
Total US military spending: $689 billion
US deficit: $1,294 billion

In other words, we could completely abolish the military tomorrow and we'd still be in the hole.


Um your total spending is what is done per year.... which is 1/2 of your debt.

How many years could you pay it off if you slashed it ? How good could your education and health be after paying it off you didn't bring it back to the same level ?

What sort of projects could you comparatively do with past enemies with that sort of funding and be deemed "good guys" to them (ie less risk of terrorism as your really part of the solution to what effects them) ? (Ie fund preventating aminosity, not options when things get out of hand)

Do you think places like New Zealand (which has almost no military whatsoever) would be able to live independently and enjoy such a quality of life if America didn't exist?

Um Im not saying that "the world would be better if us didn't exist" I am saying that America doesn't HAVE a problem with money if it took a different view to the military.

Nz doesn't need a strong navy, it needs a small amount of the best of things (missles etc) and some patrol boats, some shitty planes that can fire missiles that sink ships.... mainly because we dont have "vested interest" we need to impose militarily on other places.... and yes I think "when bullies start being bullies" i would like to think that the UN has the clout, not an ally.

lol ... actually giving 1/2 the hardware to the UN would be great I think, and would solve a lot of issues for America and the world.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 10:49:22 PM by Kate »

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2011, 10:51:27 PM »
Uh.. Kate.

The UN doesn't have a standing military.. they use forces offered to them from member nations.

Offline Kate

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2011, 10:56:31 PM »
... now :)

It could though :)

Offline AsurasTopic starter

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2011, 11:02:32 PM »
That includes $400 billion in one-time spending, and $200 billion in interest payments.

The one-time payments (like the economic stimulus) could be cut, although not without consequences.

I don't think we should cut interest payments on our debt, that tends to lead to mass economic chaos, so I would treat that as a core part of spending.

Quote from: Kate
How many years could you pay it off if you slashed it ? How good could your education and health be after paying it off you didn't bring it back to the same level ?

I'm not saying we slash everything immediately, but there should be a gradual reduction in spending and a gradual increase in taxes ideally over the next 5-10 years to get fiscal sanity back. Whether we do it now or later there's no alternative; the government is spending way more than it takes in in taxes.

Quote from: Kate
What sort of projects could you comparatively do with past enemies with that sort of funding and be deemed "good guys" to them (ie less risk of terrorism as your really part of the solution to what effects them) ? (Ie fund preventating aminosity, not options when things get out of hand)

I'd actually say foreign aid is one of the areas that should absolutely not be cut (and it also constitutes a miniscule 1.7% of our budget)

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: US Debt Limit To Be Hit
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2011, 11:03:29 PM »
... now :)

It could though :)

With what budget?


They have like a 5.5 BILLION dollar annual budget
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 11:07:45 PM by Callie Del Noire »