Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

DEBT: Get the facts straight

Letter by Raymond P. Tennison, University Place on Aug. 4, 2011 at 11:43 am with 25 Comments »
August 4, 2011 3:26 pm

Re: “The solution to the debt crisis really isn’t any solution at all” (Katie Baird’s column, 8-4).

I found it alarming that a professor of economics could so inaccurately report the facts regarding the debt crisis. She states that the dramatic change in the federal government’s finances was due to the Bush administration’s tax cuts, a 2001 recession, the wars and the recent financial crisis.

The data just don’t support this assertion (usgovernmentspending.com). If you looked at federal government spending and revenue over the past two decades, you would find that revenue, adjusted for inflation, is up 23 percent over the past 20 years, and, although down slightly in 2010, has kept pace with inflation up to the 2008 financial meltdown.

Spending, on the other hand, has increased rapidly in all areas. However, spending on social services has grown more rapidly and for a longer period of time than defense spending. Social services spending (pensions, health care, education, welfare) has increased 133 percent over 20 years and 66 percent over 10 years, faster than the rate of inflation.

Defense spending declined in the 1990s and increased in the 2000s, but over the 20-year period is only up 46 percent, including all the wars. Clearly, all areas of government spending, with a few small exceptions, have risen at a rate well above the rate of inflation and at a rate that is not sustainable.

I appreciate anyone expressing their opinion, but let’s not adjust the facts to support those opinions.

Tags:
Leave a comment Comments → 25
  1. aislander says:

    Thank you!

  2. beerBoy says:

    revenue, adjusted for inflation, is up 23 percent over the past 20 years

    Defense spending… over the 20-year period is only up 46 percent

    So….defense spending over the past two decades increased at double the rate that revenue did.

  3. beerBoy says:

    he rise in US defense spending since 1998 has no precedent in all the years since the Korean war. (Figure 1.) The DoD budget reached its post-Cold War ebb in 1998: $361.5 billion (2011 USD). Since then it has rebounded to $708 billion – a 96% increase. The portion of the 2011 budget request that is unrelated to contingency operations (the so-called “base budget”) is $549 billion, which is 54% higher in real terms than in 1998.

    Whether one looks at the total DoD budget, or just that portion not attributable to today’s wars, US defense spending is now stabilizing at levels significantly above Cold War peaks (adjusted for inflation) and far above the Cold War average, in real terms. Measured in 2011 dollars, average DoD budget authority was:

    # $430 billion for the period 1954-2001;
    # $525 billion for the Reagan years; and,
    # $503 billion for the Vietnam War “high tide” years 1966-1970.

    http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/Conetta%20paper%201%20June.pdf

  4. KARDNOS says:

    WELCOME. I am Christopher Chantrill, writer and conservative. You can see my work at the following sites:

    Road to the Middle Class
    An American Manifesto
    usgovernmentspending.com
    usgovernmentdebt.us
    usgovernmentrevenue.com
    ukpublicspending.co.uk
    American Thinker
    US Stuck on Stupid
    US Federal Bailout
    US Midterm Elections

    USgovernmentspending.com is a hit piece by the Right Wing.

  5. geeterpontiac says:

    Good piece Mr. Tennison.

  6. crusader says:

    Undisputable facts from a wise man.

  7. klthompson says:

    If you go to medical school and do all the requirements you become a doctor of medicine. If you go to law school, graduate, and pass the bar exam you become a lawyer. If you major in education and become certified you are a teacher. If you go to college, study economics, and graduate you become an economist if you say you are, and then work for the government. There really is something wrong with this process.

  8. Raymond –

    “let’s not adjust the facts to support those opinions.”

    You mean like usgovernmentspending.com???

    The above group use obfuscation and other statistical tricks to draw faulty conclusions. What Katie Baird stated in her article is supported by many reputable economists both in and outside academia as well as those who work on wall street.

  9. Great piece Ray. Why is it that dems are yipping that Repubs have done nothing about the cost of the wars, not taxing the rich, too many loopholes for businesses since taking the House in Jan 2011. Let me see.., Dems owned the House and Senate from Jan 2007 thru Jan 2011 and oh yeah, the Chief Ex office now for 2-1/2 years to boot. What did they do about de-funding the wars, raising taxes on the rich, and removing all of those terrible business tax loopholes. That’s right, the just spend my money on Obama care without any consideration of how to pay for it.

  10. menopaws says:

    Adjusting the facts also means not doing “off the books” wars….but this writer finds that kind of accounting appealing. Obama is getting slammed for honestly reporting the actual deficit……It is fascinating to me that it is okay that the real figures were NEVER provided in 8 years and tax cuts were given, but somehow that is okay……..guess what—I too, took some economics classes and those tax cuts alone, doomed us to this current economic crisis. Throw in two wars and we were on a collision course for this meltdown. This writer needs to take some classes–he lives a rich fantasy life if he doesn’t recognize that balancing the books requires revenue to cover your spending. The Republicans talk about uncontrolled spending—but the biggest source of that is DEFENSE. Trust me, those defense jobs in each district are far more important than cutting the defense budget……..So, let’s go after the elderly, the poor and the disabled first……..Real humanitarian crowd……

  11. aislander says:

    usgovernmentspending.com must REALLY be on to something, judging from the reaction of the usual suspects. I saw a lot of name-calling, guilt by association, and non-specific accusations of inaccuracy, but the bottom line is this: nobody refuted nuthin’…

  12. Roncella says:

    Well Obama hosted another big lavish party at the Whitehouse last night. Obama had stevie wonder singing and expensive food and spirits flowed generously to all the guests.

    In the mean time the economy is in a shambles un-employment is holding at 9.1 the stock market is tanking, Again.

    Obama is about to start a trip across the mid-west for more campaigning and money raising, Obama describles it as a listening tour. (Another Vacation for the Obama’s)

    The unemployment rate is actually closer to 15% when you consider the long term unemployed.

    I remember the once great liberal dem. John Edwards once said there are two Americas, one living like kings and queens the other regular folks just trying to get by and make a decent living, he was right, he hit it on the head in his description of Two Americas.

  13. ItalianSpring says:

    I vote NO on ALL tax increases and will for the rest o me life.

  14. fbergford says:

    Isn’t it scary that she is teaching young kids about economics! I kind of think it is!

  15. Lots of conservacons vote against all tax increases – but that does not stop them from using things and services provided by those taxes.

  16. LarryFine says:

    Lots of liberals sit on their arses all day and depend on government for their most basic needs- but that does not stop them from wanting other people to pay even more for their upkeep… kooky.

  17. KARDNOS says:

    “aislander says:
    August 5, 2011 at 8:23 am
    usgovernmentspending.com must REALLY be on to something, judging from the reaction of the usual suspects.

    It’s a damned Conservative hit piece. Anyone with a high school education should figure that out. Take one look at the paid advertising for openers.

    LarryFine says:
    August 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm
    Lots of liberals sit on their arses all day and depend on government for their most basic needs- but that does not stop them from wanting other people to pay even more for their upkeep… kooky.

    You mean all those liberals in red states? Check the welfare payouts in West Virginia or along the Rust Belt.

    Note that each Alaskan gets a check from the state because they live there, yet Alaska takes almost twice as much as they give to the Feds.

  18. KARDNOS says:

    “Roncella says:
    August 5, 2011 at 9:19 am
    Well Obama hosted another big lavish party at the Whitehouse last night. Obama had stevie wonder singing and expensive food and spirits flowed generously to all the guests.”

    We know that Republicans never have parties. Is John Boehner keeping up with his 2010 golf schedule or has work gotten in the way (as if he didn’t work in 2010)
    We must make sure that the President doesn’t get to have a 50th Birthday Party while in office. He needs to have it when he turns 50 after his terms are served.

  19. KARDNOS says:

    “but the bottom line is this: nobody refuted nuthin’…”

    Your double negative was perfect.

    usgovernmentspending.com was refuted several times on the other thread where it was quoted.

  20. beerBoy says:

    ron – we agree. The excessive amount of time and energy that all national politicians are required to devote to campaign fundraising is obscene. Unfortunately 5 Justices on the Supreme Court are determined to prevent any attempt to wrest the democratic process away from the control of corporate “persons” and back into the hands of individual citizens.

    I suggest you view Casino Jack and the United States of Money to get a sense of how much the pursuit of money has destroyed our governing system.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRqvrHw2G2w

  21. harleyrider1 says:

    The folks in the White House can afford to party with Stevie Wonder and invite their friends – why not? They’re laughing and enjoying life because of the voters who cannot afford to live like that.

    Spend, spend, spend. Re-elect O again. We have plenty of money, don’t we?

  22. KARDNOS says:

    I’d bet my paycheck that Stevie Wonder didn’t charge a dime for that show. Stevie hasn’t needed money for a long time.

    But don’t let that get in your way of a perfectly good rant on the President.

  23. aislander says:

    My mistake was in forgetting how humorless lefties really are…

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0