Why Nobody Cares About the Climate, er, Debt Crisis

 

I’ll be as upfront as I can: this is not going to be a sophisticated analysis of the budget deficit, the national debt, and its implications on the economy going forward. What it is going to be, is the perception of ordinary people who know full well that all that stuff is way over their heads, and only have what they see and how their lives are going to judge the state of things by.

But first, a divergence into the seemingly unrelated issue of climate change. Why are initiatives such as the Green New Deal failing to catch on outside the most politically connected circles on the coasts? Sure, in the case of the GND specifically, you could argue it’s poorly written with highly impractical and arguably counterproductive goals. But I’m speaking in the general sense. Why is the hysteria of impending climate doom not having a whole lot of impact with any but the most politically aware voters?

The answer to that is straightforward enough. It is because we have heard the same proclamations of doom all our lives. In my case, literally: the first Earth Day in 1970, with the grand declaration that the doom of humanity at the hands of the climate, was on the day I was due to emerge onto this planet, and I must have gotten wind of it somehow because I instead decided to stay in the womb another three weeks before finally being coaxed out.

The point being, when something has been a constant in our lives, and yet never actually seems to impact our lives in the way we’re told it will, it’s entirely natural that we eventually start to just tune it out. Even if it’s not a conscious effort, our brains just process it as noise and move on.

So what does all of that have to do with the debt crisis? Well, more than you might think. Consider everything I wrote in the above three paragraphs, and swap out climate change for the national debt. Sure, there is no holiday to promote awareness of the debt (unless you count April 15), but it remains a fact that we used to be the generation that was going to have to pay off the billions and trillions in debt. But somehow, that bill seems to have gotten lost in the mail.

My father said repeatedly that he never expected to see a dime from Social Security. And yet there the checks were waiting for him after he finally retired, and for my mother after he passed a few years later. Social Security was supposed to have gone bankrupt over and over in my lifetime, and yet somehow there it still is.

But doesn’t that sound familiar? We’re all supposed to have died over and over again from climate change, and yet somehow here we still are. Is it possible that the same noise filters that tune out climate change hysteria, also tune out fears about what disaster is awaiting the economy if we dare to raise the debt ceiling even one more time?

Ah, you say, but unlike with the climate change hysterics, the debt is a real, objectively measurable thing. We even have a big sign that accurately updates it to the second. And it’s certainly a big number, with a lot of digits.

But what … what does it actually mean?

I want to emphasize again that I am not asking this question on my own behalf but on that of the ordinary voter, living their ordinary life. That big, big number keeps getting bigger and bigger and yet … what does it mean? Why is $22 trillion so much worse than $2 trillion, which we were told at the time was already catastrophically huge? How are people’s lives worse because of that big big number, and how would they be better if it were to go away?

I’m sure there’s a perfectly good academic answer to those questions, but that’s missing the point, because those academic explanations are inevitably going to be far over the heads of the ordinary voters I’m speaking of.

It’s not even a case of “they value the goodies they get from the government too much” because even people who are self-sufficient and wouldn’t be directly impacted by the cuts needed to get the budget balanced, aren’t really being given a reason to want it that means anything to them.

The point is, continuing to shriek and point to what has been for many years a dizzyingly high number just doesn’t accomplish anything anymore. The economy is good, the people are prosperous, and these are things that were at least implied wouldn’t be possible until we did something about that big big number.

Can the average voter really be blamed for starting to think that the debt, like climate change, has proven to be much ado about nothing?

At any rate, I hope that’s enough for a starting point for a discussion we really need to have. Are we as guilty as the climate change alarmists in trying to unduly scare people over something that is not as out of control as we portray it? And if not, how do we differentiate it in a way that actually means something to an ordinary voter?

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  1. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Remember when the Tea Partiers ran against the debt? Speaker Boehner decided that they needed to be put in their place and dealt with no matter the price. Well, the price is Trump. The voters went out of the mainstream for their next standard bearer. Only Trump doesn’t want to deal with it either. Lose-lose.

    • #31
  2. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Remember when the Tea Partiers ran against the debt? Speaker Boehner decided that they needed to be put in their place and dealt with no matter the price. Well, the price is Trump. The voters went out of the mainstream for their next standard bearer. Only Trump doesn’t want to deal with it either. Lose-lose.

    Even though Trump promised not to touch entitlement spending, I did harbor a small hope that he might be willing to do so anyway. If there’s any president who’s been willing to make people who expect money from him take a haircut, he’s the one.

    • #32
  3. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
     In the next year or two, debt service plus entitlements will consume 100% of federal revenue. The remaining 33% of the yearly budget — the military, roads, FDA, food inspections, everything else the feds do — will be debt financed. Five to ten years from now, entitlement spending will outstrip the various revenue streams that are supposed to pay for it, further increasing yearly deficits. 

    Why is it that it’s the remaining 33% that’s debt financed?  Why isn’t it the debt service and entitlements?

    • #33
  4. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Financial crises come around every 70 or 80 years or so… long enough for the generation that remembers the last one to have died off. There is hardly anyone left who remembers the Great Depression. Not so many people can even remember the stagflation of the 70’s. The dollar lost 1/3 of its value between the years of 1975 and 1980 alone. 

    That massive inflation was the result of Nixon severing the final link between gold and the dollar in 1971. Paul Volcker finally defeated stagflation by raising interest rates up to 15% and beyond in the early 80’s. That was possible only because of the relatively small debt the nation carried. 

    Since then we’ve enjoyed a seemingly utopian world of ever increasing debt and mild but persistent inflation. (Even mild inflation has dramatic effects over time: The dollar has lost 70% of its value since 1980.) 

    The point is one of normalcy bias: Many adults have only experienced a world in which debt always grow yet without catastrophic consequences. In that same world they’ve experienced an oak tree that has continually grown from a small sapling to a mighty tree. Although they’ve known this tree as always growing, they know it won’t grow to the moon. Neither will the debt.

    We’ve gotten away with it so long because of a peculiar set of historical circumstances: The U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency and the standard of international trade, creating a global demand for dollars and U.S. debt. After WW2, all currency in the world was linked to gold through the U.S. dollar through the Bretton Woods Agreement. Thus Nixon not only took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard in 1971, but every currency in the world as well, issuing in the historically unprecedented world of universal fiat currency we have today. Thus there is no real alternative to the dollar no matter how much we abuse it – known as being the “cleanest dirty shirt in the laundry.”

    This just means the tree will grow higher than it might otherwise have, and will be all the more destructive when it comes crashing down. When might that be? No one knows. There is still a strong global appetite for U.S. debt. But eventually the world will lose faith in the dollar, and all those dollars sitting abroad will come rushing back, resulting in massive inflation. 

    And speaking of that inflation: How do you raise interest rates to 15% when you are $23 trillion in debt?

     

     

    • #34
  5. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Thus Nixon not only took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard in 1971, but every currency in the world as well, issuing in the historically unprecedented world of universal fiat currency we have today.

    Meh, history shows that being on a gold standard just makes inflation harder, not impossible. Governments have been inflating currency almost as long as they’ve been issuing currency. 

    • #35
  6. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Inflation isn’t always a bad thing. If there’s no inflation, you’re going to have very low saving account deposit interest to compensate. It’s largely a wash if you don’t get hyperinflation. The Fed likes to pretend (and people are convinced) that they control interest rates, but they don’t really, the market does. The Fed follows where the market goes (or at least is defies it at its peril.) That’s the reason the Fed is going to lower rates at the end of this month. The market is telling them they are going to cause a tight money recession if they don’t. Luckily, the Fed has learned from past failures, so they are probably going to succeed at extending the expansion a while longer.

    Next recession will probably start in 2023/2024, which makes me afraid no matter who wins the next election.

    • #36
  7. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Well, I’m curious how you deal with these entitlement programs.  

    Does anyone have even a slightly workable plan to reduce the expenses of the Big 3/4 programs?  I mean, you could nuke DC with all the politicians in it, or establish dictatorial measures, but those aren’t going to happen.

    My best thought is that if you are on the dole, you can’t vote.  You still have all the other rights, you just can’t vote in a federal election unless you are not receiving government benefits.

    • #37
  8. Jason Obermeyer Member
    Jason Obermeyer
    @JasonObermeyer

    DonG (View Comment):
    We must keep in mind that we are required to honor all debts by the Constitution. That means that Congress *must* raise taxes or cut spending to service any debt.

    This is wrong, both legally and practically (although liberal legal “scholars” will argue otherwise because to them the most important thing is to keep that government money flowing). It is fairly well established that the courts can’t compel a tax increase or money to be taken from the Treasury to pay for anything; no money can be taken from the Treasury absent an appropriation. This is true even if an older law established that a payment must be made.  There was a recent lawsuit were health insurance companies sued the government to get risk corridor payments they were due under Obamacare.  The Republican controlled Congress had refused to pass an appropriation to fund the payments that were admittedly due under the terms of the law. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the courts had no power to order the payment and upheld the dismissal of the case.  There is no real difference between the “promised” risk corridor payment and – for example – the “promised” social security payments. 

    The view that the government has to pay its debts comes from a – to me – very odd interpretation of Sec. 4 of the 14th Amendment.  That section prohibits the questioning of the validity of the public debt.  Some think that this means the debt must be paid, but to me there is a difference between questioning the validity of a debt and simply not paying it. If I don’t pay my credit card, I’m not necessarily saying the debt doesn’t exist; I’m just not paying it. While Congress can’t declare a debt to not exist, it can refuse to appropriate money to pay it. Consequently, government bond holders can rest assured that their bonds still have theoretical value even if they will not actually be repaid.  That should keep them warm at night. 

    Practically, I think an order from a court -assuming it was somehow valid – to Congress to pay a debt or raise taxes to do so will have a similar effect that John Marshall’s order to President Jackson did. I’m sure the Cherokee were much better off knowing they had the theoretical right to stay in Georgia.  

    In the final analysis, the real losers in a default by the United States are (1.) everyone in the United States at the time who has to deal with the abrupt consequences of no one lending to us anymore, and (2.) creditors who are not are not powerful enough to invade to enforce their claims. 

    • #38
  9. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    It’s the same with Trumpism as it was with Reaganism. Maybe you’re too young to remember, but the world was supposed to end in nuclear holocaust. Instead, the American people prospered and the Soviet Union (later) collapsed.

    Most voters have enough common sense to ignore the hysteria. Hopefully.

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    In the next year or two, debt service plus entitlements will consume 100% of federal revenue. The remaining 33% of the yearly budget — the military, roads, FDA, food inspections, everything else the feds do — will be debt financed. Five to ten years from now, entitlement spending will outstrip the various revenue streams that are supposed to pay for it, further increasing yearly deficits.

    Oh, and 15-20 years from now, the income based repayment student loan crisis will hit. Students will have paid 10% of their income for 20 years and will want their balances forgiven, as part of the IBR program.

    We only have four options: a) increase revenue by raising taxes. Political suicide for Republican politicians, as their supporters don’t seem to understand that the Laffer curve has a left side.

    B) increase revenue by adding taxpayers. A political non starter today. The Democrats only want impoverished illegals sucking on the government’s teats, and the behavior of Democrats in general and ingrates like Omar are prompting a “shut down the border” impulse among Republicans. And as raising children appears to be a job Americans won’t do anymore, we can’t count on home grown taxpayers to bail us out.

    C) Cut nominal benefits. Political suicide for all politicians. Democrats want everyone on the dole because it makes cuts impossible, and even nominal fiscal conservatives put their hands out and demand “their” money. Considering the Supreme Court case that said the government can cut entitlement benefits at any time for any reason is almost 60 years old, and that the Greenspan Commission that announced that our entitlement programs would go bankrupt due to the Baby Boomers screwing up something else is over 35 years old, I really wonder where all these Rip van Winkles have been.

    D) Cut real benefits. Massive inflation is the only option that doesn’t have entrenched opposition, so you better believe that’s the option they’ll go with.

    I keep thinking that if the Big Government Will Save You Types, and here I am talking about you Obama and Geithner, had not gone and Bailed out the Big Financial Firms to the tune of 23 to 32 trillions of dollars, we would all be better off.

    • #39
  10. JamesSalerno Coolidge
    JamesSalerno
    @JamesSalerno

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Well, I’m curious how you deal with these entitlement programs.

    Does anyone have even a slightly workable plan to reduce the expenses of the Big 3/4 programs? I mean, you could nuke DC with all the politicians in it, or establish dictatorial measures, but those aren’t going to happen.

    My best thought is that if you are on the dole, you can’t vote. You still have all the other rights, you just can’t vote in a federal election unless you are not receiving government benefits.

    We had the War On Drugs and the War On Poverty, let’s start the War On Debt, close our eyes, and let rhetoric sort it all out!

    • #40
  11. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Jason Obermeyer (View Comment):
    t is fairly well established that the courts can’t compel a tax increase or money to be taken from the Treasury to pay for anything; no money can be taken from the Treasury absent an appropriation.

    Tell that to Kansas City.

    • #41
  12. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Small Metal Owl:

    Sure, there is no holiday to promote awareness of the debt (unless you count April 15), but it remains a fact that we used to be the generation that was going to have to pay off the billions and trillions in debt. But somehow, that bill seems to have gotten lost in the mail.

    Might depend on who “we” are and what generation you’re referring to.  (I’m in my 30s.  Maybe it’s my generation.)

    But I think maybe it’s all of us.  Some large portion of our productivity has gone to pay the debt of earlier years.

    My father said repeatedly that he never expected to see a dime from Social Security. And yet there the checks were waiting for him after he finally retired, and for my mother after he passed a few years later. Social Security was supposed to have gone bankrupt over and over in my lifetime, and yet somehow there it still is.

    Yeah.  That’s true.

    And if not, how do we differentiate it in a way that actually means something to an ordinary voter?

    A really important question.  I wish I had an answer.

    • #42
  13. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Jason Obermeyer (View Comment):
    the “promised” social security payments. 

    Fleming v. Nestor:

    The Court ruled that no such contract exists, and that there is no contractual right to receive Social Security payments. Payments due under Social Security are not “property” rights and are not protected by the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The interest of a beneficiary of Social Security is protected only by the Due Process Clause.

    It’s been settled law for almost 60 years that you aren’t actually entitled to “your” entitlements. Of course, Social Security reform won’t be nearly as ugly as Medicare reform. That’s where the death panels will have to exist because there simply won’t be enough money to pay for everyone’s treatments. 

    • #43
  14. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Thus Nixon not only took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard in 1971, but every currency in the world as well, issuing in the historically unprecedented world of universal fiat currency we have today.

    Meh, history shows that being on a gold standard just makes inflation harder, not impossible. Governments have been inflating currency almost as long as they’ve been issuing currency.

    That’s true, nothing can stop a government that wants to inflate. And governments have always undermined the foundation of their currencies. The difference is that, in the past, it was one currency at a time, so that global commerce would switch to a different but still sound currency from one that was being debased. That is how the world’s reserve currency would switch over time. It’s how the U.S. dollar replaced the British pound as the reserve currency. 

    Today there are no sound currencies. All currencies are fiat, so there is no obvious alternative to the dollar. This gives us even more room to inflate our currency without suffering the usual consequences.

    • #44
  15. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Arahant correctly points to interest rates.   When the rate goes up it will squeeze then break  an increasing number of citizens. Moreover,  in the mean time,  those who save earn little.  Those who borrow pay little.  Neither is good.  Then there is what we’re buying.  What is the return for the nation of the billions we spend on Washington employees doing stuff we don’t know about and they’d have difficulty explaining?  Folks don’t know, but they’re told it’s important and they can’t renege on their tax obligations. They pay.  The fact is, most of it is  far less than what we’d earn with our savings or enjoy with our spending.  That’s a good guess for most of it has a negative return.  That waste should be our focus, not the debt.  It’s not easy to sort out, and can only be sorted out by the people who pay the taxes which means it should be state expenditure paid directly by the tax payers of each state to each state government.   Some of states would get it right and cut the hell out of it.  Washington won’t because it’s not in their interest to sort it out and it never will be.   And when interest rates go up, probably when China decides its time, it’s over but we can’t know how that plays out, but can be confident that the Washington spenders won’t be the first to cut back.

    • #45
  16. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    I Walton (View Comment):
    The fact is, most of it is far less than what we’d earn with our savings or enjoy with our spending. That’s a good guess for most of it has a negative return.

     If that were the case, the programs wouldn’t be going bankrupt. The average Social Security retiree who retired before 2001 got more out than they put in. (My great grandmother is an excellent example here: her husband contributed from 1933 to 1948. She received benefits from 1948 to 2006.) And retirees today are still getting more in Medicare benefits than what they paid in. 

    • #46
  17. Chris B Member
    Chris B
    @ChrisB

    DonG (View Comment):
    We must keep in mind that we are required to honor all debts by the Constitution. That means that Congress *must* raise taxes or cut spending to service any debt.

    Alternative plan: Congress declares national holiday to honor Federal debt! There will be parades and speeches, fireworks, and a moment of silence for those who sacrificed so much for the nation to avoid making payments!

    • #47
  18. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Frankly the idea that we can only worry about either the debt or the rise of socialism is flawed. Economic catastrophes always lead to more socialization of the American economy. The havoc created by a debt crisis I think will only serve to empower people like AOC politically, because they will offer simple and emotionally satisfying solutions that stupid voters (is. The majority) will be drawn to. 

    • #48
  19. Jason Obermeyer Member
    Jason Obermeyer
    @JasonObermeyer

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Jason Obermeyer (View Comment):
    t is fairly well established that the courts can’t compel a tax increase or money to be taken from the Treasury to pay for anything; no money can be taken from the Treasury absent an appropriation.

    Tell that to Kansas City.

    I’m not sure what the point is here. Kansas City is not the federal or a state government and hence does not have sovereignty and hence can be ordered to do things a state or the federal government cannot be ordered to do.

    • #49
  20. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Apropos of both climate and debts, Google this morning pitched to me a BBC “news” article claiming we now have just 18 months or less to crush our economies with regulations before Gaia throws a hissy fit. No confirmation yet that Trump accounts for half the world’s CO2. 

    Don’t worry, Republicans. There will be another scare for midterm elections. 

    • #50
  21. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    I think that we will become comfortable with leaving old people to die rather than pay for super expensive healthcare that just lets them live a few years longer. Seriously, we can bring down the debt massively cutting Medicare and Medicaid for non-working old people. 

    • #51
  22. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Well, I’m curious how you deal with these entitlement programs.

    Does anyone have even a slightly workable plan to reduce the expenses of the Big 3/4 programs? I mean, you could nuke DC with all the politicians in it, or establish dictatorial measures, but those aren’t going to happen.

    If you mean does anyone have a practically workable plan (as opposed to a plan that would be politically popular in the present political climate) then I suppose that the answer is “yes”: there are any number of feasible approaches that could be taken.

    For just one example, you could:

    1. Eliminate the SS tax, for starters.  (I think it was @Stina who suggested that.)
    2. For pre-retirement participants who have already paid SS taxes for a period of years, the Government could purchase on the open market private plans of similar value to what participants were expecting based on their respective ages, and give these plans to the participants.
    3. For current recipients, it could simply grandfather them and let the program die over the next few years.   Or it could purchase plans for them as above and eliminate SS benefits all at once.

    People seem to think that there is some magic involved in discontinuing a socialistic program that did not prevent Congress from creating it.

    You have to remember that the dependency that the socialists create with a given program doesn’t happen all at once.

    The free institutions (including the traditions and social and moral fiber of the people as well as the institutional structures like insurance companies and stock markets) by which citizens managed their own lives before the program started survive for a time, disintegrating gradually.

    Eradicating the program properly consists in the same gradual approach to reversing that condition of physical and psychological enslavement.  It can’t be done perfectly painlessly, but remember that the effects of gradual enslavement by stepwise interventionism also are not painless. Neither is the inevitable end state: brutal totalitarianism.

    • #52
  23. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    The fact is, most of it is far less than what we’d earn with our savings or enjoy with our spending. That’s a good guess for most of it has a negative return.

    If that were the case, the programs wouldn’t be going bankrupt. The average Social Security retiree who retired before 2001 got more out than they put in. (My great grandmother is an excellent example here: her husband contributed from 1933 to 1948. She received benefits from 1948 to 2006.) And retirees today are still getting more in Medicare benefits than what they paid in.

    My point is that we individuals would get a higher return on  money we don’t have taken from us by the Federal government. Yes SS is going bankrupt slowly, but my point is that all of the Washington establishment does things it says matter but most, if not all, have  negative returns especially those activities not authorized by the constitution.  At least with SS those who pay get something back.  Not all of us.  Lots of people die young and get nothing.  Others pay some, but not enough to earn a return.  This is hardly surprising in a massive program that has little direct links between the people who pay in and the people who get paid.  In general for most Federal spending we get little, sometimes nothing and we have no control of it.  Were that money collected by and spent by local  governments, citizens from those jurisdictions could have some chance to make inputs into spending and could correct the spending should citizens care enough.  

    • #53
  24. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    The fact is, most of it is far less than what we’d earn with our savings or enjoy with our spending. That’s a good guess for most of it has a negative return.

    If that were the case, the programs wouldn’t be going bankrupt. The average Social Security retiree who retired before 2001 got more out than they put in. (My great grandmother is an excellent example here: her husband contributed from 1933 to 1948. She received benefits from 1948 to 2006.) And retirees today are still getting more in Medicare benefits than what they paid in.

    My point is that we individuals would get a higher return on money we don’t have taken from us by the Federal government. Yes SS is going bankrupt slowly, but my point is that all of the Washington establishment does things it says matter but most, if not all, have negative returns especially those activities not authorized by the constitution. At least with SS those who pay get something back. Not all of us. Lots of people die young and get nothing. Others pay some, but not enough to earn a return. This is hardly surprising in a massive program that has little direct links between the people who pay in and the people who get paid. In general for most Federal spending we get little, sometimes nothing and we have no control of it. Were that money collected by and spent by local governments, citizens from those jurisdictions could have some chance to make inputs into spending and could correct the spending should citizens care enough.

    Perhaps, but that money is long gone. It’s been a pay as you go system since at least the 50s, so there’s no way to just pay back retirees or buy them bonds without putting current workers in the situation of paying for entitlements while also not getting any. 

    • #54
  25. kidCoder Member
    kidCoder
    @kidCoder

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    paying for entitlements while also not getting any

    I don’t see the problem. Isn’t the point of all this to save you money? So you pay your taxes for the next few years, and then you pay fewer taxes.

    So what if people moan? It’s for society’s good!

    • #55
  26. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    kidCoder (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    paying for entitlements while also not getting any

    I don’t see the problem. Isn’t the point of all this to save you money? So you pay your taxes for the next few years, and then you pay fewer taxes.

    So what if people moan? It’s for society’s good!

     People my age vote too… and while I would be okay with it, it would be a hard sell for others. They’ll be garnishing my SS to pay my student loans, anyway, so it’s not like it makes a bloody bit of difference for me. 

    • #56
  27. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Jason Obermeyer (View Comment):
    I’m not sure what the point is here. Kansas City is not the federal or a state government and hence does not have sovereignty and hence can be ordered to do things a state or the federal government cannot be ordered to do.

    Are you saying that it’s OK for a court to raise taxes in Kansas City because it’s not a state or the federal government?

    • #57
  28. Jason Obermeyer Member
    Jason Obermeyer
    @JasonObermeyer

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Jason Obermeyer (View Comment):
    I’m not sure what the point is here. Kansas City is not the federal or a state government and hence does not have sovereignty and hence can be ordered to do things a state or the federal government cannot be ordered to do.

    Are you saying that it’s OK for a court to raise taxes in Kansas City because it’s not a state or the federal government?

    Is it OK in the sense that is the way it should be? I never really thought about. But it’s fairly well established that cities, counties, and other local government agencies don’t have sovereign immunity except to the extent derived from the immunity the state has (whether a local government entity has immunity in a given situation is complicated). Further, cities and counties don’t have rights except what the state government and the state’s constitution give them. While no one could abolish the United States (absent conquest) and the federal government could not abolish Missouri, Missouri could decide #YOLO and write the concept of Kansas City out of existence. The consequence of the comparatively precarious existence of cities and counties and their lack of their own sovereignty is that they can be bossed around by the courts in ways that states and the federal government cannot be.

    • #58
  29. Jason Obermeyer Member
    Jason Obermeyer
    @JasonObermeyer

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Frankly the idea that we can only worry about either the debt or the rise of socialism is flawed. Economic catastrophes always lead to more socialization of the American economy. The havoc created by a debt crisis I think will only serve to empower people like AOC politically, because they will offer simple and emotionally satisfying solutions that stupid voters (is. The majority) will be drawn to.

    I agree with you in the long run, but in the short run talking about a debt crisis that isn’t causing huge problems right this minute is lame and people won’t vote for you if you harsh their buzz.  

    • #59
  30. Jason Obermeyer Member
    Jason Obermeyer
    @JasonObermeyer

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I think that we will become comfortable with leaving old people to die rather than pay for super expensive healthcare that just lets them live a few years longer. Seriously, we can bring down the debt massively cutting Medicare and Medicaid for non-working old people.

    Which is where the “Death Panels” come in.  Whatever you call it, in government run healthcare eventually someone other than you is going to have to decide when enough is enough.

    • #60
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