What's really at stake

In VP debate, listen to who is telling the truth about nation's condition

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The two major political parties and the media always try to make presidential elections about the personalities of those running – and to a large extent, we go along with them.

So presidential campaigns become like student-government elections; whom do you like best?

This election is different. It has to be.

This time, we’re being asked whether to keep heading for the cliff or to turn away from it.

This election is not about personalities and parties. It’s about principles, ideas, the laws of economics and the facts surrounding America’s financial state.

In short, we simply cannot continue on the path we’re on.

We already owe more than any country in history, between $16 trillion in already-spent funds and some go to $100 trillion in promised future spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

With the United States borrowing 40 cents of every dollar the federal government spends, and Washington printing money to finance that binge, our very currency is at risk. At the least, it reduces our buying power and risks inflation or deflation.

What happens when lenders won’t lend us more? What happens if the currency crashes?

We may not want to imagine that, but we need not do so: The lessons are right there in history for us to look at, across centuries in which world powers spent themselves to decline or ruin. Rome, the Weimar Republic, Britain, Argentina and more killed or seriously wounded themselves with debt.

What makes us think we’d be any different? What makes us think we can suspend the laws of economics, any more than we can the law of gravity?

As it stands now, America’s fiscal house probably can’t be put back together for 15 or 20 years – and that’s assuming we get cracking now. That means a succession of presidents and Congresses united on solving our fiscal problems.

That’s assuming a lot. But we’ve got to at least first take the initial steps of admitting our problem, electing the problem solvers and then accepting the sometimes painful solutions.

If you want to get a taste of how difficult it will all be, just look at Western Europe. Few places on Earth call for more austerity, but the cutbacks in generous pensions and public benefits have inspired protests and riots and more. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was villified as Adolf Hitler recently in Greece for the Eurozone-inspired austerity measures there – even though it’s largely through the industry of German workers and German loans that some other European workers have enjoyed enviable lifestyles.

Is this the future we wish for ourselves and our children?

If not, we need to change course. Now.

Watch the vice presidential debate tonight with an ear for who is telling you the truth about the state of things in America.

Then consider electing candidates who not only will tell you the truth, but will actually do something about it.

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burninater 10/11/12 - 06:21 pm
Thanks for the ulcer

Thanks for the ulcer clarification, JTF -- I found the breakdown:

Peptic ulcers were formerly thought to be caused by stress, coffee consumption, or spicy foods. Now it is clear that about 60% of peptic ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection that can usually be cured. Another 20% are caused by nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, etc.), and another 20% have miscellaneous causes such as cigarettes or no clear cause.


"This is hard to do in this format, but, again, how can you prove that tax cuts don't contribute to job growth?"
I need to narrow what I'm saying a bit here -- I don't mean to argue that tax cuts can never contribute to job growth, as I can imagine scenarios where taxes are so onerous that they stifle the economy and job growth.

I'm also not saying that the Laffer curve has no merit, as it may in specific circumstances. The problem is when the Laffer curve is applied across the board to all cuts on marginal income, as even before testing it with real data, it isn't designed to model all tax cuts of this type.

In my mind, but it may not have been clear, I've been talking specifically about the Bush tax cuts, as those have been the main issue of the day, the revenue discussion with Angie, the ongoing dialogue about wealth envy, etc.

For the Bush tax cuts, the argument in support is that the entities with the most capital "create" jobs. By increasing their available capital with tax cuts, they can create more jobs. With this in mind, I'd look at two things: 1) did the cut result in more capital in the hands of the "job creators", and 2) did this increase produce an increase in the rate of job creation? When considering the period from the first tax cut until now, the answer to the first question is yes, but the answer to the second is no.

A follow-up to this question would be that perhaps jobs were created, but external factors produced a net loss. To me, this is addressed by the difference in rates of change between growth of personal capital, and job creation. If what was occurring was that personal capital was turning into jobs, but then external factors were producing net losses, then you would see negative, or declining, rates in BOTH the growth of capital AND the rate of job growth. But that isn't the case. We are instead seeing increased rates of private capital growth, with declines in job growth. This decoupling of the rate trends suggests that the two things are weakly related, if at all.

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