Thursday, June 11, 2009

First lines.

Let's be honest. There's a real chance I won't keep this up. Work, family and recreational activities take up 120% of my free time, leaving me substantially in the red. Any time spent on this is deficit spending.

Speaking of deficit spending, isn't it kind of funny that the Republican commentators are so sure Obama's economic policies are wrong, and the Democratic commentators are so sure those same policies are right... Where are the people who say, "I just don't know." More importantly, how do we get them into office?

It seems to me that our democratic system is flawed by the fact that our elections are too problem-centric. When a major election roles around, the big problems of the day are trotted out and the politicians give their "platform" on how to solve them. Basically, you can't get elected unless you at least pretend to have all the answers. But no one has all the answers. So we always elect a phoney.

I'd like to try electing some one who admitted they did not have all the answers, but who explained why they didn't have all the answers in a clear and reasonable fashion -- some one who clearly "gets" the fact that some problems are too big or complex to be sure what the answer is.

I get the fact that, if consumer spending takes a nose-dive, that means less demand for products, which means a recession. To cure or minimize the recession until consumer confidence returns, the government can to some degree take up the slack through spending more, especially spending in ways that generates jobs.

However, deficit spending means living on borrowed money. If we do not think we will ever pay it back, then we are essentially counting on death, bankruptcy or other event to "rescue" us. What would it mean for the USA to die or go bankrupt? What magnitude of other event could so drastically alter global economics that the USA would be freed from its debts? A world war in which our crediors are conveniently nuked? Merging into a one-world governmental and economic body (and wouldn't that really screw over the Chinese!).

I just don't think it is sane to count on not having to repay whatever we borrow. But -- and here's the problem as I see it -- we as a nation have been engaged in deficit spending for decades, even when we were not in a recession. There seems to be no sense of urgency to actually live within our means as a nation, even in the best of times. So while we see an increase in deficit spending under Obama in an effort to spend our way out of a recession, I would be less concerned if I sensed any firm resolution to stop deficit spending as soon as the recession ends and begin paying down the national debt on an annual basis.

It's all about sustainability. An economy is not sustainable if it engages in deficit spending in the good years and higher deficit spending in the bad years. That's no way to handle finances for a person, a company or a nation.

I guess the bottom line is, we are a nation in desperate need of credit counseling.

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