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National Debt -- How much is too much?

Iriemon

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galenrox said:
Don't trade with them, it's as simple as that. They make $140 billion profit from us each year, and we lose that $140 billion. Sure a few people get rich, but we're killing America, and those few people aren't enough for us to tolerate trading with someone who has absolutely zero regard for free trade.
So screw them, make it illegal. We've got a frickin embargo on Cuba, but we trade with China, are you joking?

What is so inherently bad about having a trade deficit with China? We get cheap goods. The get dollars. So what? What is so inherently bad about that?
 

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Iriemon said:
Again, this strategy was tried in the 80s and 00s. In both cases it did not result in cutting spending. In both time periods spending rates actually increased because defense spending was rapidly increased and domesitic spending was not cut. In both time periods the result of this strategy was huge anmounts of borrowing, for which our Govt paid about $350 billion in interest last year.

Reagan applied the priciple with the result of the highest deficits of all time. The debt quadrupled from $1 trillion to $4 trillion from 1980 thru 1992.

The Dems were not voted out of office because of spending. They were voted our of office in 1994 because they had the guts to raise taxes in 1993 (over the opposition of every Republican) to stop the debt bleeding. The paid the price, but it worked. By 2000 the budget was balanced. But then the Republicans had control and slashed taxes.

Completely agree. If they want to cut taxes, fine. But cut spending too. They failed. Get them out of there.

Disagree. Democrats are in favor of a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility. The Republicans have proved they are not.

Disagree. Democrats took the politically painful course and raised taxes to be fiscally conservative. Republicans pandered to the electorate by cutting taxes and increasing spending. As a result they took a budget that was in surplus yet have managed to turn it around and put us another $2.4 trillion (and counting) in debt.

That strategy has worked since 2000. It is up to us to tell them to stop it. Write your representatives.

$350 billion is pretty significant from my perspective! If we didn't have to have that expense every year that would cut the deficit in half by that alone. We could rebuild New Orleans two or three times every year.

Actually, what broke the Dem's back in 1994 was not the budget, it was their effort to grab our guns. That's an issue even a die-hard "red-dog" Democrat down south and in the midwest couldn't abide.

Spending by the federal government seldom moves the electorate. We're not yet in the "danger" zone although I don't approve of wasting taxpayer's money. Our national debt to our national GDP is about 65% which is pretty close to the middle of the pack. Japan is at about 160%. You can verify this by going to the CIA web site that provides these specific figures.

I'm not defending the Republicans. If it were up to me I would throw the whole bunch out of office and go back to what our founders wanted; namely that of "citizen legislators" who would have to live under the laws they pass. What we have right now are a "ruling class" of potentates who have gerrymandered themselves into lifetime seats. And with special interest money from the George Soros of the world only the rich have true access to our government. The rest of us peons get the shaft.

I'm absolutely serious about throwing my support to Russ Feingold. To my knowledge he is the only senator who is not now on the payroll of the deep pocketed special interests.
 

galenrox

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Missouri Mule said:
China has never really threatened us as has Cuba. Cuba is still ruled by the psychopath named Fidel Castro. For those too young to remember he was the one who wanted to blow up the world in 1962.

China and the U.S. will continue to trade as it is mutually beneficial. We get cheap goods and they get to employ their people. That's it in a nutshell.
I'm not saying we're going to stop, I am saying that it will be our downfall. I mean christ, we're giving $140 billion a year to a nation that publicly threatened to nuke us. It's this arrogance that nothing can stop us that has been the downfall of every great nation, and it will be ours.
As we saw with the California energy crisis, a free trade market trading with a unfree trade market will cause failure, based on who needs who.

There have gotta be at least 50 crappy little countries that could make us this stuff for just as cheap as China, and as we know from economics, all the power comes from elasticity, and as long as we treat the market from an inelastic demand perspective they're gonna run right over us.
 

Iriemon

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galenrox said:
I'm not saying we're going to stop, I am saying that it will be our downfall. I mean christ, we're giving $140 billion a year to a nation that publicly threatened to nuke us. It's this arrogance that nothing can stop us that has been the downfall of every great nation, and it will be ours.
As we saw with the California energy crisis, a free trade market trading with a unfree trade market will cause failure, based on who needs who.

There have gotta be at least 50 crappy little countries that could make us this stuff for just as cheap as China, and as we know from economics, all the power comes from elasticity, and as long as we treat the market from an inelastic demand perspective they're gonna run right over us.

We are not "giving" China $140 billion a year, we are buying $140 billion more of their things than they buy of ours. Yes, they end up with some dollars, but we end up with cheaper goods we want. Again, what is inherently bad about that?
 

galenrox

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Iriemon said:
We are not "giving" China $140 billion a year, we are buying $140 billion more of their things than they buy of ours. Yes, they end up with some dollars, but we end up with cheaper goods we want. Again, what is inherently bad about that?
What's inherently wrong with that is that American workers cannot under any circumstances compete with a socialist nation, escpecially one that doesn't value its currency on the open market.
How do you think we became the superpower that we are? From making cheap stuff and selling it off, and once we had the money we had the power.
And it will be a lot easier for China since China has I think 2 billion people, so if they get the money to build up a comparable armed force of that of America, they'll have no problem finding quite a few more people to fire the guns.
Money, not stuff, is power. If we buy our weapons from them for cheap, great, now they know how to make the weapons and have the money to make them.

We need to address this situation logically. I know the first thing we all felt when we started studying economics was "What? No regulation leads to better regulation, huh? Oh, well I don't understand that so I'll just accept it to be true."
I know that's what I felt, until it was explained to me why this worked this way. But we do have basic reasoning powers to realize that $140 billion trade defecit with the one and only country that has the ability to overthrow America as the world's foremost superpower, a nation that has openly threatened to nuke us is a bad ****ing idea.

I'm a free trade guy, but we can't have free trade with a nation that doesn't have a free labor market, or a currency valued on the open market. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the end results of that, China gets rich, our rich get richer, and the other 99% of our country is ****ed, for now, and once China gets enough money to overthrow us as the world's foremost superpower than we're all ****ed.
If we're trading with a nation that does not allow free trade, we are not practicing free trade, it's as simple as that. This isn't absolute or comparative advantage, and laws of free trade economics, this is plain and simple a heavily regulated ass raping of our country, but since we're so dedicated to keeping the rich richer we're walking right into it.
 

Iriemon

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galenrox said:
What's inherently wrong with that is that American workers cannot under any circumstances compete with a socialist nation, escpecially one that doesn't value its currency on the open market.

I strongly disagree! Capitalism kicks socialist butt!

How do you think we became the superpower that we are? From making cheap stuff and selling it off, and once we had the money we had the power.

I think American at least since the 80s has been a superpower because of our advanced workforce, technology, and innovation.

And it will be a lot easier for China since China has I think 2 billion people, so if they get the money to build up a comparable armed force of that of America, they'll have no problem finding quite a few more people to fire the guns.

That has certain assumptions in it. The $140 billion or whatever is not for free, as I said, they have to produce stuff and sell it to us, so maybe they have a net profit from it. Then it is available to spend on defense only if all the net profit goes to the government. And even then, the dollars don't become weapons, unless they buy them I suppose. And if they spend that money on defense instead of insfrastructure or something productive they don't receive any return on their money.

But all this can happen whether they sell the stuff to us or some other nation, in any case. Though I agree we are a big market.

But I reckon we are more vulnerable to them because of the hundreds of billions of dollars they have lent us than any military threat.

Money, not stuff, is power.
What would that money be worth if the Fed opened the money supply and inflated the value of the dollar about 50% or so?

If we buy our weapons from them for cheap, great, now they know how to make the weapons and have the money to make them.
I agree we should not give them our best technology. No one is proposing we sell them F-22s.

We need to address this situation logically. I know the first thing we all felt when we started studying economics was "What? No regulation leads to better regulation, huh? Oh, well I don't understand that so I'll just accept it to be true."

I definitely agree that some regulation is needed in a capitalist system. Otherwise companies pollute as much as they want, pay their workers chicken feed and work them 80 hours a week, and get away with whatever they can to maximize profit.

I know that's what I felt, until it was explained to me why this worked this way. But we do have basic reasoning powers to realize that $140 billion trade defecit with the one and only country that has the ability to overthrow America as the world's foremost superpower, a nation that has openly threatened to nuke us is a bad ****ing idea.

I agree China could be a long term rival. But I think they have a way to go before they really threaten us. My guess is they think we threaten them.

I'm a free trade guy, but we can't have free trade with a nation that doesn't have a free labor market, or a currency valued on the open market. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the end results of that, China gets rich, our rich get richer, and the other 99% of our country is ****ed, for now, and once China gets enough money to overthrow us as the world's foremost superpower than we're all ****ed.

Assuming having dollars makes you "richer". In one sense it does, until the dollar devalues.

If we're trading with a nation that does not allow free trade, we are not practicing free trade, it's as simple as that. This isn't absolute or comparative advantage, and laws of free trade economics, this is plain and simple a heavily regulated ass raping of our country, but since we're so dedicated to keeping the rich richer we're walking right into it.

I don't quite see it that way. I see American consumers and companies getting stuff they need or want at a lower price. So American consumers and companies are better off. How are Chinese consumers and companies better off by holding dollars?

The greater problem is that our Govt is borrowing hundreds of billion from them to cover its operating deficits. That is what is putting us at risk.

So enjoy your tax deferrments, I mean, cuts. The Chinese are. We are currently borrowing more from them just to pay the interest we owe them on money they previous lent us, so we can have our tax cuts and Iraq war.

I gotta make sure to learn how to use those chopsticks. ;)
 

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Missouri Mule said:
Spending by the federal government seldom moves the electorate. We're not yet in the "danger" zone although I don't approve of wasting taxpayer's money. Our national debt to our national GDP is about 65% which is pretty close to the middle of the pack. Japan is at about 160%. You can verify this by going to the CIA web site that provides these specific figures.

We talked about Japan on another thread. Their economy and stock markets have been anemic for the last 20 years. Not a great example to aspire to, IMO. And maybe their debt level is 160%; but they also hold about $650 billion in loans made to our government, so my guess is that offsets the debt level, and the ratio would be much more lower if that is factored in.
 

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There is an old saying that the debtor owns the bank as well as the owner of the bank (or words to that effect.) In practical terms, the Chinese can hardly pull the plug with us as that would potentially put their dollar holdings at great risk.

To be sure we need to address the trade imbalance. On the other hand, the money we save by purchasing cheap Chinese goods puts more money in our pockets to increase our standard of living. I can remember when a 19" color television set cost about $400 along about 1982. Today one can go to Walmart and buy a 20" flat screen Sanyo with remote control for about $120. I'm looking at it right now. That $280 savings that I enjoyed allowed me to purchase other needed and optional goods and services effectively raising my standard of living.

After the end of WWII, both Japan and Germany were bankrupt and the people penniless. Today, their average industrial wages exceed that paid in the U.S. In time, the Chinese, the Indians and other developing nations will have higher living standards, higher wages and that will tend to soak up cheaper U.S. goods and services. And don't forget that Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes and BMW now manufacture vehicles right here in the U.S. because of lower U.S. labor costs and local access to the U.S. consumer.

This would be an excellent topic for politicians to argue out in the public political arena instead of all of the stupid personal attacks.
 

Iriemon

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Missouri Mule said:
There is an old saying that the debtor owns the bank as well as the owner of the bank (or words to that effect.) In practical terms, the Chinese can hardly pull the plug with us as that would potentially put their dollar holdings at great risk.

This is true -- there are economic incentives for them not to do this -- tho' that doesn't change the fact that going deeper and deeper in debt to the Chinese makes us more vulnerable to them.

To be sure we need to address the trade imbalance. On the other hand, the money we save by purchasing cheap Chinese goods puts more money in our pockets to increase our standard of living. I can remember when a 19" color television set cost about $400 along about 1982. Today one can go to Walmart and buy a 20" flat screen Sanyo with remote control for about $120. I'm looking at it right now. That $280 savings that I enjoyed allowed me to purchase other needed and optional goods and services effectively raising my standard of living.

After the end of WWII, both Japan and Germany were bankrupt and the people penniless. Today, their average industrial wages exceed that paid in the U.S. In time, the Chinese, the Indians and other developing nations will have higher living standards, higher wages and that will tend to soak up cheaper U.S. goods and services. And don't forget that Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes and BMW now manufacture vehicles right here in the U.S. because of lower U.S. labor costs and local access to the U.S. consumer.

This would be an excellent topic for politicians to argue out in the public political arena instead of all of the stupid personal attacks.

Good points
 
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Iriemon said:
I strongly disagree! Capitalism kicks socialist butt!

Hmm I disagree.



Iriemon said:
I think American at least since the 80s has been a superpower because of our advanced workforce, technology, and innovation.

We've only been a supperpower for two reasons.
1. For some odd reason people think we'll eventually be good to pay off our debt so our entire market is based on a swirling blackhole of minus signs and red ink.

2. We have things that go boom in the night and lots of them.





Iriemon said:
What would that money be worth if the Fed opened the money supply and inflated the value of the dollar about 50% or so?

We'd be scraping every crumb off the floor just to eat and carting around an entire wheelbarrel full of cash to buy just 1 loaf of bread.






Iriemon said:
I definitely agree that some regulation is needed in a capitalist system. Otherwise companies pollute as much as they want, pay their workers chicken feed and work them 80 hours a week, and get away with whatever they can to maximize profit.

Then it ceases to be capitalism. Personally I find Sweden's mix rather appealing.


Iriemon said:
Assuming having dollars makes you "richer". In one sense it does, until the dollar devalues.

Indeed...love that Euro.
 

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Iriemon said:
What would that money be worth if the Fed opened the money supply and inflated the value of the dollar about 50% or so?
If the Fed opened the money supply, the value of the dollar would deflate, not inflate.

If the dollar deflated, then people with non-dollar assets would sell their assets for huge gigantic piles of dollars, and they would have the power.

Instead, If the dollar inflated, then the people with dollars would be that much more powerful, reflecting the enhanced worth of each of the dollars they have.

Therefore, neither inflation nor deflation of the value of dollars has any bearing on whether having money brings power. Either way someone has wealth, which is reflected in dollar values.
 

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Dezaad said:
If the Fed opened the money supply, the value of the dollar would deflate, not inflate.

You're right -- I used the wrong terminology -- the price of things (in terms of dollars) would inflate.

If the dollar deflated, then people with non-dollar assets would sell their assets for huge gigantic piles of dollars, and they would have the power,

Instead, If the dollar inflated, then the people with dollars would be that much more powerful, reflecting the enhanced worth of each of the dollars they have.

And conversely, people with dollar assets (ie China and Japan) would have less "power." That was the point I was inartfully trying to make.

Therefore, neither inflation nor deflation of the value of dollars has any bearing on whether having money brings power. Either way someone has wealth, which is reflected in dollar values.

This conclusion seems contrary to what you just said. If the dollar deflates 50%, those holding assets in dollars (China, Japan, other lenders) would lose power relative to those holding assets, no?
 

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Iriemon said:
This conclusion seems contrary to what you just said. If the dollar deflates 50%, those holding assets in dollars (China, Japan, other lenders) would lose power relative to those holding assets, no?

Power would shift. But power would remain with the wealthy. It would shift from some wealthy people to other wealthy people.

Wealthy people holding non-dollar assets in a devaluation of the dollar would gain since their assets would necessarily rise in value in relation to dollars. Holders of cash would lose power because dollars would be worth less.

Lenders are a similar story. If you loan out dollars, the dollars you loan out were worth more "value" than the ones you will be repaid in. The value of your loans has indeed declined, and this is simply part of the shift of wealth to holders of non-dollar assets. So, you are correct, and what I said does not contradict.

But, it seems like you may have interpreted the idea of 'money' too strictly. Firstly, when people say "money is power", they are using the word money as a metaphor for wealth in general. Secondly, even if you were to use the word money literally, there is no reason to restrict your notion of money to dollars. In a devaluation of any currency, one way to protect yourself from that devaluation is to purchase other currencies. Holding other currencies during a devaluation of the one you do not hold makes you wealthier in terms of that one you do not hold. That is, for instance, holding Euros when the Dollar deflates makes you wealthier in terms of Dollars.

If you became a currency speculator you could increase your wealth by divesting of currecies on the verge of devaluation, and purchasing ones on the verge of revaluation. Over time you can see that, in terms of all currencies, it would be possible to steadily increase wealth. All the while holding no assets that are not "money".


So, power only shifts among the wealthy. It does not leave the wealthy. This was my point.
 

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Napoleon's Nightingale said:
:lol: And how would you go about forcing fair trade on China?

galenrox has inteligent responses

nighty gale you are a dimwit

why are you even trading with CHINA
only to fill fat cat's pockets and lose jobs and to force down the working wages and to build chinese military might

what else did I leave out besides punctuations
did I mention nighty gale hasnt got a clue
 

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I think American at least since the 80s has been a superpower because of our advanced workforce, technology, and innovation.

is this why japan supplies all your elctronics and guidance systems
your work force is being dismantled and your $ is falling like a stone
 

Iriemon

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Dezaad said:
Power would shift. But power would remain with the wealthy. It would shift from some wealthy people to other wealthy people.

Wealthy people holding non-dollar assets in a devaluation of the dollar would gain since their assets would necessarily rise in value in relation to dollars. Holders of cash would lose power because dollars would be worth less.

Lenders are a similar story. If you loan out dollars, the dollars you loan out were worth more "value" than the ones you will be repaid in. The value of your loans has indeed declined, and this is simply part of the shift of wealth to holders of non-dollar assets. So, you are correct, and what I said does not contradict.

But, it seems like you may have interpreted the idea of 'money' too strictly. Firstly, when people say "money is power", they are using the word money as a metaphor for wealth in general. Secondly, even if you were to use the word money literally, there is no reason to restrict your notion of money to dollars. In a devaluation of any currency, one way to protect yourself from that devaluation is to purchase other currencies. Holding other currencies during a devaluation of the one you do not hold makes you wealthier in terms of that one you do not hold. That is, for instance, holding Euros when the Dollar deflates makes you wealthier in terms of Dollars.

If you became a currency speculator you could increase your wealth by divesting of currecies on the verge of devaluation, and purchasing ones on the verge of revaluation. Over time you can see that, in terms of all currencies, it would be possible to steadily increase wealth. All the while holding no assets that are not "money".


So, power only shifts among the wealthy. It does not leave the wealthy. This was my point.

I don't disagree with you. I thought we were talking about the effect of devaluation of the dollar on China and Japan in terms of the US debt they hold.
 

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Iriemon said:
I don't disagree with you. I thought we were talking about the effect of devaluation of the dollar on China and Japan in terms of the US debt they hold.

exactly why JAPAN and CHINA lend america all the cash she can borrow
they know that the Us $ is slated for a big tumble
they lend you cash knowing it is lost but they buy favours in the here and now with it
favours like

allowing japanese vehicles and electronics to sell here even though
both GM and FORD are teetering on the brink of colapse
and in china's case it is to allow WALmart to stock up on and sell chinese
goods by the tonage usurping american highly paid jobs in both cases
ECONOMECTRICS the EVIL way
 
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galenrox

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Iriemon said:
I strongly disagree! Capitalism kicks socialist butt!
Except that in a socialism the government uses the workers for, for all practical purposes, slave labor, so it's not a fair competition.

I think American at least since the 80s has been a superpower because of our advanced workforce, technology, and innovation.
And we got those because we were already the world's largest superpower.

That has certain assumptions in it. The $140 billion or whatever is not for free, as I said, they have to produce stuff and sell it to us, so maybe they have a net profit from it. Then it is available to spend on defense only if all the net profit goes to the government. And even then, the dollars don't become weapons, unless they buy them I suppose. And if they spend that money on defense instead of insfrastructure or something productive they don't receive any return on their money.
Of course the money goes to the government, it's China! And considering they have slave labor, I'm assuming that a large portion of that $140 billion is profit.
But all this can happen whether they sell the stuff to us or some other nation, in any case. Though I agree we are a big market.
We're a huge market, their economy would collapse without us.
But I reckon we are more vulnerable to them because of the hundreds of billions of dollars they have lent us than any military threat.
Debatable, but yeah, I think you might be right. Except if they nuke us.
What would that money be worth if the Fed opened the money supply and inflated the value of the dollar about 50% or so?
true, but then we couldn't have defecits, since no one would want to hold the US Dollar if we did **** like that.
I agree we should not give them our best technology. No one is proposing we sell them F-22s.
I just really don't trust China, and thus they shouldn't see any of our technology that we don't know for a fact that they already have it.

I definitely agree that some regulation is needed in a capitalist system. Otherwise companies pollute as much as they want, pay their workers chicken feed and work them 80 hours a week, and get away with whatever they can to maximize profit.
Exactly.

I agree China could be a long term rival. But I think they have a way to go before they really threaten us. My guess is they think we threaten them.
It's possible, but I don't think propping them up to threat status is really a good idea.

Assuming having dollars makes you "richer". In one sense it does, until the dollar devalues.
True, but that already puts us in the position where we'd have to self destruct to bring them down.

I don't quite see it that way. I see American consumers and companies getting stuff they need or want at a lower price. So American consumers and companies are better off. How are Chinese consumers and companies better off by holding dollars?
More work, they get the benefit of this whole trickle down theory.
The greater problem is that our Govt is borrowing hundreds of billion from them to cover its operating deficits. That is what is putting us at risk.
No argument here.
So enjoy your tax deferrments, I mean, cuts. The Chinese are. We are currently borrowing more from them just to pay the interest we owe them on money they previous lent us, so we can have our tax cuts and Iraq war.

I gotta make sure to learn how to use those chopsticks. ;)
lol, yup, I'm learning Chinese as we speak.
 

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I don't blame you
you may need CHINESE it to get a job in the future in USA
 
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