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Statistics, Lies, and Damned Lies (1 Viewer)

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.” - Aesop

#TotD: The survival of politics as we know it depends on hatred, mistrust, and fear. Power comes easily to those who proffer protection from your “enemies.” The illusion of choice is given to the populace to keep them occupied and ignorant. So long as the belief that only two flavors of politics exists – Democrat and Republican – the status quo will never change. Most importantly, the average person must live in fear of true change. The people must believe that various nations, religions, regions, groups, ideas, and objects pose great danger to them in order for the politicians to spoon-feed lies.

Today I will focus on the lie of fiscal culpability. As would be expected, Democrats blame Republicans for the immense U.S. debt while the Republicans accuse the Democrats. Statistics enter the debate and conveniently “prove” whatever allegation is being made, regardless of side. Meanwhile, those responsible for the whole mess simply sit back and enjoy the show.

The truth is, the system of government itself is at fault; it makes no difference whether any particular person has a D or R beside their name. In an effort to prove my assertion, I have created a number of graphs showing the national debt in various forms. It should be noted that one or more graph may be used to defend or attack any position one wishes to make. The data sets were obtained directly from the Treasury.

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The first set of graphs shows the total debt outstanding delineated by presidential administration. The top chart is in current dollars while the bottom chart is in constant dollars.

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The second set of graphs shows the yearly increase in debt delineated by presidential administration. The top chart is in current dollars while the bottom chart is in constant dollars.

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What people tend to forget is that the United States (allegedly) is not a totalitarian state. The Constitution establishes three branches of government in an attempt to prevent any particular group from controlling the entirety of government. Any spending must be approved by Congress before being sent to the president for his signature. The third set of graphs shows the total debt outstanding delineated by majority party in both houses of Congress. Blue represents the Democratic Party, red represents the Republican Party, and grey signifies no majority. The horizontal axis is labeled per session of congress. The top chart is in current dollars while the bottom chart is in constant dollars.

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All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives. You could have the most spend-thrift president in office, but if enough congressmen wanted to double the federal budget every single year there is nothing the president could do to stop it. Therefore, the fourth set of graphs shows the yearly increase in debt delineated by majority party in the House of Representatives. Blue represents the Democratic Party while red represents the Republican Party. The horizontal axis is labeled per session of Congress. The top chart is in current dollars while the bottom chart is in constant dollars.

debt-inc-sen.jpg


Once again, there are three branches of government. New spending bills proposed by the House of Representatives must be identical to an approved bill presented by the Senate. It takes two to Tango in this respect. The fifth set of graphs shows the yearly increase in debt delineated by majority party in the Senate. Blue represents the Democratic Party, red represents the Republican Party, and grey signifies no majority. The horizontal axis is labeled per session of Congress. The top chart is in current dollars while the bottom chart is in constant dollars.

debt-inc-con.jpg


Taken all together, any new spending must be approved by a majority of both houses. The sixth set of graphs shows the yearly increase in debt delineated by majority party in Congress overall. Blue represents the Democratic Party, red represents the Republican Party, and grey signifies no majority. The horizontal axis is labeled per session of Congress. The top chart shows dollar increases while the bottom chart shows percentage increases.

debt-inc-con-2008.jpg


The seventh set of graphs also shows the yearly increase in debt delineated by majority party in Congress overall, but in constant dollars. Blue represents the Democratic Party, red represents the Republican Party, and grey signifies no majority. The horizontal axis is labeled per session of Congress. The top chart shows dollar increases while the bottom chart shows percentage increases.

debt-inc-avg.jpg


To give a brief overview, the eighth graph shows an average of the yearly increase in debt per entity. This graph is in constant dollars and shows at a glance that there is no particular pattern to a specific political party. Blue represents the Democratic Party, red represents the Republican Party, and grey signifies no majority.

debt-out-hist.jpg


The final graph is the most important. This graph depicts the entire history of the U.S. national debt since 1791 in constant 2008 dollars using conversion factors developed by Lindert and Sutch. It should be noted that due, in part, to the gold standard, social norms, and relatively limited federal power, no debt visibly registers prior to the Civil War. As a point of reference, the federal debt exploded by over 4,000% (three zeros) in the duration of this war. The next points of interest are World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. The federal debt was quadrupled during all three events. For the next twenty-five years, the national debt went up a mere fifty percent. However, following the termination of dollar-gold redemption (the “Nixon Shock”) the government began down the irrevocable path of “war” on social issues with an increased fervor. The result has been a mountain of debt, an essentially worthless currency, an alarming erosion of freedom, and the largest prison population on the face of the planet. It took almost 200 years for the dollar to depreciate by 77 percent (1791 to 1971); it has only taken 40 years to decimate it an additional 82 percent! (And this is using the arguably lowball inflation figures provided by government statisticians.)

As the Monty Python gang would exclaim right about now, “Get on with it!”

My point is that none of this debt would be possible without politicians making extravagant claims about bogeymen and their alleged solutions. The United States government claims to give freebies to the masses, while in reality it is nothing more than a parasite slowly devouring its host. Rather than make the mistake of attempting to place blame on a person or political party, take the time to discover the flaws inherent in the system itself and lay blame where it is logically due.
 
If a two party system is wrong then what is the solution?
 
DDD;bt2550 said:
If a two party system is wrong then what is the solution?
We don't have a two party system, we have ignorant people voting for only two parties, for the most part. Things are so close that I have to leave my third party vote in exchange for a Republican to end Obamacare in the next election.
 

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