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" The Treasury Department Thursday denied a report that the White… - don't let the bastards grind you down.
" The Treasury Department Thursday denied a report that the White House suppressed a paper estimating the United States is facing at least a $44.2 trillion deficit due to future health care and pension obligations."

so says CNN. let's see...44.2 trillion. well, it's approx. 7 or 8 times our current deficit, which took us 35 or so years to get to...mostly republican's fault, heh.

that's 44,200,000,000,000. that's a lot of zeros. it'll take you 1,414,400 years to count to it if you do one number a second, but because the numbers are so hard to pronounce, like, 816,345,234,569, it'll more likely take you about 8,400,000 years. and if you're REALLY good, like, you mumble so much it's not funny and nobody can tell what you're sayign except for you, well, it'll take you about 144,000 years.

or how about this....that's enough to rebuild america's homes 4 times over. every mansion, condo, shack, and high-rise.

or how about this....that's enough to give every human in America in the year 2006 (300M) 144000 dollars.

or how about this....if you had that many 1 dollar bills end-to-end, they'd reach more than halfway to the sun.

there are a lot of funny ways to visual a trillion.

but because the only time i do it is when i'm thinking about the national debt, they mostly make me sad.
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swolfe From: swolfe Date: May 30th, 2003 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)
"...due to future health care and pension obligations..."

how can you say it's the republicans' fault when it says right there that it's due to social security and medicare?
christy_p From: christy_p Date: May 30th, 2003 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
damn you, FDR...50 years later, still paying for your bad decisions. grrr grrr

taumeson From: taumeson Date: May 30th, 2003 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
well, i don't think FDR's decisions were bad. which, specifically, are you referring to?
christy_p From: christy_p Date: May 30th, 2003 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
well, let's see. wasn't the whole 'new deal' designed as a temporary solution to problems plaguing that era, and yet we still have them in place.....and not very successfully at this point either.
taumeson From: taumeson Date: May 30th, 2003 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
wasn't the whole 'new deal' designed as a temporary solution to

that's arguable, considering that they didn't know how long it was goign to take to get out of the depression...plus, many of the programs are long term programs, TVA, Public Utilities, Securities & Exchange, FDIC, FCC, etc., designed to make sure that we never have another Great Depression. are they going to work? who knows?

anyway, FDR was a democrat, sure, and so was Truman, who could have done something to end the New Deal, but elected not to. he was re-elected by a landslide.

next? ike. eisenhower ruled for 8 years, over most of the 1950's (53->61), considered to be the Golden Era of America. Did he do anything about the new deal?

from whitehouse.gov bios:

"In domestic policy the President pursued a middle course, continuing most of the New Deal and Fair Deal programs, emphasizing a balanced budget. "

so...here he was, the most popular president since FDR's second term, and he continued the New Deal...AND he was a republican.

and keep in mind that a lot of democrats became republicans... strom thurmond, first and foremost. was it because of the New Deal? indirectly, yes, as spending increased....but carry that forward to today, and it doesn't seem that the republicans are any better at conserving money than the dems.
christy_p From: christy_p Date: May 30th, 2003 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
fair enough. we could prolly argue the benefits/detriments every aspect of political history has caused.....

Also keep in mind that the parties changed. I don't know when it flip-flopped, but the democratic party used to be the more conservative and the republican party more liberal. Now it's different.

Either way, i think the government has and still is trying to be involved in way too much. Back off big government!
qed From: qed Date: May 30th, 2003 07:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I actually read "pension obligations" as being pensiosn for government workers, but maybe I'm mistaken.

The real problem with this country is the old and the poor. If we could just get rid of them, it would be much easier to balance the budget.
swolfe From: swolfe Date: May 30th, 2003 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
well...i read an article talking about this and it more pointedly said social security and medicare.
taumeson From: taumeson Date: May 30th, 2003 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
i solely meant the current debt level. between reagan's huge military increases and renewed passion for deficit spending to w. spending the surplus to wolfowitz's (i think it was he) doctrine on how republicans need to deficit spend in order to keep democrats from creating programs, most debt problems have been exacerbated by republicans...i didnt' say created by, i said exacerbated

look at pretty pictures: http://mwhodges.home.att.net/debt_a.htm

you can see that the debt began accelerating tremendously between 80-84, and it never stopped until about 96-98. social programs just keep ballooning because, as is mentioned below, nobody is fixing them, they just keep changing them.

military spending was lessening, true, that is, until reagan got into power. then look at it start climbing back up.

i just realized something. we have one of the largest militaries in the world.

LOOK AT HOW MANY COUNTRIES HAVE TEENY MILITARIES AND STILL AREN'T GETTING ATTACKED!! France, Germany, Spain, etc....they have more to fear re: invasion than the US ever did! Yet, here we are with this massive juggernaut...a favorite Republican PORK target.

but i digress. republicans have embraced social security and medicare as their own in order to court the aging baby boomers and the current conservatives, who trend much older than democratic constituencies.
area_man From: area_man Date: May 30th, 2003 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)


Dude, this is your best post ever. Seriously. You hit on a very important aspect of National Debt banter: the numbers are so big that many people fall into lassitude when the topic arises for lack of any way to put the number into perspective. Many people stop at, "oh...that's a lot...oh well." But when you think about the fact that said debt could provide each american with $144,000 in a single year, that really gets every American's innate selfishness spinning. People start to wonder why they are not getting $144,000 from the government, and how the US government could possibly take on that kind of debt. Who let it get this bad?!

And Steve, future health care and pension obligations are not the sole cause of this crisis. There are plenty of countries around the globe whose governments provide great pensions and UNIVERSAL health care for all its citizen and do not face a fraction of the projected debt that our wonderful country does. The better point is: Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for passing tax legislation that does little but fatten the pockets of already fats cats in the business world at the expense of the middle and lower class Americans who will have to deal, in coming years, with the debt such tax cuts foster.
swolfe From: swolfe Date: May 30th, 2003 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)


i'm not arguing that there isn't a way to provide socialized retirement and health care without the problems we have. i'm simply pointing out that our trouble is with the type of "pay as you go" system that was adopted back as part of the new deal. it was only meant to be a temporary solution, but instead of discarding it once things got better, later administrations actually expanded it.

social security is a ponzi scheme. the people today are paying for people that paid yesterday. the big problem is that soon (with the retirement of baby-boomers) there will be fewer people working (and paying taxes) than there will be people collecting social security. when that happens, the government will be paying out all social security money collected, and need to dip into the money that has been collected as excess. this is projected to happen in 2012, and the excess will run out in 2030-something. but...the problem is, this extra money has been "invested" in government bonds, which means that the government will need to come up with the money starting 2012...all of these things mean more taxes for fewer people, which means even more money for people that don't need it as much being taken from us so that we can't properly invest for our futures.
area_man From: area_man Date: May 30th, 2003 12:39 pm (UTC) (Link)


Well said and much clearer than what you had posted earlier. SS is, indeed, a Ponzi scheme. Nevertheless, I hear few politicians, especially from the Republican camp, proposing ideas for the kind of socialized retirement and health care you see in countries like Denmark, Holland, or even Italy.

I don't agree with either side of this debate in America. Democrats come into power and usually raise taxes, and the lower classes do generally see some return on those taxes in the form of government funded housing, or increased monies for food stamp programs and the like, yet no real strides are made toward universal health care, federal or state susidized higher education, or effective governement stipends for retired persons. Why? Other countries have done it. Why can't we? Why are we so reluctant to curtail the excesses of the rich, yet continue to fuck the poor and middle wage earners, who make up a far greater percentage of this country's population?
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