Moving On from the Debt

There was a brief moment a few years back when concerns over the size of the budget deficit were leading to some discussions of the long-term fiscal imbalances and the potentials for a grand bargain. But with last month’s budget deal, the debt is no longer on the agenda.  As Alex Seitz-Wald notes in National Journal:

While it’s easy to miss the disappearance of something, the change is glaring if you know where to look. You can see it on the House and Senate floors where, last month, Republicans uttered the word “debt” just 225 times, down from 3,188 mentions in July 2011, according to the Sunlight Foundation. You could see it in President Obama’s latest State of the Union address, which mentioned budget deficits almost two-thirds fewer times than his 2011 speech.

None of this should be a surprise, of course. Election season will soon be upon us and one can be certain that no one wants to run on the promise to cut universal entitlements and/or raise taxes when there are all those hot button issues to exploit and so many babies to kiss.  Just don’t tell the babies about the problems they will face in adulthood.

4 thoughts on “Moving On from the Debt

  1. We may or may not face a crisis down the road. Anyone who’s certain one way or the other is delusional or a liar. You can make all the projections and forecasts you want, but they will most likely be wrong. They always are that far into the future. However, with the budget deficit going down at the fastest rate in postwar history and the average 401K balance at around $25K, the issue is not what you imagine it to be.

    Nope, the reason the issue is dead is because it’s not really an issue. And if the last 5 years has taught us anything it’s that people predicting a debt crisis have no clue what they’re talking about, or how the federal debt markets actually work.

    1. Hey Shaun– Agreed that projections are never completely accurate.The key point in this debate is that we are not talking about the deficits today but long-term unfunded liability exposure. Here is where a quick review of GAO and CBO documents from the last decade (or even the Medicare Trustees Report) might be useful. There is broad agreement among the three, although some variation based on the assumptions used in projections.

  2. You cannot fool the laws of economics. When what backs our currency is debt bonds created out of thin air, eventually the “money” we use will be worthless. That scenario has happened over and over again,without fail, throughout history. When the events happen is the question that no one today can answer. But it will happen despite the fact that people think that the “debt crisis” is a non issue.

  3. “When the events happen is the question that no one today can answer.
    But it will happen”

    That’s what Jesus said on his way out to buy a pack of cigs.

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