This page is an index for a series of articles I am working on that explain the sources of the current U.S. federal debt and what can be done about it. This list of links will grow over time.

Makeup of the US Budget Deficit from 2009 (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

Part I: Sources of the US budget deficit – with data!

Summary:
1. The US has ALWAYS been in debt!
2. This is not necessarily bad. The debt gets cheaper, provided that the country can sustain economic growth. (This requires that money is spent on things that promote economic growth – see No. 3.)
3. The government is big because the country is big. A small government for a big country would be like Somalia, a libertarian paradise.
4. The federal deficit is primarily due to spending on wars and the national security state.
5. Since World War II, the Democrats have reduced the federal debt while the Republicans have expanded it.
6. The current budget deficit is due primarily to the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy, the economic downturn, and the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Pakistan.

Budget Battle (Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Part II: Tax and Spend: Federal Spending

Summary:
1. Federal spending very roughly followed overall GDP growth 1930 to 1970. Since that time, there has been little growth in spending overall. “Big Government” is not nearly large as is often assumed and is roughly the same size now as it was in the late 1950s.

2. Federal programs have become somewhat more expensive per person while the military has been favored over social spending. In fact many social spending programs have partially realigned themselves toward military spending. Federal data disclosure and corporate news sources often obscure these facts to place pressure on entitlement spending for the sake of increasing defense spending.

3. Non-defense discretionary outlays have been shrinking as a fraction of GDP since 1981. This collection of social programs ostensibly comprises 19% of the budget but will bear the brunt of budget cuts in either Democratic or Republican proposals.

4. U.S. military spending is completely imbalanced.

5. The most effective forms of stimulus spending are the ones that Republicans dislike the most. The Republicans enacted only negative stimuli during the Bush Administration.

6. The Obama stimulus package was too small and non-stimulative for this fiscal crisis due to politically expedient concessions to conservatives.

7. The political situation in the country is not currently conducive to a budgetary solution that will improve standards of living for the future.

War Room (Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Part III: Tax and Spend: Taxes in America

Summary:
1. U.S. tax rates are low relative to other developed nations.

2. High tax rates create upward pressure on wages and all nations with higher standards of living than the U.S. have higher taxes, except those that derive governmental income from natural resources alone.

3. Higher tax rates can increase upward economic mobility.

4. Tax rates in the U.S. are relatively low compare to the past (see points 2,3)

5. Economic growth was higher during times of higher taxes.

6. The decrease in top bracket tax rates coincides with the increase in the federal debt.

7. U.S. income disparity is at its highest level since the Great Depression and most Americans do not understand how bad the problem is.

8. U.S. corporate taxes are often reported to be high, but many huge corporations pay very little in taxes, if any at all.

9. The drop in corporate tax rates has been paid for through taxes on Social Security and other entitlements.

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