Monday, November 30, 2009

$700,000,000,000 a year

On Sunday, George Will claimed that with our current reliance on deficit spending, "we're apt to be spending in 10 years $700 billion a year servicing our debt." And this huge sum takes into account "unreasonably cheerful assumptions about economic growth and interest rates."

$700,000,000,000 a year is a lot more than what I pay my thieving credit card company in finance charges in a year. (More about Bank of America in a future post.) But the economy of the United States is almost unimaginably larger than my household finances. According to Paul Krugman, this difference is key in thinking about deficit spending. Read about it here.

Republicans are suddenly raising the alarm about deficits. (It is obvious why they waited until after Bush left office to do this.) If you consider the huge figures in their proper context, it is more likely that you'll keep your head. Republicans have an ulterior motive for trying to scare you: republicans have a history of growing deficits in order to pressure the president and Congress to shrink the size of government. But that is a topic for another post.

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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---W.K. Clifford

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. ---Thomas Jefferson