“…the most predictable economic crisis in our history”

That’s a line in the statement from Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan today after the news Standard and Poor’s isn’t too bullish on America’s financial future.

Because the U.S. has, relative to its ‘AAA’ peers, what we consider to be very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the path to addressing these is not clear to us, we have revised our outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable.

America knows the problem: the government spends too much. Sadly, the majority of our elected leadership refuses to acknowledge the solution: spend less. Austerity is a necessity, not a dirty word. Growing government is a direct result of growing entitlements, and our nation will not remain a world leader once those who demand exceed those who pay. Ask England, France, Spain, Ireland, or Portugal.

We absolutely know what happens next. Is our leadership willing to act to prevent it?


  1. Another day, another data point that those on the left will do everything in their power to downplay and ignore.

    “But Soros said we could take on MORE debt!”

    The right cares about reality. The left cares about making their fantasies (universal health care, a country powered by no fossil fuels, lots and lots of trains, etc.) come true, reality be damned. That’s really what it boils down to.

  2. ryan and reality have no business in the same sentence.

  3. J. Strupp says:

    As I wrote over at Dadster’s blog today:

    The headline, “S&P Goes Negative on US Bonds”, might as well read, “My Drunk Uncle Frank Downgrades US Bonds to BBB-“.

    They both have the same impact on interest rates in the sovereign debt market.

    In all seriousness, no one denies that austerity is necessary to fix our long term deficit crisis. I think most members of Congress will concede that.

    The questions are how and when these austerity measures are to be implemented. That’s where the problem comes in.

  4. J. Strupp says:


    If you do a quick survey of the sovereign debt market, reality lies with the liberal economic policy. I would be happy to elaborate but it will bore the crap out everyone reading this so I won’t. That’s not to say that market conditions could change, but currently the debt market says that you are wrong and Soros is correct.

  5. Literally speaking, Soros is correct. We COULD take on more debt. The question is where that would lead. Would that ruin the nation instantly? Probably not. Would it make things better? Definitely not. Would it lead us on the path to emulating European welfare states? Now we’re getting somewhere….

    I don’t want to live in a Europe-style welfare state. And there’s a lot of folks who agree with me. The problem for folks on your side is that you don’t have as much skin in the game as the folks on my side do. You can move to Canada or Britian or Sweden and get basically what you want America to turn into. People who want America to continue to be different (ie to remain true to our roots of valuing freedom over equality of results) have no countries left to go to. America is our last hope. We will defend her to the end. There is no plan B.

    You can’t have the government regulate more and more of our lives and claim to value freedom.

    You can’t tax over half of the productive people’s income and claim to value freedom.

    And we definitely can’t owe China more than we are worth and claim to value freedom.

    Debt is paralyzing, not freeing. And the bottom line is that what we are doing now is not sustainable.

    So go ahead and show me whatever numbers you want. But if what you are going to show me is something along the lines of “well Britian’s debt to GDP ratio is higher than ours, so technically we could take on another few trillion and we’d be no worse off then they are”, I am not interested.

    The goal should not be to avoid default. The goal should be a thriving economy. More stimuluses (what Soros advocates, likely because he owns large shares of infrastructure companies) is just the opposite of what we need right now.

  6. Ryan, thank you. I’m stuck at LGA and there’s no way I could have gotten that out of my tap keyboard.

  7. I love how the right wing demonized Soros as if he is this major player on the right. I understand it because it brings about false equivalency to the damage the Koch brothers are doing to the country.

    Its not Soros that advocates more stimulus its pretty much all economists not working for Heritage. The taxes on everyone are at their lowest point in what 50 years? And we are broke and keep spending on crazy stuff, cutting infrastructure and cutting taxes. Thus breaking us even farther.

    The goal should not be to see how much the top 400 hedge fund managers who leech off society can make before we actually decide to make them pay some taxes, it should be to advance our society in general.

    What I want is the America our founders envisioned, its really a great one you should take some time to study it.

    As for Ryan and his “plans” he is following the two Santa claus theory perfectly!

  8. gnarlytrombone says:
  9. Blahblahblah GOP talkingpoints blahblahblah Corporate welfare blahblahblah…

    The claim that “we all know the problem. Government spends too much” is intellectually dishonest as well as lazy. The government spends too much? Really? How do you quantify “too much”? Too much in comparison to what?

    Too much in comparison to it’s revenue? Well then, you have two problems to solve, not one.

    Too much because you don’t like social programs that support a compassionate and just society? Well okay then, I guess we COULD create a morally bankrupt society based on egoism and propping up crony capitalism, war profiteering, the supremecy of the few sufficiently without morals that they have no qualms about exploiting millions, a society based on the idea that love is a weakness… But would you really want to live there?

    Litmus test: do you presume that you would be one of the few that benefits and therefore f*** everybody else? No? Then maybe you need to rethink your ideology, as well as your simplistic belief that “we all know what the problem is.”

    Atlas Shrugged, and nobody cared except for the corporatists that knew a good con when they saw one.

  10. Ari’s lack of logic is astonishing. Allow me to demonstrate this in the form of a short parable.

    A nice from Reykjavik attempted to engage in some friendly small talk with our dear friend Ari “you know the problem with my home country of Iceland?” he asked “It is just too cold there.”

    Smug ole Ari fired back in a preachy, professorial tone of voice “well you know, you can’t just say it is cold. Cold is a relative term. When you say cold, I don’t even know what you are trying to say…. cold in comparison to what!?!?”

    At this point the polite Icelander replied calmly “well, by almost any comparison you want to use…. but if you want a reference point, I’ll give you one…. it is generally about 10-30 degrees warmer in Britian than it is back in Iceland”.

    At this point, Ari knows he’s got him. Without thinking, and with all the confidence he can muster, he blurts out: “Well then, OBVIOUSLY you have two problems to solve….. Making Reykjavik warmer and making London colder.”


    At this point, I’m wondering what would have to occur in order for the true believers on the left to admit we are spending too much money. If CBS ran a weekly TV show where Obama and Co. personally dumped a trillion US dollars out of Air Force One and into an active volcano in each episode, then MAYBE by the 3rd season, some of these folks would finally start to come around???

  11. That parable would be apt if it weren’t for the fact that economics and weather are not one and the same. “Too cold” has a quantifiable measure for us, it is: too cold for the survival of humans. Even that has some relativity, “too cold” for Floridians tends to hover around 50 degrees whereas Wisconsinites take 15 degrees in stride, but still, humans can’t survive in a thriving city at sub-zero tempuratures, that’s a constant.

    “Spending too much money” however, is a value statement. Which is fine, you have your values and I have mine and those two positions probably ARE in disagreement. But to claim “oh my gods we spend too much” is the equivalent of a chicken little argument.

    As a value statement, you can certainly say, “I think spending money on social programs is a waste,” in which case, by all means, let’s let people starve and go homeless so that we can assuage our own consciences that “oh yes, we made sure to be scrupulous with our money.” If those are your values then fine — but I disagree with them, and the persistance of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, along with polling data based on whether the majority of Americans want government to cut social programs, says I’m not in the minority.

    I’m more than happy to agree that our government spends too much on military funding, especially contracts that give license to private companies to profit on the security “needs” of the country while not actually improving said security, and tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy which allows for those who benefit from the opportunity of america to never share in serving the needs of said country… But, those are my own values, and I’m well aware that they are not universal– most assuredly not in congress. The difference is, I qualify my statement with specifics, whereas the author of the post simply insists that “the government spends too much” with no bounds for any form of intelligent argumentation, because by that claim you could as easily say 1 dollar was “spending too much” as you could 1 trillion dollars. That is not intellectual discussion, that is mindless rhetoric.

    But… just to stretch this “parable” a little further, there is a clear difference in the fact that: american policy doesn’t dictate the weather (yet), but has every ability to make decisions about how to budget effectively. Apples to oranges, dear.

    I do however appreciate the irony of legitimizing my point by labeling my tone as “preachy and professional.” Thanks! That you feel the need to be condescending and make assumptions about where I base my opinions just adds to the entertainment value. Cheers!

  12. The Lorax says:

    Spending too much, not taxing enough.

    Cut defense budget by 60%. Cut corporate tax loopholes. Cut farm subsidies. Cut oil subsidies.

    Lower taxes substantially on lower and middle class wage earners. Lower taxes substantially on small businesses.

    End the Bush tax cuts and increase taxes on upper class wage earners. Increase mega-corporation taxes. Increase estate tax for multi-million dollar estates. End both wars.

    Budget balanced!

  13. J. Strupp says:

    “Would it lead us on the path to emulating European welfare states? Now we’re getting somewhere….”

    I’m not sure how you link U.S. debt levels to European “welfare states”. Are you saying that all European “welfare states” have a high debt /GDP? This is not the case.

    “The problem for folks on your side is that you don’t have as much skin in the game as the folks on my side do…..”

    This seems like an emotional statement and not really directed to anything I stated above. Liberals get accused of making emotional arguments rather than fact based arguments all the time. That paragraph seems to indicate that things might work both ways.

    “You can’t have the government regulate more and more of our lives and claim to value freedom.”

    Regulation doesn’t seem relevant to anything I said.

    “You can’t tax over half of the productive people’s income and claim to value freedom.”

    Currently, we do not tax anyone in this country over half of their income. Perhaps you are referring to the 1980’s…..or the 50’s….or the 30’s when we taxed people over half their incomes. No one in Congress (and certainly not the President) is talking about taxing half of anyone’s income.

    “And we definitely can’t owe China more than we are worth and claim to value freedom.”

    We don’t. Not even close. But the PRC is welcome to buy up as many U.S. Treasuries as they want and/or sell as many as they want. A PRC fire sale on treasuries would lead to Yuan appreciation and a collapse in Chinese exports (and growth). They are welcome to do this at any time. Chinese treasury purchases have everything to do with current accounts and nothing to do with valuing freedom.

    “Debt is paralyzing, not freeing.”

    The same can be said of austerity in time periods of undercapacity and high unemployment. There is plenty of historical evidence that austerity leads to higher, not lower, debt levels in the above circumstances.

    “And the bottom line is that what we are doing now is not sustainable.”

    And as I said in #4, no honest person disagrees that our current debt trajectory is unsustainable long term. Conservatives do not have a monopoly on this idea. We differ on how and when to implement deficit reduction.

    “The goal should be a thriving economy.”

    I agree. And immediate deficit reduction negatively impacts economic recovery. This isn’t a liberal idea. This is math.

  14. Randy in Richmond says:

    Maybe before you comment on a Post–you should read it. You state “ the author of the post simply insists that “the government spends too much” with no bounds for any form of intelligent argumentation “. And the title of the post is … ? The United States just had it’s financial rating lowered — that’s a fact. We may differ on the solution and some say it means nothing — but it happened.

    And you are wrong that American policy is not trying to dictate the weather. This President established and appointed Carol Browner as the Director of White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. To comment on a continuing theme of mine I demand she should be fired and the Department discontinued in light of the tragic weather all across the nation recently. She and her Department are just not doing their job.

  15. Whoa. Look what happens when a girl gets a good night’s sleep.

    1) Ari, I de-linked your blog from here. That’s the penalty you take for using a word I also had to edit. We keep things PG around here.

    Next, I will argue we are already a morally bankrupt society and the entitlement programs you insist make our county better have in fact contributed to this dereliction. People who feel they are owed their livelihood make very little effort to better themselves in order to produce their own and contribute.

    Next I will point to the vice-president’s pathetic effort toward freely contributing to the welfare of those around him. Could it be he sets the standard for the left?

    2) Lorax, while you are hoping to plug those corporate loopholes let me suggest you will be damning the very programs you have professed such excitement towards in the past. I have absolutely no problem with GE paying more because they no longer have access to wind energy production credits. May I suggest we can loopholes like mortgage tax credits as well? Heck, just whip out a flat tax and take morality out of taxing all together. Then we can all be encouraged to make donations at about the rate of Joe Biden’s family.

    3) J. Strupp, you really used an unusual technique for your reply when taking a statement and inferring context that never existed. I will dare you to look at a good chunk of American residents and see where between local, state, and federal taxes we are very close to taxing 50% of income. Yes, sometimes that taxation is in relation to living standards like a big house or lots of land, but it still exists. And yes, even local taxes hand out to social programs.

    I will add that your emphatic tone in this response does not make you correct. In fact, for some reason it makes you sound desperate. Also, you confess this trajectory is not sustainable, but you do not offer an alternative.

  16. Right…. I wasn’t saying that our top Federal income tax bracket is 50%. I am saying that the people in that top bracket pay 35% minus deductions. But then you have sales tax. And property tax. And a million other things (Federal and State) such that I am sure that most of those in the top bracket are paying over half of what they take in.

  17. Oooh. I forgot sales tax.

  18. Im trying to understand the logic.

    on ABC news tonight it showed a mcdonalds where 1000 people showed up to interview for 4 openings making $8 an hour. But “People who feel they are owed their livelihood make very little effort to better themselves in order to produce their own and contribute.”….

    So that blows that theory to heck….so many times the real world is the exact opposite as right wing world.

    At least you would be kind of ok if maybe GE had to actually pay some kind of taxes maybe a little bit….Heaven knows the stockholders and executives arent morally bankrupt nor part of our entitlement programs(unless you count the $3+ billion in credits they get for not paying taxes of course)

    Shhhhh we wont talk about that.

  19. No, it doesn’t blow that theory at all. I know kids with a four year college degree who were likely in that line. It’s still rotten out there when it comes to hiring.

    Paul Ryan even says close the loopholes. So ask President Obama – why aren’t the corporate loopholes being closed? I think there’s a really good chance you are fighting with your own side on this one, Jeff.

  20. Thats the whole point Cindy…it is rotten out there and people are desperate to work. With companies sitting on record profits, someone has to spend and it has to be the government. We also have to take care of these people until they can get jobs.

    Paul Ryan does not really say close the loopholes, well he says it but like everything else in his life he is disingenious. The “tea party” republicans tried to pass a budget that closed the loopholes and was not a huge giveaway to wall st. Ryan got PISSED and shut down debate.


  21. J. Strupp says:

    “I will dare you to look at a good chunk of American residents and see where between local, state, and federal taxes we are very close to taxing 50% of income”

    Total taxes paid as a share of national income is a bit less than 30%. This includes income taxes at all levels of gov., payroll taxes, sales tax, property tax, corporate income tax, etc. Of course, this varies depending upon things like income level, taxable deductions and which state/city you live in but a good chunk of American residents aren’t being taxed half their total gross income.

    The Tax Foundation does their yearly “Tax Freedom Day” analysis which is a good, but rather general, overview of our total tax burden. This is the most recent analysis:


  22. J. Strupp says:

    “May I suggest we close loopholes like mortgage tax credits as well?”

    Yes. I say let’s get rid of the MID ASAP.

  23. Jeff, that’s your point, not mine. Mine remains that there’s a whole class of people perfectly content to live off their U.S. entitlement checks instead of support themselves.

    I find it immensely amusing, but also incredibly maddening, that you think “companies sitting on record profits” has anything to do with this discussion. Since you brought it up I will ask, who pays you? A big bad company or the government?

    I was just working from a news ticker when I mentioned that Ryan had said that yesterday. Since you are always, always right (that was sarcastic by the way) I will assume you are right again this time.

  24. J. Strupp. Congratulations on advancing your argument on the average. There are some, you know, that group they think should be paying more because they can afford it, who do not fit in your average.

    “A good chunk” was not written to indicate the majority or the average. One might be able to correlate the group to those already paying the majority of tax income in the U.S., though.

    So you like this tidbit from your link? “Americans will pay more in taxes in 2011 than they will spend on groceries, clothing and shelter combined.”

  25. Yet cindy the facts just dont prove that, hence thousands showing up for 4 openings. The middle and lower class desperately want to work. Heck they built this country.

    Companies sitting on record profits has to do with any discussion on the economy right now. If every company was run as ethically as the one I work for we would not be in this mess.

    I supplied the link where the dems and the tea party republicans called his bluff on closing corp loopholes. I didnt just make it up.

  26. You are still arguing a point that I never presented.

  27. Randy in Richmond says:

    How about an example of a company not being run ethically. A company–not bad individuals.

  28. Easy Randy,

    here is 10


    and Walmart isnt even on the list…so put them at number 1 if you need more let me know

  29. It’s his opinion, Randy. It’s not going to change.

    Sorry. I can’t get past my opinion that someone as bleeding heart liberal as you appear Jeff is simply stupid. Don’t think that opinion will change either.

  30. J. Strupp says:

    The “good chunk” you refer to don’t pay half their income in taxes either. Deductions (and shelters for the big boys) play a larger role in reducing tax burden at this level than the average American. There’s all kinds of games you can play when you have a couple properties, a small business, and a knowledgable accountant. Tell me I’m wrong.

    “…hence thousands showing up for 4 openings. The middle and lower class desperately want to work.”

    Actually Simpson is right about that. The “JOLTS Report” from BLS shows that unemployed workers per job opening are at crisis levels. Not as bad as two years ago, but still aweful. Sure there’s a large group of people perfectly comfortable sitting on welfare. But tha’s not our problem right now. Our problem is that we have a huge population of perfectly productive workers sitting idle, not producing.

  31. You’re wrong. It won’t keep you from thinking you are right, but you are wrong. Otherwise the bulk of tax revenue wouldn’t be coming from such a very small number of taxpayers.

    The argument you propose for Simpson is still not my original point about those dependent upon entitlements, but I will concede. Unemployment is still very bad. Electing Obama was supposed to save us from all that you know.

  32. J. Strupp says:

    How about an example of a company not being run ethically.

    Goldman Sachs.

  33. Because?

    Scratch that. I’m not in the mood to deal with stupid people today. You two go on pretending that people who make money are evil because they didn’t give you your fair share. I’m going to find something else to do.

  34. Cindy, a personal attack is not like you. having a bad day?

    I am a proud progressive not a bleeding heart liberal. Except for my one friend, I dont think anyone else here is stupid. I just think your misguided and ill informed. Thats why i come with facts and research.

    get some coffee it makes the day go better!

  35. Randy in Richmond says:

    So making money legally is unethical. Taking advantage of a tax system established by the US Congress is unethical. You left President Obama off your list as he did exactly the same thing on his 2010 taxes, recently released.

    No, I don’t need any more from your list. I understand perfectly.

  36. You didn’t bring facts, you brought opinion and aren’t clever enough to separate the two. It makes arguing with you fruitless. I tell you what, go pat yourself on the back that you won.

  37. Randy as I brought up in my post they are freeloaders. They make billions off the wonders of America and never pay a dime for the privledge of doing so. Sure it is the “law” but its largely the “law” because they spend millions lobbying to make it the law.

    People that make money arent evil its the people who make money and dont want to participate in society and pay for the benefits they receive are evil.

  38. J. Strupp says:

    So I’m stupid now.

    Have a nice day Cindy.

  39. J. Strupp: You couch your opinion in language that fakes intelligence, but the principles land flat. You refuse to separate fact from talking points.

    I think you are still likable, if that means anything to you.

  40. John Foust says:

    Post number 40! Whee! Am I stupid yet?

  41. Good grief. You had to ask?

  42. Randy in Richmond says:

    I did a quick check on the list of 10 freeloaders you have on your list. I looked up the list of top corporate donations to charity for the latest year available. Of the 10 you list, 6 are in the top 13, 1 is 20th, and the no-no you didn’t list, Walmart, is 1st.

    Bank of America
    Exxon Mobile
    Conoco Phillips
    Goldman Sachs


  43. I cant speak to the others but I can speak to Walmart. First thing is their employees are very charitable even though they make peanuts. They compromise a good deal of this and Walmart corp. takes credit.

    Secondly, like everything else they do, they are not always on the up and up.



  44. Quiver! He quoted huffpo! How will we ever survive such diligence.

  45. I know they lost credibility when they hired breitbart but what sources are allowed here? I am just curious so I know in the future.

    Also Wal mart is on the verge of having THE largest class action lawsuit ever filed against them for their abhorrent treatment of women. But hey at least they give millions to charter schools.

  46. You can link it, but I can still laugh. That’s an opinion piece. The only fact is that Wal-Mart executives contribute to a PAC. Oooh. What a smoking gun as to Wal-Mart’s ethics!

  47. thats actually NOT what it says it all. It points out that the wal mart execs pressure the employees to give to the pac.

  48. I disagree. That “pressure” is exerted is opinion, too. Besides, are you arguing “pressure” is unethical? There goes humankind.

  49. True, it could just be that the many employees who give to the Walmart PAC choose to give some of the peanuts that they make to politicians intent on destroying the middle class. We see that all the time, especially down south, so I will agree it is opinion.

    As for pressure from your boss and employer being unethical of course not.

    I want to save humankind so lets get rid of all those silly regulations and sexual harrassment laws, that make it so.

  50. Randy in Richmond says:

    You did speak to the others–you called them freeloaders. You accused 7 companies of “not wanting to contribute to society” and when called on it you switched gears and went after Walmart.

    Just saying it doesn’t make it so.

  51. Not at all Randy i was just answering you. Giving millions of dollars to charter schools is NOT contributing to society.

    When they make billions in profit and pay no taxes they are freeloading on society. the yare not contributing to our schools, roads, military, police, fire, court system, sewer, etc… but are not scared to use them.

  52. And I’d be curious as to your assessment of Vice President Biden’s willingness to “contribute to society.”

  53. I know you have been fairly obsessed with Biden but I missed the story and have no idea what your talking about

  54. Oh, please. Tell me how I’ve been obsessed with Biden. I did run across this tidbit they other day. Other than that, the last time I mentioned him was October 7th. Randy’s brought him up now and then. Search “biden” and find it all yourself.

  55. I believe you mentioned him a couple times in this thread, hence “fairly”.

    As i said before giving to charity is NOT really contributing to society

  56. Same topic. No obsession.

    Please, share your definition of contributing to society.

  57. John Foust says:

    Is one legally required to declare all the money they’ve given to charity? Is that the kind of small government you’d like?

  58. There’s a point. I suspect you are right and Biden actually gave thousands and thousands away but didn’t want the tax deduction. Thanks for the different opinion.

    For the record, I’d much prefer a flat tax where no deductions are allowed.

  59. John Foust says:

    So you agree Biden’s tax records might not be definitive – yet you encourage criticism of him for this?

  60. It’s fun to laugh at Joe Biden. One should do it as heartedly and often as possible. Besides, he knows he’s releasing the information. It’s not like he’ll be surprised by how others perceive his effort to contribute to the greater good.

  61. Randy in Richmond says:

    John Foust
    From your comment, ” Is one legally required to declare all the money they’ve given to charity?”, I assume you are asking or implying that Biden donated money not claimed. I like your question. There are only 2 possible answers. Biden did not donate any additional to charities showing where his heart is, or he’s a complete idiot for not taking the legal deductions. Either answer works for me.

  62. Randy, you finally have me irked enough to comment. I don’t care about Biden per se, but to call someone an “idiot for not taking the legal deductions” is explicitly calling me an idiot and I do not take kind to that.
    I don’t believe it is the government’s place to know how much and to whom I give. I also follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and “freely give” and anonymously – without the benefits of getting something back (eg. deduction/ tax break). You can’t serve two masters and I choose Christ over $ and tax breaks. But then again, those of us true Christians must be “idiots.”
    I suppose that is why this blog is called ‘fairly’ conservative and not ‘truly’ conservative.

  63. Randy in Richmond says:

    Actually, I don’t know you from Adam but Joe Biden is an elected official who I suspect takes advantage of any tax deductions due. I have called our President inept numerous times on this site and if you choose to personalize that also–go for it. And D, the government does not require that I provide them with who I donate to, only how much I gave.

    I am a Christian. I’m not sure what a true Christian is.

    In Matt: 22:21, Jesus says,

    “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

    Apparently you choose to give more to Caesar and that’s fine for you–but don’t start calling out those of us who choose to follow Christ’s word.

  64. Well now that you brought it up, Randy… A girlfriend and I often have this discussion. At the time of that text, Caesar wasn’t playing God. He built roads and armies. Now, however, all the redistribution of wealth that takes place certainly muddies the issue. Don’t get me wrong. We still give boatloads, but I still have a hard time with the government usurping the role of charity. As I’ve said many times before, I think it creates dependence, and I’m not fond of that.