The debt monster

The national debt has gone from 36% of the economy to 72% between 2007 and 2012.  It has doubled in proportion to the economy in five years.  That was largely due to the Bush Wars and the Obama Stimulus, but also due to our recurring deficit of hundreds of billions of dollars.  Currently the interest on the debt is about $400 billion per year.  But what if interest rates go up?

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I just want to be a number

Imagine living in a world where you couldn’t reveal your name.  If people asked your name, you’d regard them with suspicion, only revealing it when absolutely necessary.  You have it erased from all your personal documents and even your driver’s license.  Identifying yourself would be chaos, as others would need to use lots of other information such as address, phone number, and date of birth in order to make sure you were you.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  But we live in a similar world.   The Social Security Number was created in the 1930s to identify Social Security participants.  It was the numerical equivalent of a name, a unique number that could be used to ensure the money contributed by an individual was credited to them for retirement.  Today, though, your SSN is more like a password than an id.  It’s something to be guarded and kept safe, only revealed when necessary.

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John Boehner Re-Elected (Boo!)

You didn’t hear it here first, but I will admit defeat.  Boehner was re-elected, though by a razor-thin two vote margin.  There were several defections among the Republicans, mostly right-wingers who voted for someone more conservative, leaving Boehner with barely enough.

Many commentators think Boehner will need to move to the right in order to keep his right-wing support from eroding further, but I see hope in the fact that the fiscal cliff aversion bill passed at the last minute was approved in the House mostly by Democrats.  It allowed the right-wing not to vote for it while avoiding a public relations disaster for the Republican Party as a whole.

I will keep blogging about this issue, because a Speaker can be unseated mid-term, and a new Speaker elected.  Things could change if this Congress is unable to get needed legislation passed.