Wayne Root: ‘America: A Big Fat Greek Tragedy’

America: A Big Fat Greek Tragedy

By Wayne Allyn Root, 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee

Greece is the insolvent, bankrupt country that threatens to bring down the entire EU (European Union) with its exploding and toxic national debt. But it’s just one of the PIGS- Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. The EU is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If they choose to bail out Greece in order to save the union, soon they’ll have much bigger bankrupt nations to deal with (Portugal and Spain are next in a long Conga line). There isn’t enough money in all the world to bail out all of them. The EU is in big trouble.

But the real problem is that Greece isn’t the worst Greek tragedy on the horizon. Greece is only “the canary in the coal mine.” The United States is one big fat Greek tragedy. We are Greece- SQUARED. All the same problems that plague Greece, plague this country- huge national deficits and debt; high unemployment; gigantic entitlement programs; too many government employees; not enough tax revenues coming in; endless bailouts and stimulus; and pension and healthcare systems (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) that threaten to eat every dollar of the budget. Just the interest on our national debt is enough to destroy our economy. It’s all a Greek tragedy.

America is Greece- except on a much grander scale. Our economic collapse is still a year or two down the road. Obama is laughing, celebrating, dancing and handing out gifts (stimulus, bailouts, entitlements, corporate welfare) at a big fat Greek wedding…oblivious to the the coming economic Armageddon…oblivious to the madness of his plan- to triple down on spending to save us from insolvency.

But it didn’t take Greece to warn America of the impending doom. California is our Greece. I warned long ago that Obama’s stimulus plan was a disaster. That handing out $120 billion dollars to state and local governments so that they could prevent layoffs of government employees; hire more teachers and government employees; and actually protect raises for government employees…was pure madness. I pointed out at the time that state and local governments across the USA were bankrupt and insolvent. The only possible solution was massive cuts in government spending and layoffs of government employees (just like the private sector). I pointed out that once the stimulus ran out in 2 years, we’d have the same exact problem…except with more government employee salaries, pensions and health care to pay for. All we did was kick the can down the road a bit. We delayed the inevitable economic disaster- just as Greece has done for decades, just as California has done for years. But the day of reckoning is fast approaching.

California is still insolvent and bankrupt…so are most state and local governments…now we have more government employee mouths to feed…more pensions to pay…how will we pay the even larger bill once the stimulus runs out? Where is the next stimulus coming from? How do we pay back the $2 trillion that the Fed has printed? Where are the tax revenues when everyone is a government employee?

All the king’s men…all the countries of the world…all the bankers and Goldman Sachs partners…cannot pay the bills that are coming due for America. The national debt has zoomed past $100 trillion. As a sign of things to come, our December deficit doubled in the past year. Obama’s budget pressed the pedal towards Armageddon- by spending more than all the budgets of all the Presidents that came before him, combined.

The old saying goes, “A trillion here and a trillion there…pretty soon we’re talking about real money.” Well let’s give you some perspective of the trouble we are in. Greece owes $300 billion to the banks. That amount…from a tiny country…threatens to bankrupt banks across Europe and bring down the entire EU. Yet Obama spent $800 billion in one stimulus bill last year. That stimulus by the way, created zero jobs. ZERO. He wanted to spend a trillion more on his expansion of government-run healthcare. If $300 billion can bring down the entire EU…and make big European banks insolvent…who can possibly bailout America’s $100 trillion tab? Just one state- California- is in similar shape and facing the same kind of economic collapse as Greece.

The lesson we must learn is that government cannot spend taxpayers’ money endlessly; that not everyone can work for government; that not everyone can depend on government for survival; that government cannot give raises and bonuses to government employees in a depression; that big pensions and universal healthcare bankrupt nations; that unions are poisonous to the survival of an economy; that “spreading the wealth around” is a failure whenever and wherever it’s been tried- Argentina, Greece, California. The socialist experiment is a disaster.

Now we wait…as the clock ticks…to see if we can avoid becoming the next Greek tragedy that pushes the world towards a second Great Depression.

Wayne Allyn Root was the 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate. His new book is entitled, “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts.” For more of Wayne’s views, commentaries, or to watch his many national media appearances, please visit his web site at: ROOTforAmerica.com

140 thoughts on “Wayne Root: ‘America: A Big Fat Greek Tragedy’

  1. Tom Blanton

    Root proclaims:

    “The national debt has zoomed past $100 trillion.”

    The term “national debt” has a definition. The amount of the national debt is known.

    As of today, the national debt (as defined by everyone except Wayne Root) stands at:

    $12,384,358,013,736.32.

    This amount is not over $100 Trillion.

    If Root wants to recite an estimate of unfunded liabilities, he should say so. He should also specify that it is an estimate and through what years the amount includes.

    The economy is bad enough that Root doesn’t need to embellish it.

    I just wonder if having Root endlessly repeat the word “libertarian” on talk radio is really worth the embarrassment over his distorted message and maligned facts. Credibility is a horrible thing to waste. There was a time when the LP had some.

  2. Hurray for Root!

    Root is correct. Using the accounting principles required for businesses in America, the national debt is now over $100 trillion. This number has been calculated by the Federal Reserve, an organization known for attempting to minimize and not overstate the size of our national indebtedness.

    Unfunded liabilities, and especially unfunded pension and retirement liabilities, under accounting principles and by law, are correctly included on corporate balance sheets. The US government should be required to do the same. It is accounting fraud NOT to report these numbers.

    It is foolish to consider the $12 trillion as the “national debt.” This number would be listed as loans payable and redeemable bonds on financial statements. For the government, it doesn’t even include most accounts payable, and ignores pension, retirement and other payables that are already due and easily calculated present values of future pension, retirement and health obligations. All of these things are required by businesses and are calculated easily enough. They are all part of the total liabilities of the government, which is what is meant by the word debt, and therefore, “national debt.”

    Using government accounting, Enron, GM and AIG would be completely solvent and Bernie Madoff would be praised as a model for proper financial management and reporting.

    I’ve never been interested in Root before, but if he’s out in front exposing the big lies of the government, then I will have to read his book and consider becoming a supporter.

  3. volvoice

    Maybe in the next article Mr. Root can talk about how the wars in the middle east costs the taxpayers almost a TRILLION a year. Wanna save some money…there’s you a starting point.

  4. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Unfunded liabilities, and especially unfunded pension and retirement liabilities, under accounting principles and by law, are correctly included on corporate balance sheets. The US government should be required to do the same.”

    If the alleged liabilities were actual liabilities, that would be true.

    In fact, however, Social Security, Medicare, etc. aren’t “liabilities.” They are optional forecast expenditures which Congress is 100% free to go ahead with or to cancel.

  5. Hurray for Root!

    “In fact, however, Social Security, Medicare, etc. aren’t “liabilities.” They are optional forecast expenditures which Congress is 100% free to go ahead with or to cancel.”

    Your attempt to obfuscate reality through liguistic trickery is worthy of the big party duopoly’s attention. You have bought their lies and they should be proud.

    but, Mr, Knapp, you are just plain wrong.

    These liabilities are the law, legally required to be paid and must be included on the Federal Government balance sheet, and included as part of the National Debt.

    This is necessary to present honestly, the facts as they stand currently, and to allow for honest, open debate about the status and direction of the nation. Hiding the truth allows the bad policies to go forward as the cost and consequences are hidden.

    These legal obligations are required to be paid and must be included as part of the national debt until such time as the acts requiring the payments are altered or repealed. This will establish a new set of legal obligations that will then form the new basis for calculating the National Debt portion of the government’s balance sheet.

    Hiding the truth doesn’t eliminate the truth, and being a party to hiding the truth makes you a part of the big lie that allows the political fascist-socialist ruling elite to control America.

    Mr. Knapp, you are factually, logically, legally and irrifutably wrong.

  6. NewFederalist

    Hooray for Root!- Are you an accountant by any chance? Your arguments seem very persuasive to me.

  7. Tom Blanton

    Hooray for Root asserts:

    “Root is correct. Using the accounting principles required for businesses in America, the national debt is now over $100 trillion. This number has been calculated by the Federal Reserve, an organization known for attempting to minimize and not overstate the size of our national indebtedness.”

    I would very much like to see the actual source for this. Can Hooray provide us with a link.

    By the way, Mr. Knapp is absolutely correct. These entitlements are not carved in stone. They can be decreased or eliminated by Congress at any time. This is no lie that Knapp has bought – it is true. Obviously they would no longer be “legally” required to be paid if the law is changed. In fact, the actual debt could be defaulted on and very well may.

    I’m waiting for Hooray to provide a source for the claim that the national debt is $100 Trillion.

    I’m pretty sure the only source is Mr. Root’s rectum. The number far surpasses the former Comptroller David Walker’s guesstimates and I don’t believe the fed has published anything close to this number.

    The LP would be better off buying 2-second radio spots with someone saying the word “libertarian” than having Root out there spewing easily disprovable “facts”. Maybe he should offer some solutions like an immediate 50% reduction in spending, an immediate end to the wars, and an immediate FICA tax holiday.

  8. Brian Holtz

    According to the government’s own SS/Medicare trustees, all future unfunded liabilities had a present value in 2009 of $106.7 trillion. Links to the Concord Coalition’s 2009 report are at http://libertarianmajority.net/debt.

    I prefer to use the 75-year-horizon figures, which line up well with the expected lifespans of my young daughters. Using that lower total (of $64 trillion across all government liabilities), they each currently owe $209,000.

  9. Darcy G Richardson

    What a shock to learn that the national debt has skyrocketed eight-fold over the past 24 hours.

    Far more worrisome than the $12.3 trillion national debt, much of it the result of crony capitalism, is the unprecedented level of corporate and household debt in the United States, an unfathomable amount that exceeds the federal debt by almost four hundred percent — the highest ratios in history — and growing at an alarming rate far in excess of national income.

    While I don’t disagree with Root’s assertion that the U.S. is headed toward a fiscal and economic calamity — one in which the Great Depression might pale by comparison — the Libertarians should find a spokesman who’s actually read a book or two on economics.

  10. Tom Blanton

    Mr. Holtz claims:

    “According to the government’s own SS/Medicare trustees, all future unfunded liabilities had a present value in 2009 of $106.7 trillion.”

    The source he provides is a link to his own web page where he writes that the total of federal debt, Medicare B+D (medical + drugs), Medicare A (hospital stays), Social Security, federal civilian and military retiree benefits, state and local pensions, and state and local debt is $64.2 Trillion (Government Debt and Unfunded Liabilities).

    Now, this figure represents the total debt and unfunded liabilities of local, state, and federal government. So, Mr. Holtz, your numbers aren’t adding up.

    Besides, the whole point is that Root’s assertion, with no explanation, that the national debt is over $100 Trillion is still wrong.

    I suppose if Root really wanted to get clever, he could add up the estimated cost of running the federal government for the next 75 years and add that to his “national debt” also. Maybe he should start claiming his special “national debt” is actually closer to $500 Trillion.

    Anyway, it sure has been entertaining to watch Holtz and Hooray jump to the defense of Root and his redefinition of “national debt”.

    I guess if folks can redefine the meaning of “libertarian”, it is no big thing to redefine “national debt” – just as long as the redefined word “libertarian” gets repeated often enough on right-wing talk radio.

  11. Brian Holtz

    Blanton needs to learn to read. I clearly distinguished @10 between the 75-year horizon and the indefinite horizon. (The 75-year horizon actually understates the liability, because it counts revenues from workers who retire near the cutoff, without counting all the obligations to them.)

    I repeat: if you don’t believe the numbers I consolidate on my web page, follow the links to my sources. For example, the 2008 version of Concord’s 2009 $106T figure was $101T, and it’s on p. 137 of the “2008 Financial Report of the United States Government” that I link to.

    Blanton was just flatly wrong to think there is no substantiation for Root’s figures, and Blanton should be embarrassed that he apparently had no clue about the magnitude of the the unfunded promises that my young children (and Root’s) are being billed for. None of these numbers should be a surprise to any non-comatose observer of public policy. And of course, it’s silly for Blanton to compare unfunded liabilities with generic future government spending, most of which is funded by generic future taxation.

    I’ll agree that Root shouldn’t use “national debt” as shorthand for all unfunded liabilities. But libertarians who try to sweep those liabilities under the rug are apologists for the most colossal theft in human history.

    @12, I don’t worry as much about “corporate and household debt”, because it’s technically not backed up by threat of government force. (In practice, the recent bailouts and mortgage relief measures have shown that the government is sometimes willing to socialize such private debt, and that’s very scary.)

  12. Brian Holtz

    Root’s definition of “libertarianism” (from Conscience of a Libertarian pp.69-70:) fiscally conservative, socially tolerant, pro freedom, pro constitution, standing for more rights for the individual, and reducing the size, scope, and power of the government.

    Brian Doherty’s definition (from Radicals For Capitalism): the belief that government — federal, state, or local — should be restricted in its functions, generally to the protection of citizens’ lives against force or fraud and the provision of a small set of so-called public goods that could not be provided by free markets.

    The dictionary’s definition: maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.

    A better dictionary definition would be: minimizing the incidence of force initiation and fraud in human society.

    I also like this one:

    But even more important than defining libertarianism is positioning it against the Left and Right alternatives, like this:

  13. Tom Blanton

    Holtz finally agrees with me:

    “I’ll agree that Root shouldn’t use “national debt” as shorthand for all unfunded liabilities. But libertarians who try to sweep those liabilities under the rug are apologists for the most colossal theft in human history.”

    Who’s trying to sweep the unfunded liabilities under the table? If anyone is, it is Root himself by not referencing them specifically.

    Again, the numbers you quote on this page and the numbers on your own friggin web page don’t match up. Period. A simple fact, Holtz. And there’s no reference to your 75 year preference on your own web page either, Holtz.

    I can read quite well, I can discern what is written, I can argue pertinent facts instead of red herrings, and I still question why people with vast amounts of wisdom, like yourself, support a know-nothing rabble-rouser like Mr. Root.

    And Holtz, here’s something to think about (or not think about, in your case). Now that Root has been repeating the word “libertarian” over and over on talk radio for months, and he has become the face of libertarianism, and he is on radio and TV selling the LP brand, why do the number of LP members continue to decline? And why hasn’t there been an increase in revenue?

    All the neolibertarians, moderate extremists, reformers, true conservatives, Reagan libertarians, and zionists that keep telling us how wonderful Root is need to explain why the LP numbers haven’t been rising despite the fact that Root has been out there for many months pitching the LP.

    Apparently, the LP learned nothing with Neal Boortz, the syndicated talk radio shock jock that was going to bring in huge numbers of libertarians. It didn’t happen. In fact, the numbers dropped for the LP. But, the Boortz supporters could not see that reality.

    It almost seems sometimes as if the “pragmatists” want to reform the LP right out of existence, while discrediting libertarianism in general.

    It will be instructive to those who pay attention to watch who defends Root’s misstatements of fact and who claim Root is bringing in LP members as the number of members continue to decline.

    Maybe this time, some in the LP will figure out who not to listen to.

  14. Brian Holtz

    Blanton is illiterate. My web page plainly states: “Social Security and Medicare figures are the present value of the 75-year-horizon obligation”.

    Root is clearly using the indefinite-horizon figures, which I documented as being a touch higher than Root’s round $100T figure. Blanton doesn’t dare deny this. So he tries to change the subject, and hope people won’t remember him saying above that the $100T figure came from Root’s “rectum”.

    ROTFLMAO.

  15. Solomon Drek

    “Root’s definition of “libertarianism” (from Conscience of a Libertarian pp.69-70:) fiscally conservative, socially tolerant, pro freedom, pro constitution, standing for more rights for the individual, and reducing the size, scope, and power of the government.”

    Most Republicans I know would fit that definition. He’s hardly differentiating the LP from the GOP.

    I’m sure the Republican Liberty Caucus uses the same definition. And if/when Root doesn’t have his way with the LP, that’s probably where he’ll end up.

  16. Tom Blanton

    Root did in fact pull the $100 trillion national debt figure from his rectum.

    Holtz is trying to change the subject again and doesn’t want to answer why all of Root’s appearances seem to be bringing the LP’s numbers down.

    Maybe it is because people check out the incredible $100 trillion national debt Root is talking about and they find out the national debt is actually just over $12 trillion. Then they say, “That Wayne Root guy is full of shit”.

    That might lead them to believe the LP is also full of shit and that all libertarians are full of shit. That’s in the case they don’t know you, Brian.

    Maybe you can get Root to send people to your web page when he speaks or writes, Brian, so they can find out what Root may have meant to say.

    In closing, I hope everyone will remember that I said Root pulled the $100 trillion national debt out of his own rectum. That’s right, folks, you heard it here first. Feel free to quote me. Just don’t forget that I said it.

    Remember, Holtz says Root is clearly using the indefinite-horizon figures. I say he clearly squeezed the number out from his sphincter, leaving a foul odor.

    These are the issues as framed by Holtz, so let’s not get off topic by talking about Root’s effectiveness in selling the LP.

  17. Brian Holtz

    Blanton said nothing about LP membership numbers in his initial comment @9. It’s a red herring to distract from the fact that he was obviously wrong to say that the only source for Root’s $100T figure was Root’s “rectum”.

    As a policy wonk, I’m sympathetic to the quibble that “unfunded liability” is a more accurate umbrella term than “national debt”. However, there is no difference between the dollars my children will be paying toward the national debt and the dollars they will be paying toward unfunded entitlement liabilities. The obligations have different origins, but the dollars they will forfeit for these obligations are indistinguishable. Only an apologist for the socialist nanny state would try to pretend otherwise.

    Again, the projected unfunded obligation of each of my daughters is currently $209,000. If Mr. Knapp or Mr. Blanton has a more effective term for communicating that message than what Mr. Root uses, let’s hear it.

  18. Tom Blanton

    Here it goes Holtz, it is very complex so concentrate fully.

    Instead of saying:

    “The national debt has zoomed past $100 trillion.”

    Root could say:

    “Unfunded liabilities and the national debt have zoomed past $100 trillion.”

    Of course, we still have this gem (that I haven’t addressed previously as I refuse to adhere to the Holtz rule of not addressing anything new without his approval):

    “Obama’s budget pressed the pedal towards Armageddon – by spending more than all the budgets of all the Presidents that came before him, combined.”

    Now, this statement is just plain retarded, ooops I mean this statement has special needs. I look forward to Holtz defending this statement by telling us what Root actually meant to say or perhaps the Root definition of “budget”.

    Obviously, Obama’s budget is not more than all the budgets of all the Presidents that came before him, combined. That would mean Obama’s budget would have to be over $100 Zillion. I pulled that number out of my own rectum.

    Sometimes Root begins to sound like one of those idiotic chain e-mails that “true conservatives” send out that are written in all caps and address things like Obama being a secret Muslim or Obama being born in Kenya.

  19. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian we could easily get rid of the liabilities and the debt by lifting the cap on Social Security, which as I recall is around $106,000 of income. Just do away with the cap. Add to that a VAT and we gotem’ covered for decades. Now your daughter has no debt to pay. May I suggest you begin the campaign to do just that.

  20. Michael H. Wilson

    Try this for some decent info.

    “Right now, you are carrying a burden of about $184,000. That is each and every American’s share of the US government’s approximated $56.4 trillion in current obligations. And every year in which no down payments or reforms are made to these obligations, the total grows by $2 trillion to $3 trillion – or $6,600 to $10,000 per person – on autopilot.

    How exactly does this $56.4 trillion bill add up? First, there are the federal government’s known liabilities that it is legally obliged to fulfill. These include publicly held debt, military and civilian pensions and retiree health benefits. As of September 30, 2008, these liabilities added up to $13.5 trillion.

    Then there are various commitments and contingencies – i.e., contractual requirements that the government is expected to fulfill when, and if specified conditions are met. These include federal insurance payouts, loan guarantees, and leases. As of September 30, 2008, they added up to $1.4 trillion”
    http://www.pgpf.org/about/nationaldebt/

  21. Brian Holtz

    Michael, the reason to cite the amount of the unfunded liabilities is to point out how much the nanny state’s promises would require taxes to be raised above the existing levels that many Americans already consider too high.

    Obviously, when a libertarian complains about “unfunded liabilities”, they’re not complaining about the unfundedness of them. Thus your comment @23 approaches Blantonesque silliness.

    Blanton thinks my “rule” is that he can’t change the subject. Obviously, my rule is just that he can’t change the subject and then accuse me of “changing the subject” just because I insist on correcting his original claim. This shouldn’t need pointing out, but Blanton has “special needs” in that department.

  22. Brian Holtz

    Michael, the page you call “decent info” is titled “The Real National Debt”, and says: This is the figure most commonly cited as our “national debt,” but actually, that’s only the start of the REAL national debt.

    So I guess you and that site side with Root against Blanton in recognizing the rhetorical value of not letting the conventional “national debt” being used to define how much we’re committing our children to pay.

  23. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian I am far more concerned with someone getting on the idiot box and making an idiot of themselves and claiming to be a Libertarian.

    Root said a $100 trillion. Ain’t no one using that number from what I have seen so far and I keep pretty close tabs on this issue.

  24. Tom Blanton

    You didn’t “correct” my original claim, Brian.

    My so-called original claim was that the national debt is not $100 Trillion, and you can write from now until Root is elected President, and the national debt still won’t be $100 Trillion.

    I’m still sticking to my Root rectum theory. I’m also still wondering why at least 787,000 people have not joined the LP as a direct result of Root selling the LP millions of times on talk radio since his book about guns, God, gambling and tax cuts came out.

    It appears to me that Root has attracted 19 new members to the LP while chasing away 43 old members. Don’t ask where I got these numbers, but I’ll be sticking by them until better numbers surface.

  25. Michael H. Wilson

    Actually Root said; “The national debt has zoomed past $100 trillion.”

    So who knows what he meant the number actually is. I’ll check with who.

  26. Tom Blanton

    Brian, I hate to tell you this. You and Root don’t have the authority to change the definition of “national debt”. Not even together. Not even if Michael and I agree that it should be changed.

    It is what it is. And that is a little over $12 trillion – not over $100 trillion.

    However, you can tell your kid that she doesn’t have to pay any of that debt or unfunded liability if she doesn’t want to.

  27. Tom Blanton

    What about the rhetorical value of claiming Obama’s budget is more than all the other Presidents’ budgets, combined.

    That oughta rouse the rabble, huh?

    Maybe Root should start claiming Obama is a gay Marxist Muslim that is a double-agent for Osama. Osama and Obama even rhyme, so it must be true.

    Powerful talk-radio rhetoric.

  28. Tom Blanton

    ROOT SHOULD STAR WRITING HIS DIATRIBES IN ALL CAPS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!

    That adds to the rhetorical value for the people in his target audience.

  29. Brian Holtz

    Blanton, the claim of yours I demolished was that Root had no source other than his “rectum” for a “$100 trillion” number that is relevant to his discussion about “the bills that are coming due for America”. The demolition was about the number having no non-rectal source, not about about the “national debt” label being non-standard.

    If you want to pretend that this wasn’t part of your claim, I’m happy for readers to re-read @9 and decide for themselves.

    It’s silly for you to pretend _I_ am trying to redefine “national debt”, since I’ve never once used that term the way Root used it.

    Michael @29, the sources that my page link to give a 2008 figure of $101T, and a 2009 figure of $106T. So yeah, I’d say that qualifies as the nanny state’s unfunded promises “zooming past $100 trillion”.

    I still find it bizarre that self-described libertarians are getting upset that Root is shining a spotlight on the entirety of the obligations the nanny state imposes on our children.

  30. Tom Blanton

    Holtz claims:

    “It’s silly for you to pretend _I_ am trying to redefine “national debt”, since I’ve never once used that term the way Root used it.”

    _You_implicitly defend the use of the redefined “national debt” for its rhetorical value @ #26, Brian.

  31. Brian Holtz

    No, @26 I implicitly defended “the rhetorical value of not letting the conventional ‘national debt’ being used to define how much we’re committing our children to pay.”

    That’s not defending a non-conventional use of the term. That’s defending a recognition that the conventional term labels something that is literally just the tip of the iceberg.

  32. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian I see on one page of yours that you use a figure of $64.2 trillion but I have missed the $100 plus number. Can you clue me in as to where that number might be.

    I am not upset by Root. I want to bring light to the problem because it is a huge problem for future generations. I do want the numbers used to be close to accurate. Otherwise we look like fools.

  33. Tom Blanton

    I’m tired of this game where Brian pretends that Root is right by saying the national debt is over $100 trillion. I already explained how Root could correct this.

    I want to play the game where Brian tells me how much the LP membership and bank account has increased over the many months that Root has been selling the LP to the rubes in radio land.

    Since he’s been touted by his supporters as the LP savior, shouldn’t there already be some remarkable results to point to?

    Perhaps there is an estimate as to when the Root message will begin to reverberate across America and start to grow the LP. How many more months until there are some metrics?

  34. Brian Holtz

    I never said Root was strictly accurate to use “national debt” as the label for the obligations that have zoomed past $100 trillion. What I said was that the number $100 trillion comes from a place other than Root’s rectum.

    Blanton brought up the subject of Root’s rectum, and now can’t run away from it fast enough.

    Run, Blanton, run.

  35. Tom Blanton

    See # 19 Brian.

    I’m not running. I still claim Root pulls the number, as well as other numbers, from his rectum.

    What you are running away from, Brian, is the absurd claim about Obama’s budget being bigger than all previous budgets combined.

    You are also running away from your claims about what a great salesman Root is for the LP. What evidence do you have for this? It looks like the more Root talks, the more the membership numbers drop.

  36. Brian Holtz

    Blanton, if you want to try to disagree with me, here’s one way to attempt it:

    1. Type an open quotation mark.
    2. Cut and paste something I’ve written.
    3. Type a close quotation mark.
    4. Explain why what I wrote is wrong.

    Or here’s another: write “Root had no source other than his rectum for a $100 trillion number that is relevant to his discussion about ‘the bills that are coming due for America’.” If you can’t write that, then you’re just not expressing actual disagreement with my critique of your comment @9.

    Otherwise, try to remember that hardly any of the voices in your head are under my remote control.

  37. Tom Blanton

    Root had no source other than his rectum for a $100 trillion number that he claims is the national debt.

    Happy, Brian?

    Now, please defend Root’s claim about Obama’s budget and your claims about Root’s ability to sell the LP.

    I guess you can’t defend that crap and that makes you my punk ass bitch. I mean that in a good way.

  38. Brian Holtz

    Root had no source other than his rectum for a $100 trillion number that he claims is the national debt.

    Fail. Until you write “Root had no source other than his rectum for a $100 trillion number that is relevant to his discussion about ‘the bills that are coming due for America’”, you’re not successfully expressing disagreement with my critique of your comment @9.

    please defend Root’s claim about Obama’s budget and your claims about Root’s ability to sell the LP.

    Fail.

    1. Type an open quotation mark.
    2. Cut and paste something I’ve written.
    3. Type a close quotation mark.
    4. Explain why what I wrote is wrong.

    punk ass bitch

    (Sound of irony meter breaking)

  39. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “Again, the projected unfunded obligation of each of my daughters is currently $209,000. If Mr. Knapp or Mr. Blanton has a more effective term for communicating that message than what Mr. Root uses, let’s hear it.”

    Your daughter is no more morally “obligated” to pay in that $209k than the government is legally “liable” to pay out that $209k.

  40. Brian Holtz

    Tom, I’ll be sure to tell her that good news during visiting hours when she’s jailed for not paying the extra taxes that will be imposed on her to pay for those nanny-state promises that you apparently don’t want Root to talk about. :-)

  41. Tom Blanton

    Brian writes:

    “Fail”

    This is so wrong because men over the age of 21 are not supposed to use the word “fail” in this context unless they are in a boy band, then the age limitation is extended to 24.

    I hope this format is appropriate.

    Brian writes:

    “I think Obama’s budget is bigger than all other presidents’ budgets combined”

    and

    “Since my good friend Wayne started promoting the LP and his book six months ago, the membership of the LP has increased by over 50% and donations are up over 100%.”

    Both of these statements are false and Brian will deny having made these statements in a futile attempt to try to make people forget that I said Root pulls numbers from his own rectum. I never said that Root pulls numbers from Brian’s rectum. That is merely a reddish brown herring.

  42. Brian Holtz

    I like to diagnose strawmen by joking about the voices in my opponent’s head, but this is the first case where I successfully goaded somebody into actually transcribing said voices.

    Time to leave Blanton alone with the voices in his head and his obsession with men’s rectums…

  43. Vicki

    Main Entry: debt
    Pronunciation: \?det\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English dette, debte, from Anglo-French dette something owed, from Vulgar Latin *debita, from Latin, plural of debitum debt, from neuter of debitus, past participle of debe-re to owe, from de- + habe-re to have — more at give
    Date: 13th century

    1 : sin, trespass
    2 : something owed : obligation
    3 : a state of owing
    4 : the common-law action for the recovery of money held to be due
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/debt
    ————————————————
    Main Entry: 1na·tion·al
    Pronunciation: \?nash-n?l, ?na-sh?-n?l\
    Function: adjective
    Date: 1580

    1 : of or relating to a nation
    2 : nationalist
    3 : comprising or characteristic of a nationality
    4 : belonging to or maintained by the federal government
    5 : of, relating to, or being a coalition government formed by most or all major political parties usually in a crisis
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/national
    ——————————————————

    So debt is what is owed or obligated.
    National is an adjective describing which entity has this debt

    Since unfunded liabilities are debts for which no attempt has yet been made to have a plan to collect funds to service and retire said debt combining all of the unfunded liabilities and all the funded liabilities does properly represent the “National Debt”

    Now you and I can dump our liabilities thru bankruptcy. The government can simply rewrite some laws. Until they do the debt remains something owed. Since it is owed by the government (I have not tried to separate individual parts of same) it is the debt of a nation (The USA) therefore it is the National Debt.

  44. Nate

    “[…] it is the debt of a nation (The USA) therefore it is the National Debt.”

    If it is the debt of *a* nation, why is it not *a* national debt? But of course it is the debt of The USA and therefore *the* National Debt. Not only must we capitalise the words “The”, “National” and “Debt” in this case, we also must use the definite article. Is this because The USA is the only Nation?

    And people wonder why the rest of the world can’t stand us.

  45. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “I’ll be sure to tell her that good news during visiting hours when she’s jailed for not paying the extra taxes that will be imposed on her to pay for those nanny-state promises that you apparently don’t want Root to talk about.”

    I ‘m not sure what makes you think that I don’t want Root to talk about those nanny-state promises.

    I think everyone should talk about them.

    However, I think they should do so accurately rather than inaccurately.

    For example, your embeddable graphic would be wonderful if it said “The politicians expect me to pay” rather than “I owe.” Why give the state the moral high ground? A politician’s demand does not constitute a moral obligation on the part of that little girl, and we shouldn’t pretend that it does.

    As far as “unfunded liabilities” go, Social Security is an unenforceable promise made by politicians, and the Supreme Court has clearly ruled that there’s no “entitlement” to benefits or restriction on Congress’s ability to change, or even repeal, the program. If you don’t believe me, ask the Social Security Administration:

    There has been a temptation throughout the program’s history for some people to suppose that their FICA payroll taxes entitle them to a benefit in a legal, contractual sense. That is to say, if a person makes FICA contributions over a number of years, Congress cannot, according to this reasoning, change the rules in such a way that deprives a contributor of a promised future benefit. Under this reasoning, benefits under Social Security could probably only be increased, never decreased, if the Act could be amended at all. Congress clearly had no such limitation in mind when crafting the law. Section 1104 of the 1935 Act, entitled “RESERVATION OF POWER,” specifically said: “The right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision of this Act is hereby reserved to the Congress.”

  46. David F. Nolan

    There seem to be two separate discussions going on here. One concerns the technical definition of “national debt.” The other concerns Mr. Root’s alarming tendency to simply make up “facts” and figures to illustrate his talking points, which are almost always aimed at the Newsmax/right-wing crowd. It also seems (to me) that both of these topics have been thoroughly beaten to death. Everyone who cares to has taken sides, and all the evidence has been presented. Enough, already!

  47. Brian Holtz

    Tom, if anyone can look at that picture of my 3-year-old daughter, and seriously think that she’s personally borrowed $209,000 that she’s now morally obligated to pay back to somebody, then that viewer is simply beyond the reach of my powers of Libertarian persuasion. For such hard cases, I’ll rely on you to swoop in and say to someone teetering on the brink of L-suasion: “ignore those scary debt numbers, they are a fiction, there’s nothing to see here.” I’m sure that will close the sale.

    Again: to this father, the most relevant definition of debt/liability/obligation is “what my daughter has to pay to stay out of jail”. If anybody thinks my Libertarian activism might be about my kids repudiating their personal voluntary financial borrowings, then that person is going to be immune to my Libertarian outreach. If anybody thinks that when I oppose “entitlements” I’m opposing something that somebody is actually morally entitled to, then that person too is a lost cause.

    I think I’ll stick with the “I owe/I’ve voted” bumper sticker copy, as my target audience gets it.

  48. Libervention Is Expensive

    if anyone can look at that picture of my 3-year-old daughter, and seriously think that she’s personally borrowed $209,000 that she’s now morally obligated to pay back…

    Libervention is expensive.

    Tell your daughter that she should be thrilled to help pay for the liberation of Iraq, which her father supported.

  49. Brian Holtz

    In 2003 I supported liberating Iraq from Saddam’s dynasty (which antiwar types tell me was in power only because of earlier U.S. support), but in 2006 I gave up on liberating Iraqis from their own sectarian hatreds. During that interval the U.S. spent about $400B on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which is about $1300 per American.

    So that means that only 0.5% of her obligation is from her dad’s support of snapping Saddam’s neck — ludicrously assuming daddy borrowed all that cost from her instead of paying out of his own pocket. Over those same years I personally paid about $250K in federal taxes. How much did you pay, LiE?

  50. Libervention Is Expensive

    but in 2006 I gave up on liberating Iraqis from their own sectarian hatreds.

    You’re still responsible for the costs of war post-2006. You can’t turn a war on and off, like a light switch.

    Do liberventionists really think war is that clean and easy?

    Those who got us into this quicksand are morally liable for all continuing costs until we finally pull out. Maybe in a few decades.

  51. Tom Blanton

    Holtz expected the Iraq War to end in 2006 after withdrawing his support for it?

    This should be a lesson to all who throw their support behind blatant liars whether they are neocon warmongers or neolibertarians who pull their “facts” from nasty little holes.

    As for poor little Miss Holtz, daddy should set up a tax relief account for her now. I wonder how daddy’s baby steps are working out for her?

    Besides, $250K is not enough to pay for Brian’s share of the Iraq War. Notice how he divides the total cost among all Americans, not just those who supported it. Also notice how he thinks it is OK to not pay for something after he changes his mind about it.

    A “libertarian” who supports a war of aggression (the ultimate initiation of force) and all that entails (massive debt & inflation, loss of civil liberties, loss of privacy) who wishes to initiate force against all citizens by taking their property to pay for the war is a strange creature.

    People who want big government, even as they claim they don’t, should have to pay for it. Libertarians who merely want to limit government to the functions they desire and expect everyone else to pay for their agenda are the ultimate hypocrites.

    I have zero sympathy for pro-war libertarians (who insist on taking baby steps toward more freedom and less taxes) when they whine about paying taxes.

  52. Libervention Is Expensive

    I have zero sympathy for pro-war libertarians (who insist on taking baby steps toward more freedom and less taxes)

    I’d settle for baby steps toward freedom and less taxes.

    But alas, neocons and liberventionist are rushing toward statism, crippling debts, and a police state.

  53. Michael H. Wilson

    Regardless what the debt is and how it is going to be paid off it certainly would be a much improved message to explain how we ran up such a bill and then offer ideas for reducing it.

    It seems the folks over at Counterpunch are doing a better job of highlighting the costs of U.S. worldwide military bases than those of us in the LP. Brian maybe you can point Mr. Roor in the direction of their website or tell him to just Google “Gounterpunch”. He should be able to figure it out from there

  54. Hurray for Root!

    “Monday, May 25, 2009

    Dallas Federal Reserve: Unfunded Pension and Health-Care Liabilities Exceeds $99 Trillion Dollars

    You’ve heard some big numbers thrown around.

    For example, total U.S. government liabilities are at least $65 trillion dollars.

    But the head of the Dallas Federal Reserve bank says:

    [There is a] “very big hole” in unfunded pension and health-care liabilities built up by a careless political class over the years.

    “We at the Dallas Fed believe the total is over $99 trillion,” he said in February.

    Over $99 trillion? That’s a serious shortfall.”

    http://www.georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2009/05/dallas-federal-reserve-unfunded-pension.html

  55. Hurray for Root!

    OPINION: THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW MAY 23, 2009 Don’t Monetize the Debt The president of the Dallas Fed on inflation risk and central bank independence.

    Mr. Fisher has led the Dallas Fed since 2005 and has developed a reputation as the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) lead inflation worrywart. In September he told a New York audience that “rates held too low, for too long during the previous Fed regime were an accomplice to [the] reckless behavior” that brought about the economic troubles we are now living through. He also warned that the Treasury’s $700 billion plan to buy toxic assets from financial institutions would be “one more straw on the back of the frightfully encumbered camel that is the federal government ledger.”

    In a speech at the Kennedy School of Government in February, he wrung his hands about

    “the very deep hole [our political leaders] have dug in incurring unfunded liabilities of retirement and health-care obligations” that “we at the Dallas Fed believe total over $99 trillion.”

    In March, he is believed to have vociferously objected in closed-door FOMC meetings to the proposal to buy U.S. Treasury bonds.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124303024230548323.html

  56. Hurray for Root!

    Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

    Richard W. Fisher
    Storms on the Horizon
    Remarks before the Commonwealth Club of California
    San Francisco, California
    May 28, 2008

    “Add together the unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security, and it comes to $99.2 trillion over the infinite horizon. Traditional Medicare composes about 69 percent, the new drug benefit roughly 17 percent and Social Security the remaining 14 percent.

    I want to remind you that I am only talking about the unfunded portions of Social Security and Medicare. It is what the current payment scheme of Social Security payroll taxes, Medicare payroll taxes, membership fees for Medicare B, copays, deductibles and all other revenue currently channeled to our entitlement system will not cover under current rules. These existing revenue streams must remain in place in perpetuity to handle the “funded” entitlement liabilities. Reduce or eliminate this income and the unfunded liability grows. Increase benefits and the liability grows as well.

    Let’s say you and I and Bruce Ericson and every U.S. citizen who is alive today decided to fully address this unfunded liability through lump-sum payments from our own pocketbooks, so that all of us and all future generations could be secure in the knowledge that we and they would receive promised benefits in perpetuity. How much would we have to pay if we split the tab? Again, the math is painful. With a total population of 304 million, from infants to the elderly, the per-person payment to the federal treasury would come to $330,000. This comes to $1.3 million per family of four—over 25 times the average household’s income.”

    http://www.dallasfed.org/news/speeches/fisher/2008/fs080528.cfm

  57. Hurray for Root!

    Above there are three sources, including the Dallas Federal Reserve itself, for the $99.2 trillion National Debt of the US.

    Now, that ought to be close enough to $100 trillion for rounding purposes. And, of course, that debt continues to increase daily, so, indeed, it is certainly over $100 trillion by now.

    And, as pointed out above, it IS the legal debt of the US at this point in time. The fact that the US could vote to legally reduce or increase this amount only means that, at that time, the National Debt figure will change again, as it does daily in any case. Any person or orgainization can do the same by various means, including bankruptcy.

    Blanton and Knapp, you obviously know nothing of accounting and obviously spend precious little time garnering facts from the real world.

    We can only hope that now that you can see that the facts of the debt are real, and come from the Federal Reserve itself, and that the only things that need to be pulled out of Root’s ass are your own heads.

  58. Erik Geib

    Claiming unfunded liabilities as part of the debt is reckless. The debt is what we already owe; these liabilities are only an estimation of what we may owe. Including them in the debt figure assumes taxes won’t be raised, other programs won’t be cut or modified, and/or the programs creating these liabilities themselves won’t be cut or modified.

    More right-wing-esque fearmongering from the Root crowd. I wish they’d go form their own party instead of camping in the LP.

  59. Brian Holtz

    Hooray, the crucial distinction is that when you repudiate a T-bill, you kill the government’s credit rating. Nothing like that happens if/when Congress cuts future “entitlement” benefits.

    But the dollars that taxpayers fork over to pay off T-bills are just as green as the dollars forked over to pay off Social Security and Medicare promises. That’s why it’s silly to dismiss as “fearmongering” the government’s own actuarial estimates of the unfunded liabilities of the promises that nobody in Congress is talking about canceling.

  60. Michael H. Wilson

    Can we extend that infinite horizon a bit further and make it the “really infinite horizon” as used here; “$99.2 trillion over the infinite horizon.”

    Or as I pointed out prior we can lift the cap on Social Security or we can use a VAT to pay for it. I don’t suggest either. What I do suggest and have suggested for some 15 or more years is to focus on spending cuts, specifically our overseas military commitment but that is like pissing up a rope.

  61. Brian Holtz

    The only way to force a cut in entitlement spending is to make voters understand that our children cannot afford the promises that politicians are making to us and our parents.

    For anyone wondering how to put a finite current price on an unending stream of future obligations, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Present_value.

    Michael, if you don’t like to talk about the $100 trillion in promises that the nanny state is making out of the pocketbooks of my kids, then can you at least compare for us current annual federal spending on 1) “overseas military commitments” and 2) all non-defense-related social programs?

  62. Vicki

    Erik Geib // Feb 19, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    “Claiming unfunded liabilities as part of the debt is reckless. The debt is what we already owe; these liabilities are only an estimation of what we may owe.”

    Hmmm….
    =========================
    Main Entry: li·a·bil·i·ty
    Pronunciation: \?l?-?-?bi-l?-t?\
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural li·a·bil·i·ties
    Date: 1705

    1 a : the quality or state of being liable b : probability
    2 : something for which one is liable; especially : pecuniary obligation : debt —usually used in plural
    3 : one that acts as a disadvantage : drawback
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liability
    ==================================
    Nothing about estimation there. Are you saying that someone is misusing the English language (again :).

    ==================================
    unfunded liability
    “That is not covered by an asset of equal or greater value.”
    http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/unfunded-liability.html
    ==================================

    Definition is correct. So as we see from 2 above in the definition of liability it is correct to include unfunded and funded liabilities together to calculate the debt. Nothing at all reckless about it.

  63. Erik Geib

    Vicki,

    One of the chief ways to admit you’re losing an argument is to argue semantics. You know perfectly well what I meant.

    It is completely reckless to assume spending on items at calculated deficits and act as if the debt is guaranteed to happen. Is it so hard to speak in a manner that at least honestly incorporates both, instead of trying to change the commonly-held definition of the word (debt) among most the public?

    Root doesn’t know how to do anything but echo the irrational, paranoid fears of ‘conservatives.’

  64. Darcy G Richardson

    Erik’s right. In the past month, for example, every respected economist quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Economist and other publications have universally referred to the current U.S. national debt as $12.3 trillion — not the future unfunded liabilities figure carelessly tossed out by the hyperbolic Las Vegas “oddsmaker.”

  65. Tom Blanton

    Hooray, thanks for making my point. You were unable to source where the Fed cites the national debt at over $100 trillion.

    Your reference:

    “Add together the unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security, and it comes to $99.2 trillion over the infinite horizon. Traditional Medicare composes about 69 percent, the new drug benefit roughly 17 percent and Social Security the remaining 14 percent.”

    Note: unfunded liabilities, not national debt. In the real world of governmental accounting, these two different terms denote two different things.

    Maybe now you’d like to comment on this statement by Root, Hooray:

    “Obama’s budget pressed the pedal towards Armageddon- by spending more than all the budgets of all the Presidents that came before him, combined.”

  66. wolfefan

    Mr. Root calls himself a Reagan Libertarian. Pres. Reagan raised social security taxes. Maybe Mr. Root is a Cafeteria Reagan Libertarian.

  67. Brian Holtz

    I agree that the term “national debt” should be used only to count outstanding T-bills — as is done at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np.

    However, those who say the national debt is $12T is doing something very similar to what Root is doing with his $100T figure. That $12T figure includes $4.5T of T-bills held in government trust funds. Those T-bills are nothing more than a promise from the government to itself that it will tax people in the future to get back money that the Treasury already spent after the trust funds lent it to them. That $4.5T is similar to the $100T in unfunded promises that Root is talking about, in that the Congress could on a whim dissolve the trust funds and burn the T-bills without affecting the government’s credit rating.

    So this is good news for libertarians with a desire to dismiss “irrational, paranoid fears” about the future nanny-state benefits that are legally required* to be paid out and that the government’s own actuaries admit are $100T underfunded by the tax rates that are currently on the books. The real national debt — the amount of debt held by the public — is only $7.8 trillion. Yippee! If you try to add back that $4.5T, you are just a victim of “irrational, paranoid fears” that a future Congress will tax you to get money to pay back what a past Congress took from the trust funds. :-)

    * Social Security benefits are defined in 42 USC ch. 7.2, and Medicare benefits are defined in e.g. 42 USC ch. 7.18.

  68. wolfefan

    Hi Hooray for Root –

    With genuine respect and sincerity:

    In the article, Mr. Root said, “Obama’s budget pressed the pedal towards Armageddon- by spending more than all the budgets of all the Presidents that came before him, combined.”

    Can you explain/defend this assertion? According to Wikipedia (I know, but it’s handy) Pres. Obama’s 2011 budget is for 3.83 trillion. His 2010 budget was for 3.55 trillion. Pres. Bush’s 2009 budget was for 3.10 trillion, and his 2008 budget was for 2.90 trillion. Thus, Pres. Obama’s proposed budget does not spend more than all the presidents that came before him, combined. It doesn’t even spend more than two years of Pres. GW Bush.

    I mean, really. How does one defend this?

    I know a lot of people here like Mr. Root, and he clearly has skills and intelligence. I’m not an LP member so my opinion means little, but if I were a party member I would be worried about having a party chair or a candidate or pundit identified as a Libertarian who was (to be charitable) so careless with facts.

    I am not sure how statements like Mr. Root’s here are anything but lies. One can construct a semantic defense of the “national debt” thing, but this appears to me to be a straight lie. Am I wrong?

  69. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian the overseas deployment of U.S. troops is estimated to cost about $250 billion annually. That figure does not include the two illegal war we are fighting. And that figure is a lot more.

    Let’s see. Everytime the U.S. spend a billion it cost you about $3 bucks. So 3 times $250 is (ring the bell please) $750. Now how many people in your family? Complain all you want about what your daughter will have to pay but unless we reduce spending there will be no decrease in the amount. We need to focus on the spending side of the ledger!!

    Problem is Root has the soap box and is the one getting on the radio and making these claims not I.

    Instead of bashing the Obama administration he needs to point out how Libertarians would solve the problem and that solution is right in front of his nose. He just has to look for it.

  70. Don Lake ........... rearraigning the deck chairs ??????

    “people here like Mr. Root, and he clearly has skills and intelligence. I’m not an LP member so my opinion means little, but if I were a party member I would be worried about having a party chair or a candidate or pundit identified as a Libertarian who was (to be charitable) so careless with facts……….”

    Amen, Baby, amen

    George Phillies: “Libs as only anti war party”

  71. Tom Blanton

    Anyone who argues that the so-called unfunded liabilities are not an estimate is obviously so ignorant as to render them incapable of rational thought.

    There are so many variables regarding these entitlements and the beneficiaries thereof that it would be nearly impossible to make an accurate estimate. If government economists and central planners could make such an estimate with any accuracy, we would all be embracing socialism.

    Government economists can’t predict an economic meltdown even as it is occurring. In order to predict unfunded liabilities that are not an estimate, the following variables would have to be known, at a minimum:

    the retirement date of each beneficiary
    the date of death of each beneficiary
    the exact health care requirements of each beneficiary
    the exact amount of CPI fluctuations
    and so forth

    Of course the “unfunded liabilities” are an estimate that must also assume Congress will make no laws for 75 years regarding any entitlement program. Ha, fat chance.

    That’s reality, unless you are Wayne Root or one of his supporters. In that case, words and numbers don’t matter as long as Root can get right-wing idiots excited.

  72. Brian Holtz

    Thus by clicking the heels of his glass slippers, Blanton wishes actuarial science and the insurance industry out of existence.

    Only the voices in Blanton’s head deny that what I called “actuarial estimates” @66 are indeed estimates.

    Wolfefan, Root’s all-previous-budgets-combined claim is indeed baseless. I doubt it’s a “lie”, though.

  73. Tom Blanton

    Holtz, I am addressing the claims of Vicki @ # 71 :

    “Nothing about estimation there.”

    It’s the voices in your head that think I am paying attention to you and your man crush on Root, Brian.

    But, in case you didn’t know, actuaries make estimates. And not over 75 year time lines. Insurance companies make annual revisions on both coverage and premiums, unlike “unfunded liabilities”. Only you Brian are so bold to proclaim the ability to read minds and predict the future 75 years out.

    Run along now my before my glass slipper finds it way up your tight little rectum. I’m in no mood for pro-war libertarians who claim to want limited government while whining about the taxes their children will pay.

  74. Brian Holtz

    I want limited government that would cost about 5% of GDP, compared to the current 30%. Meanwhile, Blanton says we can ignore Leviathan’s predictions of its own growth — for example, the GAO’s prediction that entitlement spending will double its share of GDP in just 30 years, from 10% to 20%.

    Only an idiot would claim that insurance companies don’t make actuarial estimates that project decades into the future.

    If Blanton wants to correct his ignorance about how Social Security and Medicare trustees compute the ranges of their actuarial estimates, he can start by reading this:

    Short-range (10-year) and long-range (75-year) projections are reported for all funds. Estimates are based on current law and assumptions about factors that affect the income and outgo of each trust fund. Assumptions include economic growth, wage growth, inflation, unemployment, fertility, immigration, mortality, disability incidence and termination, as well as factors that affect the cost of hospital, medical, and prescription drug services.

    Because the future is inherently uncertain, three alternative sets of economic, demographic, and programmatic assumptions are used to show a range of possibilities. The intermediate assumptions (alternative II) reflect the Trustees’ best estimate of future experience. The low-cost alternative I is more optimistic for trust fund financing, and the high-cost alternative III is more pessimistic; they show trust fund projections for more and less favorable conditions for trust fund financing than the best estimate. The assumptions are reexamined each year in light of recent experience and new information about future trends, and are revised as warranted. In general, greater confidence can be placed in the assumptions and estimates for earlier projection years than for later years. The statistics and analysis presented in this Summary are based on the intermediate assumptions.

    For extra credit, he can read this full 271-page report detailing the intermediate-assumptions model: http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TR/2009/documentation_2009.pdf

  75. Tom Blanton

    Hey Holtz, point out to me where I said “we can ignore Leviathan’s predictions of its own growth”.

    If anything, their predictions are probably low.

    But, I never said any such thing.

    I am glad you agree with me that we are talking about estimates. Perhaps you can convince your fellow Root supporter, Vickie. She doesn’t believe Root’s definition of national debt includes any estimated amounts.

    Now take your pompous argumentative ass out of my face and go explain to your daughter why you supported a senseless war that she will be forced to pay for in more ways than one. You owe it to her, Mr. Limited Government.

    She might even buy that Saddam was behind 9/11.

  76. Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Peace

    Do liberventionists really think war is that clean and easy?

    Indeed, what possible basis could one have had in 2003 for thinking that the U.S. could easily defeat the Iraqi army, or easily overthrow a regime in an Islamic nation in Southwest Asia, or easily foster relative peace and prosperity among millions of Iraqis? After all, it was obvious that sectarian civil war would eventually undermine any effort to liberate non-Kurdish Iraq, and that such a civil war would never have happened if Saddam’s dynasty ended any other way besides a U.S. invasion.

    There was obviously no possible libertarian argument for overthrowing Saddam. No principled Libertarian could have ever advocated in 2003 that the U.S. military should be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persisted in what the Security Council declared to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

    Liberventionists should be expelled from the LP as violators of the Pledge.

  77. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “I agree that the term ‘national debt’ should be used only to count outstanding T-bills”

    Fantastic. Personally, that’s the only thing I think we need to agree on on this issue.

    “However, those who say the national debt is $12T is doing something very similar to what Root is doing with his $100T figure. That $12T figure includes $4.5T of T-bills held in government trust funds. Those T-bills are nothing more than a promise from the government to itself that it will tax people in the future to get back money that the Treasury already spent after the trust funds lent it to them. That $4.5T is similar to the $100T in unfunded promises that Root is talking about, in that the Congress could on a whim dissolve the trust funds and burn the T-bills without affecting the government’s credit rating.”

    It is, indeed, a tangle. There are all kinds of opportunities for fuckery, and you’ve put your finger on one of those that’s likely to be a first-run method of debt repudiation.

    The government does “owe” the $4.5 billion to the trust funds.

    The trust funds, however, do not “owe” — in the same legal, contractual, sense — the money to recipients of benefits which are, in the normal course of things, disbursed by those trust funds.

    It’s very, very likely that those trust fund T-Bills will be the first method of semi-hidden debt default/repudiation.

    For example, Congress may suspend interest payments on that particular pile of bonds while simultaneously raising the retirement age and/or freezing or cutting benefits

    To put it a different way: The situation IS at LEAST as bad as if the “national debt” really was more like $100 trillion than $12.x trillion …
    but we should be careful what we call what, if for no other reason than to highlight the perfidy involved in the politicians’ claims.

    I caught myself using “unfunded liabilities” in a column just yesterday. It’s an easy error to slip into.

    But the politicians didn’t ACCIDENTALLY structure Social Security, etc. as non-liabilities and then ACCIDENTALLY go to court to make sure they stayed so structured. They did so for a reason, that reason being that they wanted to be able to legally renege should they decide to do so.

    We should be telling the American people what was done to them, if for no other reason than that when (not if) the politicians do renege, we can be the ones who’ve been telling the painful truth rather than the ones who’ve been cooperating in perpetuation of an expensive lie.

  78. Tom Blanton

    I would concede that any gullible libertarian who believes the U.S. should act as the world’s policeman and doesn’t really care about limited government could be easily taken in by the hyperbole, double standards, lies, distortions and propaganda being issued from the neocon think tanks back in 2003 if that foolish libertarian chose to ignore all arguments for not going to war.

    The bottom line is that a paragraph of bumper sticker talking points is not reason enough to go to war without examining the entire situation – especially considering that Iraq did not attack America and posed no threat to America.

    I suppose the pro-war libertarians are ready to declare war on that nation run by mad men who are hours away from supplying al Qaida with nukes – Iran. Hey, if you believed the crowd that wanted war with Iraq, you’ll believe them again when they lobby for war on Iran. Because some people never learn. Especially people who defend liars and idiots.

    Just be sure to explain to your kids why they will have to live like paupers. I’m sure once they have learned about all the wonderful things their country has done for the kids in the Mideast, they won’t mind paying your war debts.

  79. Brian Holtz

    The point is made clear by the data @11 and @69, and is what I’ve been saying for years:

    “it’s the entitlements, stupid.”

  80. Michael H. Wilson

    Sure Brian the entitlements are a problem but so is the overseas military commitment. Maybe you have forgotten that we are subsidizing our economic competition, which means Americans are losing jobs to those we subsidize, or as the say “Its the Economy Stupid”.

    War is the health of the state.

  81. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, I used to believe that “war is the health of the state,” but no longer do. War isn’t healthy, near as I can tell…it’s almost always contraindicated, IMO.

    Entitlements dwarf the cost of world policing, I’d hope you agree. Yet, certainly I’d agree that extricating US troops from overseas would be a good start, in part because it’s the smaller number, with fewer constituencies.

  82. paulie

    I used to believe that “war is the health of the state,” but no longer do. War isn’t healthy, near as I can tell…it’s almost always contraindicated, IMO.

    Both are correct. War is the health of the state, and it isn’t healthy for the rest of us. Neither is the state.

  83. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 91 RC comments; “Entitlements dwarf the cost of world policing, I’d hope you agree”.

    Yea but not too many people have died from Social Security, nor was the Patriot Act part of Social Security.

    Now about the number dead in war… I’ll let you work on that one.

  84. Don Lake ........... rearraigning the deck chairs ??????

    Robert Capozzi // Feb 20, 2010:
    “I used to believe that “war is the health of the state,” [Huh ??????????/] ….. War isn’t healthy, near as I can tell…it’s almost always contraindicated ……. Entitlements dwarf the cost of world policing ……..”

    Huh ??????? You approve of a long warned Viet Nam style of stale mate in the mid East ??????? You approve of a ‘peace time’ military budget that dwarfs ALL OTHER nations [aggregate, en toto ?????????] All other nations combined ?????????

    We are not liberators, we are the occupying terrorists —- like South East Asia! Hiphong or Abu Grey or Gitmo: we are acting like bad guys!

    Almost 200 over seas military bases! Including RICH democracies like Korea or Germany! Our 21st Century legacy is that of a British, German, Portuguese , Spanish, Phoenician, Roman, French, Dutch, Austrian, Persian, Greek, Egyptian like fascist imperial global empire.

    Is this YOUR legacy ?????

  85. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, yes, but you are changing the subject. We’ve been discussing the budget, debt, and unfunded liabilities.

    I certainly agree that unnecessarily killing folks is more contraindicated than taxing them. But I’d also suggest that SS set up a lot of possibilities. SSNs are used to track people, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriot Act employs SSNs quite a bit.

  86. Robert Capozzi

    pc, my point is that states are at best a necessary evil, like a vaccine. A better word that “health” is “thrive.” States do grow and thrive more during wartime.

  87. Don Lake ........... rearraigning the deck chairs ??????

    a number of folks are jumping you on the DoD angle and you are hitting me over the head for spot lighting the obvious ??????

    [a] you personally do not (think) you like me — which is fine!

    [b] you are a Democan/ Republicrat plant

    [c] you are part of the Lib endless debating societ

    [d] you are just WAY too smart for me!

    How can I change a subject which has already been changed ????????? I just do not have the academic horse power to spar with you! Plz have mercy and continue to guide political waifs like I ……….

  88. Brian Holtz

    Michael, libertarians of all people should know that international trade is positive-sum, and that “economic competition” is a good thing. It’s sad how few people understand the principle of comparative advantage, which says a person or a nation is better off when they specialize in what they’re best at — even if some other people are better at it than they are.

    The United States spends about $102 billion a year to run its overseas bases (outside of Iraq+Afghanistan), according to the Institute for Policy Studies. That’s only about 3% of the annual total of U.S. imports and exports, and of course it’s dubious that much of the $102B ends up aiding foreign export industries that compete with American workers. Libertarians of all people should know that most military spending is a textbook example of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadweight_loss. But if you insist on counting it as a good thing when military spending flows into one’s territory, then you should note that the annual total of U.S. arms exports and military sales is about $25B. While surely only a fraction of the $102B in base operation costs employs workers who compete with American workers in export industries, the entire $25B in military sales by definition creates extra jobs in America’s export sector.

    I agree that in 2010 it’s wasteful to base U.S. ground troops on the territory of our allies. However, present entitlement spending dwarfs the cost of these deployments by an order of magnitude, and unfunded entitlement promises dwarfs it by two orders of magnitude.

    P.S. I think I’ve figured out what Root meant when he wrote: As a sign of things to come, our December deficit doubled in the past year. Obama’s budget pressed the pedal towards Armageddon- by spending more than all the budgets of all the Presidents that came before him, combined.

    As the Heritage Foundation said on Feb. 1: “After harshly criticizing President Bush for running $3.3 trillion in deficits over eight years, President Obama’s budget would run $7.6 trillion in deficits over what would be his eight years in the Oval Office. Moreover, President Obama would run up more debt over his eight years than all other Presidents in American history–from George Washington through George W. Bush–combined.”

    Root should have said “8-year budget” instead of just “budget”, and “borrowing” instead of “spending”.

  89. Michael H. Wilson

    Robert it has been estimated that the two wars will add $3 trillion to the national debt.

    We deduct the $3 trillion from the $12 and we are down to $9. A significant difference.

    Secondly instead of defending those we are competing against we invest the money in American by returning the troops home and cutting taxes. BTW the income tax, as I am sure you know, is a war tax.

    And third it is worth noting that for about the first 120 or so years the nation had a basically stable currency but since about 1950 we have seen steady inflation which has deteriorated the paychecks we take home and made government programs more needed. Of course that steady inflation has happened at the same time we have deployed troops around the world.

    We re inject that $250 billion we now spend abroad and I think we will see a difference. That would be quite a stimulus to the American economy.

  90. Tom Blanton

    There is one way to end the entitlement programs, end the wars, end the corporate welfare, end the imperialism, end the drug war, and end the monetary fraud. Abolish the federal government. Put an end to the misery and put the leviathan down. The experiment failed and it’s time to move on.

    Our federal soviet-style government is not a necessary evil. It is a totally unnecessary evil. Abolishing it won’t create a utopia, but people will be better off without it than with it.

  91. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, $250B would be a good start. But I don’t oversell that concept. Getting out of Germany, Korea, and Iraq could make a small dent in the problem, but the plate will still be QUITE full even with those achievements.

  92. Robert Capozzi

    tb, would you abolish the States while you’re at it? Would you sell the nuclear silos, or just abandon them? Your ideas may not be “utopian,” but they are, um, a stretch, IMO.

  93. Michael H. Wilson

    BH @ 99 wrote; “Michael, libertarians of all people should know that international trade is positive-sum, and that “economic competition” is a good thing. It’s sad how few people understand the principle of comparative advantage, which says a person or a nation is better off when they specialize in what they’re best at — even if some other people are better at it than they are.”

    And who said trade was not a good thing? What are you driving at?

  94. Tom Blanton

    It borders on insanity to compare the government’s cost of operating foreign bases to the amount of the imports/exports of the private sector.

    Libertarians should hope that any government expenditure would be a tiny fraction of the private sector economic activity.

    Holtz also is off-base touting how wonderful it is to be exporting $25 billion in “military sales”. Many of these so-called “sales” are paid for by U.S. taxpayers as foreign aid. For example, Israel gets $2 billion a year in vouchers to buy U.S. weapons (which they reverse engineer, manufacture and sell to China against agreements with the U.S., costing U.S. jobs because Israel sells the systems for less as they avoid R&D costs).

    Israel then uses these weapons to terrorize Palestinian and Lebanese people and threaten Syria and Iran. As tensions mount in the Mideast, the Pentagon uses this as a justification for more intervention and more security, costing U.S. taxpayers more.

    Holtz thinks this is a good thing?

    Is this supposed to be the “libertarian” justification for imperialism?

    What’s next, the “libertarian” justification for assassinating Americans suspected of having possible links to al Qaida? Perhaps the “libertarian” justification for torturing random Muslims on the chance they might know something?

  95. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian you may wish to try something other than Wikipedia. The info below is probably more accurate.

    “The 2009 BSR claimed 4,742 bases in the US, 121 in our territories, and 716 foreign. Some have estimated the foreign bases as nearer to 1,000, and the cost for those alone at around $250 billion annually.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/roelofs02192010.html

  96. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi, obviously numerous details would have to be dealt with in the process of dismantling the federal government. Whether or not individual states should be dismantled is another issue and is for the citizens of the various states to decide.

    But let’s hear your plan to solve the insurmountable problems of leviathan, Capozzi? Is your plan to sit back and listen to Wayne Root rant on talk radio? Or maybe you think Glenn Beck’s 100-year plan would work?

    Perhaps you think the best thing would be to do nothing and then complain about chaos in the streets when the federal government collapses under its own weight.

    Maybe economic slavery for future generations is the most appealing thing for you, Capozzi, while you claim the pedestal of common-sense moderation and intellectual superiority.

  97. Tom Blanton

    Don, earlier you mentioned plants. Capozzi acts very much like a plant as he believes he is following Lao Tzu by doing nothing (unaware that the Tao is for rulers and not the ruled). I have house plants that act in a similar fashion. Although I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that many pro-state and pro-war libertarians are plants.

  98. Brian Holtz

    Blanton’s reading skills fail him yet again. My point of comparing the sum of foreign trade with the cost of foreign bases was precisely to show that the latter is miniscule compared to the former, and so has vanishingly little effect as a “subsidy” for “our economic competition”.

    And my point of citing the $25B in annual military sales was just to show Michael that the warfare state may be close to a wash in terms of its impact on importing or exporting American jobs. Only an idiot could read my comment — which explicitly mentioned the deadweight loss of military spending — as advocating a warfare state for economic reasons. But when an idiot is needed, IPR always has one ready.

    Michael, my point about positive-sum trade is just this: when you warn about “our economic competition”, it sounds to me like you’re playing to the sort of economic ignorance that leads to protectionism. The problem with subsidies to “competitors” is NOT that they make our “competitors” better at “competing with us”. The problem is that subsidies are a misallocation of resources. When our trading partners (who you call “competitors”) organically become more productive or efficient, it’s actually GOOD for us. This is basic macroeconomics, but most people don’t understand how the principle of comparative advantage makes it true.

    @100, estimates about the wars costing a couple trillion are primarily about future spending. It’s tendentious to assume that 100% of the war costs are deficit-financed.

    inflation has deteriorated the paychecks we take home and made government programs more needed

    I don’t know of a competent mainstream libertarian economist who would assert this. Inflation is primarily just a tax on assets and cash flows that are rigidly dollar-denominated (i.e. with no linkage to inflation or nominal interest rates, such as passbook savings accounts, annuities, and T-bills — except for the relatively new-fangled TIPS, which are indexed to CPI). Wages generally rise with inflation through cost-of-living raises, resulting in what is called “the wage-price spiral”.

    Note that modest Volcker-Greenspan-style 2%-4% inflation rates are a scourge that any semi-intelligent person can hedge against using the right market instruments. What’s economically most poisonous about inflation is that it historically has come in spiky and hard-to-anticipate amounts. In the modern economy, a steady pace of low single-digit inflation is a problem mainly for people who stuff currency into mattresses.

    Some economists point out that a steady low inflation rate can have at least one positive effect. Wages in modern Western economies are notoriously sticky, and (perhaps for morale/dignity reasons) wage cuts aren’t used nearly as often as economists would expect in a perfectly efficient market. Thus inflation can be a way to give a pay cut to an inefficient employee without him losing face — at least in the eyes of people who don’t know what the inflation rate is. Of course, this is still no reason to disagree with the statements I chose for inclusion in the 2008 LP Platform: “We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item.”

  99. David F. Nolan

    I could be wrong, but as I recall, Randolph Bourne’s famous line – “War is the health of the state” – was not intended as a condemnation. Bourne was a self-styled “progressive,” and WANTED a stronger (i.e. “healthier”) state, and favored U.S. involvement in World War I partly for that reason.

    Here, if all goes well, is a link to Bourne’s essay: http://www.bigeye.com/warstate.htm

  100. paulie

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randolph_Bourne

    “Randolph Silliman Bourne (May 30, 1886 – December 22, 1918) was a progressive writer and public intellectual born in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and a graduate of Columbia University. Bourne is best known for his essays, especially his unfinished work “The State,” discovered after his death.

    Bourne’s articles appeared in the magazine, The Seven Arts and The New Republic, among other journals of the day.
    During World War I, American progressives, Bourne included, found themselves split and pitted against each other. The two factions that emerged were the pro-war faction, led by the educational theorist John Dewey, and the anti-war faction, of which both Bourne and other famous progressives like Jane Addams were a part. Bourne was a student of Dewey at Columbia, but he took issue with Dewey’s idea of using the war as a tool with which to spread democracy. In his pointedly-titled 1918 essay “Twilight of Idols” he invoked the progressive pragmatism of Dewey’s contemporary William James to argue that that America was using democracy as an end to justify the war, but that democracy itself was never examined. While he had been a follower of Dewey originally, he felt that Dewey had betrayed his democratic ideals by focusing only on the facade of a democratic government rather than on the ideas behind democracy that Dewey had once professed to respect.

    Bourne was greatly influenced by Horace Kallen’s 1915 essay “Democracy Versus the Melting-Pot,” and argued, like Kallen, that Americanism ought not to be associated with Anglo-Saxonism. In his 1916 article “Trans-National America,” Bourne argued that the US should accommodate immigrant cultures into a “cosmopolitan America,” instead of forcing immigrants to assimilate to Anglophilic culture.
    In this article “Trans-National America”, Bourne rejects the melting-pot theory and does not see immigrants assimilating easily to another culture[1]. Bourne’s view of nationality was related to the connection between a person to their “spiritual country”[2]. This spiritual country referred to a person’s culture rather than where they lived. He argued that people would most often hold tightly to their literature and cultural of their native country even if they were living in another. He also felt this held true for the many immigrants that lived in the United States. Therefore, Bourne could not see immigrants from all different parts of the world assimilating to the Anglo-Saxon tradition, which were viewed as American traditions.

    He goes on in this article to say that America offers a unique liberty of opportunity and can still offer traditional isolation, which he felt could lead to a cosmopolitan enterprise[3]. He felt that with this great mix of cultures and people, America would be able to grow into a Trans-National nation, which would have interconnecting cultural fibers with other countries. Bourne felt America would grow more as a country by broadening people’s views to include immigrants ways instead of conforming everyone to the melting-pot ideal. This broadening of people’s views would eventually lead to nation where all who lived in it are united, which would inevitably pull the country towards greatness. This article and most of the ideas in it were influenced by the first world war, which was taking place during the time period the article was written[4].

    Bourne died in the Spanish flu epidemic shortly after the Armistice of World War I. His ideas have been influential in the shaping of postmodern ideas of cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism, and recent intellectuals such as David Hollinger have written extensively on Bourne’s ideology. John Dos Passos, an influential American modernist writer, eulogized Bourne in the chapter “Randolph Bourne” of his novel 1919 and drew heavily on the ideas presented in “War Is The Health of the State” in the novel.

    Bourne was born with a deformed face and essentially a hunchback. He chronicled his experiences in his essay titled, “The Handicapped.”

    [edit]Randolph Bourne Institute

    The Randolph Bourne Institute (RBI) seeks to honor his memory by promoting a non-interventionist foreign policy for the United States as the best way of fostering a peaceful, more prosperous world.[5] They are publishers of the website Antiwar.com.”

  101. Tom Blanton

    Brian, my reading skills often fail me when I read your obtuse writings. But, I think it is your comprehension skills that fail you when you fail to understand that the subsidy Michael is talking about is the subsidy to foreign governments. As other nations rely on the U.S. for their own national security, they are able to spend less for their own security, providing them with savings that result in lower taxes or more entitlements for their citizens.

    Your convoluted diatribe about comparative advantage and how international trade is positive-sum misses the entire point – the subsidy Michael is talking about has nothing to do with trade, just as the $25 billion export of weaponry from the U.S. has very little to do with trade – it is another subsidy to foreign nations and the military-industrial complex at home.

    It seems to me your complicated and lengthy examination of the security subsidy U.S. taxpayers make to foreign nations that frees up their money for other things makes no sense in the context of that point. Forgive me for thinking you were trying to say the $25 billion in weapons sales (or subsidies to Israel and others) creates extra jobs (which you did say) and that was your point.

    I should know by now that there often is no point.

  102. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 111 BH writes; “Thus inflation can be a way to give a pay cut to an inefficient employee without him losing face — at least in the eyes of people who don’t know what the inflation rate is.”

    That is really strange. I have been a manager of others for years and never has that thought even crossed my mind.

    Secondly I have no idea where you studied macroecon but you might wish to get a refund of your money.

    Regardless of the amount we spend abroad you may wish to explain to your daughter how her Daddy came to believe that it was okay for her to pay taxes to defend someone else. You were complaining about the tax burden she was going to have were you not?

    BTW you may wish to keep in mind that all those dollars American troops get paid while overseas are usually spent there. Thus we subsidize foreign communities.

    While you are at it ask yourself where France got all those dollars it wanted to exchange for gold in the 1960s. We sure as hell weren’t buying that much French cheese of champagne but we did have a lot of tourist and military people traveling there on vacations and furlough.

    Whatever I have real work to do. Enjoy your confusion

  103. Hurray for Root!

    “Tom Blanton // Feb 20, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Brian, my reading skills often fail me when I read your obtuse writings … ”

    ****
    Yes, Blanton, this is obviously true. You have been unable to read and comprehend most of what has been written here. Your pig-headed bias, once taken as a public position, prohibits any honest evaluation of the facts on your part. You are doomed to live, exposed as a fool, rather than reconsider, and admit the error obvious to all, in your own previously, pompously, publicly pronounced, pretensious prattle.

    ***********
    “Tom Blanton …
    Hooray, thanks for making my point. You were unable to source where the Fed cites the national debt at over $100 trillion.”
    ******

    Yes, Blanton, you are illiterate.

    I gave three references, two of which cite the Federal Reserve as their source.

    The third reference, you bonehead, is the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas itself: specifically, Donald Fisher, chairman of the Dallas Fed.

    Blanton, you really should shut up and read and listen sometime.

    *********
    “Tom Blanton …
    Maybe now you’d like to comment on this statement by Root, Hooray:

    ‘Obama’s budget … by spending more than all the budgets of all the Presidents that came before him, combined.’ ”

    **********

    This statement by Root is obvious hyperbol.

    It’s wrong.

    Root should be more careful and, like most salesmen types, he needs to have his exaggeration curbed by prudent editors.

    I ignored it because it wasn’t part of any important debate.

    Perhaps what Root meant to say or could have said instead (and I haven’t read his book nor listened to any of his speeches) was that Obama’s budgets over 8 years in office will exceed the budgets of all presidents before him, combined, which has the possibility of being true. Of course, that isn’t what he said.

    It’s sad that you are unable to differentiate between important information that needs to be trumpeted to the American people, such as the fact that the National Debt, according to G.A.A.P. as required to be used by all businesses when reporting their own debt, is now over $100 trillion, and Root’s silly statement about Obama’s budget being greater than all prior budgets.

    *****

    Finally, this part of the statement by Root …

    “Obama’s budget pressed the pedal towards Armageddon … ”

    Has a nice flavor and tends to rouse the juices nicely, which is needed in today’s world.

  104. Robert Capozzi

    tb 108 + 110, I’m not big on plans and planning personally as they look like setups for failures to me. As challengers to the statist quo, it seems Ls need mostly to get more Ls by influencing more people with our practical and theoretical ideas.

    If the day comes that Ls are writing legislation for winding down the State, I’d be happy to engage the matter and do the best I could. If someone comes up with a plan in the meantime that communicates well the value of minimizing coercion and maximizing liberty, I’ll sign on. I’ve not seen one yet.

    You Tom should know by now that I’m not a Beck fan, although I applaud his tentative moves north in an L direction. Root is a making an amazing and rapid and public transition from a caterpillar to a butterfly, which I encourage.

    Finally, yes, Tom, there are passages in the Tao intended for rulers. Most of the book is wisdom for all. Dust off your copy and give it a read and let me know if you agree with my assessment.

  105. Robert Capozzi

    tb: Whether or not individual states should be dismantled is another issue and is for the citizens of the various states to decide.

    me: I’ve truly never understood this view. The Rockwell crowd makes this argument…that somehow the FedGov should be abolished, but it’s a-OK that the States can oppress its citizens even MORE than the Feds do.

    As a TAAAList, I’m more focused on liberating all individuals from the involuntary shackles of the State at all levels. Why are you — an anarchist — not so interested in across-the-board liberation?

  106. Brian Holtz

    Wilson: “we are subsidizing our economic competition, which means Americans are losing jobs to those we subsidize”

    Blanton: “the subsidy Michael is talking about has nothing to do with trade”

    Thanks for apparently agreeing with me that overseas bases have little or nothing to do with Americans losing trade-related jobs to “our economic competition”.

    Wilson: “I have been a manager of others for years and never has that thought [denying a COLA raise as a way to decrease real wages] even crossed my mind.”

    Oh, well, I guess that proves that in an efficient labor market there’s never any situation in which the market price of a worker’s labor can decline by more percentage points than the inflation rate. :-)

    Wilson: “I have no idea where you studied macroecon but you might wish to get a refund of your money.”

    You omitted my crucial caveat about “morale/dignity” considerations. Sigh. To learn more on this topic from a libertarian economist, see Lectures on Macroeconomics, No. 4. Or, to wallow in the wisdom of folk economics, continue insulting people reporting what libertarian economists write.

    As for what I’ll tell my daughter, rest assured that I always tell her about both/all sides of a particular issue. So not only will I give her the arguments linked to @85, but I’ll also tell her about any effort to actually answer them — if such ever happens.

    What’s that? France exchanged some dollars for gold in the 1960’s? Oh, well, I guess that proves that nanny-state entitlement spending isn’t an entire order of magnitude larger than the cost of overseas bases, and that the cost of unfunded entitlement obligations isn’t nearly two orders of magnitude larger still. What was I thinking? My bad. Carry on.

  107. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian I realize I am wasting my time in replying to you but you may want to reread your own writing and then go read the lecture you wish me to read. Then ask yourself does this apply to one person or to a large group. I hope you don’t manage others using the idea you suggested above because when you have an inefficient employee it needs to be dealt with right then. You don’t wait to see if inflation will solve the problem for you.

    And yes I have read much of what is written at that site as well as the other half dozen econ sites I read every day.

    Enjoy the day.

  108. Tom Blanton

    Hooray, you just don’t get it. When the words “national debt” appear, you apparently see the words “unfunded liabilities”. You are in denial that these terms are not synonymous. No matter how intense your erection is for Wayne Root, the meaning of words don’t change because you want them to.

    You never sourced anything that said the NATIONAL DEBT was over $100 Trillion. Your sources were in regards to UNFUNDED LIABILITIES. Period. There is no rational argument otherwise.

    Hooray or Brian, whatever, you are a twisted ass of the likes I’ve never seen. I may have difficulty understanding the obtuse unapplicable points you so cleverly attempt to make, but at least I’m not just plain crazy.

    I feel sorry for anyone that Holtz manages in an employment situation.

  109. Tom Blanton

    Bubby writes:

    “As a TAAAList, I’m more focused on liberating all individuals from the involuntary shackles of the State at all levels. Why are you — an anarchist — not so interested in across-the-board liberation?”

    Who says I’m not interested in across-the-board liberation. I favor massive decentralization. You probably haven’t noticed, but the majority of the problems facing people originate at this point in time with the U.S. federal government.

    Abolishing the federal government is an easier concept to sell as many people are more open to secession, on the left and right.

    Are you afraid your neighbors will start up their nuclear weapons programs again in the absence of the federal government? Or are you afraid that slavery will be reinstated without the federal government?

    “but it’s a-OK that the States can oppress its citizens even MORE than the Feds do.”

    Why does this follow? How does me advocating the dismantling of the federal government suggest it’s OK with me that states can then oppress its citizens “even MORE”?

    The fact is, it doesn’t. Your notion is complete nonsense and I think you know that. It’s not even an argument against my position, it is more of a personal attack.

    Go ahead and tell us how wonderful the federal government is and how they protect you from your neighbors and the evil state you live in. Tell us how well your baby steps toward freedom have been working. Tell us how if we all become moderate absolutists (that’s my personal attack back at ya), LP candidates will win elections one day and make everything wonderful. But don’t pretend I favor more oppressive local or state government when I haven’t given any indication of that.

    It seems to me that as a “TAAAList”, you aren’t focused on anything other than your own reflection in the mirror of narcissism that you use to block your view of reality.

  110. Brian Holtz

    Michael, I already clarified what I meant by “an inefficient employee”: viz., one for whom “the market price of the worker’s labor declines by more percentage points than the inflation rate”. This can of course happen even if the employee is performing at his personal absolute best. Again, my point is just that it’s not easy for a manager to give an employee a pay cut when the market value of the person’s labor declines.

    Blanton, it’s true that 1) you apparently don’t understand some of what I write, and 2) you disagree with most or all of the parts you (think you) understand. Neither of these two facts makes me “crazy”, but thanks for the unintentional irony behind that diagnosis.

    Here’s a little challenge for you: quote an actual sentence I’ve written, and then either 1) confess you don’t understand it or 2) assert that it shows I’m crazy.

  111. Tom Blanton

    OK, Brian, I’ll play using your new rules. First I will quote an actual sentence you have written:

    “Here’s a little challenge for you: quote an actual sentence I’ve written, and then either 1) confess you don’t understand it or 2) assert that it shows I’m crazy.”

    Now, I assert that this statement shows you are crazy. If not crazy, then full of shit. And talk about unintentional irony …. and from a guy who thinks that an interventionist warfare state acting as policeman of the world is a hallmark of limited government.

    Paging Nurse Ratched.

  112. Brian Holtz

    Translation: I assert that this statement either shows you are crazy, or it doesn’t. And since I can’t meet your straightforward challenge, allow me to desperately invoke my favorite red herring topic, while continuing to flee headlong from the arguments you linked to @85, which I hope nobody scrolls up to read right now.

    ROTFL.

    And for the record, I oppose the U.S. or any nation “acting as policeman of the world”. That’s why the current “policeman for the world” language was chosen for the 2008 LP Platform by the subcommittee that I chaired. Instead of demanding that the U.S. police the world, what I in fact say is that reasonable Libertarians could have disagreed in 2003 about whether the U.S. military should be used to depose a genocidal totalitarian WMD-using ballistic-missile-firing neighbor-annexing terrorist-funding sadistic maniac who defiantly persisted in what the Security Council declared to be ‘material breach’ of his agreement to be inspected for cessation of his admitted earlier secret WMD programme.

  113. Erik Geib

    “War has all the characteristics of socialism…: Centralized power, state planning, false rationalism, restricted liberties, foolish optimism about intended results, and blindness to unintended secondary results.” – Joseph Sobran

  114. Robert Capozzi

    tb: You probably haven’t noticed, but the majority of the problems facing people originate at this point in time with the U.S. federal government.

    me: Yes, at this point in time, I’d agree. But secession is associated with the Civil War and slavery in the public square, and I’d say chattel slavery is as violent as the State gets.

    I view secession as a fringe issue unlikely to be broadly popular, and therefore a dead end.

  115. Tom Blanton

    I don’t favor secession either, that’s why I don’t advocate it. I’m advocating abolishing the federal government altogether.

    So, I am correct that you fear that without the federal government, states would return to slavery. I seriously doubt that, but I suppose you are entitled to your absurd opinions. I tend to be a bit more forward thinking in that I am not so concerned with solving the problems of 1860, but rather looking at the problems of creeping totalitarianism that we actually do face today.

    Unlike you Capozzi, I don’t form my beliefs around what I think others believe. What is broadly popular changes. McDonalds is broadly popular, but more and more people are deciding that those greasy burgers aren’t the best food. When you advocate only what is broadly popular, nothing changes.

    Secession is somewhat of a fringe issue, as is libertarianism. However, that it is being considered implies that some people previously adverse to an existence without the federal government are now open to that prospect.

    Oh, I see Holtz is regurgitating his pro-war propaganda again to justify his psychotic lust for war. How Orwellian that he both embraces and rejects the concept of America as policeman of the world. I suppose he also embraces Bush’s version of a more humble foreign policy.

    I think Holtz secretly believes that the concept of limited government must be set aside for the next 50 years until Islam is eradicated, much like William Buckley thought in regards to communism. The difference is that Buckley was honest about his beliefs, Holtz hides his beliefs knowing that they won’t sell to libertarians. This may be why he has a man crush on the buffoon Wayne Root who also knows his interventionist inclinations don’t sell well with libertarians.

  116. Robert Capozzi

    tb: Unlike you Capozzi, I don’t form my beliefs around what I think others believe. What is broadly popular changes.

    me: Actually, Professor Blanton, you misrepresent my beliefs, so your premise is incorrect. As a theoretical asymptotic anarchist, I believe government should be as small as possible while a semblance of domestic tranquility is maintained.

    What I advocate in the here and now is lessarchy…less government in the short term. I can’t think of an IMPERATIVE that says we must advocate what we believe in theory. Can you?

    My advocacy and beliefs are consistent, but I recognize that politics and theory are different games, don’t you?

    So, I don’t ADVOCATE abolition of government, but in theory I’m open to the possibility that no-government is a sustainable, long-term model.

    Haven’t I explained this to you?

  117. Hurray for Root!

    Bonehead Blanton,

    The entire speech by the chairman was about the government debt, or as he put it, “untethered government debt.”

    governemt debt means national debt, of course

    Every reporter covered the story as 99.2 trillion dollars in national debt. They understood it. You are obviously obtuse.

    “Tonight, I want to talk about a different matter. In keeping with Bill Martin’s advice, I have been scanning the horizon for danger signals even as we continue working to recover from the recent turmoil. In the distance, I see a frightful storm brewing in the form of

    untethered government debt.

    I choose the words—“frightful storm”—deliberately to avoid hyperbole. Unless we take steps to deal with it, the long-term fiscal situation of the federal government will be unimaginably more devastating to our economic prosperity than the subprime debacle and the recent debauching of credit markets that we are now working so hard to correct.”

    It is G.A.A.P. that legally defines such liabilities as “debt” that must be reported on balance sheets of businesses and corporations.

    If the government followed the laws that apply to everyone else, they would have to report these “unfunded liabilities” as debt.

    The government loves stupid people like Blanton that help it defraud the public.

    Blanton. Go to a university. Major in Accounting. Then come back to this forum to discuss the facts that now are completely beyond your ken.

  118. Brian Holtz

    At least Blanton is honest in admitting that what he disagrees with is the voices in his head that result from his ability to mind-read what I “secretly believe”. He can’t argue against my actual positions, which have never asserted that Islam or “Islamofascism” is a threat to America, or that “they hate us for our freedoms”, or any other such tripe.

    Poor Blanton just can’t accept that I don’t favor policing the world. He sees my narrow and detailed argument for why one could have believed in 2003 that the danger posed by Saddam outweighed the costs of taking him down, and he knows he can’t answer it. My argument was published in 2006. In what year will Blanton ever attempt to actually answer it?

  119. Tom Blanton

    Holtz, I answered it along with thousands of others in 2002 and 2003.

    Win will you admit how wrong you were/are? My guess is never. I’m just waiting for you to make the case for attacking Iran.

    Apparently you do believe in policing the world. Just read the the last paragraph you just wrote.

    And you can insult me all you wish and it will never change the commonly accepted definitions of national debt and unfunded liabilities. Whether I disagree or you disagree with those definitions.

    I find it amusing that you don’t think I can read your mind, and yet you constantly are aware of what is going on in my mind. So, are you crazy or just full of shit?

  120. Brian Holtz

    You answered my 2006 essay “in 2002 and 2003″? ROTFL.

    Tell ya what. Give me a link to the one essay (written whenever) of length similar to mine that you think best answers my arguments, and I’ll link to it from my Iraq page. Go ahead, take your best shot.

    Your guess that I have no Iraq mistake to admit is, unsurprisingly, wrong. See http://knowinghumans.net/2007/02/my-iraq-mistake.html.

    My policy is to respond with as much or more civility as I receive, and to never stoop to the name-calling employed by you and others like you. You cannot cite an example of me breaking this policy. Feel free to try. You will fail.

    I’ve never tried to redefine “national debt”. Your misleading suggestion that I ever did is typical of your practices here.

    When I quote you saying you know what I “secretly believe”, it’s obvious which of us is claiming to be a mind-reader.

  121. Tom Blanton

    Brian:

    First, your article “Defending Libervention In Iraq” was written in 2007, not 2006. Second, it contains nothing but the talking points, distortions, misinformation, hyperbole and double standards used by neocons in 2002 and 2003 to justify the war.

    In 2002 and 2003, many people refuted and debunked all of this neocon tripe.

    If you wish to read this material you could start by reviewing the archives of Ron Paul at his house website, next visit the archives of AntiWar.Com. Perhaps if you spent half as much time reading as you do cutting and pasting neocon propaganda 5 years after it was written, you’d already know the arguments against the rationalizations for the war you claim as original.

    Your admission that you made a mistake is about as limited as the warfare government you seem to be inclined to support. One thing you won’t admit is your proclivity toward intervention is incompatible with the notion of limited government you claim to favor.

    I find many of the ideas expressed in your numerous diatribes to be contradictory and in conflict with the libertarian values you claim to hold. Apparently I am not alone in thinking this as evidenced by the many responses of others that appear here at IPR.

    I also find your predictions to invariably be wrong. Whether it is the outcome of war, the reform of the LP, the success of Root in selling libertarianism, etc., you always seem to be off the mark as indicated by numbers and actual outcomes. Your record is such that it amazes me that there is anyone who takes you seriously.

    It is truly a wonder your swollen head has not exploded from the advanced stages of cognitive dissonance. If you are not suffering from double-think, it is because you are a pathological liar and some sort of mole. Obviously I can’t read your mind. I can only speculate what your motivations are. One thing is for certain, your sense of self-importance is only exceeded by your record of being wrong on important matters.

    It also seems obvious to me that the people you rally behind and the reform measures you endorse have nearly decimated the LP. This opinion is based on empirical evidence and not on mere conjecture. If someone were to be paid to destroy the LP and libertarianism in general as a full-time job, they couldn’t do a better job than you and your cohorts.

    This leaves me to speculate whether you are just crazy, totally incompetent, or a liar with nefarious motives.

    “My policy is to respond with as much or more civility as I receive, and to never stoop to the name-calling employed by you and others like you.”

    This is laughable. You denigrate and insult nearly everyone you engage. Many of your arguments are nothing but condescending insults which amounts to nothing more than name-calling.

    Perhaps you are crazy, totally incompetent, AND a liar with nefarious motives.

    I double-dare you to refute what I have written here. It must be double-spaced, correctly punctuated and delivered to me on the playground by the end of recess or I’ll smash your Wayne Root lunchbox and thermos, poophead.

  122. paulie

    TB,

    While I’ve disagreed with some of Brian’s opinions – sometimes strongly – I see no reason to question either his motives or competence.

    He always does a good job of expressing and defending his views and backing them up with citations and research. He makes me think and re-examine my premises and sources, which I consider a good thing.

    He puts his money and time where his mouth is.

    And, in my experience, he has never degenerated into the muck of grade school insults, as many (most?) do in internet debates.

    Incivility detracts from the strength of any argument.

  123. Brian Holtz

    I’ll rebut every single substantive claim Blanton makes @138, so this will be short.

    I’ve been making the same essential argument for overthrowing Saddam since at least 2004, and its wording is virtually unchanged since 2006. Blanton cannot refute a single one of its factual predicates. I’ve repeatedly challenged him to produce or cite an essay that does so. He has failed to do so — every single time.

    I challenged Blanton to cite a single example of me calling anyone names (like his “poophead”), or being less civil than what I am responding to. He failed to do so, just as I predicted he would.

    He says my support in 2003 for overthrowing one of the world’s scores of tyrants means I have “proclivity toward intervention” and “is incompatible with the notion of limited government”. The “proclivity” claim is facially false. The “incompatibility” claim is blind to the notion of limiting Saddam’s government.

    He claims my predictions about the LP are “invariably wrong”, but doesn’t quote a single such prediction.

    If my straightforward recitation of facts like the above makes me “condescending”, then I plead guilty as charged.

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