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Earlier I mocked Rep. Virginia Foxx for this tweet:

Enough with the budgetary "Washington Exceptionalism." Families balance their budgets. Washington should too. #NC5
@virginiafoxx via web

Point was, Americans are heavily leveraged in debt—mortgages, credit cards, education loans, car loans, etc—so government already balances the budget the way Americans do. That thread generated some great comments, so here they are:

U.S. household consumer debt profile:

    Average credit card debt: $15,266
    Average mortgage debt: $149,667
    Average student loan debt: $32,559

vs Income:


So, if we balanced the budget the same way households do, the federal debt to income ratio would be:

    78/22 = 3.5/1

But it's currently approximately 1.7/1

So, if the Republicans actually meant what they said, we should be on a debt spending spree like never seen before in the history of the nation.

by radical simplicity

Do they know any families that would insist

on paying off their mortgage while letting their kids go without food, healthcare, and education?

by ahumbleopinion

And, families don't voluntarily take cuts to their

income and then wonder why in the world their budget doesn't "balance."

by briefer

Yep. I don't look at my credit card bill

and say, "Gee, I spent to much last month. I think I'm going to ask my boss to dock my pay 20%. That'll fix everything!"

by decembersue

When every family can issue its own...

...AAA rated bonds and paper denominated in the worldwide default reserve currency, and control the monetary policy of the worlds largest economy, then we can talk about how government needs to act more like the Smith family down on Chestnut Street in the cute little bungalow with the Chevy Malibu outside.  

by RerumCognoscereCausas

Someone please explain why the government

should model itself on families, in the first place

by eXtina

Not only do families incur debt ...

... but they raise revenues as well if they have to. We hear pundits and Republicans say that if a family is overdrawn, they cut back. But not necessarily. If a family is spending more on necessities than it takes in, or has a special expense they require, they can also increase revenue. How? By taking a second job, or by having another family member start to work. Or of course by borrowing. Someone who wants to get a promotion or change careers may borrow money to learn a  new skill or get a certificate in a higher level in his trade. They may work a second job to pay for those classes, or for a new car. So a family, like the government, may either cut spending, or increase revenues, or both. And often, the increase in revenues is a good investment in the future.

by bronxsteve

OK, I'll bite...

Borrowing for capital improvements when interest rates are low is smart;  borrowing when income is down to pay necessary expenses is smart;  blowing your money on a vacation in Iraq is dumb.

by Old Left Good Left

So if our budgets are like the government budget...

... then Republicans need to demand their employer pay them less because people can't control their spending. #busted analogy.

by bobinson

And yes, as several commenters pointed out, some Democrats (including the president) like to use that analogy as well. It's also dumb when they do it.

Originally posted to kos on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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