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A facebook friend likened the situation to taking his credit card and buying boats and four-wheelers and vacations with it, then asking for his limit to be raised when he ran out of credit. Then refusing to pay and blaming them for not paying his bills if they refused, then going on vacation and sending them pictures of his hungry kids and blaming them for why his kids couldn't eat. Since he's a casual friend with whom I mostly share things about bacon, I felt it wasn't right to hit his wall with what I almost ended up posting. Then I thought, "Feckit, this would make a good Kos diary."

Follow me below the squiggly-doo for the epic metaphor.

I don't want to directly quote him on here without his permission, so the general gist is as follows:

"Let's put all sorts of toys on the credit card because we deserve it. Let's ask for more when we run out, and if the bank doesn't give it to us, let's refuse to pay, then blame the bank if our kids can't eat, and let's go on vacation while we do it."
It's not exactly inaccurate in parts. The GOP has essentially done what my friend claims--they are refusing to pay the country's debts and blaming someone else for the debts not getting paid. But the metaphor approaches all government expenditures as wasteful and unnecessary, and leaves out the elephant in the room over what exactly prompted the hostage-taking.

So I started a response to him that fleshed-out that metaphor...only Facebook really isn't the place for it. For one, it's just too damn long to go into a wall comment. And I thought it would reach a wider audience and maybe we could refine it some more here. So without further ado...I give you the Epic Metaphor of Shutdown Doom:

I love the metaphor game! But if we're going to do it, let's do it right. See, you're not just buying toys on that credit card, you're buying food and shoes and clothes, buying gas, paying the utility bills, paying the babysitter, paying for the yardwork to be done, paying your doctor, paying the security guards, and paying for grandma's nursing home.

You are also making fairly reasonable payments, because the bank keeps extending you credit. When you reach your limit and ask for more, it's because the kids are growing up and need bigger clothes or tutoring, and the bank is mostly okay with that, because you've been a pretty good deal to them so far, what with your stable household and all.

But this time around, it's your ex (and your ex's lawyer, and maybe your ex's crazy new heart-throb), whom you still have to deal with for various reasons due to joint property and kids, and who is most of the time not that difficult to deal with beyond general snippiness. This time around, your ex has decided that the new health insurance plan you picked out for the family is not only bad, but going to end all life as we know it on the planet.

Your ex has protested this before, but you and the rest of the family outvoted your ex--even after negotiations made you agree to change some things about the new insurance. In fact, your ex embarrassed everyone a few years ago with an entire summer of spreading rumors and untruths and even made a lot of the family start eyeing you like you might just be a jerk. Being sane, and keeping the kids in mind, you bent on a few things that would have helped out a lot of the family members, and hoped that maybe later, once everyone got used to the new health insurance, you could fix the broken parts. And you thought you did a pretty good job, since your ex's new flame even got some sweetness out of the deal, business-wise.

But your ex has never gotten over the fact that the family sided with you most recently. In fact, your ex now firmly believes that families are Socialism and Evil (and maybe Muslim and Kenyan, too).

So your ex decided to stop making your family work like a family does. Your ex froze up ALL your joint accounts and stopped paying for ANYTHING you put on the card. Your ex has sent home the babysitter, dumped the clothes in the driveway, cleaned out half the fridge (including your secret stash of ding-dongs, which you didn't hide very well), and told grandma's nurse that she's "non-essential personnel." Your ex has also chased the meter reader out of the yard with an incoherent rant on why it's your fault that nothing's getting paid, and lets the babysitter know that you're the unreasonable reason why she's not getting paid, either.

Your ex is now standing in your front yard and screaming while the neighbors get out the lawn chairs and popcorn. Your ex wants to know why you're not paying your bills and why you want to destroy all life in the universe with health insurance.

Originally posted to athenap on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 07:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'd post that on his wall in a heartbeat! n/t (17+ / 0-)

    It's not too long for a wall post, just longer than most.

    Conservatism is a function of age - Rousseau
    I've been 19 longer'n you've been alive - me

    by watercarrier4diogenes on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 07:56:51 AM PDT

  •  Reminds me... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene, kyril, sawgrass727, thomask, JVolvo, pixxer

    of this diary from yesterday.  :)

    If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

    by kharma on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 08:14:50 AM PDT

  •  George Bush put his toys on the credit card (23+ / 0-)

    George Bush put his toys on the credit card when he cut taxes and borrowed money to pay for his Iraq war adventure game.

    Your friend has no concept of how a sovereign nation works in the realm of international finance and that nation's fiscal policy.  The other nations in the world will determine how to value that nation's currency given their debt and output.  As long as debt is growing more slowly than a nation's GDP is growing, smoothed over the long term, there is no problem.  The big fact that indicates no problem is the interest rate--presently the U.S. interest rates have been bumping along the zero level.  This creates other problems when the Federal Reserve tries to stimulate the economy by lowering rates, but they can't go any lower.  This is called a liquidity trap.

    The U.S. has no debt problem.  Never did.  The U. S has had two recent spending problems.  Th first was spending too much for war and Medicare prescription drugs while cutting taxes in the Bush administration (Part D should have had a tax increase to pay for it).  The second was spending too little to stimulate the economy in the Obama administration.

    Even Greece today would be OK if they had a sovereign currency.  The New Drachma would be worth little, but Greeks would be working, producing, and selling their output around the world and bringing in money.  The majority of Greeks wouldn't be rich, but they'd be working and much better off than they are today under the rule of the German bankers.  Austerity has never worked anywhere in the world at any time.

    •  Toys Indeed! (4+ / 0-)

      Life sized GI Joe action adventure sets, domestic surveillance and thug caste weaponry to subdue the general population.  Too bad it wasn't 'wasted' on life sized high speed train sets or windmills, we could actually still be reaping the social benefits of that spending.  Instead, the entire lot was spent on obsolete hi-tech trash.

    •  The Dubya analogy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, flavor411

      Didn't his administration make his wars off the pretending we didn't have to pay for them?  

      The most striking fact about the cost of the war in Iraq has been the extent to which it has been kept "off the books" of the government's ledgers and hidden from the American people. This was done by design. A fundamental assumption of the Bush administration's approach to the war was that it was only politically sustainable if it was portrayed as near-costless to the American public and to key constituencies in Washington. ... the American people would only support a war to get rid of Saddam Hussein if they could be assured that they would pay almost nothing for it.

      The most obvious way in which the true cost of this war was kept hidden was with the use of supplemental appropriations to fund the occupation.

      In the household budget analogy, when you have to buy a new car, you figure out how your regular household income is going to finance it with a combination of cash and a car loan.  

      In Dubya's case, it was like buying a car and getting a bunch of new credit cards with a deferred payment plans to pay for it.  You can pretend it's not costing you anything only because you have these new credit cards debts you'd like to ignore.

  •  Actually, most of Gov costs GENERATE revenue... (19+ / 0-) way or another, so it's not simply like buying casual shoes, but rather WORK shoes! And paying mortgage on a house (that will grow in value) from where one runs a business.

    They were showing that each $1 in SNAP ends up generating $4 in the economy. Not exactly like buying a toy!

    Investing in infrastructure such as roads is not at all like buying a plasma tv, for it allows commerce to take place, people to be employed and develop the entire economy.

  •  Actually it's a stupid metaphor. (24+ / 0-)

    It represents a fundamental misunderstanding of basic macroeconomics.  

    As you probably know - the economy can only grow as big as the amount of money that's in circulation.  We're not on the gold standard.  So we either spend or go into debt.  Simple as that.  But if you shrink the debt without raising taxes and continuing high levels of spending, you basic shrink the size of the economy. And that means lower wages, more expensive loans, and a tighter money supply.  

    There's no way you can turn the reality of macroeconomic on a global scale into a household metaphor.  When Right Wingers try to do that I automatically know they're...stupid.  

    No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

    by CrazyHorse on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 09:13:58 AM PDT

    •  This would be the better response (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexasTwister, rbird, kyril
    •  Actually we all knew that. (9+ / 0-)

      We knew that they are ignorant.  We knew that they can only understand economics in terms of household metaphors.  It was a funny exercise.

      Private health insurance: a protection racket without the protection.

      by rustypatina on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 09:54:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  True, BUT those who embrace the bad metaphor (5+ / 0-)

      are best confronted with a better version of the metaphor.  That's what works.  The GOP Family Budget = Federal Budget metaphoer NEVER EVER describes a split between the theoretical parents in charge of the budget, because they KNOW that that's how it immediately breaks down against them.

      It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

      by Leftcandid on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 10:41:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Then there's this (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, Hirodog, JVolvo, flavor411, ladybug53

      The last time I checked, I don't control the money supply.

      Part of the reason why Greece had austerity forced on itself, it doesn't control its own currency.

      So if we were Greek, yeah, the "household budget" argument might be a good one.  But we're not, so it doesn't.

      This also ignores an inconvenient fact, the deficit is going down at a rapid rate, even before sequester, even before the shutdown.

      It also ignores an even larger, more horrific fact:  defense spending.

      Here is the defense spending of the top five militaries on Earth (it is in billions of dollars).

      USA              682
      China            166
      Russia             91
      U.K.                61
      Japan              59
      Notice anything?  US spending is 1.8 times MORE than the other four COMBINED.

      Join Essa in a revolt against the gods.

      by rbird on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 12:23:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ...what? (0+ / 0-)
      As you probably know - the economy can only grow as big as the amount of money that's in circulation.  We're not on the gold standard.
      Uh... for certain very specific parsings of the first sentence, it is, broadly speaking, sort of correct. (Although the way most people would understand it, it's not correct.) But the second one implies that if we were on the gold standard, the first sentence would not be correct, which is just wrong.
      So we either spend or go into debt. Simple as that.
      Sort of? Except that there are plenty of times that the government can cut down on spending and not cause 'us' (by which I assume you mean the government) to go further into debt. We just don't happen to be in one of them right now.
      But if you shrink the debt without raising taxes and continuing high levels of spending, you basic shrink the size of the economy.
      Ah, I just reread that sentence and now I think I know what you mean. You mean 'if you shrink the debt, but you do it by cutting spending instead of by raising taxes, you basically shrink the size of the economy.' Right? (I originally thought you were claiming that if you shrink the debt, don't raise taxes, AND continue to spend a lot, you shrink the size of the economy, which doesn't make sense.)

      But this isn't really particularly true either. We have a lot of handles to fiddle with to adjust the economy. Moderate decreases of spending can be adjusted for by decreasing interest rates, or to a certain extent by quantitative easing (which explains why our economy is still slowly pottering along, instead of cratering when we so drastically cut our expenditures while stuck at the zero interest rate boundary.) Government spending is just one knob.

      Our problem right now is that the fed is doing everything it is wiling to do, and we're cutting government spending quickly enough that everything the fed is willing to do is just enough to keep us treading water.

      And that means lower wages, more expensive loans, and a tighter money supply.
      What? I don't even understand this. The Fed controls the money supply, both through interest rates and through quantitative easing. The can decide how loose or tight to make the money supply. It's not an effect, it's a cause. And, in point of fact, we are cutting spending drastically (a wildly stupid idea, yes) in the midst of a recession, and the money supply is ridiculously loose... hence historically low interest rates on more or less everything.

      And it's worth noting, to bring this back to the subject at hand, that every analogy is inherently imperfect. If it were perfect, it would not be an analogy, it would be a description. If the analogy helps someone understand something important, as this one does, it's a useful tool, your picking at the least important edges of it notwithstanding.

      •  The Fed doesn't control the money supply. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Surgeon

        The Fed only controls the number of reserves.  Reserves aren't used for daily transactions between individuals, they are settlement balances between banks and the Govt.  The money supply consists roughly of
        1) the total amount of private debt.  Private debt is money.  Banks only credit your bank account when someone else's has been debited, T-bonds have been bought with reserves , or you take out a loan.  banks essentially issue their own private money thats guaranteed by the Govt.  

        2) The total amount of Govt money.  T-bonds, reserves and cash (Reserves and cash are known as Base money).

        QE has not at all been proven to be stimulative.  All it does is swap assets.  This is a net zero for the private sector.  If you own a T-bond worth $1000, you are no wealthier the day after you sell it than the day before.  Plus nobody ever talks about the fact that QE is a tax.  This year the Fed is going to turn over about $100 billion to the Treasury that would have otherwise gone to T-bond owners.  Thats a tax increase larger than the elimination of the Bush taxes on higher income earners. Only deficit spending by the Govt can add new Net financial assets (Govt money) to the economy.  

        MMT = Reality

        "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

        by Auburn Parks on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 06:05:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The morons from the rural, gerrymandered, inbred (0+ / 0-)

      Teabagger districts think that running the government of a nation of 300 million people with the world's largest economy is the same as running the local Feed and Grain.

      Not a whole lot of understanding of global macroeconomics in that demographic.
      Not a whole lot of understanding of much outside of themselves period.

      Yet this small minority of arrogant imbeciles are making the decisions for the rest of us.
      If given the power they will make the Bush years and the 2008 economic meltdown look sane by comparison.

  •  I like your following his metaphor ... (8+ / 0-)

    into the weeds of today's RWNJ-ism. The crazy ex who gets a lawyer and freezes your joint accounts is inspired: I'm stealing it!

    I wonder, though, if your argument gets cramped unless it leaves his analogy behind at some point.  (Sometimes, the down-home analogy just won't do. Reaching orbit is, e.g., nothing like pointing one's pickup truck at the cliff's edge and flooring it.)

    Just one of many differences between sovereign governments and households: households have finite lifetimes of, say, 2-5 decades. Sovereign governments, corporations, and endowments have unlimited time horizons to plan for and finance. (Most -- but not all -- corporations carry considerable debt.)

    The "government borrowing is just like an idiot with a credit card" story has been repeatedly sprayed at the crowd by the RW noise machine. I like that you're going to challenge it.

    •  Maybe we could expand the metaphor to this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Oh... and by the way, at any point you could print all the money you wanted to pay off your debts to the bank."  Now your ex-spouse really seems crazy.
      (especially when the broader economy is under capacity and there's no risk for inflation, but then we start getting back into macro economics)

      •  I agree with your last clause: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annan, JVolvo

        "but then we start getting back into macroeconomics".

        "But Tea Partiers are like your crazy ex" ju-jitsus the Facebook friend's analogy in order to deride it. Trying to put any weight on the home-budget nonsense, though, generates more nonsense.

  •  and then the ex jumps on top of the thanksgiving (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    this just in, JVolvo

    turkey and starts stabbing it with the carving knife

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 09:55:59 AM PDT

  •  Maybe, this is a custody dispute... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexasTwister, JVolvo

    Since this is all really about power and the acquisition thereof, your ex wants custody of the kids(i.e. the rest of the government). Because now that she has a new flame, she wants a family again. So, she has decided to go on this ill thought out campaign to make you look like the unstable and unsuitable parent in the eyes of the court(i.e. the electorate).

    You know that if she ever got a hold of a kid she'd ask for child support which she would largely misdirect to vacations for her and her new flame. Of course, when confronted with the fact that the money was for child support, your ex would claim that she had a scheme for converting her frequent flyer miles into enough cash for the necessities. You would know that this is another crackpot scheme that doesn't work, because she tried it before when you were still married, and it took you way too close to bankruptcy.

  •  The government is not like a household. A (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    this just in, rbird, redeft, dragonwerx

    business is not like a household and not like a government and a household is not like a government or a business.

  •  Dear Republican Congress People (4+ / 0-)

    When you come home next to meet with your constituents, would you please pick up some eggs, milk, and a loaf of bread? Some of us are getting very hungry.

    Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

    by triplepoint on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 10:11:36 AM PDT

  •  I like that one! (0+ / 0-)

    It's more like what is actually happening.

    Crazy ex!

    Women create the entire labor force.
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 10:19:45 AM PDT

  •  Hilarious and accurate. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Absolutely needs to be posted.

    I'd probably characterize the 'ex' as a gun-loving neo-Nazi with horrifically racist signs on his front lawn, too.

  •  Doesn't matter who caused the excess spending (5+ / 0-)

    Regardless of whether it was Dems or Repubs that caused the excess government spending (it's been both), the fact remains that interest must be paid on the debt. The government interest is paid primarily to the wealthiest families in the world, often tax-free to them. Since taxes are paid primarily by lower and middle income working people (via regressive payroll and sales taxes), the net effect is that lower income people are paying taxes to the government who then turns around and pay it to the (mostly) 1%ers.

    If you like paying interest to the 1%ers, then by all means support government debt. If you care about lower and middle-income working people, then support raising taxes on the wealthiest via taxes on rent, interest, dividend and capital gain income on the biggest income earners and via eliminating multi-billion dollar tax subsidies paid to the wealthiest taxpayers.

    There are very few reasons why dominate economic players like the fed and state governments need to go into debt since they have tremendous taxing power. The main reason for governments to go into debt is an excuse to pay wealthy bondholders and create inflation, which harms the lowest and middle income groups the most and benefits the wealthiest since the wealthy own the majority of a country's assets.

  •  YES! While there's no real comparison, at least a (0+ / 0-)

    more accurate comparison of these budgets invokes a terribly selfish & irresponsible head of household fucking things up for everyone else.  

    The Strict Father is a Deadbeat Dad.

    It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

    by Leftcandid on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 10:45:14 AM PDT

  •  Sorry to be a stick in the mud ... (8+ / 0-)

    ... but entertaining these, "Government as household," metaphors loses the argument at the top.

    Because, frankly, government finance doesn't work anything like a household budget. Head of household has a typical lifespan of ~80 years, with only ~50 of those as someone living as an adult, earning income. Meaning, realistically, you only have a window of ~50 years to pay off any debts you have. As you get older, as that 50 turns into 40 years, 30 years, etc.., the windows of time that you have to pay down your debt get shorter as well. If you somehow managed to qualify for a 30 year mortgage at age 70, but died at age 80, that would leave the bill for the mortgage to your estate (or, could cause a default which would remove the housing asset from the estate).

    The thing is, that situation can't happen with a country, unless the country itself vanishes. The United States is not a 3rd world country. We're not going anywhere any time soon. From a finance perspective, implying that, "We can't pay our debts," implies that, yes, the US will vanish sometime soon.

    But the biggest difference is when it comes to money. The United States can print money, and all of US debt is valued in US dollars. In a worst case scenario, the US could simply print enough money to pay off the debt. This would likely trigger massive inflation, which is why we don't do it. Because, frankly, we've been good at paying down our debt and have no need to do this.

    The one place where a household metaphor makes sense, however, is with buying a house. In other words, sometimes people don't like the idea of the US going into 'debt' in order to pay for something now. Households do this all the time, though, at least the ones that buy homes or cars. In other words, households take out capital loans to build their assets all the time. If you really need to think of the US as a household in order to wrap your mind around sovereign debt, then its better to remind yourself that a road is just like a driveway that a lot of people use.

    •  People do and don't understand that (0+ / 0-)

      I feel that if we don't at least try to draw that metaphor with some (metaphorical) accuracy, then we end up with no audience at all, because most people's eyes just glaze over and they wander off looking for bacon. All the while, ceding the narrative to the bullshit artists who are highly motivated to keep things confusing, and keep them going as they are, with the scales tilted so the coins fall into their pockets and the rest of us wonder why we're left with only pocket lint.

      It's one thing to be accurate and factual--we've never had a problem with Democrats having facts at their fingertips. But that emotional message that distills things down into relatable concepts that are easily internalized...not so much.

      It might not be an accurate comparison, but it is one that people can understand. It is pointillism compared to photo-realism. It is a technique used by the other side for years to misdirect and distract, and it's high time we employed similar techniques to draw a better picture.

      How does the Republican Congress sit down with all the butthurt over taxing the wealthy?

      by athenap on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 11:21:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why is paying interest a good thing? (0+ / 0-)

      Interest is a wasted cost that's paid to the wealthiest families, many of whom live overseas. It's one thing to buy an asset with debt and decide to pay the interest expense because the asset is appreciating in value, but nearly all of government expenditures are expenses, not assets.

      Most homebuyers resent paying a bank up to three times the cost of the house just because the house was purchased with bank debt, but unfortunately most of us don't have a lot of extra cash where we can pay for the house without debt. But a government can raise money very easily, so there's no reason why it should be using debt to pay for its current expenses.

      I've never understood why people (especially liberals and "progressives") think it's good public policy for governments to pay interest expense to the wealthiest families when governments can easily raise the money they need through their taxing power. When the annual US budget contains 15-20% of total spending on interest expense paid to the wealthiest families, this means the government has less to spend on education, health or other vital services. For me, society benefits much more when taxes are spent on social services and less money is spent on interest payments to the wealthiest families.

      •  Use the rules of functional finance (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Auburn Parks

        1)    The government shall maintain a reasonable level of demand at all times. If there is too little spending and, thus, excessive unemployment, the government shall reduce taxes or increase its own spending. If there is too much spending, the government shall prevent inflation by reducing its own expenditures or by increasing taxes.

        2)    By borrowing money when it wishes to raise the rate of interest and by lending money or repaying debt when it wishes to lower the rate of interest, the government shall maintain that rate of interest that induces the optimum amount of investment.

        3)    If either of the first two rules conflicts with principles of 'sound finance' or of balancing the budget, or of limiting the national debt, so much the worse for these principles. The government press shall print any money that may be needed to carry out rules 1 and 2.

        So, there are reasons for the government to pay interest, but they are independent of whether the government should deficit spend and the difference should be made up by printing money.
    •  Effdot, I just wanted to add something that you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Surgeon

      said that is a little misleading.  Redeeming all outstanding US T-bonds would not at all absolutely lead to any inflation.  Paying off all the debt would be like a giant QE.  The Govt would exchange your T-bonds for bank deposits or reserves.  There would be no net new wealth created.  If you own a T-bond, you have financial wealth.  You are no wealthier the day after you sell it than the day before you sold it.  Your portfolio is just different.  And since everyone that owns T-bonds owns them as savings, it is not at all logical to assume everyone would race out and use their savings just because they have a non-interest bearing financial asset.  The Fed could just pay interest on reserves.  That money would funnel into diffferent asset classes that weren't as safe.  Mutual funds, Hedge Funds, MBS, CDO's maybe it would go into other countries Bonds, or municipal bonds.  But it certainly wouldn't all be spent on Xboxs, TV's food, etc.  

      MMT = Reality

      "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

      by Auburn Parks on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 06:14:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They way I've been approaching (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the FB arguments with my teabag sister, is different, based on my belief that we owe the debt to ourselves.

    "Its more like you decided your husband owes you $30/hour for 18 hours of your housework every day for thirty years,  and he is now in debt to you for over $5 million,  and he has to pay up now or you aren't cooking, cleaning, tending the kids, shopping,  and so on."

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 11:32:31 AM PDT

  •  If the "Government as Family" thing made sense ... (0+ / 0-)

    It might also be worth pointing out that FAMILIES routinely borrow one year's income (annual GDP)  and more to buy housing.

    Between the erosion of the debt due to inflation ... and the expectation of greater future earnings  -- "100% of GDP" is completely prudent and sustainable where families are concerned.  In fact, lenders consider it reasonable to extend even MORE credit, as long as the borrower keeps making all the payments on time.

    So, somewhere in the analogy there needs to be an analog for "the most significant taxpayers don't want to pay for social welfare, wages, infrastructure  -- or service their outstanding debt,  any more."

    I guess in the family example that would be:  The Breadwinner wants to quit work and enjoy life --  " and, children if you don't like that -- you can always leave home !"

  •  Wrong. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The government can get money any time it wants. The proper way to compare this with a household is to have unlimited access to new income.

    Do facts matter anymore?

    by Sinan on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 12:03:27 PM PDT

  •  Metaphor (0+ / 0-)

    The metaphor with respect to the debt ceiling would be akin to incurring all the charges mentioned, but then refusing to pay the bill because you think you ought to cut spending.  The debt limit simply authorizes the government to spend money that has already been appropriated by Congress. While you might argue about how much you should spend in the future, a refusal to raise the debt limit is about not paying for things you have already bought or contracted to buy.

  •  I'd just tell him to take a business (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Business Accounting 101 course at a community college.

    You quickly learn in Accounting that having a credit line with the bank is necessary for survival even for a tremendously profitable company in the black with a positive balance sheet.  

    You can be sure that Donald Trump didn't get where he is without using his credit card.  You can be damn sure that the Koch Brothers have an accounting crew floating and managing their commercial paper.  Open the newspaper business section and look at all the bonds and preferred stocks on the exchanges, all of them debt.  Owing debt doesn't make you broke.  Paying off your debt doesn't make you rich.

    This is some kind of provincial idea, that owing money is a sign of moral decadence.  It's how things are done at any level above that of a family budget.  Using family budgets for comparison just shows how ill-informed such a person is about how the world operates.

  •  After spending an hour trying to explain (0+ / 0-)

    the debt ceiling to a libertarian, I finally simplified as much as possible. I said, "You may need your wife to stop putting charges on the credit card, but you don't stop paying the bill. Not paying the bill never makes things better." Not quite accurate, but at least he now supports raising the debt limit.

    These people generally have very little imagination. You have to make your explanations concrete and personal.

    "The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality." --SC

    by tb92 on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 11:12:17 AM PDT

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