Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Sure the national debt is now $14 trillion, but look at the bright side. What is the bright side?

Asked by ETpro (34511points) December 22nd, 2010

I’ll throw one possibility out for starters. If not for US voters voting for free goodies and self-financing tax cuts for decade after decade; we might have thought Carl Sagan was actually talking about large numbers when he spoke of billions and billions of stars.

But certainly, when you are dealing with something as large as our National Debt, there has to be more than simply one bright point to ponder. There ought to be trillions and trillions of points of light. So let’s build a list. What bright side can you think of?

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31 Answers

Odysseus's avatar

Americas empire is crumbling and the world may soon be safer without their constant warmongering.

Winters's avatar

Those who hold are debts also turn out to have us as their biggest customers, and who would want to get rid of their best customer?

@Odysseus are we really crumbling or is it just a time of crisis, a challenge, we’re facing that may end up being a major decisive point as to how long the US will hold the title of the most powerful country?

filmfann's avatar

Every restaurant in the US will technically be Chinese!

john65pennington's avatar

Do you have a very good memory? do you have photos of say, 20 to30 years ago? i hope so. you are going to need these as a memory of the good times you use to have in America. i hate to sound like a war monger, but this is what i see as each day passes by. other countries want what we have and if the economy keeps going the way it is, others may not have that difficult of a time just to walk in, without firing a shot, and take over.

America is like a cancer and there is no cure. this is what i feel and what i am seeing each day. laws are not being enforced that should be enforced. the greedy keep pounding away at our financial strength and the leaders of our country just really do not appear to give a damn. sorry for the downside here, but your question has opened Pandoras Box and the evil ones are escaping to take over.

JLeslie's avatar

I was just saying the other day what basically @Winters wrote…the Chinese need us, because we buy all of their stuff, and we buy a shitload of oil from the Arabs.

But, I HATE the fucking debt! I hated it during Reagan, and I hate it now. I have no tolerance for owing so much money. My dad always told me money gives you power, independence, freedom, and autonomy. He was talking about it on an individual level, but it applies to the country also. We are becoming dependent and less powerful and it is scary to me.

ETpro's avatar

@Winters & @john65pennington Not to trivialize the problem. But we were in much worse debt as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) right after WWII, and the greatest generation rolled up their sleeves, taxed themselves, and paid that debt down. We don’t have to be in our death throes right now unless we are so mindless as to forget that history and ignore the fact there are no free government goodies or self-financing tax cuts.

@Winters is quite right. The Chinese do hold a fair amount of our debt, but Americans hold more, and so do Europeans. And the US is too big to fail for all its creditors. None of them want to force that. But I still vote with @filmfann that Chinese food is OK.

seazen's avatar

The bright side is, imh snarky opinion, that most Americans won’t notice it in their lifetimes, can go back to “sleep” and forget about things like that – like millions dying and starving around the world daily – its’ beyond their grasp. Thankfully. Or there’d be a riot.

I meant this in the most respectful way possible. Snarky, but respectful. I love the US of A.

ETpro's avatar

@seazen I post shit like this to make such a stink in their nostrils they will wake up. But sadly, I think you are likely right.

seazen's avatar

@ETpro You keep posting. You ask the best questions here by far.

gunther's avatar

On the bright side, at least it’s not 20 trillion… yet.

ETpro's avatar

@gunther Ha! On the bright side, you could have left of the “yet.”

ratboy's avatar

The US is crumbling in a quite literal sense—roads, bridges, railroads, and airports are subject to ever increasing usage, but are not being maintained. The bright side is that foreign governments have the cash to buy whatever type of US government they want via multinational corporations that have become “persons” through the magic of the Roberts court.

ratboy's avatar

If each person in the US were to pay just $50,000, the problem would go away. Come on, lets all do our part.

seazen's avatar

You first, buddy.


rooeytoo's avatar

No the first to pay should be the ones who are self righteously posting shit like this to make such a stink in the nostrils of the ignorants so they will wake up and do what the self righteous themselves are doing to solve the problem.

By the way what are the self righteous doing?

coffeenut's avatar

The Bright side is…It’s not too late to fix this…yet
$14 trillion is alot but if they shifted their view for a few years…the can and should fix their country…. If the US falls they won’t fall alone… and that would be worse

LuckyGuy's avatar

The bright side is even with $14T in debt…
The electricity runs 24/7, our homes are warm and dry in winter and cool in the summer, our poor have a higher rate of obesity than the general population, we are free to leave the country for any reason at any time, there are plenty of people who want to leave their country to live here, our rules of government with its check and balances – while not perfect – is still more trusted than many others: dictatorships, despots, etc., we are free to write and criticize anything we want without fear of reprisal.
With our GDP we could fix it in a few years if we hunkered down said screw the rest of the world and concerned ourselves with ourselves. No foreign aid, military actions on hold, no social security increase, severely reduced free social programs, people with disabilities should work and do something they are capable of doing, high taxes on foreign imports, prison work programs, etc.
The goal is to keep people working, productive, and move them from the welfare to taxpayer.
It will be painful but possible.

seazen's avatar

@rooeytoo You’re a fan of Et’s?

JLeslie's avatar

I like @coffenut answer.

@rooeytoo Those who hate the debt are trying. But, there is a real push back from those who abhor taxes, and there are enough of those people that they have an effect. And, on both side there are those who will spend into oblivion. But, I doubt @ETpro is fine with unleashed spending or lower taxes right now.

Were you in the states during the 80’s? I remember the debt rising under Reagan, and Republicans all around me, at the time my dad was one of them saying, “debt is ok.”. There is a former Reagan economist who supported his fiscal policies at the time, wish I could remember his name right now, saw him on TV the other day saying it was probably a bad idea, and not a good idea now.

And, I think @seazen is partially right. The truth is if the media and polticians in the media were not obsessing over telling the public about the economy and the national debt they would be going about their business without a care as long as they had a job and nice house. Little care for the bigger picture. I saw it in the 80’s before all of these news networks really took hold.

Above I said those who hate the debt are trying, but you have to hate it more than money in your own pocket to do something about it right now. Too many people not feeling that at the moment. There is also almost a biblical overtone against it here in the bible belt. Giving to charity is a blessing, giving to government a sin.

JLeslie's avatar

Here is a little from the economist I mentioned, David Stockman

rooeytoo's avatar

My question was based on @ETpro‘s comment, which I quoted, they were not words I would use. He says he posts “shit like this” so that “they” will wake up. It always makes me curious who are the “they” to whom he is referring and then who is opposite these apparently no good “theys.” Then of course the next query would have to be based on the fact that the op is not one of the complacent “theys” so what is he doing and what should the rest of us be doing so as not to be one of these hateful “theys.” I feel attacked and guilty because I might not be doing my share, I could be a “they.” But if I am enlightened as to what he is doing I might be able to do the same.

Inquiring minds want to know!

@seazen – is that a passive aggressive remark???

seazen's avatar

@rooeytoo It had a question mark, so it must’ve been a question – not a remark. But it was rhetorical in that you had written: self righteously posting shit like this to make such a stink in the nostrils of the ignorants

rooeytoo's avatar

@seazen – well I am grateful for that! And yes I do appreciate @ETpro‘s colorful prose and unique way with a word, that is why I quoted him, well sort of.

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo The they are each of us voters, and yes that has included me in the past, who go cast votes for some politician because they promise they have a fantastic plan to slash taxes and thereby reduce the debt, or because they have a antistatic plan to “give” us something we will find no need to pay for.

@coffeenut & @worriedguy Great answers.

rooeytoo's avatar

Ahhhh I see, if I (or we) vote for the guys you think are the best for the job, then we will wake up, smell the stink and be saved or be righteous like you. Here I thought I would actually have to do some work or something. I had no idea it was so easy! Thanks for that.

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo Not time for easy street yet. We are pretty deeply in the grasp of a corporatocracy, and the Robert’s court decision in Citizens United will make getting out of that FAR more difficult. So long as the corporatist put up the money to get their water carriers in office, the public larders will remain open, contracts will be let, and the debt will stack up.

incendiary_dan's avatar

First, let’s remember that economics is roughly 127% fiction. It’s so fictional that it gets a number both obviously made up and non-sensical.

Fortunately, models that predict the possibility of long term recovery fail to take into account the fact that there isn’t enough oil left that is easily accessible. There is also not enough time to change infrastructure, nor are there really enough deposits around the world of rare earth and other metals for people to make an infrastructure around solar, hydro, and wind. Simply put, there just simply isn’t enough juice to keep this beast going. Best we can do is work to make transitions easier.

The bright side is that without juice, the all-consuming machine that is the economy can no longer continue to “convert the living into the dead”, or at least not as much. It’ll be easier for people to re-establish sane local communities and locally-based economies. Pollution will likely be drastically reduced; in the days immediately following 9–11, air quality in North America drastically improved, due just to the lack of airplanes (there was probably a reduction of driving, too). Think of what will happen when more of the air and water polluting factories shut down (I just read about a single factory that kills 60 billion fish each year).

The tough part is that it seems that our corporate overlords both have too much power, and a proven predisposition towards feudalism.

ETpro's avatar

@incendiary_dan Very well done, @incendiary_dan. With your interest in sustainable living, you actually did manage to find a bright side of the grim picture.

seazen's avatar

@rooeytoo You do realize that self-righteous and posting shit that stinks in the nostrils are not, well, compliments.

rooeytoo's avatar

@seazen – I don’t know what the hell you are going on about??? And you received 2 GA’s for that comment, go figure…

seazen's avatar

Hmmm. If you don’t know…

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