Open Thread: Debt Ceiling or Credit Limit and Other Nonsense
I got a letter from my credit card company the other day ... it said:
Congratulations! We have increased your credit limit to $XX!
Apparently they thought increasing my spending limit was a good thing -- the CONGRATULATIONS! part was heavily emphasized (see below).
They didn't tell me that I could only spend the increase on DingDongs and that I had to curtial my spending at Old Navy. No, the letter simply said I could now spend more money.
The United States government has a AAA credit rating -- I'm not sure what that is in Equifax terms, but I'm pretty sure its as good as mine. The point is, if I can get a credit limit increase (without asking -- and without a job), then the government should be able to get one too. Maybe we are just framing it the wrong way. Instead of calling it a Debit Ceiling Increase, it should be a Credit Limit increase.
Credit limits are based on your ability to repay the debt, and ability to repay is based on incoming revenue. From my little corner of the universe it would seem that the federal government is dealing with decreased revenue and increased spending (did they finally put the wars into the general budget?).
Is spending out of control? Yes But, partly because declining revenues are out of control. By continuing to kill off jobs, we are only going to rack up more bills and less revenue. Duh!
I don't have any answers, hell, I don't even really understand all of the nuances to the deficit debate. Some things (from a purely middle class (unemployed) perspective) seem pretty clear.
- If everybody that wanted a job, had a job -- not just any job, but a living wage job -- just think what the tax revenues would be
- All of those people (10% of the population) would then be off of unemployment, off of public assistance -- just think how much money would be saved.
- Stop outsourcing jobs. America needs the jobs more than the corportists need to save money.
- Tax the corporations. If they aren't going to create living wage jobs for Americans, then we don't need them.
I am going to share this antedote, not as a whine, but as a personal perspective on the issue.
Up until the end of 1999 I had a great job. Job was outsourced. I have since been unemployed, underemployed or self employed ... and my income has been 60% less than when I was fully employed.
So. I have drawn unemployment (expense), paid less taxes (lower revenue) and my previous employer -- saved money on wages and paid no taxes. In this scenario, both I and the federal government lost, while the corporation and its shareholders benefited.
Lets do a little math. Based on my 1999 income and tax bracket, if I had kept the same job at the same wages I would have paid $277,200 in federal income tax from 2000-2010. Let's assume that there are 3 million other people just like me ... that would be a whopping $831,600,000,000 in lost tax revenue over the last 11 years. That is almost 1 Trillion dollars.
We currently have 14.1 million [PDF] unemployed in this country. All of those people represent an expense rather than a source of revenue. Seems pretty clear that the answer to our problem is JOBS, Jobs, jobs ....
PS - I will leave the Post Office closures for later.
This is an Open Thread.