Run this 32 second commercial. At the 20 second point your are going to say …WHAT? …or WHOA! …or at the very least, HUH?
The commercial was prepared for the 2004 Super Bowl. The ad was produced by MoveOn.org but rejected by the network, or whomever it is that passes on such things, on the grounds that it was too political. Funny how the left detests debt only when they are not the ones doing the spending.
Why the Debt Ceiling Fight Is So Fierce
Really now, how serious is this national debt problem?. Figures fly at us like a fleet of locusts. The onslaught of numbers comes from all directions, talk radio, think tanks, politicians and from agencies of the government itself. The size alone makes it impossible to relate.
We have been told how many freight cars it would take to hold a trillion one dollar bills and how many times a trillion dollars worth of sawbucks would go around the world laid end to end. But that doesn’t tell us anything useful; it just shows the numbers are big. We knew that. Then we read about percentages of GDP. What does that mean? How can we relate? How can we make sense of it? We do it by relating expenses and debt to income, not to freight cars or GDP. Our table relates the financial state of the nation to basic family finances.
The government numbers in the table are fixed. Except for Unfunded Liabilities which is an estimate; the figures are reported facts. The family side is a “what-if” table. It answers the question — if a family had an income of 80,000 dollars with spending and debt in the same ratio to family income as the government ratios, where would the family be?
The answer is nearly unimaginable. Such a family would have a half million dollars in outstanding debt, over 600,000 dollars in additional future commitments, no savings and still spending nearly 60% more than they earn. Is it any wonder the rating agencies are prepping us for a downgrade? Is it any wonder why there is a stalemate in Congress when some members, with the backing of the president, actually want to increase federal spending and debt while others insist on cutting both before it’s too late?
If your income is half the 80,000, cut the rest of the numbers on the family side in half. If your income is double, double them. If you have a blog please feel free to take the table and use it as you wish. The more distribution it gets, the better.
Click the table to enlarge it.
John Kerry docks his yacht in Rhode Island where taxes are lower rather than in Boston Harbor which would be a little more convenient. Kerry isn’t the only one, you can be sure of that. Rhode Island gets more revenue because their tax rate is lower. Massachusetts gets less revenue because their tax rate is higher.
Do not be critical of John Kerry for moving his boat, excuse me, his yacht. It was the smart thing to do. You and I would do the same if we had a yacht, in my case it would be a boat.
This is but one example illustrating why a 10% increase in tax rates does not produce a 10% increase in revenue. People have alternatives. Economists have a name for it. They call it the law of “Rational Expectations”.
Debt and Taxes
California and New York are two of the states in the nation with the weakest balance sheets.
California and New York are two of the states in the nation with the highest rates of taxation.
This is not a coincidence.