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Re: [carfree_cities] mood of the US people

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  • J.H. Crawford
    ... Yes. The problem is, of course, that the other half of the Keynesian formula is never followed: in the fat years, you pay off the debt. I recently ran into
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 31, 2012
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      Aaron responded:

      >Debt spending is a vitally important way out of major crises. Consider on a
      >personal level, that one needs occasionally to take on debt to study, or
      >make an investment of other types. The national case is also clear.

      Yes. The problem is, of course, that the other half
      of the Keynesian formula is never followed: in the
      fat years, you pay off the debt.

      I recently ran into an analysis of US debt (IIRC it was
      in the print edition of the NY Times). The real issue
      is that the per-capita federal debt has rises from about
      half of average annual income to nearly twice average
      annual income. (I forget the time span; it's probably
      since about 1970.)

      At some point, debt becomes insupportable, a fact that
      several European countries are now rediscovering.

      As far as the screed that I re-posted, if you want the
      actual facts, see this:

      http://www.factcheck.org/2011/03/congressional-reform-act/

      I think, basically, that this is one more symptom of
      the anger so many people feel against the 1% and their
      notions of their own exceptionalism.

      Best,

      J.




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    • Richard Risemberg
      ... And of course try running an inventory-based business without debt! As Krugman and others have pointed out, national debt is money owed to ourselves. A
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 31, 2012
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        On Jan 31, 2012, at 11:45 AM, Aaron Thomas wrote:

        > Debt spending is a vitally important way out of major crises.
        > Consider on a
        > personal level, that one needs occasionally to take on debt to
        > study, or
        > make an investment of other types. The national case is also clear.


        And of course try running an inventory-based business without debt!

        As Krugman and others have pointed out, national debt is money owed
        to ourselves. A country shouldn't be required to turn a profit, or
        necessarily even be revenue-neutral.

        The problem we have is that people want infrastructure and services
        that are natural monopolies and thus appropriately provided through
        collective action, but don't want to fund them through taxes. They
        want them to be as free as they appear.

        You can't have a market in roads or water supply etc--I can't go out
        my door and choose from among five or six streets depending on which
        street purveyor has a sale on this morning! Likewise water, sewage,
        and fire & police protection, et al. Health care has also proven to
        be something that the market provides inefficiently and ineffectively
        (US vs. Europe & Japan).

        Back to inventory--cities (and nations) provide inventories of spaces
        and services--including squares, utilities, transport facilities, and
        often transportation modalities themselves (eg, rail services; in
        Japan private and government rail services coexist and cooperate);
        none of this can be done with]out debt even in a high-tax society.

        What we suffer from here is the perception prevalent among Americans
        that everything must be bought and sold and that life is better when
        you do so, and that taxation impedes the buying and selling of every
        physical and social aspect of the culture.

        Cars are so desperately defended by the neandercons because they are
        thought to be a way of privatizing naturally public spaces.

        Carfree cities, transit, national health insurance, and bicycling are
        seen as threats to the "market," event though the market has
        historically failed at providing transportation, water, and health
        care in an equitable and effective manner.

        Government debt, like business debt, simply provides a means to
        engage in long-term projects, and is paid back to the public with
        interest.

        Rick
        --
        Richard Risemberg
        http://www.bicyclefixation.com
        http://www.newcolonist.com
        http://www.rickrise.com







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