Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mad Deficits & Debt

Econbrowser has a post that caught my eye with its reference to an old favorite of mine, Mad Magazine.

In $9 trillion-- what, me worry? James Hamilton writes:
I also believe it is relevant to compare these deficits not just with GDP but also with current federal tax revenues. $1 trillion is approximately the total personal income tax receipts of the federal government in 2006. My preferred metric for what each additional trillion dollars would require from me personally is to take what I paid in federal income taxes in 2006 and double that amount. To pay off $9 trillion, I'd have to do that for 9 years.
It's not just the federal government that has a problem though. Here's the Wisconsin State Journal from June:

Like a financially strapped consumer facing higher credit card bills, the state would face unprecedented debt payments over the next four years under state budget proposals by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle and lawmakers.

By 2012, yearly payments on state debt will likely consume at least 4.5 percent of the state’s total income from taxes and fees, according to projections by the Legislature’s and Doyle’s budget offices. That’s 13 percent higher than the 4 percent threshold state officials have long considered to be a reasonable limit.

At some point, spending and taxation will have to find a sensible balance; something that is no doubt easier said than done. Those with an affinity for seeking government solutions to all the problems of society ought to wake up and smell the revenue, or lack thereof. There is no support for even moderate increases in the tax burden and rightfully so.

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