BLOG Why Republicans Want a Huge National Debt

Warning: Long post with lots of financial terms. Before you bail and read something else, just remember that that’s what Bush is counting on — “don’t worry your pretty little head about all this economics stuff, we’ll take care of it”.

I mentioned last week that Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest people, had expressed great alarm about the US trade deficit, expected to grow this year by another trillion dollars or so, to $10T, but he was unconcerned about the size of the US budget deficit, expected to increase this year by between $400 billion (if you believe the optimistic budget) and $900 billion (if deficits continue at the levels they have for the last four months), bringing the national debt to about $9T.

The reason he thinks this way is that, coming from a business background, he sees the federal accounts through a business lens, and assesses government finances as if government were just a giant corporation. In times of low interest rates, businesses are encouraged to borrow heavily, even if they don’t need the money, and to use the funds to establish new businesses, buy business assets, or acquire other companies.


The principle behind this is called leverage, and it holds that as long as the cost of borrowing (the interest rate on additional loans) is significantly less than the rate of return on the equity (‘ROE’) purchased with those loans (and ROEs of 15-25% are quite common among Fortune 500 companies), it makes sense to borrow at the low rate (especially since the interest is tax deductible) and invest it to yield the higher rate (especially since capital gains have been increasingly tax-sheltered under recent regimes).

The only caveat is to avoid getting over-leveraged, to the point that the ratio of debt to equity (equity being the accumulated investments and earnings that have not been paid out in dividends) gets so high that a company becomes vulnerable to sudden spikes in interest rates or a fall-off of revenue, and cannot meet its interest payments or dividend obligations.

Here’s an example to illustrate this. A typical corporate balance sheet and income statement for the past year might look like this (all amounts in billions of dollars):

Working capital (cash, inventory etc.) $3.0 Debts, bearing interest at 5% $4.0
Real estate and equipment 3.0 Equity 2.0
   Total $6.0    Total $6.0
Revenues $10.0
Expenses 8.8
Interest on Debts @ 5% 0.2
Pretax income 1.0
Income taxes 0.2
Net income (profit) 0.8
Dividends paid 0.4
Retained earnings $0.4

This company has a healthy 40% return on equity (ROE = 0.8/2.0) and a healthy 13% return on assets (ROA = 0.8/6.0), a comfortable debt/equity ratio of 2:1 (4.0/2.0) and income before interest (10.0 – 8.8 = 1.2) of six times the interest expense of 0.2.

Now suppose they decide they should leverage their company’s high returns by borrowing another $4B to acquire a competitor which they think would also, under their management, with massive layoffs on acquisition, attract a 13% ROA. Assuming they’re right, this is what the financial statements would look like a year later:

Working capital (cash, inventory etc.) $5.7       Debts, bearing interest at 5% $8.0
Real estate and equipment 5.0 Equity 2.7
   Total $10.7    Total $10.7
Revenues $13.0
Expenses 11.0
Interest on debts @5% 0.4
Pretax income 1.6
Income taxes 0.3
Net income (profit) 1.3
Dividends paid 0.6
Retained earnings $0.7

Thanks to leverage, profits are up 62%, the ROE is 48% (1.3/2.7), the ROA is 12% (1.3/10.7) and income before interest (13.0 – 11.0 = 2.0) is 5 times the interest expense of 0.4. The CEO who leveraged the debt and took over the other company looks like a genius. High fives, big management salary increases and share options all round.

But suppose in the third year of this example interest rates suddenly spike to 10% instead of 5%, and that causes customers to be stingy, so revenues of the company drop by 30%. Unless salaries are cut back as soon as the fall-off becomes apparent (and this rarely happens) profit would completely disappear. ROE and ROA would be zero, and times-interest-earned would fall from 5 to less than 1.

At this point, if they’re prudent, the company’s lenders would call some or all of their $8B loans. The company would then need to sell off or close half of their operations to reduce costs. If this is done at a loss (at less than book value) which is not uncommon in a forced sale situation, the company could end up insolvent, unable to pay its trade creditors, and forced into bankruptcy. The shareholders would be looking for blood. That’s the risk of leverage.

Now let’s go back to the US government and look at their accounts, this time in trillions of dollars rather than billions:

Working capital (cash, inventory etc.) $x       Debts, bearing interest at, say 3% $9.0
Real estate and equipment y Equity x+y-9
   Total $x+y    Total $x+y
Revenues $2.1
Expenses 2.8
Deficit $ -0.7

The accumulated debt of $9T, despite being four times annual government revenues, is currently manageable for three reasons:

  • Interest rates are low — despite recent increases by the Fed, the government only pays about 3% interest on its debt.
  • Most of the debt is denominated in US dollars, so the steady slide of the dollar against other currencies doesn’t affect the size of the debt or the interest on it.
  • While no one really knows what ‘y’ is (the liquidation value of all government-owned land and buildings) it is certainly a very large number, so the debt/equity ratio of the government, though rising rapidly, is probably still quite small.

This is why Buffett isn’t worried about the national debt. However, if the trade deficit (which Buffett is worried about) isn’t reduced, confidence in the US dollar will continue to fall and, as is happening now, creditors (like China and Saudi Arabia) will not be able to sustain the foreign exchange losses (which could wipe out their profits). They will insist that the US buy in euros, or yuan, or some ‘basket’ of currencies with fundamentals stronger than the US dollar. That will produce a double-whammy:

  • The US deficit, and debt, will jump in proportion to the decline in the US dollar, and
  • US interest rates will spike as investors flee US dollar investments in favour of those of countries with more responsible fiscal and monetary policies.

If the US had to pay, say, 9% interest on its debt (spikes like that are not unprecedented) instead of 3%, that would add over $0.5 trillion in annual interest expense, nearly doubling the annual deficit. And since the interest rate spike and inflationary price increases will cut into corporate and individual earnings, it will also lower government revenues to the point they are only half of expenses, a rate of debt accumulation that, as in Argentina a few years ago, could make the US dollar virtually worthless and produce an economic collapse that will be felt around the world.

There are two ways to prevent this. The first is to double tax rates, and you know no Republican regime will do that. The second is to sell off large amounts of public property to private interests at a greatly accelerated rate. This second alternative fits precisely with the Norquist/neocon “weaken government until you can drown it in a bathtub” agenda. They would then be doing exactly what corporations do — treat the entire country’s public property, the Commons, as an enterprise in liquidation, as economist Herman Daly has described. Until they’re sold off to private developers, they’re ‘worth’ nothing because they generate little or no cash revenues.

So now you know why Bush is not only unworried but actually pleased with skyrocketing deficits. They give him the excuse to cut government services and programs (if you read the harsh rhetoric of his annual budget he makes no bones about the fact he sees only defense and ‘homeland security’ expenses as essential), and to sell off ‘priceless’ parks, national forests and other public lands inexpensively to Republican campaign donors.

By this analogy, the ‘shareholders’ of the US are its taxpayers. They should be outraged that their assets are being given away, and their ‘investments’ (taxes paid) so badly mismanaged. Imagine if Google or Microsoft were to do this: Their shareholders would not be happy to learn that to pay off their huge debts it would be necessary to sell off priceless corporate assets at fire-sale prices to friends of management. If this was tried in the private sector there would be a hastily-convened special general meeting of shareholders and directors, and the managers would be fired and possibly charged with negligence and imprisoned.

But because no one knows what ‘y’ is (the real, rapidly-increasing value of all public holdings), we can’t audit Bush’s sell-offs to discover how cheaply these assets are being sold off — though the discounts will eventually have to be made up by the next generation’s taxpayers. And as a result we can’t tell either how much is left to “drown in the bathtub”. And that means we don’t know how necessary it is, and will be, to cancel or privatize all government social services and programs to reduce the need for even more fire-sale sell-offs of taxpayers’ property.

So no wonder Buffett isn’t worried about the size of the debt. His companies stand to benefit both from the huge Bush tax cuts to the rich (though I give Buffett credit — he does pay his taxes and is scornful of the many corporations that don’t), and fire-sale divestiture of public assets to private corporations. Through his lens of government-as-corporation (rather than government as steward of public assets, standard-setter for social services and sustenance provider to those unable to help themselves), the private sector can always manage any ‘business’ better than government can. In the US, as a result, private enterprises are slowly taking over the provision of essential services (education, health, transportation etc.) and studies indicate they are more bureaucratic, more expensive and less efficient than the government agencies they replace (the bureaucracy and waste in the privatized US health care sector chews up half of every health care dollar it receives in administration costs).

No matter that private companies, in taking on these essential-for-all services, are only really interested in serving ‘customers’ who have lots of money to pay for higher-margin, premium services. No matter that priceless public assets are being virtually gifted to private corporations who see value only in ‘developing’ them for the crassest purposes. No matter that trillions of dollars are being wasted on ‘defense’ and ‘security’ boondoggles like Star Wars, ludicrous spying and other invasions of privacy and abrogations of human rights and the law, and imperialistic wars in the Mideast — all designed to fatten the wallets of private ‘defense contractors’ while making life for Americans much less safe. The plan is clearly to liquidate the people’s assets and leave nothing for the next, more liberal, government to borrow against, so that government will be unable to restart essential public service programs.

It’s too bad that America’s starved and broken education system doesn’t teach economics programs that show this theft for what it really is. By the time most Americans wake up to what the neocons have done with their assets and tax dollars, and the bankrupt legacy the neocons are leaving for future generations, it will be too late. Americans will then have to do what so many countries have had to do when their public purses have been completely pillaged by corrupt political opportunists — nationalize the industries that are not serving the majority of citizens, and reappropriate the lands that were sold to private interests at a fraction of their real value. And the cycle of seizure and theft will start all over again.

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24 Responses to BLOG Why Republicans Want a Huge National Debt

  1. Mark H says:

    Nice piece of work, Dave.

  2. I think these are some interesting points. I agree that Republicans are much less fiscally responsible than Democrats, in general. However, I think you’re overstating the degree to which we are at immediate risk. For example, your graph of the debt is linear and not adjusted for GDP growth. Take a look at this graph at the Concord Coalition’s site for a picture of US government debt versus GDP. is a big outlier that distorts the rest of the graph. Our experience of the late 40s/early 50s shows that we can shoulder that kind of debt without going bankrupt.However, WWII was a generational crisis, the kind of thing that comes along once every 80-100 years or so (yes, I’m a fan of “The Fourth Turning”). The reason these debts are a long term risk (as opposed to an immediate one) is that they reduce our readiness for a big, WWII size crisis.I don’t think Bush is a real “starve the beast,” Norquist style Republican. He has too much at stake in maintaining big government to want it to collapse. Rather, he and Congressional Republicans are overspending because of political expediency.As for Warren Buffett, he’s a Democrat. I don’t think it’s quite right to associate him with Bush and the Congressional Republicans.

  3. robert says:

    Thanks for writing all this.I enjoy reading your page, as it really helps me be more aware of the things I’m outraged at.I feel you do a good job of bringing to light many of the complex problems that are affecting our world.

  4. Joe says:

    Dave, I know this is your blog, but don’t you think you should at least mention that this is your opinion. You have no proof that this is Bush’s intention, no proof that he is unworried about deficits, no proof that he intends to liquidate the National Forests. All you have is a theory, a guess, backed up by some disparate numbers. The rest is just scare tactics and paranoia – in my opinion. And as is typical for the left-wing, you didn’t adjust any of these numbers for growth in GDP which, though not something I want to bet all my money on, has been known to obliterate deficits like these (1997-1999, US for example).

  5. Ginger says:

    Thank you for so clearly explaining the national debt, the trade deficit, how they are related, and the disastrous results of allowing Republican administrations (particularly the current one) to so undermine the economic stability of America that our priceless public assets are at risk of being sacrificed to give even more to those who already have far too much. I believe that most Americans have no idea of what is happening to our country. Intimidated by the complexities of economic jargon and political science, and fooled into believing that social services are bankrupting us, we ignorantly allow the government free reign to spend our tax money to benefit the wealthy. Most of us don

  6. David says:

    There isn’t much concern for a falling dollar because it will actually decrease the real value of all that debt the government have. You say “The US deficit, and debt, will jump in proportion to the decline in the US dollar”. Why would the amount of *existing* debt increase proportionately? Existing debt dollars will increase by the interest rate. Existing debt *real value* will not increase at all or at least not in proportion to the decrease of the dollar.

  7. David Jones says:

    The Canadian Government flirted with the liquidity notion for some time…..adding up the replacement costs of bridges, freeways, office buildings and jet aircraft. Then the light went on. Who would buy this stuff? Most of it is run down and/or obsolete, located in out of the way places, contaminated, etc. etc. etc. Net value? negligible.

  8. Ethan says:

    Umm… we’re talking about the same Prez Bush who has increased entitlements more than any other President, right? This guy is LBJ part two – an expensive war abroad and big increases in social spending at home. You liberals crack me up. If this guy had a ‘D’ after his name you’d love him. Why not just condider the simplest explanation: Bush is just taking the easiest possible route. He never says no to any spending anywhere.

  9. Ken Hirsch says:

    This entire commentary is riddled with errors and distortions from end to end. As others have pointed out, the graphs represent nominal dollars, not adjusted for inflation, population growth, or, better yet, the size of the economy. The federal debt was 56% of the GDP in 1960, 58% in 2000, and is estimated to be 65% in 2005.The methods of analysis are entirely inappropriate for the federal government. There are no plans to sell off assets, nor would it raise much money. Taxes would not need to be doubled–the gap between expenditures and revenue is only 20% (not the 33% in your fictional balance statement.Also, the America’s education system is neither “starved” nor “broken”. Expenditures per pupil are at a record high. Total government expenditures on education are over 600 billion dollars, much higher than the “starved” defense department. If you add in private expenditures, education is twice as large as the defense. The test scores of American children are lower than many other countries, but 90% of the difference can be traced to America’s ethnic make-up, not the efficacy of its schools. Despite this, America sends a greater proportion of students to college than Canada or any European country.

  10. sampo says:

    Ken Hirsch said: “The test scores of American children are lower than many other countries, but 90% of the difference can be traced to America’s ethnic make-up, not the efficacy of its schools.”Please provide links to the research that backs up this arrogant racist remark…

  11. medaille says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people that don’t agree with you read your blog and comment. I guess they are attracted by other topics you discuss.To me, as a citizen, I expect one thing out of the government. They only have one job: to act as a lever to magnify my happiness. I expect them to do more for me than what I could do for myself if I didn’t pay them taxes. Am I satisfied with their performance? No, not really. The biggest reason is that they are so incredibly wasteful with our money. They are just pissing potential down the drain. Everything a politician does is done to line his own pockets with other peoples’ money. I don’t really understand how everyone got so selfish.I don’t really know much about Buffet, so he probably could be viewing things though a government as a business lense, which if true is definitely a flawed perspective, just do to the fact that if a company goes under, it kind of sucks, but if a government goes under, all hell will break loose for people. I don’t think that Bush views things through a business lense. I think he views things through a power-grab lense, where he’ll try to implement whatever he can to further his and his cronies power into the future. To tell you the truth I don’t even think they really even care how rich they are, just as long as they are getting more power to control other peoples lives.Ginger summed up my feelings pretty well. I get so sick of having political conversations with people who are 10 times less informed than I am yet still insist on trying to correct me. I can tell just by talking with someone for a couple of minutes how open-minded and how good at comprehending they are. If one thing is certain, the more I know, the more I realize how little I actually know. Didn’t everyone else learn that lesson?Ethan, I don’t think you have any concept of what liberal is. To be liberal is to be responsible. That’s it. To be responsible for the environment, the poor, the budget, or whatever. To be liberal is not equivalent to spending money. True liberals are not fooled by people being labeled a D or an R. That said there are a lot of people (most people) who are labeled as either liberal or conservative, who would better be labeled as puppet, because they don’t think for themselves. I think you are only partially right in Bush taking the easiest possible route. I think its pretty obvious that he doesn’t really care about the budget at all as long as it doesn’t bite him in the ass. Bush is way more concerned about pushing his goals and seeing them completed. Everything he does is designed to widen the gap between the social elite and everyone else. This is what makes me partially believe that he’s acting on the illuminatis behalf rather than his own self-interest. Its weird in that his/their actions are designed to produce chaos, rather than what other leaders strive for: stability.If Bush was really interested in maintaining his own power and control over the long run, he would make an effort to ensure that the gap between the rich and the poor was small enough to not collapse our economy, yet large enough for them to control every one. Right now, we’re at a pretty good level for that in that people are too poor to really live comfortably, so they have to stay too busy to make ends meet, but that can only last for a little while longer before capitalistic laws collapse our economy. The absolute biggest problem we have is the widening gap between the elite and everyone else. I think that his disconsideration for responsible spending is desgined to push the economy into collapse to promote chaos, which the social elite would be in the best position to control, at least for a short time. The problem for them is, are we going to turn into argentina or are we going to turn into a herd of sheep controlled by whoever has the most guns? Only the latter is really good for them, and I don’t think they are powerful enough to ensure that given our large geographical area.Ken Hirsch made a decent point in There are no plans to sell off assets, nor would it raise much money. I don’t the plan is really to sell of a large quantity of assets. I think the plan is more along the lines of how do we privatize as much of the government as possible. How do we sell of certain functions of the government such as say health care/welfare/funding for education while maintaining things such as benefits for the rich and a large military presence on foreign soil.Also, the America’s education system is neither “starved” nor “broken”. Expenditures per pupil are at a record high. Total government expenditures on education are over 600 billion dollars This is typical of half thought through responses. All republicans I know think primarily in terms of money, as if spending money equals better results. America sends a greater proportion of students to college than Canada or any European country. Again sending people to college doesn’t equal better educated people. A better test is, “how prepared are they for life.” and by life, I certainly don’t mean society’s definition of life, I mean nature’s definition of life. The people I see walking around aren’t prepared for life, they are prepared to be dependent on the institutions around them. If say our economy collapses, they aren’t prepared for that. We are less prepared to take on a new “Great Depression” than we were the last time it came around. We are ill prepared to be independent. We are ill prepared to control the institutions that control our lives. We are ill prepared to make ourselves happy in a non-consumeristic manner. We certainly aren’t prepared to do the most important thing our species should be concerned with which is self-regulation of our population size.

  12. Ginger says:

    Mr. Hirsch has shown himself to be a prime example of the broken American education system. Such poorly educated Americans too often believe and defend the lies of the right-wing. In their ignorance they refuse to acknowledge that patriotism and love of country are not compatible with allowing the wealthy to rape the environment and bankrupt the citizens in order to attempt to satisfy their greed. Instead of being educated to value human life, biodiversity, and a clean, healthy environment, they are taught by church and state to elect, blindly follow and defend right-wing politicians, to hawkishly value war over peace, and to embrace bigotry instead of generosity of spirit which promotes inclusiveness.I know many people in America who think like Mr. Hirsch, people so brainwashed by the right-wing that they steadfastly refuse to accept the truth. They are the reason America has suffered, and continues to suffer, the moral, financial and environmental degradation promulgated by G.W. Bush and Co. Until these people allow themselves to be truly educated (and I don

  13. Dave Pollard says:

    Mark, Robert, Ginger, Medaille: Thank you, for your kind words and for your articulate and heartfelt rebuttals of the arguments of the resident critics. I’ve given up replying to them; it’s just a waste of time.I deliberately do not adjust the numbers for GDP growth. Many economists have shown (and I’ve reported some of their arguments on these pages) that GDP is an absolutely meaningless measure of economic health. It wildly overstates the actual productivity of the economy, and any debt that is growing at anywhere near the rate of GDP is growing out of control.’David without a last name’: It is the NEW, foreign-currency-denominated deficit, and debt, that will jump in proportion to the decline in the US dollar.David Jones: Absolutely right. It is the land, not the buildings and equipment, that is ‘priceless’, which is exactly what is being given away. The rest, as Medaille points out, is privatized instead.

  14. Isn’t it ok to not understand things like this? As long as we encourage people we trust, like yourself, to stay on top of it. Specialization and division of labour. Thought is labour too.

  15. medaille says:

    Isn’t it ok to not understand things like this? As long as we encourage people we trust, like yourself, to stay on top of it. Specialization and division of labour. Thought is labour too.Thats iffy. Because while you may trust Dave or whomever, there are other people that may trust Bush or someone. Then you end up in this dilemma of never actually having anything concrete or well-thought-out to believe in, because your opinions are just other people’s opinions and you have no idea of how they came to their conclusion. I would say that at the very minimum you need to think enough things through from beginning to end to know whether you can trust the person you trust, and none of those people should be politicians ;). The way that I see tend to approach things like that, that are important to know, but not really in my field is to use other people as a method of being introduced to new important topics and to listen to their arguments for or against something, then I sort through it in my mind.

  16. Ken Hirsch says:

    Please provide links to the research that backs up this arrogant racist remarkFacts are not racist or arrogant. Every study that breaks down test scores by ethnicity shows that white children in the U.S. perform similarly to white children in other countries. East Asians score higher, Hispanics score lower and blacks score lower still. The pattern is the same in every state, every school district I’ve seen and every country that releases results by ethnicity.Compare the TIMMS results by ethnicity to those by country.For more on this, you could read the book The Black-White Test Score Gap–available online. There is also a summary article at the American Prospect web site.

  17. Ken Hirsch says:

    This is typical of half thought through responses. All republicans I know think primarily in terms of money, as if spending money equals better results.On the contrary, I know that school results are not highly correlated with spending. I was only rebutting the false assertion that American schools are “starved.”

  18. Ken Hirsch says:

    I deliberately do not adjust the numbers for GDP growth. Many economists have shown (and I’ve reported some of their arguments on these pages) that GDP is an absolutely meaningless measure of economic health. It wildly overstates the actual productivity of the economy, and any debt that is growing at anywhere near the rate of GDP is growing out of control.Any economist knows that GDP is only one measure, and not the be-all and end-all of measurements, but I really doubt you could get even one in a thousand to see that it is “absolutely meaningless.”For the purpose of determining how much debts and deficits matter, it is highly relevant.

  19. I have to agree with Ken Hirsch on the GDP question. If the U.S. economy were a household, we would certainly consider annual income (which is a rough equivalent of GDP on the human/household scale) when assessing its debt load.Medaille wrote, “It never ceases to amaze me how many people that don’t agree with you read your blog and comment. I guess they are attracted by other topics you discuss.”Well, I don’t always agree with everything you write, Dave. However, your posts are always interesting and thoughtful and you take the time to address important issues. Not only that, I have tremendous respect for someone who can create pages of thoughtful, intelligent, articulate writing day after day. Medaille, I hope that gives you some idea of how someone who doesn’t agree with everything written on these pages might want to read (and gain some knowledge from) them nonetheless. I like to keep my mind open and welcome points of view different from my own.

  20. Ryan says:

    Please, before you write any more equations, read “Running Money”.You have no reason to worry your pretty little head. I promise. This is not a Republican thing. Any Democrat (who is wise) would do the same thing. On second thought, maybe the latter qualification makes it exclusively Republican ;)*hint* Your 3 main reasons for the debt being manageable are missing something.

  21. Dave Pollard says:

    I’ve read all the books about the ‘real’ value of the economy being in intellectual capital. In fact I even helped in the writing of a couple of them. Information is always trying to be free, and it is only oligopoly-created distortions in the market that allow the price of anything to be many times its cost — for awhile. That was the lesson of the dot-com bust. An unrepayable debt is an unrepayable debt, period.

  22. Lizzie says:

    I just can’t believe that our government continues to allow the deficit to increase exponentially, while simultaneously promising millions of dollars in aid to other countries every year. – How is it that we continue to think we can afford it? (It seems like the US is expected to out their money to everyone…but at the same time there is going to have to be some point when we admit to ourselves and others that we are broke.) And you can bet that other countries are not going forgive OUR debt when the time comes.

  23. Jordan says:

    Thank you Dave for the excellent essay.Why do these people care nothing about America when they claim to? They are the ones always talking about patriotism. Is it just a gang of rich people wanting to be richer? Or are they so delusional they think what they are doing is “right”How can these thugs be treated as having a valid viewpoint when it is so obvious they are trying to bankrupt and destroy this country? In this era of free flowing information, it seems hard to believe republicans still have a chance. I guess it is their co-opting of religion and other tactics they have used so successfully.I understand that people like Ken have been brainwashed into defending the right wing. I have met many people like this and it is disgusting and saddening. I had christian friends that have become anti-science (!) simply because science supports evolution. It is amazing they could be so blind. Logic and the scientific method is dearly needed today in an era of propaganda, disingenuity and lies. Even liberals are very susceptible and need the scientific method as evidenced by things such as believing emotions can influence water, and organizations like greenpeace which fight the fusion energy research that could save our world because “nuclear = bad”.Do we have any hope? Our leadership structures are so corrupt that it seems hard to see any light. Beyond the pure evil of the executive, and the corruption and corporate influence on both sides of the aisle in congress, Bush even managed to plant 2 insiders on the supreme court including the very young chief justice, as well as appointing 25% of insiders to appeals and other courts all across the country. Things seem so bleak… How have Henry Kissinger and the rest of the neo-conservatives managed to sneak along and remain with the reins in their hands for so many decades? ……By the way Ken, perhaps black people do worse on tests because they were once slaves in this country? Kind of hard to pull even withwhites when people like you would never support the social programs that could lift them up, and fight anyone who would try.

  24. Deb V. says:

    I don’t know … Alexander Hamilton was a businessman too (lawyer, entrepreneur) yet he wanted to pay off the national debt. Yep, that’s right, Hamilton wanted to pay off the debt. He just wanted to do it slowly while Jefferson and his ilk wanted to do it asap. Hamilton’s plan worked and we were out of debt, from the revolution, Louisiana, War of 1812, little wars, by the 1830s. There’s a new book out about this called One Nation Under Debt (Richard Wright) that is very deeply researched and really well written too.

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