The National Debt Is A Great Thing

The National Debt Is A Great Thing

Getting rid of it would be an absolute disaster.
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A couple of months ago I published an article claiming that the national debt wasn't a problem. But that was before I learned the realities of our monetary system and how it actually worked. I later realized I was wrong. The national debt isn't just a non-problem, it's actually a virtuous thing that has done incredible things for this country. Getting rid of the national debt would be catastrophic. Here's why:

The national "debt" isn't even debt. It's an accounting identity.

Here's the difference between government debt, and private, personal, or household debt. Households, businesses, Individuals like you and me, and even state and local governments are users of dollars, but the federal government is the monopoly issuer of dollars, and can never run out of them. The government doesn't need to borrow what it has created in the first, there's no logic to that.

When people talk about us "owing money" they're talking about government bonds that the treasury sells. But we don't owe that bond money, we owe the interest, which as of right now is extremely low (under a three percent interest payment for a 30 year bond).The bond itself sits in a savings account at the Federal Reserve, and when the bond has matured, it gets switched to the Fed's checking account with the three percent interest attached with it. That's it. No implosion of the government, no massive debt passed on to our kids. Nothing. Just switching money from the Fed's savings account, to it's checking account.

As of right now, the total national debt for the United States Federal Government is about $19.3 trillion. And that only means one thing and one thing only: It means that since the birth of our country in 1787, our government has put in $19.3 trillion more into the economy, than it has taken away from us in taxes. This is a good thing. New net wealth cannot be created, if the government is taking away more from us than it is putting in, which means the government trying to get rid of its debt, and trying to run surpluses in their budgets, is a dangerous thing for our economy.

But politicians from both parties, including far left progressives like Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, still make erasing our federal debt a priority. This is because mainstream economists use models left over from the legacy of the gold standard, which we abandoned completely in 1971. In the gold standard days, the federal government was a user of dollars convertible to gold, and was therefore constrained in the amount of dollars they had. Now that we're no longer on a gold standard, the federal government has become the monopoly issuer of dollars, and is no longer constrained in the amount that they can create, and will never default on its debts unless the government wants to. But that's a political restraint, not a financial one.

Getting rid of our national debt would be terrible for us.

Politicians like Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, support something called a balanced budget amendment, which means the federal government would not be able to spend more than it has taken in from taxes.

This is terrifying, because that means the government would have to take away more money from the economy than it puts in. In other words, it means that the economy would literally have to shrink every single year. Because according to basic accounting, for every debit there is a credit. If the government runs a debt, the people have a surplus of wealth. If the government runs a surplus, we the people will be in a deficit, and nobody wants that. A modern day example would be the Clinton surpluses, which increased household debt dramatically, and decreased the people's savings.

So let's stop thinking about the economy through the lens of a gold standard anymore, and look at it through the lens of the modern monetary system that we are currently living in. Once we do that, we'll realize that the national debt isn't a problem, it's a virtue.

Cover Image Credit: nationaljournal.com

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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It's Hard To Stay Friends With A Kavanaugh-Lover, But It's Possible

Or hater.

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If you don't have your head buried in the sand these days, it's impossible not to realize how viscerally raw most people's political emotions are. And unless you live in a bubble, you likely have friends or family who have very different political beliefs with you. If you want to cut off those relationships, read no further. But if you view your relationships more T. D. Jakes style—"I like to see myself as a bridge builder, that is, me building bridges between people […], between politics, trying to find common ground"—then play on.

Before beginning a conversation with a politically-differing friend, put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself: what aspects of their life might have influenced them in this way? Accept that you just don't know what their experiences have been like. Maybe your gun-supporting friend had her house traumatically burglarized when she was quite young; maybe your friend who believes the government should solve all our problems was only able to get hot lunches at school because of government aid. View it as a thought experiment if you will: imagine a sympathetic reason (rather than a judgment-worthy reason) that your friend has this differing viewpoint.

We have two ears and one mouth. Ask them questions and then genuinely listen. As humans, we often listen to respond, not to understand. Try to understand without demonizing or judging your friend. David Livingstone Smith, author of Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others, said that when we dehumanize or demonize others, it acts as: "a psychological lubricant, dissolving our inhibitions and inflaming our destructive passions. As such, it empowers us to perform acts that would, under other circumstances, be unthinkable." Try to accept that your friend's point of view—no matter how much you disagree with it—is (in their eyes) just as valid as your own. Your goal is to listen first, persuade later, argue rarely (or never).

It's not about you. Your friend's support of Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court means just that: they think he should have been confirmed. Or if they are angry that he got confirmed, it means just that: they think he should have not been confirmed at the time. Use our earlier thought experiment: perhaps the supporter found fault in the accusations against Kavanaugh or genuinely viewed it as a false accusation, and (whether that happened here or not), we can agree a false accusation is concerning. It doesn't necessarily mean that they think the assault he was accused of is okay—perhaps they think any form of sexual assault is utterly appalling and should never be tolerated, but just didn't happen here. Your friend's view is not personal to you, no matter how personal it may feel.

There's a difference between supporting a politician and supporting an action. If your family member voted for Trump, that doesn't mean they support his personal behavior. (If they DO—that's a different story.) It's like watching Lady Bird (great movie) and someone saying that means you think all children should treat their mother like Lady Bird treats hers. The two could be equated but aren't necessarily. Have you ever gone to the theaters and seen a movie that had elements you didn't agree with or like? The same can be said for politics.

If it seems appropriate, when they are done sharing and seem receptive to conversation, share why you may disagree with them. Times to NOT share: if they are angry or closed off. (Observe both their words and their body language. If their voice was raised or their arms are crossed, not the time.) If they just shared something vulnerable with you (eg. they are vehemently pro-choice because they've been assaulted and got an abortion), now is not the time.

Remember, your goal is not to argue, but to listen and then to persuade. If they're not in a place where they can listen to you being persuasive—then let it go and try again some other time.

When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game. However—sometimes you shouldn't always maintain these relationships. Politicians your friends support don't necessarily fully reflect who your friends are, but political views are an aspect of who they are. To use the above analogy: when you see a movie at the theater, you are supporting it. Even if you disagree with it and warn your friends away, you still paid for the ticket.

And sometimes you don't. Understand when you need to disengage. It's okay to have some things you can talk about civilly and rationally and some things that you just can't. If my friend thinks communism is the way to go, for example, I am able to speak respectfully and rationally about it. But if a person tries to support child abuse, I absolutely cannot have a conversation with them where I try to understand where they're coming from and listen to them without telling them how wrong they are. It's okay to have some topics that mean so much to you that you can't engage with all of them or respect every differing point of view.

When you win, be gracious. And lastly, if you supported Kavanaugh, your friends who opposed his quick confirmation are crushed right now. It's okay if you think that's silly or not a big deal. But go back to the first point: put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if some political issue you felt really strongly about was dealt a crushing blow? You'd want the people on the winning side to be gracious, or try to understand, or at least not rub it in. Maybe you didn't like how the situation unfolded, but your guy's in now. Think of the golden rule and be kind to your friends who are struggling with this.

Just remember:

"Be sure when you step—step with care and great tact. And remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft—and never mix up your right foot with your left."
Dr. Seuss.

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