Monday, June 30, 2008

Constitution of the United States

The New York Times
Printer Friendly Format Sponsored By

June 30, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

The Choice They Made

Half a century ago the philosopher Leo Strauss remarked that the passage in which the Declaration of Independence proclaims its self-evident truths “has frequently been quoted, but, by its weight and its elevation, it is made immune to the degrading effects of the excessive familiarity which breeds contempt and of misuse which breeds disgust.”

I’ve had occasion to test this claim. The last few years, we’ve spent July Fourth at the house of friends who have had the assembled company read the entire declaration. It’s a longer document than one thinks; the charges against the king take quite a while to get through.

But I can report from firsthand experience that the declaration as a whole, and not just its most famous phrases, remains remarkably immune to the degrading effects of excessive familiarity. I was doubtful at first that reading the declaration would enhance the overall beer-and-hamburger experience of the day. But the effort has proved more thought-provoking and patriotism-stirring than I expected.

So this year, perhaps pressing our luck (and patience), I’m thinking of proposing the reading of an additional text: Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Roger Weightman of June 24, 1826.

With regret, the 83-year-old Jefferson wrote that his ill health compelled him to decline the invitation to travel to Washington for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of American independence. But then, perhaps knowing this would be his final word, Jefferson sets forth in stirring prose his faith in the universal significance of the Declaration of Independence:

“May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government.”

Jefferson claims his faith is based on the progress of enlightenment. He is confident that “all eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man.” Indeed, “The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view, the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god.”

Jefferson may have been overly sanguine that the spread of the light of science would necessarily strengthen the cause of human rights. But even the optimistic Jefferson was well aware that the enemies of liberty and equality could regroup and resist — certainly abroad, perhaps even at home.

That’s one reason he trusted that “the annual return of this day” would “forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.” Our devotion — and the sacrifices inspired by that devotion — are needed to make effectual the palpable truth of human equality.

The fate of equality, Jefferson makes clear, also depends on those who see further than, and act first on behalf of, their fellow citizens. In the letter, Jefferson pays tribute to his fellow signers — “that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword.” He wishes he could meet with the few of that band who still survived “to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made.”

So the signers of the declaration made the bold and doubtful choice for independence. Their fellow citizens ratified the choice. But they might have been slow to act if the worthies had not moved first.

For, as the declaration itself notes, “all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” The people are conservative. Liberty sometimes requires the bold leadership of a few individuals.

Perhaps that’s why the representatives, who have signed on behalf of “the good people” of the colonies, “mutually pledge to each other” their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in support of the declaration. Their pledge isn’t to the people. The pledge is an individual one by the signers to one another.

And the pledge has to be supported by a sense of honor — even of sacred honor. The declaration’s assertion of equal rights, one may say, is supported by what is necessarily unequal, the sense of honor of those acting on the people’s behalf.

Shortly after writing the letter to Weightman, Jefferson died at home in Monticello. On that very same day — the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the declaration, July 4, 1826 — in Quincy, Mass., Jefferson’s fellow drafter and signer John Adams also died. Yet as Adams reportedly said on his death bed, “Thomas Jefferson survives.”

*Worth sharing

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chapter 12 The Economic Dead Zone

Is there an Economic Dead Zone?

Yes. Under the Commerce Clause and liberal interpretations of the Constitution, the Federal Government has responsibility for making such laws as necessary and proper for regulation of commerce among the states. This interpretation, which I support, created many tools for moderating wild swings in the United States economy.

Two of these tools are quite obvious, legislation and taxation.

A change in legislation, such as not allowing mortgages or allowing a federal agency to create a mortgage market system, regulates a financial system but takes a long time to have effects.

A change in taxation, such as taxing estates or not taxing estates, may change investment habits. Those changes might be quick or slow to show effects.

But, the fastest tools are used by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department.

The Federal Reserve is well known for setting interest rates. Changes in interest rates may have the fastest effect on the economy and has become a hugely successful tool since the Carter Administration started using interest rates to influence the economy.

With that background information covered, if rates are lowered as far as possible, and given that legislation and taxation possibly take years to improve the economy, the Federal Government could find an 'economic dead zone.' Or, economic conditions that can't be regulated with the humble tools of interest rates, legislation, and taxes.

The closest the economy has come to the dead zone was in the early years of the George W. Bush administration.

The Federal Reserve cut key interest rates to one half of one percent. The Congress had cut taxes by something between $1.4 trillion and $2 trillion dollars, which seems the direct cause of the current $9 trillion dollar public debt. And, legislation, well, any increase in spending with such a huge debt seemed irresponsible, but defense spending jumped after 9/11.

The overall economy seemed to improve but certainly not in proportion to the spending, tax cuts, and record low interest rates. Few jobs were created. Unemployment, as measured in people seeking jobs and in people not working, rose rapidly.

If the world economy had suffered a jolt, what could the Federal Government have done to prevent a depression?

Cut taxes more?
Loaned money at zero percent interest?
Borrowed more money from China for defense spending?

If a global economic crisis had hit under the above described conditions, we would have been on our own as citizens. Some people would have been fine. Others would have lost everything.

Instead of just a huge credit crisis, $4 a gallon gasoline, and record home foreclosures, we might be standing in soup lines for some very thin soup.

The economic dead zone, a place where government loses control over the economy, does exist. We might soon dispel all doubts as we face the commodity crisis of oil.

Georgia is behind again ...

I've been on a long trip and just got home. Sorry to jump away and back. This is off topic.

Georgia is behind again, and just not in education.

55% of Americans call themselves DEMOCRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!

A new poll showing Obama leading McCain, aka MacBush, by 15 points.

The new poll finds that only 14 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the direction of the country. That matches the previous low point on this measure recorded in June 1992, when a brief recession contributed to Bill Clinton's victory over Bush's father, incumbent George H.W. Bush. Overall, voters see Obama as the preferred agent of "change" by a margin of 51 percent to 27 percent. Younger voters, in particular, are more likely to see Obama that way: those 18 to 39 favor the Illinois senator by 66 percent to 27 percent. The two candidates are statistically tied among older voters.

Obama's current lead also reflects the large party-identification advantage the Democrats now enjoy—55 percent of all voters call themselves Democrats or say they lean toward the party while just 36 percent call themselves Republicans or lean that way.
Just my luck. I go on vacation and the world changes for the better while I'm gone. I never get to take any credit.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chapter 11

Do rich people create jobs?

Yes and no.

Certainly every murderer creates jobs. Jobs have been created by the people behind 9/11, and bin Laden supposedly was rich. Beyond 9/11, drug dealers create jobs. And drug dealers are almost always portrayed as rich beyond imagination. The porn industry has job openings created by rich men. Certainly, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richey, and Brittney Spears created jobs for paparazzi.

The Judge in Forsyth County and his family are creating some jobs after allegedly trafficking in human slavery. (link) Leona Helmsley, the queen of mean, created some jobs for police, jailers, and IRS agents.

One of my neighbors creates jobs for illegal aliens from time to time. But, I don't think he's all that rich. But, I've heard that more than 50 percent of 'day labor' jobs for illegal aliens are created when homeowners directly hire illegals. Some homeowners must be rich.

It's always important to revisit my favorite 'rich person,' Bill Gates.

Did he create jobs when he 'repackaged' the "Windows Operating System?" If he did, then he wasn't rich at the time he started his MicroSoft corporation.

Now that he is the richest man in the software industry, is he creating new jobs or just hiring people to meet existing consumer demand?

Consumer demand, in my opinion, creates all jobs. People get rich by fullfilling legitimate demand for goods and services.

I don't see any "rich people" creating do nothing jobs for deadbeat bloggers and authors like me.

The very idea that rich people go around directly hiring the unemployed strains innocent credibility. I find it much more credible that new businesses take customers from other businesses through competition. And the competition moves jobs.

If we look at employment figures and at the shifting wealth pattern in America, we will see no increase in general employment to match the increased concentration of income among an ever smaller number of Americans.

So, other than some jobs that we wish did not exist, consumer demand creates jobs and a handful of people get rich fulfilling demand.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Oil Recession of 2008, Revised

Are we in a Recession, with a capital R?

I’ve asked that question and approached it with the conventional economic standards. By those standards the country is not in recession even if some sectors of the economy and millions of average Americans are suffering. One sector not suffering any economic crisis the sale of crude oil. Crude oil sells for $137 per barrel, a world record. At $137 per barrel, and 21 million barrels consumed daily by the US economy, crude oil sales have passed 7.5 percent of the economy. We would call such an oil-based economy very, very strong but we are not an oil-exporting nation. Our nation buys oil. If oil prices were the same as 2002, we would be in a terrible depression.

At 2002 prices , crude oil would be only 1.5 percent of our national production. We can only wish our national production could match the 600% growth rate of unrefined, raw, crude oil in 30 gallon barrels.

As the price per barrel rises, and it has risen 600 percent since the beginning of 2002, our economy hasn’t grown. Our economy is in a contraction when the growth in oil costs are reduced to the normal prices, the prices before the incursion into Iraq.

At the current prices, as a nation we spend over a trillion dollars on crude oil as compared to $166 billion in 2002. Since 2002, six years, our economy has grown about $3 trillion dollars. In unadjusted dollars, 57% of that growth was the sale of crude oil.

Some 400,000 employees work in the petroleum industry . We have 304 million people living in the US. Why are those 304 million giving $1.035 trillion to less than 400 thousand?

I submit if we are not in an oil recession then we have witnessed the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the US and of all mankind.

Oil Recession, gasoline costs the Average Family $51.89 per gallon

Chapter 10 Part Three

Gross Domestic Product should measure the economic health of a country. In our country, the gross domestic product, or GDP, exceed $13 trillion dollars. Up to 20 percent of those dollars pay for the purchase of gasoline and crude oil, going by my figures. GDP figures or my home grown figures do not measure the underlying social health of a country. No system currently measures that in a way which would be comparable to GDP measuring raw economic numbers.

We need an index which stands alone from GDP, unemployment reports, and consumer satisfaction. An index that measures something almost intangible. The specific question to answer would be, "How is the social core of the country doing?"

"How are you doing?" isn't that the rather vague question asked in passing by co-workers and casual acquaintances? Our casual acquaintances, nearly complete strangers in fact, don't want to know our personal complaints. Those complaints are private and should remain private.

Without divulging private information, we already have humble tools to determine, "How well the social core of our country is doing with an oil recession hitting us."

I have not defined an oil recession. Let's make it simple. When the total being spent on a single commodity, oil, increases faster than the normal GDP growth rate, and at such a huge rate as to displace all other growth, we have a commodity recession. Today, it's oil so I have called it an oil recession.

Crude Oil purchases have gone from 1.5 percent of the GDP figures to 7.5 percent of GDP totals.

Since the actual compiling of GDP figures are beyond my explanation here, I've simplified it.

The economy, using only GDP figures, has grown about 3 percent. In dollars, it means our country and its hardest workers, have increased production by $413 billion dollars.

In 2006, Crude oil sales increased $453 billion dollars over the early 2002 sales.

Using my crude estimates, our GDP contracted $50 billion dollars.

Crude oil sales could exceed one trillion dollars in the coming calender year while total GDP growth is expected to be just barely growing. Any and all growth in the GDP numbers will be entirely driven by the purchase of one single commodity. Crude Oil.

I've used some figures for the total of gasoline sales. How is the core of our society doing since this product hit $4 per gallon?

In 1999, our personal taxable income for our country was $4.1 trillion dollars and the price of gasoline about $1.29 per gallon. The annual sales of all grades of gallon exceeds 300 billion gallons a year. The total of all petroleum products exceeds 800 billion gallons. But, we are only concerned with the volume at retail of gasoline, all grades. So, $27 billion dollars of pre-tax income went to the purchase of gasoline. About one half of one percent of all pre-tax dollars went to purchase gasoline.

In 2008, projections indicate that $93 billion will be spent on the purchase of gasoline with pre-tax dollars. About 2.2 percent of pre-tax dollars will be spent on gasoline.

A predictable increase since gasoline prices went from $1.29 to $4.15 a gallon, almost a 400 percent increase.

But, to measure how the core is surviving this change, we want only core income after taxes to gasoline sales.

Not the total of all income before taxes and total gasoline sales.

Most readers already know how unfairly American capitalism distributes income. Just about 2/3s of all American earned $1.879 trillion before taxes in 2005, the best information at this time. So, adjusting as best we can, total gasoline sales were 20 percent of the core income before taxes. That's just the best estimate based on projections at $4.15 per gallon.

In 1999, roughly 2/3s of all Americans earned $1.4 trillion and total gasoline sales were $27 billion. Those billions spent on gasoline were only 1.9 percent of pretax dollars.

So, I've wasted a lot of time and energy to show that gasoline sales have hit the core of our society much harder than the whole of our society.

For the other third of our society, gasoline sales will be 1.6 percent of income in the next 12 months.

Our core is suffering an commodity recession that isn't measured by GDP or typical recession measures.

One third of our society is paying 1.6 of income for gasoline and the two thirds core is paying 20 percent of pre-tax dollars for gasoline. Our core is experiencing gasoline prices equal to $51.89 cent per gallon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Oil Recession of 2008

I made an error in my calculations. I have highlighted the portions with the error. I will rewrite the entire piece.

Thank you.

Are we in a Recession, with a capital R?

I’ve asked that question and approached it with the conventional economic standards. By those standards the country is not in recession even if some sectors of the economy and millions of average Americans are suffering. One sector not suffering any economic crisis the sale of crude oil. Crude oil sells for $137 per barrel, a world record. At $137 per barrel, and 21 million barrels consumed daily by the US economy, crude oil sales have passed 7.5 percent of the economy. We would call such an oil-based economy very, very strong but we are not an oil-exporting nation. Our nation buys oil. If oil prices were the same as 2002, we would be in a terrible depression.

At 2002 prices , crude oil would be only 1.5 percent of our national production. We can only wish our national production could match the 600% growth rate of unrefined, raw, crude oil in 30 gallon barrels.

As the price per barrel rises, and it has risen 600 percent since the beginning of 2002, our economy hasn’t grown. Our economy is in a contraction when the growth in oil costs are reduced to the normal prices, the prices before the incursion into Iraq.

At the current prices, as a nation we spend over a trillion dollars on crude oil as compared to $166 billion in 2002. Since 2002, six years, our economy has grown about $3 trillion dollars. In unadjusted dollars, 57% of that growth was the sale of crude oil. Adding the sale of gasoline to the price of crude oil, all economic growth has been inflation or at least the inflated price of crude oil and gasoline.

The total annual sales of gasoline and crude oil at $137 per barrel and $4 per gallon would be $2.671 trillion dollars or 20 percent of GDP. Some 400,000 employees work in the petroleum industry . We have 304 million people living in the US. 304 million giving $2.671 trillion to 400 thousand?

I submit we have witnessed the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the US and of all mankind.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chapter 10

Are we in a Recession?

By the rather narrow economic standards, No. We are not in a recession. A recession is very narrowly defined as two quarters of negative growth in gross domestic product.

That's the short answer.

The medium answer is that we won't know until several weeks or months from now when the best minds in the world go over the best numbers in the world.

Here's the long answer.

If you're a doctor or a nurse, we're not in a recession.

If you're a teacher in a public school, we're not in a recession.

If you're the CEO of Exxon, we're definitely NOT in a recession.

If you work in any sort of retail business, we're in a recession.

If you work in real estate, we're in the worse recession ever.

If you just graduated high school, we're in a recession.

In my opinion, economics not only is a soft science, it lacks a connection with the underlying society. A hard science, like chemistry, has proofs.

Every time we mix together the ingredient's for dynamite, we get a bang! If we mix up the right amounts of baking soda and vinegar, we get a little volcano in our kitchen. The point being that it always is the same in the real world as it is on the drawing board and it always can be done again the exact same way.

In economics, we can't perform experiments. Things never happen the same way twice. And, moving ideas from the drawing board to the real world seldom is practical and hardly ever works out if it can be done.

Now for my personal answer to, "Are we in a recession?"

Yes, we are in a recession. When the economic numbers exclude growth from the price of oil, our economy has been contracting for some time. Here's why.

Almost 67% of Americans have disposable income of less than $20,000. Or, we can say they make less than $40,000 before taxes, food, and rent.

Taxes, food, and rent expenses haven't changed much. Well, food prices are rocking our world. But, we still have to eat. So eating eats up disposable income. Very bad pun.

Our transportation to and from work is pretty much fixed but the price of oil has greatly increased the cost of the commute. That also eats up disposable income.

For 67% of Americans, disposable income has fallen very sharply. That should be enough to call out the Recession word.

Local taxes will very soon increase as the value of homes, the number of occupied homes, and property taxes continue to fall. Local government can cut jobs but can't tear down schools and prisons, stop processing sewage and pumping clean water to homes, or fire all the EMTs and firemen.

Even more disposable income being lost to 67% of Americans.

But, recessions don't measure disposable income.

Recessions are just a measure of 'national sales.' National sales figures are still rising because fuel and food are rising. When energy and food prices hit the top of our disposable income, the economy will crash into one of those official recessions.

In the meantime, 67% of Americans are getting less American Dream everyday.

Hoover once promised a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.

Bush has delivered spam in every pan and every car on concrete blocks.

Changing all that means huge social change, not pocket change, and not just a change in economic labels.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The President who cried "Wolf!"

Sorry to interrupt the ebook with such old, old news.

Now that Congressional Republicans can't block investigations into the government, some long delayed reports are coming out.

I guess the oldest news would be that Bush lied to the world about Iraq and Osama bin Laden.

Full story on the report released today at this link.

It remains urban legend and will never stop being repeated. Even when it was denounced by the White House in December 2003 after the invasion. The invasion and the tons of paperwork 'captured' by our troops has proven that Saddam didn't have any link to the 9/11 attacks. Saddam didn't have any links with bin Laden or al-Qaeda.

"Representing to the American people that the two had an operational partnership and posed a single, indistinguishable threat was fundamentally misleading and led the nation to war on false premises."
The premise presented by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that "the Iraqi government hid weapons of mass destruction in facilities underground was not backed up by intelligence information." That premise will remain folk lore and urban legend for generations.

The most damning of all the revelations?

Bush had no information that Iraq had buried WMD. Bush had no information that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks. Bush had no information that bin Laden et al were supported by Saddam.

Yet, the President, lacking such information, made public speeches, either personally or through people like Rumsfeld, that created and supported false fears of Iraq as being part of the same danger to America as al-Qaeda and bin Laden.

Bush lied and now we know the exact lies that killed so many for nothing.

Also reported yesterday, NASA reports on climate change were withheld by Bush Administration officials for a period of four years.

Link to the story as rewritten in the New York Times.

The Times story is not an exclusive but just a rehash of an internal NASA report.

Two years after James E. Hansen, the leading climate scientist at NASA, and other agency employees described a pattern of distortion and suppression of climate science by political appointees, the agency’s inspector general has concluded that such activities occurred and were “inconsistent” with the law that established the space program 50 years ago.
Slowly and with much caution, Congressional Democrats are reporting the truth.

No more rush to judgment.

Chapter 9 What we could have bought with the tax cuts

The Bush Tax Cuts stimulated the economy!

Did they? What could we have bought with the money has been examined on the internet and other places. Other folks say we could have bought free national healthcare, raises for teachers, and some pretty nifty environmental solutions.

But, I was wondering exactly how much did the cuts cost?

Off the top of my head, I remember the first cut cost $1.4 trillion. The next two cost $600 billion for a total of about $2 trillion.

The national debt has increased $4 trillion, so which figure is closer to the real cost?

So let's do it this way. Let's look at what we could have bought to stimulate the economy with two trillion, three trillion and four trillion dollars in federal spending.

Let's start with the $2 trillion dollars.

We could have bought ourselves a tax holiday lasting two and a half years. More exactly, 888 days without any federal income tax.

For $3 trillion, our tax holiday would have been over three and a half years long, or 1,337 days without paying any federal income tax.

If we use the $4 trillion dollar amount, we could extend our happy little holiday to almost five years, or 1,776 days without a penny in personal income tax.

So, for the Republicans with enough courage to read this far, and few Republicans have courage and the ability to read, did you get your five year tax holiday from your Uncle George?

For the average person without a political agenda, the government could have bought everyone who voted in the 2000 Presidential Election a new car made in Detroit.

But, some people would have waited 13 years to get their car. It seems Detroit can't make 110 million cars in a single year, or two and a half years, or five years, or even ten years.

For the average person, my question isn't, "Did you get your new car?" The average person doesn't want the government to borrow money from China even if that means not getting a shiny new car for free.

For the average person, the question is much more simple.

"Did your life improve as much as it should have given the huge price tag on the Republican Tax Cuts under George Bush?"

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Chapter 8

The Democratic Congress caused the Reagan Era debt!

No. Looking at the budget messages of President Reagan, Reagan, in eight years, demanded the government spend $7.357 trillion on his agenda. My sources include the US Treasury at and the budget messages of Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989.

Pretty much a trillion dollars a year.

To that total eight year spending spree, the Democratic majority in Congress added $25 billion dollars a year. Or, to be exact, $197 billion during the entire eight years of Reagan was spent by Democrats.

In 1989, when Reagan finally returned the national checkbook, the checking account was $2.695 overdrawn.

In 199 years, our government had been much more conservative with its money, running up a total debt, including debt for the Second World War of only $930 billion dollars.

That's about $2 billion dollars a year.

In his eight years, Reagan increased the debt by a billion dollars per day, or $76 million dollars a minute.

Roosevelt didn't spend that much in four terms.

Who were the really big dosmestic spenders in the White House? Let's look at a table, listing the biggest spender first, Nixon.

Roosevelt, with his New Deal spending and the largest increase in defense spending in our nations history, barely makes the list.

So Reagan spent the money and created the first trillion dollar debt in American history. Followed by the first two trillion dollar debt. His Vice President, and the next president, would add another trillion in four years.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chapter 7

Didn't the Reagan tax cuts reduce everyone's taxes 25% across the board?

No, the 1981 tax cutting frenzy eventually resulted in a 100% increase in the take home pay for millionaires with no increase in take home pay for average workers.

In more simple terms:

The top income tax bracket in 1980 was 70 percent. By the time Reagan left office, that rate had been decreased to 33 percent.

So, someone making a million dollars in 1979, paid up to $700,000 in taxes, taking home only $300,000.

By 1988, someone making a million dollars would pay $330,000 in federal taxes at the most and take home $670,000.

The average taxpayer was promised a 15 percent cut but only a 5 percent decrease was ever signed into law by Reagan. Reagan signed the largest peacetime tax increase in the nation's history in 1983. Those taxes fell on the middle class and all working class people.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Chapter Six

Can tax cuts stimulate the economy and help balance the budget?

A simple no should answer this question. If a simple No doesn’t cut it for some Republicans, remind them:

Taxes were cut in 1964 and the budget wasn’t balanced and the debt increased.

Taxes were cut in 1981. The budget deficit grew faster than kudzu and the debt doubled.

Taxes were cut in 2002. The deficit grew at record amounts and the debt reached $10 trillion dollars. (Or, it soon will reach $10 trillion. As of June 1st, we owe $9.4 trillion.)

The most recently balanced budget was under President Clinton following a tax increase.

Current information on the public debt can be found at this Treasury Department webpage.

How about a chart that gives a nice visual.

If Republicans still can't believe their eyes, they're blind and shouldn't be allowed to vote.

Since 1980 the debt has increased tenfold. In simple words, the debt under Carter was 930 billion dollars. After 8 years of Reagan, 4 years of Bush I, and 7 years of Bush II, the debt is ten times greater.

Two hunderd years to reach a national debt a trillion dollars, Three Republican Presidents later, $9.4 trillion in borrowing.

To pay off the debt in thirty years, like a normal mortgage, it would take $57 billion dollars a month. Or, abut $750 billion dollars a year.

That's three quarters of a trillion dollars a year, for thirty years to pay off a $10 trillion dollar debt.

However, we don't have that money because we're borrowing half a trillion dollars a year.

So, to pay off the national mortgage, the federal government needs $1.3 trillion dollars more per year.

Schools in Georgia

Education arguments continue.

Six years of Republican control means less money spent on education and more students failing a standard set in 1980. Not to mention the No Child Left Behind criteria.

In Hall County, the school system ran a 6 million dollar deficit after projecting a $700,000 surplus.

Full story in the Gainesville Times. Taxes will have to be raised about $200 to $300 per $150,000 home. There's a huge uproar about, ... Where did the money go?

Home foreclosures? $5 per gallon diesel fuel? Similar increases in electricity, food, water ... Odd, isn't it, when the number of homeowners paying taxes decreases at a record NATIONAL pace, the school system doesn't have as much money.

And, oddly enough, when developers walk away from huge developments without paying their taxes, school revenues go down.

A 700 home development, Seasons on Lanier, collapsed violently when Levitt and Sons filed for Chapter 11 in November 2007. (Story in Gainesville Times) That one development left houses partly built, buyers lost downpayments, workers lost paychecks, subcontractors lost about a million in unpaid work. Wachovia bank lost over $100 million, so far.

IN June 2007, Levitt and Sons were inducted into the National Association of Home Builders' Hall of Fame! (link)

In Florida, Levitt also walked away from a development, leaving over a $100 million in community losses. Full story in Orlando Sentinel.

"But, the housing crisis ins't a big problem. Let's cut some taxes!" John McCain.

Or, "We could run the whole country on a national sales tax!" John Linder et al...

When there's no money for education, why is there any discussion of teachers? Classrooms? ...

It's the economy, stupid.