Quote of the Day

From Megan McArdle:

When I was reporting on Wall Street, I used to be told with some regularity that government was needed to counteract the short-term thinking of the business sector, who never thought much beyond the next quarterly earnings report.  This now seems as quaintly adorable as picture hats and daily milk deliveries.  An ADHD day trader with a cocaine habit and six months to live has considerably more long-term planning skills than our current congress.

Part of a generally awesome rant


  1. NormD:

    Megan says "Mere words can hardly convey the preposterousness of the debt ceiling"

    This is nonsense.

    In every company that I have worked for projects and hires have to be justified multiple times. There is always an initial plan (that balances by the way) but as each project or hire is started the current situation is evaluated and the addition has to be re-approved. Things change.

    Saying there should be no debt ceiling is akin to a person in a business saying "Why do I have to rejustify this? Its in the budget".

  2. Matthew Slyfield:

    The tea party Republicans should start pushing a bill to lower the debt ceiling or to revoke the borrowing authority completely.

  3. 3rdMoment:

    That's not what the debt ceiling is. It has nothing to do with approving or evaluating individual projects.

  4. Daublin:

    I dunno, she seems to that the U.S. fundamentally needs to spend large quantities of money, much more than it spent ten years ago.

    I don't see why. The U.S. is taking in around 20% of the American GDP in revenue. That's a staggering quantity of money. If you can't do something with that amount of money, it doesn't need to be done.

    We've gotten beaten down about the U.S. budget. As Norm is getting at, it is not really a high bar to ask that an organization produce a balanced budget. Most every other organization in the country, governmental and otherwise, balances its budget. The feds should be no exception.

  5. jdt:

    "An ADHD day trader with a cocaine habit and six months to live..."

    Are you talking about my roommate?

  6. marque2:

    Some of the problem is that we had a massive drop-off in receipts at the start of the recession, usually there is a fast growth period, and the money comes back, but this time that didn't happen. Revenue dropped and growth is just too slow to bring revenue back up so we have reasonable deficits. That and congressfolk tend to always want to spend more no matter what.

  7. NormD:

    Of course it does. You says we're gonna buy that and that and other things, and oh my god we are over budget or sales were down or...

    Or you discover that you are going to have to borrow more than you expected.

    So you reprioritize... Some projects are dropped or less is spent.

    Under your interpretation the government would have no choice but to continue borrowing no matter what.

    What happens if rates jump to 10%? Is the government supposed to ignore that because, after all, congress authorized the expenditures?

    If there is no limit, then what is THE limit? $20T $50T? $100T?