US federal deficits, debt, and conversation starters

Instapundit offered a chart on the growth of actual and projected Federal government budget deficits a couple months ago:

Treasury lists the numbers of the on-going rise in debt as well. The new ceiling for spending is 12.1 trillion USD, but we are close to that now at an estimated 11.3 trillion USD.

09/30/2008 10,024,724,896,912.49
09/30/2007 9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86

CBO provides various snapshots as well.

My take on posts and comments on other blogs have included these observations:

1. There are plenty of partisan viewpoints about responsibility for this deficit and debt situation. This usually starts out with comments about who is responsible for the spending (with a hat tip to the Bush eight years of war and military spending funded by the mechanism of tax cuts), or blaming the Dem congress of the last two years as controllers of spending, or Obama for extending the Bush policies under TARP and military spending, but then adding “stimulus” and health care costs on top of everything else.

2. Technical arguments about some forms of ‘crowding out’ of private investment or not with the caveats of how money is spent domestically on public works, and which companies are favored in which administration (Cheny vs. Immelt?)

3. Policy memes centered around domestic savings and consumption, fiscal responsibilty, stimulus spending and ‘multipliers’, and how tax cuts will pay for current spending habits or allowing the sunset of the Bush tax cuts. Little discussion of raising taxes so far.

4. Consideration of the current ‘US trade deficit with the world’ as an underlying driver of our problems appears to be a somewhat marginal consideration in the current public debate except as part of ‘we are financed by foreigners’ or protectionism is bad,

5. With little discussion of how we are to prepare ourselves for a future role in the world that involves less dominance, less consumption, better exports to imports ratios from a US perspective, and what kind of jobs are thus created.

What could be re-worded or has been left out in broad strokes…obviously much detail and scope of particular interest? Five posts overall, with posts from Bears and guests to add proof and detail?

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