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As we all know by now, there is nothing logical in the arguments made by the members of the Tea Party wing of the right wing. In the memorable words of Barney Frank, it's like arguing with a table. No amount of logic will get through their thick skulls, and no matter how much their own arguments contradict themselves they will not budge.

And then I came up with this argument regarding the debt ceiling and used it this past week, and actually made a horse drink the water they had been brought too.

Think about a car loan. You've borrowed say $15,000 on a fairly decent car and you pay let's say, $300 a month for it. You got the car two years ago when everything the dealer made sense to you but now you're 2 years into a 5 year loan and it's becoming a bit of a burden. You want the car - hell, you love the car, but it's hurting you. So, what do you do?

You decide to pay $250 per month instead of $300. You can better afford that. Cool. Now let's use some common sense here. What do you think will happen if you do that?

Simple. It will take you longer to pay off the car. It will wind up costing you more money because of finance charges. And it will hurt your credit rating. Can we all agree that this is what would happen if you just decide to pay out less on your car loan than your monthly payment?

We're in agreement? Good. Because That's what the Republican party just did to the economy. They decided to pay less for expenses already incurred. It's going to cost us more in the long run because it will take us longer to pay off these debts. And as we've already seen, it has hurt our credit rating. By demanding these spending cuts and holding everything hostage until they got what they wanted - which they did get - they have done the exact same thing that was done in the example of the car.

Now I already know what you're saying/thinking; the economy isn't a car. YES IT IS. Sure it might be fancier, have more bells and whistles and an anti-theft system second to none, but it's still just a car. The idea is exactly the same. You've bought something. You're finding it difficult to afford. You reduce your payments on it. It takes longer to pay, costs more, and hurts your credit. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL.

Let me repeat that. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL.

Going back to the car example it's pretty obvious to see that the solution presented is irresponsible and no real solution at all. Another way has to be found. The same is true with our economy. Another way has to be found.

Because continuing the way it's being done right now by the Republican party is irresponsible. And that is obvious - even to a Tea Partier.

2:37 PM PT: As some people have noted, I simplified the analogy and even left out a few things to get the point across. That's exactly right and actually necessary.

People don't understand fiscal policies and economics and their impacts. If they did then our elections would be very different. But people do understand cars.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great argument! (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing!

    You gotta be simple and to the point with the
    Tea Baggers!

    Stonewall was a RIOT!

    by ExStr8 on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:23:52 PM PDT

  •  You and I do not have that option... (5+ / 0-)

    Pay less than the minimum and your loan does not simply get extended.  They will repossess your car.

    Now say we refinanced, sure...then its going to take longer as you describe.

    -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

    by Vayle on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 12:27:37 PM PDT

    •  I think the refinancing (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpy, tmo, JanL, BachFan

      Is an assumed premise.

      Just in case you forgot today: REPUBLICANS VOTED TO END MEDICARE. AND THEY'LL DO IT AGAIN.

      by slippytoad on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 01:08:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know we do not have that option... (0+ / 0-)

      ...which is why I chose it. It would be acting irresponsibly. Ultimately it doesn't matter how you try to do it, the result would be the same.

      I chose the car metaphor because we all have them or are impacted by them in one way or another. For most people the car loan is a scommon and shared experience - and one that most can relate to.

  •  And your parents are loaning you some money (11+ / 0-)

    to make payments on that car loan but expects you to pay them back when they retire.  Now your Teabagger spouse wants to blame them for being one of the prime reasons you owe so much money.  That's social security.

    And you don't just owe $300 a month.  Now you owe $325/month because you've been spending an extra $25 a month on additional repairs and maintenance as a result of slamming into your Iraqi and Afghani neighbors' cars years back.  You just didn't internalized those costs until recently.

    You also took a couple of pay cuts in 2001 and 2003 because your boss thought it would make you more marketable.  Well, that didn't work out.

    •  Spot on except (0+ / 0-)

      those weren't pay cuts your boss insisted on.  No, you felt so sorry for yourself that you cut your hours drastically, at the time you could afford it and were certain you deserved it, now god forbid, you go back to contributing what you used to to the household.

  •  If you crash the car (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, drewfromct

    and it isn't drivable, you still have to pay.

  •  And if you had a little more income (revenue).. (8+ / 0-)

    Then you could keep up the higher payments and pay off sooner. However, we keep hearing that revenues don't do anything from the Republican chorus... Duuuuh!

  •  But paying your debts leads to socialism! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AsianAfricanAmerican, JanL
  •  A different metaphor (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, trumpeter, Val, drewfromct

    From LTE's in my paper this weekend.

    Until recently, my wife and I donated a portion of our income to three separate charities. When my income was reduced due to my company's declining revenue, we stopped donating.
    Apparently we balanced our budget on the backs of the poor.
    It seemed a more prudent approach than to borrow money to give away.

    And a response to him
    Mark Hinton wonders if we would say he balanced his family budget on the backs of the poor because he didn't take out a loan to maintain his charitable contributions. If he has instead taken out a massive loan to buy himself a new Ferrari, and fund his wife's Paris shopping spree I think you could at least say he had his priorities skewed.
  •  yep point out metaphorically the US needs to (0+ / 0-)

    be picking up cans along the side of the road to make up the shortfall

  •  You are missing a key component (0+ / 0-)

    1] You are leaving out discount rates applied to money spent today.

    2] You are leaving out growth in budgeted spending.

    3] You are confusing negative growth in budgeted outlays with less positive growth in budgeted outlays that is still greater than zero.

    4] You are ignoring the responsibilty of prioritized spending.

    5] You are missing the concept of amortization of termed loans.

    A constant $300 car payment does not grow over the term. Therefore the budgeted outlay for that car pymnt is constant -- no growth in budgeted spending.

    The federal govt builds in [appr] an 8% growth in spending. Reducing that growth in spending to 6% is not the same as the analogy you present.

    The car paymnt is constant and does not grow [if anything, assuming inflation rather than deflation which is historically a safe assumption] the real car payment will be less than $300.

    I'm guessing the teapartier you snowjobbed was less than 18 or wasn't actually critically listening to you.

    •  a more complicated car loan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is still a car loan. Of course I oversimplified it. That's why it worked. Put it in terms they can understand.

      I have a way to explain global warming that involves a glass of Iced-Tea I can give you if you like.


  •  Ask a TeaKlanner to defend this... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    swansong50, Val, drewfromct
    "My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire." - President George W. Bush, February 24, 2001

    Bush's "plan" was a "surplus giveback" even though we had $5 trillion in debt at the time. It was this laughable "plan" that destoyed America's finances. And the TeaKlanners all voted for him. These frauds don't have the right to open their mouths about the debt.

  •  The anology is a bit off... (0+ / 0-)

    It's like I'm paying for a car (the national debt) but now that money is tighter (because of the recession), I don't have the money to make my car loan AND all my other expenses.  So something has to go (we have to cut spending).

    So I'm not buying any gas for my car (not passing a jobs bill).  My car is going to just sit there in the driveway because I can't afford to buy the gas.


    •  And..... (0+ / 0-)

      The car is the U.S. economy.....the gas is jobs.....

      But cutting spending is like taking away the A/C, because nobody wants something for nothing.  And how about taking away those heated seats, because nobody wants something for nothing.  We can only fix the car by taking away the very things that make my car "THE CAR."

      That's GOP logic - let's remove all those things that make (and made) America great so that all we are left with is a nice shiny piece of metal (America) that no longer has any of the bells and whistles that make America great - ya'know, things like Social Security, Medicare, new roads & bridges, unemployment insurance, and clean air & water.

      And even though my Rolls Royce runs perfectly well, your hunk of metal sitting in your driveway is still quite nice......

  •  You didn't change his opinion (0+ / 0-)

    At least, I am willing to bet. He just got tired of argueing and began nodding his head. You can't change those peoples minds, even if you took your arguments, wrote them on a piece of paper, attached it to a pike and shoved it up their ass. They are completely incapablle of changing their minds: Barney Frank is right. I'd rather have the discussion with a table.

  •  No one is wanting to pay less on what's borrowed (0+ / 0-)

    In fact no one is paying anything on what's borrowed at all, we're just paying the interest and turning the debt over -- and borrowing a little more to pay the interest.

    What is wanted is to buy less in the future so we won't have to borrow as much.  Perhaps we need to make do with that $15000 car we already bought and not buy a brand new one next year like we had hoped.

    It would be really great to pay off what is owed, but no one has a clue as to how to do it.

    And, no, we didn't do it in Bill Clinton's second term.  What we did is to get close enough to balanced that the excess social security revenues were able to pay down some of the external debt -- but of course we borrowed the social security revenue to do that.

    Now, there is no excess social security revenue.  A government that couldn't make ends meet while pocketing the social security 'trust fund' is now going to have to make ends meet AND pay off some of that borrowed money.  Good luck with that.

    •  What Clinton did was fine... (0+ / 0-)

      We are supposed to use the extra social security revenue to pay off the external government debt.  That way when the baby boomer demographic bubble comes along what effectively happens is that the Treasuries on the books in the Social Security Trust Fund are rolled into external Treasuries. Eventually the baby boomers die and social security switches back to surplus, and pays off the external government debt again.

      In reality the US government can't run long term surpluses the reason is that the once all the debt is paid off, where should the money go.  The federal government can't just put it in the bank.  You might say what about the Federal Reserve.  Well, the Federal Reserve returns all profits to the Treasury.  So, it just sits there as a line in some computer.  Effectively federal government surpluses are removed from the economy, which is not a good idea.

      •  Nothing wrong with what Clinton did (0+ / 0-)

        But it didn't reduce the overall debt (kudos for slowing the growth of the debt down, though).  And, if you use the Social Security revenue to cover your current expenses, you are in real trouble when you have to start paying out more than you take in -- which is about now.

        It is interesting to wonder what we would do with social security surpluses is the budget were balanced and we had no debt to pay.  But it's an idle curiosity.

        Since we have a declining birth rate, Social security will never switch back to the positive, without significant social security tax increases.

        •  No trouble... (0+ / 0-)

          You are not in trouble for using social security for current expenses, if done right.  This link has where the US debt is held.

          Let's say that instead of 14 trillion in debt we instead had just the 4.6 trillion held by government accounts of which 2.6 trillion is Social Security.  When Social Security revenues switch form surplus to deficit.  The 2.6 trillion changes from government accounts to held by the public, and maybe another trillion to account for non-SS budget deficits.  So, total debt is 6 trillion-ish, which is easily manageable.  

          As you said current demographic trends might not allow Social Security to switch back to surplus, but it would take some serious SS actuaries to confirm that.   The whole point of the changes from the 80s was to account for demographic trends.  So, if the trends are significantly different from those expected at that point, then there might be a long term problem.  But, I suspect that current demographics might not be as different from projections several years ago as you might think.

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