Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for October 10th, 2022

Goldenrod at the Riata Trace Pond

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On the morning of September 29th we checked out the Riata Trace Pond to see how the goldenrod (Solidago sp.) was coming along. Most of it was still green but a few plants had begun to flower, and they looked quite cheerful near the edge of the pond. In the close view below, notice how a spider had pulled two goldenrod panicles together.

  

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Got your $93,000 ready?

 

On October 1st the United States government began the new fiscal year owing $31 trillion. Million, billion, trillion, shmillion—when numbers get so large, people lose any sense of how big they are. Here’s one way to get a feel for the debt. The country’s population is estimated at 333 million, so if you divide the debt by the population you’ll find that each person here owes about $93,000. Are you a couple? You two owe $186,000. Are you a family of four? Your happy family owes $372,000.

It was only several years ago that I would occasionally ask people if they had their $60,000 ready. When they asked what I was talking about, I’d explain that was their share of the national debt. In just the short time since I started asking my question the amount has shot up an astounding 50% due to the government’s profligate spending under both major political parties. Even with no further increase in the debt—an impossibility, given politicians’ addiction to spending other people’s money—the recent higher interest rates will cause the debt to compound faster than at any time since the crash of 2008, when interest rates dropped close to zero and stayed there till this year (meaning thrifty citizens could get practically no return on the money they dutifully saved for later in life). Welcome to the continuing world of fiscal irresponsibility.

A couple of days after writing those two paragraphs I came across Peter Suderman’s article in Reason titled “The Political Class Has Consistently Ignored Warnings of Fiscal Doom. Now Americans Are Paying the Price.” It points out the government’s folly in believing “The smartest thing we can do is act big.” Here’s the conclusion:

A few months ago, the C[ongressional] B[udget] O[ffice] once again issued a report looking into America’s fiscal future. The present, it admitted, was worse than it had expected. Prices were rising faster than it had anticipated even the previous year, and it expected interest rates to be higher. Debt loads, meanwhile, are expected to increase, reaching $40 trillion, or the equivalent of 110 percent of the nation’s total economy, in a decade—double the average of the last 50 years, and the highest in recorded history.

If so, the report warned, that will have consequences. Among the possible outcomes: “The likelihood of a fiscal crisis in the United States would increase. Specifically, the risk would rise of investors’ losing confidence in the U.S. government’s ability to service and repay its debt, causing interest rates to increase abruptly and inflation to spiral upward, or other disruptions.” The fiscal warnings are still coming. But it sure doesn’t seem as if anyone in power is actually listening.

You can check out the article.

 

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 10, 2022 at 4:30 AM

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