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Morya Short

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What say each country has a fundraiser to reduce its national debt

There is more than one country that has huge national debt but does not want to raise taxes because it will over burden the wealthy. I can understand that dilemma, so how about each country has a fundraiser, a whip round if you will to raise a bit more cash to reduce the debt? That way people who have massive amounts of money can make a big contribution without feeling like they are going to be stuck with a very high rate of tax for the foreseeable future. Ok, we might have to have more than one fundraiser. Wouldn't it be great if a few banks who will remain nameless could add a logo to their website saying “We lowered the national debt by 2 million!” We could have awards where big corporations can boast about how much they have reduced the national debt and try to out do each other. What do you think shall we give them that opportunity?

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  • Gord G 50+

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    Nov 29 2013: Excellent! I'll contribute. Which credit cards do you accept?
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      Nov 29 2013: Well done Gord :) put your credit card away do you know anyone with actual cash!
      • Gord G 50+

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        Nov 29 2013: The banks.
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          Nov 29 2013: I see what you did there...
        • Nov 30 2013: Actually when we look at it the banks don't have that much cash ... its all electronic transactions these days...
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        Nov 30 2013: The banks don't have any cash. They have debt, which they invent at the push of a button and then "lend" that debt to you, with interest.
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      Dec 9 2013: Thanks Jason. I think that is a good suggestion. I guess i am worried about the not being able to pay it back bit. On balance many of the responses to this idea have centred around two main themes. 1. lack of trust in the government (no specific government just all of them) to use the money well. 2. The debt being someone elses responsibility. Both not unresonable thoughts. My motivation in putting forward the idea was firstly to see what people think about the massive national debt which many countries are holding. Do people see it as a distablising factor in the world economy or not? Mostly not it seems. Also the way politics works in the UK for me at least leaves me feeling helpless and hopeless. The political parties talking about political apathy like voting would make a difference, not for me it wouldn't. At the same time I really believe taking some action even a small one nationally and perhaps global is a way if nothing else to stave off feelings of helplessness. I am still in the research phase on that of course.
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          Dec 9 2013: I agree, of course I would have to find those people first then make changes to the voting system so they had a chance in hell of getting elected. Which leads me back to wondering if people and technology powered solutions might work to improve things without using the old political routes. What do you think? could be use technology to share ideas, come up with workable solutions and bypass governments?
  • Nov 29 2013: Nstionsl Debt is not the only debt. There are other numbers that for America are more seious problems than the national debt. Also, don't get in two wars. During the Clinton Administration the question was - What happens if we get rid of the National Debt? Also, in America the trend of the stat federal Stat of average weekly wage has been negative for forty years. lso, in America Household income has been falling for the last four or five years.
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      Nov 29 2013: True it's not the only debt I guess my idea is about national debt because it is a group debt so to tackle it maybe some old fashioned cooperation would work. The thing about massive national debt seems to me it is a destablising force in the global economy. Unless some action is taken who is going to bailout some of these countries if they fall over? If the US or UK goes bankrupt what then?
      • Nov 30 2013: Good point But National Debt is a focal point for the big boys who encourage many other problems.
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          Dec 1 2013: Are you saying perhaps that my concerns about national debt are deliberately manipulated by people who want to benefit from I am not sure maybe the fear of mounting national debt, or the helplessness felt when contemplating the massive number? I will be only too pleased to discover, that I am worrying unnessarily.
      • Dec 2 2013: Morya Of course, we are all be3ing manipulated That's the purpose of advertising and propaganda. It would be good to be more fiscally responsible Couldn't that be achieved through higher incomes? There are many games being played. While you are concerned abojut this problem, they are interested in doing other things. I believe that student loans, a new housing bubble, collapse of our incomes, deindustrialization, and trade deficits are important too.
        In fact, more important right now. Maybe that makes me a reactionary, but do you want your real income to drop?
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    Nov 28 2013: Maybe corporations would pay if you can explain them how much their ROI will be ;-)

    Beside that, if I were a corporation or just a wealthy person with some millions left to spend, I certainly wouldn't give it to the govt that provided proof of incompetence in managing resources but rather invest it in projects that directly help people in need.
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      Nov 28 2013: Yup, thats the problem we run into when the unit in which R gets measured is monetary based only, right? :o)
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      Nov 29 2013: Yes but what if the government promised to use your money to reduce the debt rather than spend it on some program you don't like.
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        Nov 29 2013: hmmm, I don't know about the UK, but I wouldn't bet my money on promises coming from the government, especially, because govt. is made of people and those people are politicians and politicians have an uncanny ability to make promises before elections, which, once they are elected seem to evaporate in some convenient amnesia.
        If having 1 Million to spend, I rather prefer to spend it for a cause of my choosing instead trusting the govt. to do the right thing with my money.
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          Nov 29 2013: I hear you but technology being what it is the account payment could be automated!
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        Nov 29 2013: Whatever the technology involved it doesn't change that you give the money to the govt. which already showed that it is financially/economically inept (That's why they are in the reds in the first place).

        It's my bad, I'm just too skeptic when it comes to trusting the govt ;-)
  • Dec 10 2013: Dont worry Santokh Saggu, they already know about it. Look at Greece, Italy for example.

    The "fund raising" is called by another name, taxes, but since they don't want to use that work they use another instead "austerity"

    As for where that debt comes from, it's not always where you think...

    Confessions of an Economic Hitman
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqIHKWd9rSc

    War By Other Means
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7gxkgssngU

    The War On Democracy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeHzc1h8k7o
  • Dec 9 2013: Hey how about NOT spending money on ARMS and WAR. That'll do it.

    Just look up how much money the UK spends on arms / war when you do, you'll realize there is NO need for a fundraiser.

    And you know what, less people will be murdered, crippled, orphaned.

    Hows that for an idea - all we have to do is just say NO WAR. Who knew?
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      Dec 9 2013: I LOVE this idea it's elegant with lots of positives all round. I bet loads of people would be behind your idea. In fact it's shocking to me we still spend so much on arms. Who votes for that? not me. Ok,I am in 100% how do we stop arms spending?
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        Dec 9 2013: First we need to take control of our countries, WE (the people) need to be the decision makers, not vote every 4 years on who should vote for us, and then watch idly as they do the opposite of what we'd hoped...
        A new form of governance is required.
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        Dec 9 2013: Esteban,

        It's possible in most democracies to do this. What you do is you create a party which has this internal democracy, and then you just make that party win and then the people's say will be rule.
        • Dec 9 2013: Well in theory a democracy follows the will of what the majority wants constraint to certain limitations that even a single individual could levy ... you just have to get everyone involved and then make sure that what is done follows according to the majority and what certain individuals dictate.
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        Dec 10 2013: @Esteban

        Exactly, The model I'm talking about right now is "liquid democracy" and our parties are on the uprising all over the world... But most of us are still very tiny...
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        Dec 10 2013: "So when that terrorist is pointing a gun at your wife and children you would lay down your gun and say lets talk about this ?"

        Yes.

        Now I will ask you an equally simple question and I expect you to play by the same rules.

        Has a terrorist ever pointed a gun at your wife and children?

        If the answer is anything other then "No" I'd really like to hear that story, but if it is "No" that will suffice.
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        Dec 10 2013: You didn't answer my question.

        I answered your honestly, no matter what you believe.
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        Dec 9 2013: At the same time hmm not sure we are ready for full disarmament tomorrow. How about starting smaller reduce the military spend by 20%.
      • Dec 9 2013: Jason who cares if terrorists follow that agreement..... you know you lead by EXAMPLE.

        As for jobs is you calc the salaries vs operations costs, WAR is the most costly option, only a few trillion spent on Afghanistan, that's just for war, not including anything else like salaries. That's something the gov does not tell you.

        just an FYI more people die of bee stings each year than terrorists attacks!


        Moyra, don't compromise, dont drop it to 20%, that's what politicians do all the time, and just look where that has got us.
      • Dec 10 2013: Jason,

        You put a ? by lead by example, I cannot believe that so soon after the death of Nelson Mandela, anyone on this planet does not know the meaning...of taking the high road.

        Maybe you know or heard of Dick Cheney who said there were multi-layer bunkers in AF, now how many were found?

        Look up how many UN staff resigned due to the onslaught of day after day bombing missions.
        You see you've been lied to... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n8VCQBEthI again and again.

        And your also not playing fair with the numbers too sure 2,996 that was over 10 years ago. So since America has been independent for 237 years. That means 237 * 54 = 12,798 death by bees.

        So as for a terrorist coming up to your family, just to let you know you have more chance of a bee coming up to you and terrorizing your family. So why not go to war with bees?? Because it sounds stupid right?

        You've been lied by the your government, your believing the lies, the same government who then tells you Snowdon is a traitor. Question is are they lying again? Do you have any right to know? According to Cheney NO. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXILtxHkmUU

        See the insanity behind this logic.... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/10/world/spies-dragnet-reaches-a-playing-field-of-elves-and-trolls.html?_r=0

        If one thinks thats a worthy "Defense job" people really need to rethink their mindset, otherwise your children they'll ...live in fear, be afraid of every country out there, or at war with them, and have no democracy to speak of (read Orwell's 1984). Is that what you really want for America's children - a constant state of war. Surely not.

        I want you to be educated, because only thought enlightenment can you see a way forward. America needs to find a way forward, in the 1980's it had a war with the USSR in Afghanistan, it also put Saddam Hussein in power. Twenty years later it came back and bit it in the ass. Lesson??

        It's time America found a better way, Nelson Mandela did it's called .... Peace.
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    Dec 7 2013: If spending is a trillion a year, 2 million doesn't help that much.

    Is the only plausible solution to keep feeding the monster? Why not cut spending, rather than oblige the public to keep floating the tab for out of control government growth?
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    Dec 6 2013: It wouldn't make a dent.

    Just look at the debt per capita for most countries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_external_debt

    Or actually, it could make a dent, it's even possible for some countries to crowdfund their debt entierly. But it would have to come from outside sources and most people would be really reluctant to pay of another countries debt. India for example only has a per capita debt of $240, but asking every Indian for 240 bucks is not going to get anywhere since most have nothing...

    We only have one country with debt under a million dollars and 4 (est. 1997 so that's probably not true anymore) under 10 million, and I'm betting that 99,9% of the worlds population has never heard of those places...

    We could do it for Niue it's not even half a million dollars, but on the other hand it only benefits 1400 people...

    Until now I only read the title.

    If we're going to spend money (providing infrastructure for crowd funding) for the REALLY off-chance that the rich would give money I think that's a cost that they should cover... If corporations wanted to "give to their country" they have always been able to do so indirectly on projects that would also create a lot more goodwill, but they don't, so they won't.
  • Dec 4 2013: Shhhh... Please do this conversation in low volume. If ever the politicians in my country would ever listen to this conversation or come to know this their tongue will start to salivate.They will see an opportunity in this idea to loot the people in the name of fundraising.
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      Dec 4 2013: Ok no problem we will keep it down, but just incase REALLY FUNDRAISING FOR NATIONAL DEBT IS NOT GOING TO WORK WE NEED A DIFFERENT WAY TO GET INVOLVED WITH SOLVING ECONOMIC ISSUES.
      Saying that some voluntary option on a tax form does appeal to me, because anything given freely elevates the giver.

      The picture that seems to be emerging from this conversation is that very few of the participants trust their own government.
  • Dec 3 2013: Until each country makes it unconstitutional to raise additional debt, it will be a pointless act.
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    Dec 2 2013: In October, the US took in about $199B and paid $16.45B in debt service. (Of course, we still spent more than we took in but that's a different issue) That's a DTI of only 8.3% (roughly). I wish mine were that good. The overall numbers are staggeringly large but any banker will tell you that a DTI of 30% or less is very healthy. Frankly, I'm not losing any sleep over the public debt. At only 8.3% we are a long way from a major problem. Unless, all revenues stop suddenly and in that event debt is the least of our trouble.
    (figures are based on spreadsheet provided by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service Debt Accounting Branch, US Government for October 2013.)
  • Dec 1 2013: It just occurred to me there is another problem with this scheme; it may actually do more damage if it works than if it fails.

    Say you make this type of fund raiser, and say it actually works, solving or at least significantly reducing your national debt. Now you look at the numbers and figure out whom donated most; you'll find it was rich individuals, and corporations, for purposes of public relations, or the reason explained bellow. The middle class might be vast, but they have too little to spare on a personal basis to donate astronomical sums.

    So, the scheme works and everyone pates themselves on the back, and a few years down the line, some moron in government with access to more power than he should decides to over spend again. Why should he care after all? Its not his money, and he could just get the wealthy and the corporate to bail him out again.
    This will effectively turn the government dependent on donations from the rich. Dependance equates control.

    It gets worse when you realize they could get their own man elected on the inside to purposefully get the government to over-spend, so they could bail it out.
    Essentially, it may deteriorate into a method to buy control of a government. No coup, no mercenaries, no dissidents and no bribes to the military required. Just cold hard cash, pumped straight into the treasury in a way that prevents the government from existing without it.
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      Dec 1 2013: I hear you Nadav. You could not do a fundraiser and change nothing else. Call me over cynical but I am a little concerned that that "their man" scenario already happened :(
      • Dec 1 2013: It has, in a lot of countries.
        From what I understand of US politics, its practically impossible to run for office without some manner of corporate backing, or being wealthy yourself. No other way to afford it, realistically, which leads to a situation where you have politicians for sale.

        In my country, we solve the problem by funding campaigning parties through the treasury, with maximal donation sizes quite small (roughly around the thousand dollar range; anything more makes for an easy means to launder a bribe). Its expensive, though not cripplingly so, and keeps the corporations out of politics for the most part.

        I'd recommend the US make the switch, but it'll likely never happen. The US political system is very conservative (in the "resistant to change" manner of the word), and most politicians don't have the guts to replace the system that got them elected.
        How does that joke from "Yes, Prime Minister" go? If you want to make sure a politician doesn't do something, just tell him its the bravest thing he's ever done.
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    Dec 1 2013: I do not see "national debt" as my debt. It's the debt of the government. I did not make any decisions or choices or signed any agreements which incurred it. I do not see the government being in dire need or suffer in any way (e.g. being kicked out of its house) because of the national debt. Actually, I'd like to see politicians going to jail for not being able to pay the debt they incurred. I feel no charity towards the government.

    Viewing government debt as "public" and placing the burden for it on the public is not right. Why do people and small businesses have to go into bankruptcy for making poor business decisions, but banks and governments must be "bailed out"?

    "Giving money and power to the government is like giving car keys and booze to a group of teenagers". "Government is like a baby: with a huge appetite on one side and no responsibility on the other".
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      Dec 1 2013: Hmm interesting point. Even though any governement can be accused of mis-spending tax revenue in all it's forms ie tax, national insurance etc at least some of the money goes on things we all need and all benefit from for example a police force, jails, roads, education and in progressive countries health care.

      I agree that misuse of government funds should be treated as a crime with stiff penalties. But not to buy services for the whole country, that everyone needs, centrally doesn't make sense. For one thing governments buying large quantities of things have the benefit of economy of scale. Also if you think of something like policing would you really want to buy your own security as a private indivdual. A body guard maybe.

      So even though governements may not always make the best decisions, at the end of the day the debt is public because it has been used to provide public services, which you have used.

      Once the debt has been amassed not dealing with it because it's someone elses fault is not going to get anyone anywhere. If the US goes bankrupt it's going to be horrible. Seems to me that working out a way to actively reduce debt now and reduce spending is only prudent.
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      Dec 6 2013: "Viewing government debt as "public" and placing the burden for it on the public is not right."

      Sadly country debt is public debt since we pay for it with tax...
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      Dec 6 2013: i accept that national debt is not yours, and i agree that "public" is just a weasel word.

      but most people can't say that. most people are perfectly fine with state debt, even if they mostly don't understand how it works. but ignorance is not a good defense. if they don't understand how such things work, they should not have voted on it. by the simple fact of voting, and the fact that debt is not a secret, people took responsibility for it. therefore, i disagree with putting politicians in jail. you should put majority of the country in jail instead.
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        Dec 6 2013: @Jimmy & Krisztian

        I realize that national debt is "my problem" because the government makes it my problem. I just don't feel any desire to "volunteer" with whatever is left from my paycheck to solve the problem. I have little doubt that, if necessary, I will be "volunteered". Somehow, I do not associate the government with charity that will not survive without my generosity. The idea of helping the government in debt does not create the same emotional response as the idea of helping a person in debt, facing foreclosure, who has family, lost his job, and needs to pay medical bills.

        Imagine creating a campaign poster for such fundraiser. You need to create an image that would raise an emotion to move people to donate to the government. What will you put on the poster? Starving politicians? Inmates suffering in jails without a gym? Poor bankers with sad faces holding empty money bags because the government failed to pay interest?
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    Nov 30 2013: The problem is not the national debt, the problem is people who can't balance a checkbook. Until you fix that problem the National debt is the least of our worries.
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      Dec 1 2013: Not sure I follow you. The problem is people who can't add up? Most countries have plenty of people who can add up, those people who are maths challenged can be assisted by those that have mastered adding.

      Maybe I have misunderstood, what is the main problem as you see it and how can it be solved?
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        Dec 1 2013: Correct me if I am wrong but isn't the problem our government is writting checks when there is no money in the bank? That's fraud where I come from and if you or I did that we would go to jail, which is a proper punishment so why aren't those officials in jail? How stupid are we? Are we going to continue paying for their mistakes? What happened to the principle of paying for your own mistakes, when did it change to the current system which is "I make mistakes and you pay for them". In legal terms it's called "No liability" or "bankruptcy" and our entire system is built upon it, (a house of cards). Corporations, governments, religions, military, educational intitutions.... everybody is in love with "No Liability" execpt those who end up paying (that would be the middle class). And why not? Who would not want to live in a fantasy world where you could write an unlimited amount of checks with no money in the bank. The problem is there is no fantasy world and somebody always has to pay (like I said before, the middle class). Poor people don't care because they have no money and rich people don't care because they are writting the checks to themselves. It's a win-win situation for everbody except the middle class.
        The National debt is just a big sign that reads "Balance the checkbook" or else the house of cards will crumble. Someone has to kick the money changers out of the temple and that someone is you!
      • Dec 2 2013: Morya,

        I think Keith means that someone will pay the bill... there be no free lunches! If the customer doesn't pay, it comes out of the business who may make other customers pay for it and add a little extra just to be on the safe side in case another customer doesn't pay. Succinctly put for the business to work individuals need to take less from it than what they put into the system! The thing is that an individuals contribution may result into a business product which turns their contribution into a much larger number. So that even when the individual gets what they put in and an extra it still is less than what resulted from their added contribution into the business. Banks do this all the time, they give out lower interested than the interests they charge. The difference goes for operational expenses and profits. Do note that in principle the one with the money could give the one who wants a loan the money an each get a better deal though when considering the risk involved many individuals prefer to work with the bank.

        The principle behind insurance is many pay to rescue the few who get into trouble (because anyone could get into trouble). 'Health insureacne' involves setting aside a little every day for the sick days. Pensions involve setting aside some money so that when one stops working one still gets payed for the rest of their lives. This last example may provides a key into the underlying dynamics taking place. When one pays a pension the funds go to those who need to get payed ... don't worry when its your time, you will get money from those just getting into the system, who will get their money from the ones who follow. The thing is what happens when less people get into the system and the money runs out? The ones who initiated the system may have all gotten their money and a lot more and died off.

        The problem is when people want to get more valthan what they actually put in.
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    Nov 30 2013: The first question to answer is: who gains from nations in debt?
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      Dec 1 2013: yes good question. What is the answer? maybe second question is when the debt gets out of control who is responsible for reducing it? And thirdly, if the people responsible for reducing it are not doing anything to solve the probelm who is responsible then?
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        Dec 1 2013: (1). I'm guessing the answer to the first question is "banksters and the ultimate owners of the Bank of England, and the Federal Reserve Bank" {both of which are ultimately in private hands, contrary to popular opinion} - they gain from nations in debt. (see "The Goldsmith's Tale -Money as Debt" on youtube).
        (2). Who is responsible, and who is legally liable, for reducing out-of-control debt are two different things. I would say government and BoE are responsible, but that will not stop them pushing the burden of debt removal onto the common man. (viz attempt to cream of 10% of private bank accounts in Greece earlier on this year - this is the mentality of those at the top).
        The last 30 years has shown that government, big business and banking-system are increasingly all one. The government SHOULD be regulating the other two, but don't (or can't) - both of which are an abdication of their responsibility to run the country for the benefit of the mass of common people.
        (3). If you are suggesting (defining) the people en masse are (as) responsible for the national debt, but they are not doing anything to reduce debt, then they are still responsible. People can reduce personal debt, but making people pay off the national debt has to be organised from a governmental level.
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    Nov 30 2013: In the US, to eliminate our national debt every person, man, woman, child would have to donate $50,000. So a family of 5 would need to cough up $250,000. That's about 5X the average income here. I think we are going to need something on a grander scale. :-)
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      Dec 1 2013: A fundraiser / voluntary contribution does not imply every person making a contribution. It's an opportunity for those with a lot of surplus cash to help out more voluntarily. This has several benefits, people who contribute feel better about themselves because it was their choice to help. And helping others has been proven to elevate mood. Also it means the basic tax system does not need to be changed which will keep industry happy and not rushing to other countries where tax is lower. Would it raise much money? Maybe a drop in the ocean but it would be something and certainly better than just hoping economic growth and reduced spending would do the trick.

      Anyway enough of what I think. What grand scale solution would you propose?
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    Nov 30 2013: Thanks Bob I hear you the blame game gets us nowhere but don't be sorry. Tell me what you think we can do to make it better!
  • Nov 30 2013: How about the other way around lets keep countries from getting into debt.
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      Dec 1 2013: yes that's a good idea but sadly too late we already have big national debts. So what now? Then after the debt is more managable how do we keep from getting out of debt again? We probably can't leave the governments to handle it on their own right?
      • Dec 1 2013: Morya,

        I trust you meant to say: how do we keep from getting INTO debt again....

        The thing is that unless the way to keep from getting into debt is resolved paying the debt will do little to resolve the situation. Presently many make their living from and by getting people into debt with all sort of schemes. Of course the worst are the public servants who get everyone into debt while they get a small kickback...Then just pass the bucket to the next generation or enact some law that forces individuals to pay more ... regardless of the fact that they are making less. It is a complicated situation especially given all the interests involved... (a bit of a punt was intended there). Of course there are many other structural problems involving who owns what and what right they have over stuff.

        There are solutions, just that they involve structural changes that may be hard on many
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          Dec 1 2013: yes that's what I meant. Ok sure let's fix the spending/getting into debt first then reduce the debt. Ok so how do we do that then?
      • Dec 1 2013: Only spend what you have based on assets rather than fiat value without unilaterally changing the rules of contracts as time goes by. In principle when one borrows money one backs it up with a collateral if one gives the collateral that settles the debt. Thing is when the collateral is just ones fiat value... well the lender must realize that they can lose it all. What has happened is that the lender keeps lending out to the debtors and just increasing what they owe so that the lender keep on the books that they are owed so much to be pain in the future rather than recognize a difficult situation that they stand to lose quite a bit of money.
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    Nov 29 2013: Morya, With the exception of the socialists who jumped in to say it is all the 1% fault and the wealthy run the world, Yada yada ... as for the rest of us it appears the the major problem is that there is very little trust in the government. That if you sent money it would be diverted ... that the government would not make any efforts to change the path that led them to this point (the point well taken was the example of Greece) .... etc ....

    The other factor to consider is that most of the countries that are in financial doo doo use the Keynesian economic model that endorses spend, spend, spend, no budgets, lots of social programs, and big government ....

    Without change and some faith in the leadership ... it would never happen. Sorry. Bob.
    • Nov 30 2013: Robert,

      The change actually involves a profound leadership change... from the masses following faithfully the leadership to the masses leading with each individuals taking charge of what they choose to do. The thing with some debts is that it just an ever expanding black hole ... Robin hood economics of redistribution of richness certainly isn't the answer. The answer resides within creating richness starting with the individual and helping each other to be better off... of course if you send money it will be diverted.... even if you don't send it in they will still divert it and spend it and demand that you pay their bill....heck some demand that you pay them so that you can work for them... because they are working for you interests... yea to get them away from you and into their pockets...
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    Nov 29 2013: Sounds like a valid plan. How shall we do that?
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    Nov 29 2013: Or we could just stop the perpetual spending spree by governments around the world. Actually, if we don't, then no matter how much "fund raising" governments do, it still won't be enough.
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    Nov 28 2013: I don't understand national debt. If I owe you a million dollars, and you owe me a million dollars, can either of us be said to have debt?
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      Nov 29 2013: Yep maybe all the countries can agree to call it a wash and start again. hmm
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        Nov 29 2013: well, I never know how people use the phrase national debt. Just from the sound of the phrase, I would think it means the money your country owes to other countries. But what I don't know, is it factored in what other countries owe your country?

        On the other hand, possibly national debt means the money a government of a country owes its own citizens?
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    Nov 28 2013: Hugh? We already have those fundraiser, even in action. They are called 'Austerity' and get applied in form of programs, and this especially to look after our wealthy to whose our national dept is owed ... inclusive interest and compound interest ... ;o)
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      Nov 29 2013: Do you think that is why we don't worry about national debt because the people lending the money are making good interest so they really want the government to spend more! I love a conspiracy theory this would be a cool one. Does anyone know who or what holds the debt?
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        Nov 29 2013: Do you really think that 'we' don't worry about national dept? Assuming by 'we' you refer to average citizen like me. Because those are the ones effected my austerity programs, which kind of answers itself already.

        Conspiracy theory? Where do you think is any in this context?

        If you lend someone money, aren't you interested in getting it back and this with interest?

        National dept is hold in bonds, so whoever has them is part of the 'game'. Usually those people are pretty wealthy, as otherwise they could not spare the money they lend.
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          Nov 29 2013: Well I was messing about there a bit :) sorry. I do wonder why though I don't see on the news from any country (yes sometimes the news is not that complete I know but even so) citizens campaigning for reducing the debt. Not just reducing spending but to do something to get the debt down. At least I don't see that in the UK.
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        Nov 29 2013: I think the main reason for this lack of campaigning is pretty obvious, as the main source of income of any government is taxation. And as most citizens don't like the idea to be taxed more to pay back national dept, explains why most of them stay pretty silent about it not to give any 'ideas'...

        What you do hear any now and then, even in mainstream media at times, is the the left wing argument to equally tax 'the rich' or 'corporations', by which 'equal' means percentage wise, and also to tax certain forms of assets, which still aren't taxed in most nations.

        If you look at the given monetary system and how money gets created, as well as on the underlaying exponential growth of interest, you may find, that national dept is actually a man-made problem by which only very view private individuals truly profit from. But this is rarely spread by media, as it is not in the interest of those who hold the financial power.
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    Nov 28 2013: Morya, Do not have the numbers for the UK but for the USA the share of or 17 trillion dollar debit is $54,223 per citizen or $149,829 per tax payer ... this taken from the national debit clock.

    Here is my basic objection ... In the USA we are starting social programs without assets to sustain them. We are 17 trillion dollars in debit and still spending and devising more entitlements .... that is poor management at any level. If the government would show a sense of responsibility and interest in the health of the economy and the state of the nation then I would be more apt to assist.

    The options to pay off the debit are available .... Instead the government wants to increase the debit. Any company or household that operated in this manner would be bankrupt and may face sentencing and/or jail time.

    In the US we have created generational welfare mentality which has now become entitlements ... millions of people who make a living off of the government without working and seek more "free" stuff. I am in favor of providing a hand up ... but will not provide a hand out.

    Sorry to carry on so but our government has not shown itself to be responsible enough to have that type of support.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Nov 28 2013: If welfare would be the cause of your problems, as you think it to be, most of Europe would have ceased to exist many centuries ago.

      So you may seek for more realistic scapegoats to blame but the usual ones stemming from ancient Pawlow-Reflexes ...
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        Nov 28 2013: The EU has serious concerns and among the heaviest costs is the NHS. Not a scapegoat when it is a fact.

        Pawlow has termed reflexes in response to 'essential' properties 'unconditioned,' and those in response to 'non-essential' properties 'conditioned.

        So you think that health care is non-essential?

        As usual when you respond you attack the speaker not the issue. I will respond to a valid argument but no longer to your taunts.

        Bob.
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          Nov 29 2013: See, you don't even notice anymore that you yourself attack a lot of people by the usual and unreflected blame-game, which you seem to take as serious arguments and not as the taunt it is itself.

          But I understand your reaction, as it is easier to blame others than to be blamed by others.

          Anyway, I could spend hours on criticism I have on welfare systems and how they should be organized to be more efficient and fair, yet if you seriously believe, that the current 'serious concerns' in the EU are related to any degree to their welfare, than you only prove the use of invalid arguments yourself.

          It is as old as conservatism, that 'free stuff for lazy baggers' and 'government' is cause for any evil on this planet, which to me is nothing but a simplified and highly unreflected blame without the will to take on the real complexity out of which dept-traps are born.

          You don't even question the necessity of dept itself, which actually isn't very surprising and given your line of arguments, even expected from my side.

          The USA is the only first world nation I know of, which didn't manage to install a health care system and a social security system to cover the basic needs for all its citizens, till this very day, and this while being among, if not being the wealthiest nation on earth.

          The simple fact, that less wealthy nations managed since decades to keep those social services, and this regardless of economical high or low tides, should be valid enough as an argument, that the magnitude of the US national dept has other reasons than what you were trying to make people believe.

          Do I think that governments, welfare systems and health care could and should be organized less wasteful and more efficient? Hell yes! Yet my approach is a continuous optimization and not a complete cut off or shut-down.

          If you would take a very close look how money gets created, you may ask yourself why nations have to get in dept in the first place. Currency stability isn't reason as we know.
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      Nov 28 2013: Hi Bob, I think you make a valid point. It's the same with all tax not just voluntary tax it is hard to watch incompetence and some of the choices made about what to spend on. What burns me particularly is all the money spent on wars and weapons. What about this though what if we could use technology to make government less of a blunt instrument? Right now we send in our taxes with no ability to indicate where we would like that money spent. Many years ago when tax systems were set up the logistics of finding out what people would like to do with their taxes made it in practical. Now we have the means to do it. Shall we?

      Also I think Lejan is right it's not the welfare bill that will get the US in trouble its the milliatry bill. I am from the UK but lived in California for 15 years and from what I have seen the US has a long way to go before the welfare state gets out of control.
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        Nov 28 2013: Morya, We just got twenty three new taxes to support Obamacare .. the government will not enforce the Constitution on immigration laws ... we lose billions to illegals using the existing medical facilities, infrastructure, schools, etc ... while not being taxed ..... the point made was that when you are totally broke you do not start long term investments ... that is stupid for individuals and dumber yet for governments. Immigration laws are in place to maintain a regulated growth and not to over burden existing capabilities. There are quotas to ensure all people have a equal opportunity to gain access. Not to cater to one group for political purpose of garnering votes.

        As hard as it sounds ... the military industrial complex is healthy for the nations economy. It generates jobs and forces money into circulation.

        In the UK 41% face a waiting time of up to four months for standard surgery ... if the cost of treatment is to high then the procedure is eliminated (the example given was cancer treatment) ... preventative treatment is provided once every three years (example given was towards women health care) ... even though the UK government has spent 81 billion into the system for recovery it is still in big trouble ... older citizens are bringing the costs up and the NHS is adjusting the schedules to reduce costly treatment. The newest concern is the cost of mental health services that is driving the costs higher and putting a heavy burden on the NHS.

        Canadian citizens have better access to drugs but come to the US for appointments and operations.

        Funding social programs is attributed to the woes of many EU countries and is at the top of expenditures and growing. Only France seems to be making it work but not without issues.

        During the last 6 years entitlements and subsidies have added 10 trillion dollars to our debits and growing ... rampant spending .. poor management no planning.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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      Nov 29 2013: Yes Bob there are many issues to face but back to the reduction of national debt do you think it is a worthwhile goal? If US goes bankrupt what do you think will happen?
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        Nov 29 2013: We are facing a recession and depression which may occur in about the same time frame. The results will be the same as in all collapses ... the exact I cannot speak to. However history does not paint a pretty picture ... the stock market crash in '29 to some degree. I think it will be more along the line of the total collapse in Argentina in 1916. The causes are almost exactly the same so I must think the results will be the same also.

        Reduction of the national debit is not only worth while but is essential to the health of the country.

        A simple comparison would be to compare to a drinking problem .... take away the bottle, take away the means to get another, restrict the abuser to a controlled environment, treat physically and mentally, etc ...

        The current government is a financial abuser .... reduce the size of government, reduce all programs, budget, stop stimulus, stop the infusion of 85 billion a month, do away with the fed, hold political officials accountable, stop the elite mentality and apply the laws of the land to all elected officials, return to a Constitutional government, stop the Craziness of the Executive Order by passing congress, instill foreign and diplomatic relations that do not exist, etc ...

        What is occurring is not new either in the EU or the USA ... history has told us again and again what is happening, why, and the results .... but our leaders only have the sight of political ego ...

        Like the alcoholic who you provide with a drink ... the voters and polls support bad political decisions based on party or a myriad of other reasons ... it can only be someone else at fault for so long ... then you must man up.

        As for a fundraiser ... if I pay your bills then you will expect it of me and continue your bad habits ... so NO I will not enable the current stupidity.

        If they were held accountable much of this would stop ... we also need to educate voters.

        Out of space. Thanks. Bob.
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          Dec 1 2013: Sounds like a good list of actions so far. Got a plan how to make them happen? I don't think just the current government are abusers as far as I can see it's all of them. The system itself is broken and it cannot fix itself something else needs to happen to effect change. Got any idea for that?
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        Dec 1 2013: There is a light at the end of the tunnel ... many people and even the media are beginning to see the lies and distortions of politicians. There is a active campaign to replace all of the current office holders and start over.

        So here is the "idea" ... if you do not want the old regime back then we must set a national standard of which to select the finalist in the next election. These finalist must be made to agree that if they do not proceed in a manner that is in the best interests of the country and within the framework of the Constitution that they will be removed from office by a simple vote immediately, that they are servants of the people in government service, all laws of the land will apply to them, some form of term limits must be devised, Executive Orders apply to those in the Executive Branch i.e. White House Staff and that all laws will be passed through Congress as outlined in the Constitution, that a budget will be devised and followed, funding for new offices / branches must be approved and budgeted, perks and travel will be minimized, federal government will recognize and restore all states rights, that the federal government will return to the four areas granted in the Constitution and all other agencies funding will cease over a four year span, taxes will be reduce according to the needs of a small more efficient federal government, the feds will cease to exist and the Treasury will do the job intended, etc ...

        Just the tip of the ice berg ... in just the reduction of big government the savings would be billions a day ... enforcement of state and federal immigration laws would save millions a day per state ....

        As you say the system is broken ... the voice of the people must be heard ... no more puppet governments of the elected elite. Last return diplomats no more politicians in foreign affairs.

        You cannot spend your way out of debit .... period.

        This could go on for hours ... just say'n ..... Bob.
  • Nov 28 2013: The problem from the national debt expansion is actually a "circular fiscal or financial game" somewhat analogous to the "circular reasoning" argument.
    The national debt , or even municipal debt, is really caused by the uncontrollable/irresponsible spending policies by the national/local government. To seek the solution for this problem really rests squarely on the government which controls the spending pattern of its financial management. As a matter of fact, the problem can't be solved by either the tax increase or the voluntary contribution by the citizenry (corporations and individuals) because if the government keeps on spending more and more, then the debt won't be reduced and cause even more financial holes in the debt. It really is the same thing whether the government collects more money from taxes or voluntary contribution. Therefore the real solution is to rein in the habit of the government policy of spending beyond its means. For the European countries, you could easily look at the example of Finland and Greece. The former defaulted on its debt then went through serious austerity measures and now becomes a nation of relatively well managed fiscal policy.While Greece also went through the similar situation and has to go into austerity too. I hope it will be back on its feet again soon.
    Let me also mention one more situation, many countries raise debt for the fighting in the World War II. Most of the debt bonds were contributed by the citizenry voluntarily, but the final solution is still the austerity by the governments after the war ended. The "fund raise" suggested by you is more or less equivalent as the issuing of bonds. So the key here is still the responsible management of the national debt due to the spending of the government. In other words, voluntary contribution can be made by the citizenry only for emergency purposes, but not for the habitual lavish spending by the government, INCLUDING THE EXCUSE OF RECOVERING FROM THE ECONOMIC RECESSION.
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      Nov 29 2013: I see what you mean but austerity is very hard on the unemployed wouldn't it be better to handle some of the debt before bankrupcy? If a concerted effort was made to reduce the debt and then create spending plans that stayed within the tax income that would balance the books. Seems to me waiting for the government to sort it out is not going to help. I guess the question is how can the citizens influence the government to cut spending and deal with the debt?
      • Nov 29 2013: Let's look at the Greek experience. The Euro zone at first ask the Greece government to go into austerity by cutting 15% of the government employees and ask the domestic bondholder to have a "haircut" in their bonds principals. The government was successful in negotiation with the bondholders but was slow in reducing the public employees. Then another crisis happened afterwards, the Euro zone countries had to step in and mandate the austerity measures as an ultimatum that they will cut the rescue loans if the Greeks don't follow through with the new austerity program. So, that's exactly what I mean when only "voluntary fundraisers' contribution" was implemented, but with no teeth in the limitation for the austerity implementation, it's most likely useless in relieving the debt problem.
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    Nov 27 2013: I see your point but some are facing bankruptcy. Maybe thinking about it as a voluntary contribution to the national debt rather than fundraiser might help? It could probably be spun so the state did not look desparate. Maybe if all countries implemented a voluntary scheme no state would feel too bad about themselved, except the ones that already had to be bailed out by other countries of course.
    • Nov 28 2013: The loss of face could be minimized if the system was globally adopted, true. In the same way we can have world peace if everyone just put down their arms tomorrow. You've got to be realistic about these things.

      I'm honestly not sure just how much funding it'll bring in anyway--you may appear the beggar only to find yourself up to your chin in debt as opposed to up to your ears, creating a new problem without putting much of a dent in the first.
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        Nov 29 2013: being realistic is very important I agree. Realistically though if we do the same as we have always done nothing will change. I think you are only a beggar state if you are begging from other states. If all your citizens are working together to reduce their debt that is quite different that is a great example for all of the countries of the world to follow. We as a species have even bigger probelms to solve than national debt. If we work on a "small problem" first we can learn skills that will help us with the big problems. Are you in?
  • Nov 27 2013: The simple loss of prestige makes it impractical at best. Its not about ego so much as being known as the "beggar state"--that loss of face has some very real consequences.

    Something you'd want to consider if you're facing bankruptcy perhaps, but not something I'd recommend normally.
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      Nov 28 2013: In fact, 'beggar states' get created by those who have very particular interests and enough influence not to let them file for bankruptcy ... which is the only counter measure against exponential growth of interest within the given monetary system ...
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      Nov 28 2013: Sorry Nadav I replied above must have hit the wrong reply button. I think Lejan is just the person we need to hear from on this his country has bailed out several countries in EU. There must be wealthy people in each of those countries that kept their money while the German tax payers handed over cash.