How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Debt: FAQs About the National Debt

Benjamin N. Dover III's picture

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Anonymous's picture

This is the most blantant piece of propaganda I've ever read. Is he a lobbyist for the finance community or something?

Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture

Great Piece.
I had a ball.

Seriously, however:

The USB (it was A, but given the imminent downgrade..)
has a lot of public debt that is not issued by the federal
government: states, munis etc.
How does that compare to other advanced economies?
Does anybody know?

For example:
When we read that Germany's debt will rise to 80% of the GDP,
can we compare it directly to the US federal debt, or should we add (or subtract) public debt issued by local admins (in either countries)?

Anonymous's picture

'Mr. Dover will be on a secret fact-finding tour of Europe for the next few weeks.'

Oh good, in that case,

Dear Mr Dover,

Any chance you could pop down to the Bank of England and find out whether debt is okay here to?

Us Limies are all confused because Mr's Brown and Blair told us that boom and bust was over, that selling half your gold reserves at $220 per oz lows was a good idea and competition laws were an important basis of the free markets.

Any help would be appreciated thank you,

Mr Montigue Withnail,
Land of the Prince Bishops

ZerOhead's picture

Ben... your wordsmanship is only exceeded by your brilliant insight!

I am not worthy! You Gekko as only Gekko can!

And when I find that fucker who rated you a 4 I'm going to ream him a new A-hole!!!

Anonymous's picture

China schmina...LOL
I'll keep that in mind when shopping for cheap plastic crap at Mao-mart-
err I mean Wal-mart...

Anonymous's picture

debtor prisons, here we come again. after all , they need as many prisoner slaves as possible to increase production of cheaply made, manufactured goods for the goyim.

Anonymous's picture

By the way the "How I stopped worrying and loved the debt" was from Dr. Strangelove, and the full title was "How I stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb." there were two bombs, "hi there" and "dear John" perhaps from the last two administrations.

The only way out of this thing is through peaceful revolution. We were in a far worse mess in the 1850s so we formed a new party and fixed it, albeit by a very bloody war. I think the same thing will happen without the war however.

I suspect Newt Gingrich will break away from his party along with Ron Paul and form a new party that will have the ability to clean up the mess. I see no other way out.

Anonymous's picture

By the way the "How I stopped worrying and loved the debt" was from Dr. Strangelove, and the full title was "How I stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb." there were two bombs, "hi there" and "dear John" perhaps from the last two administrations.

The only way out of this thing is through peaceful revolution. We were in a far worse mess in the 1850s so we formed a new party and fixed it, albeit by a very bloody war. I think the same thing will happen without the war however.

I suspect Newt Gingrich will break away from his party along with Ron Paul and form a new party that will have the ability to clean up the mess. I see no other way out.

Anonymous's picture

"What makes the US exempt from economic reality?"

Ben Bernake's printing presses!

Plus the fact that no gold standard exists in the global fiat monetary system. I can only guess what would happen if the US was forced to go back on to the gold standard.

I also find it strange that the US economy is only going to "teeter on the edge of a black hole", when the US govt is trillions in debt and totally bankrupt, morally and financially.

Anonymous's picture

Interesting tid bit on PBS "History Detectives" of a circa 1776 $6.00 note, redeemable in "Spanish milled coin" or "gold"; even though those never exited!

I can't find it at their site, but watched it this morning.

It's very, very eye opening! And a "must watch"!

Leaves someone somewhat hopeless when their government intentionally breaks their dollar. Bullion may be secured, & gaurded, but you'll need to cut it into increments small enough to trade, as in grams!

Got scales anyone?

evil ray

Anonymous's picture

i love tongue in cheek humor.

buy into this and other things will be inserted in other cheeks.

Anonymous's picture

What arrogance, if you think special rules apply to US, your in for a big surprise. While the US may be the top of the food chain, other countries are learning the game fast and smell opportunity. They will pounce when they can. That day will come sooner than you think.

PenGun's picture

 You are such a troll Ben. See what you did.

JR's picture

Government health care is even more government debt.

A caller to Stephanie Miller’s progressive radio program this morning concludes from the August debates on health care that opposing sides are neither Democrat versus Republican nor liberal versus conservative.  Instead, they are smart versus dumb, meaning that “dumb” people are the ones protesting their loss of freedom and income to the state.  

Explaining to the “smart” progressive fringe on the left what’s wrong with socialism, of course, can be difficult. “Though a fool spend all his life with wise men, he will know the truth no more than a spoon knows the taste of soup.”  (The Dhammapada, c. 100)

Anonymous's picture

They common sense approach would simply be to take on additional debt and buy China. Imagine the synergies!

Anonymous's picture

The common sense approach would be to simply take on additional debt and buy China. The synergies would be immense.

ShankyS's picture

Wonderful post!

Sadly, in a way this sounds like a CNBS broadcast without the ques of realism.

TumblingDice's picture

The article set my mind at ease. Thanks Ben.

i.knoknot's picture

me too - for a minute there, I was worried.

Anonymous's picture

How do we tell our new graduates that the highly specialized division of labour that our complex economy has depended on (and rewarded) may be gone?

How to tell them that there is about to be a global disjunction in credit? That in future, credit will be rationed and much will be on pay-go. How do they get that first or next car, the 30y mortgage home, retirement, or savings for their children?

Regression to the mean will mean a much greater proportion of the population will need to have subsistence skills and street smarts above esoteric high specialization.

The collapse post 3rd Century Rome was estimated by Gibbons to have led to a 95% reduction in population in many formerly prosperous towns.

Lord Maynard Keynes who is lionized by the banking cartel and invoked to carry out all the dark arts have chosen that Lord and philosophies of man to follow.

We get to pay the price for the mistakes.

Ruth's picture

I got the part that Tyler's brain can think like a 6 yr old but the other stuff I didn't understand...  Thank God my brother gave me this translation of principles of economics


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

A friend of mine was actually stupid enough to make a "gift" the reduce America's debt. He felt wonderful afterward and so did America. Unfortunately my friend doesn't smoke.

TomJoad's picture

I had missed that one by Max. I do prefer Ben's style, more classically Swiftian in my modestly proposed opinion.

eroc66's picture

Totally hot commentary.  Now all we need is sexy Obama Girl or Ron Paul Girl cheerleaders to make the topic sexy! ROFL

JR's picture

Vin Suprynowicz in a review of Henry Hazlitt’s The Failure of the “New Economics” writes that Hazlitt, way back in 1959, demonstrated that not only did the Keynesian "remedies" of deficit spending and artificially low interest rates not work to reduce high unemployment, business failure and other symptoms of economic maladjustment, but that they often had precisely the OPPOSITE effect of that intended!

Suprynowicz cites some succinct Hazlitt conclusions:

“In Keynesian policy, unemployment is never to be corrected by any reduction of money-wage-rates...  Keynes recommends two main remedies. One is deficit spending (sometimes euphemistically called government ‘investment’). How good is this remedy? It was tried in the United States (partly because of Keynes’ recommendations) for a full decade. What were the results? Here are the deficit in the Federal budget, the numbers of unemployed, and the percentage of unemployed to the total labor force, year by year in that decade. All the figures are from official sources:” (Chart follows.) …

“The central and decisive fact is that heavy deficits were accompanied by mass unemployment. …

“The other main Keynesian remedy for unemployment is low interest rates, artificially produced by ‘the Monetary Authority.’ Keynes incidentally admits … that such artificially low interest rates can only be produced by printing more money, i.e. by deliberate inflation. But we may let this pass for a moment. The question immediately before us is: Did low interest rates prevent mass unemployment? …” (Another chart, measuring the commercial paper rate against the unemployment rate for the years 1920 through 1940, follows.)

“In sum, over this period of a dozen years low interest rates did NOT eliminate unemployment. On the contrary, unemployment actually INCREASED as interest rates went down. In the seven-year period from 1934 to 1940, when the cheap money policy was pushed to an average infra-low rate below 1 percent (.77 of 1 per cent) an average of more than 17 in every 100 persons in the labor force were unemployed.”  (end Hazlitt)

Continues Suprynowicz:

Hazlitt proceeds to demonstrate that from 1949 to 1958, when the same policy of artificially pushing down interest rates was tried, “the relationship of unemployment to interest rates is almost the exact opposite of that suggested by Keynesian theory.”

How could Keynes have gotten it so wrong?

Easy. Hazlitt shows again and again that Keynes pronounced his theories “ex cathedra,” without substantial statistics to back them up. Then, if actual statistics were produced that seemed to show results opposite to what his theories had predicted, he simply challenged the statistics!

(originally posted in part on Contributor J.D. Swampfox’s What makes us invest more?)

JR's picture

Keynes, Krugman and Bernanke are working for the financial establishment.  Their idea is to keep the money on the table, in play, so that they can take it, steal it.  The financial establishment deals in handling money: credit and debt.  And it can’t make money if it doesn’t have the money in circulation. 

Every time Joe Sixpack spends, buys product, all these assorted characters take a clip of it.  The state takes a cut that it redistributes in part to its supporters. The banks will be dealing with that money, taking their commissions and cuts with all the rest of the financial middlemen along the line. Money and credit to these people is not about production and sales, but the movement of the money.

It’s like a giant poker game.  If Joe Sixpack keeps his money in his pocket, by the time he goes home, he has his money.  But if he puts his money on the table or borrows, all these money dealers have a crack at it.  And all the while that Keynes in absentia has been pushing his theories, the government and the bankers are at work.

Take a look at the spoils for the Fed cartel from its money rackets, at the losses for its victims—1) the dot com wipeout 2) the home equity wipeout 3) the usurious mortgage-payment wipeout 4) the savings wipeout 5) the taxpayer wipeout  [bailouts for banks, investment bankers, insurance companies, Fannie, Freddie, GM, Chrysler…] 6) the 08-09 investor wipeout 7) the short seller wipeout 8) the American dream wipeout [lost jobs, an off shored manufacturing base, a debased currency, futureless college graduates…].   And on top of it all, Iraq and Afghanistan. Wars of aggression do not happen without the printing facilities of a central bank


aldousd's picture

Krugman just has it in for those 'richies' who somehow managed to make a boatload more money than he did, when he's so obviously smarter than they are.  He was probably pretty jealous that he didn't get laid any more being a 'world class economist' and the entrepreneurs are certainly not getting treated as 'fairly' as he has been his whole life.


Sorry it sucks to be you Mr. Krugman. And worst of all, sorry that you're smart enough to know just how bad it sucks. Sucks doesn't it? Mwahaha!

Anonymous's picture

You are a gifted writer. This is the best article I have read in years. I could not stop laughing!

TomJoad's picture

You are truly the Dr. Strangelove of Economics: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Debt.

Benjamin N. Dover III's picture

Damn it, that's the perfect title I was searching for but didn't find.

Anonymous's picture

In some ways there's a little Ben Dover in us all.


FreddyInBangkok's picture

anyone got stark's fax# i'd like to send the git a message

deadhead's picture

As usual, pure brilliance from you Ben.  Thank you for your excellent humor.

by the way, will this article be one of the handouts for Obama's school speech?  Shouldn't our kids know this stuff asap?

FreddyInBangkok's picture

would some kind soul please advise how to post an IMAGE here. these 4 are the only choices & none of em work. Cheers.





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CD's picture

Submit original content, become a contributor on ZH. 'Til then, links only.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Ben, I must say that I admire how you took on the impossible task of understanding the national debt problem, and made it simple enough for even a person of my limited intellect to understand.

You are an upstanding good citizen.

Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture

This one was so good you had me until the second paragraph....well done.

aldousd's picture

I can hardly wait.  They should give us our million dollars a piece now, so we can all hurry up and be rich millionaires. I love this country.


By the way, and I mean this in the most sincere way, whomever writes as Benjamin Dover is one sharp motherfucker. Keep it coming. It's so funny it's sobering. Stephen Colbert, you're officially on notice.

spanish inquisition's picture

Thank you for the perspective Ben, I was starting to get nervous about the economy. But now that I see I am "exempt", I feel much better. Well gotta go, brown banana's get dumped at 9am and there is a line if you don't get there early.

Anonymous's picture

Best reply I've ever read

flaxpin's picture

Get the fuck outta here!

SpartanTnT's picture

Ben, you forgot to mention Roubini changing tone as well.

Anonymous's picture

well it went from a L, to a double dip W, to a triple dip. I think he is working on a U now.

Benjamin N. Dover III's picture

Normally, I wouldn't advocate cutting Dr. Doom any slack, but the poor man has been distracted since he became a celebrity academic.