Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for October 2006

View of the Desk

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Today is the first day of fall break and I am listening to a Moby station via Pandora as I type away at one of the projects I am working on. RT has been posting a series of shots about her daytime activities and here is mine. I could mix in the once an hour breaks I use to stretch my legs and pick up the house but this is more representative!

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Written by furthermusings

October 19, 2006 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Pictures

As Heard at the Concert

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Tonight I went to a concert by the Tannahill Weavers.  The lead singer said it was great to be back in the States where they were able to buy all the latest gizmos at Radio Shack.  He mentioned how technologically advanced the States are:  “Take my hotel room for instance.  I have a mini-bar that tells me the future.  It tells me what the price of beer will be in the year 2030.” 

If you like jokes like that and music like this, then they’re worth seeing.  As Steve rightly said, there are four guys and then there’s the piper and somehow that evens out.  

I spent a lot of the time at the concert thinking about life and work and music.  One of my favorite parts of a concert is the time and space it commands from me.  They sit me down and provide time to think.  Since my ear isn’t skillful enough to hear all the nuances of the music (or understand the brogue) I spend of good portion of the time thinking, a nice thing to have on Saturday night.

Written by furthermusings

October 15, 2006 at 6:51 am

Posted in Reviews

Remember When . . .

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Remember when Al Gore and George Bush argued over what to do with budget surpluses back in 2000. Gore said we should pay down the national debt. Bush said we should cut taxes. It seemed to me that paying the debt down was the right thing to do. Why? Because paying down the debt back then would lower future interest payments resulting in either lower taxes or higher public spending today.

Today the NYTimes reports that rising interest rates have had an affect on more than just homeowners:

“a much larger group of Americans is already paying a steeper price: taxpayers. After all, the United States government is the largest adjustable-rate borrower in the world. Each year, the national debt grows. Congress spends more than it is willing to raise in taxes, so it finances operations by selling debt to the public. In the last five years, the gross national debt, which includes bonds pledged to fund Social Security and other entitlements, has risen 46 percent, to about $8.5 trillion, from $5.8 trillion at the end of September 2001.”

So what does that mean in a world of rising interest rates?

“The Congressional Budget Office projects that the interest bill, after climbing nearly 20 percent this year, will rise 13.2 percent in 2007, to $240 billion, and more than 8 percent in 2008, to $270 billion. With each passing year, interest payments are likely to eat up a bigger chunk of total spending and crowd out other priorities.”

For a little perspective, the $220,000,000,000 interest bill this year is $730 per American (and more per tax payer if you remove those who don’t pay taxes). It’s three times the education budget, 38 times the National Science Foundation’s budget, and over 23 times what we give to developing countries through USAID.

And who might we be paying that interest to? Much of it isn’t to Americans:

“And so the rising interest rates are contributing to rising income in China, the Persian Gulf region and Japan. In 2005, the United States government paid about $77 billion in interest to foreign creditors, according to the Commerce Department.”

Now I’m not complaining that other countries have been financing our way of life for as long as I’ve been studying the global economy, it’s just that $730 per person is a lot to be giving up.

I can’t but wonder what would have happened if we would have paid down the debt.

Written by furthermusings

October 3, 2006 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Politics