Letter: Debt & wisdom
Conservative writers and right-wing talk show hosts usually claim a more than $19 trillion national debt. Yet, Time Magazine (April 25, 2016) reported that the public debt is $13.9 trillion. The more than $5 trillion disparity between it and the higher figure is owed to our own government beneficiaries. That payment is called intra-governmental debt (see Wikipedia).
Columnists like Buz Williams and talk pundits Limbaugh and Hannity choose the higher values for obvious reasons. The “crippling” amounts owned by China and to Japan are often noted as failure to control our debt.
However, the highly regarded Nobel Prize winner in economics (2008) Paul Krugman, Ronald Reagan’s senior economic advisor, states, “Every dollar’s worth of foreign claims on America is matched by 89 cents worth of U.S. claims on foreigners. And because foreigners tend to put their U.S. investments into safe, low-yield assets, America actually earns more from its assets abroad than it pays to foreign investors. If your image is of a nation that’s already deep in hock to the Chinese, you’ve been misinformed.”
In his May 9 column in the New York Times, Krugman notes the lack of understanding on economic issues by Donald Trump. “Mr. Trump talks nonsense. He really is frighteningly uninformed. Worse, he doesn’t appear to know what he doesn’t know. His blithe lack of knowledge largely follows from the know-nothing attitudes of the party he now leads.”
Add Krugman, “Oh, and just for the record, no, it’s not the same on the other side of the aisle. You may disagree sharply with Hillary Clinton’s policies, but she and the people around her do know their facts. Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom, but in this election, one party has largely cornered the market in raw ignorance.”
Donald Huard, Ph.D.