Letters to the Editor

Sanity questioned

July 14, 2011

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To the editor:

Our delegation to the U.S. Congress must be crazy.

They are sending the United States economy over the cliff by not raising the debt ceiling.

Comments

Brock Masters 4 years ago

Well call me crazy cause I support them.

notanota 4 years ago

Really? You like little old ladies to starve because they don't get SS checks? What about the veterans that will now eat cat food?

somedude20 4 years ago

Like a "Death Panel" or that Barack Hussein Obama "Muslim terrorist" Fear mongering

Brock Masters 4 years ago

Exactly. I think fear mongering, regardless of the issue or side is counterproductive to the discussion and confuses the general population as well as causing undue and unnecessary anxiety for them.

notanota 4 years ago

It's not fear mongering. It's giving you a vivid example of the sorts of things that absolutely could happen when seniors do not get their checks on August 3rd.

Now maybe they'll figure out a way to give them significantly smaller checks - like say, one third of what they expected. That still may not be enough for some of the poorest recipients.

The only upside is that the idiots in Congress that fail to act will see large chunks of their wealth disappear, too. Pity it's the least among us that will still end up paying the most.

kernal 4 years ago

Why do you want the economy to collapse? Or, do you not understand the ramifications?

Brock Masters 4 years ago

It is collasping already. We can't sustain spending more than we take in.

Brock Masters 4 years ago

Go look up the definition of "fear mongering" and then come back and try again.

notanota 4 years ago

Actually we can, especially when there's revenue growth projected for the future.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

The "revenue growth projected for the future" very well could be a mirage.

And it is similar to a mirage in that for a long time we have been approaching it, but it still seems to be as far away as ever.

notanota 4 years ago

It's not a mirage, so long as Congress allows the Bush tax cuts to expire as current legislation dictates. That one thing alone would take care of a huge chunk of deficit.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

The recovery was supposed to happen last year, or the year before. In that respect, I do believe we are approaching a mirage.

notanota 4 years ago

The recovery is happening. It's happening slower than we'd like, and jobs are a lagging indicator in any recession. We haven't helped matters along by enacting austerity measures.

John Hamm 4 years ago

Ahhhhhh. No, we're trying to save the US economy by halting spending far in excess of income! In case you haven't noticed the US owes over 14 Trillion dollars which is about, if I read the graphs right, our yearly GNP!

Jimo 4 years ago

One wonders how our GDP(!) is so low given that Bush promised that if we threw away trillions in tax revenues we'd be rewarded with prosperity and jobs as far as the eye could see. Just renewed this welfare for billionaires splurge in December with Republicans promising that these were critical to providing jobs.

Where are the jobs Repubs? Where is the prosperity? Nine years and counting and no results yet!

Bob Hechlor 4 years ago

Funny that you apparently know things that economists don't know. Did it just come to you in a dream or was it from Fox, all propaganda, all the time, News?

It really doesn't work like that. Rich people don't bury their money in the backyard. They put it in investment­s and it earns more money, a massively ridiculous amount and then they find ways to not pay taxes on what they earn. We need to get rid of the loopholes and then they can pay their fair share. We need to quit subsidizin­g the extremely wealthy corporatio­ns. We are paying taxes so that they can make more profit. Does that sound like a good deal?

lunacydetector 4 years ago

what $1 trillion looks like....then multiply the last image 14 times http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html

lunacydetector 4 years ago

during obama's depression, the government needs to cut spending.

here's only $11 trillion.....$14.3 trillion is the magic number he wants

http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/pallet_x_10000_x_11.jpg

notanota 4 years ago

Why not? It worked so well in 1937.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

Don't call it a depression. That's not politically correct.

notanota 4 years ago

Or accurate. Depression is what happens after the debt ceiling isn't raised.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

There is no agreed upon definition of the term (economic) depression, athough some have been proposed.

A proposed definition of depression includes two general rules: a decline in real GDP exceeding 10%, or a recession lasting 2 or more years.

I've been told that for the first part of the definition that if you adjust for inflation, we're already there.

And for the second part of the definition, we're there for sure.

notanota 4 years ago

The Great Recession lasted 18 months, even though recovery has been slow and jobs have been lacking. I'm not saying that everything is roses or that we won't double dip into another recession, but the recession of 2007 is over.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

"the recession of 2007 is over."

"recovery has been slow and jobs have been lacking."

I thought that once a recession was over, the recovery would not be slow, instead it would be history, and there would be jobs.

Perhaps I was misinformed.

Or perhaps I am considering actual inflation, instead of the peaches and cream very low inflation that the government claims, but we don't seem to see in the grocery store, our heating bills, and at the gas pump.

There are some that claim that if you calculate inflation by using the price of gold as the measure, inflation has been frighteningly high because the dollar is now worth so very little compared with only a few years ago, the recession of 2007 is not nearly over, and we're in very big trouble.

notanota 4 years ago

Yes. You were misinformed. Recession is a term useful for economists but not particularly helpful to the rest of us who see all the unemployment continuing around us.

Employment always lags behind during the recovery phase, and this time around, it looks like it's going to be a very long "jobless recovery," which sucks for everyone. We should have had a jobs bill, and I'm still angry at politicians that would rather score points against the other side than do what's right for the country.

Next release of the consumer price index is today, so we'll see how the prices compare, but so far inflation hasn't been out of control. Gas prices have, but they're not a measure of inflation by themselves. They're a measure of how much gas costs.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

Your comments are inaccurate and dangerous.

If we default on our debt, the interest rate on the national debt will skyrocket.

$14.3 Trillion at 0.0% interest is not a big deal. It can be addressed over time.

$14.3 Trillion at 19% is a serious problem. Interest on this debt would consume the entire national budget, lead to a currency devaluation and put us into an economic depression for a generation.

Libertarian, gold standard, child labor, free market dogma is discredited hogwash. Seriously proposing it as an economic philosophy is both childish and dangerous.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

"$14.3 Trillion at 0.0% interest is not a big deal."

It's not if the rate of inflation is very high. If it's high enough for long enough, $14.3 Trillion won't be very much money at all.

somedude20 4 years ago

So repubs don't want to end the Bush tax cuts that allow rich people to get even richer but THEY do want to end social welfare programs that help the old and the poor. I would ask why anyone other than the wealthy would even support the repuds but I remember that old phrase, there is a sucker born every minute. Death Panels.....boogie woogie

Brock Masters 4 years ago

So only wealthy people supported Brownback and the other statewide candidates in the last election? Hmmmm.....Kansas must be doing well to have all those wealthy people living here.

Who pays the bulk of the taxes in this country? Hint, it isn't the poor people. A small percentage of the population pays most of the taxes. Don't believe me, then go look it up and you'll see I'm right. The wealthy are paying their fair share and more.

somedude20 4 years ago

Q: "So only wealthy people supported Brownback and the other statewide candidates in the last election?" A: there is a sucker born every minute (that explains Bush II re-election) The wealthy have become wealthier in part to huge tax breaks that become all of our debt and considering that there are more poor and middle class people than rich, no, they do not pay their fare share. They get more money while we get more debt.

Brock Masters 4 years ago

Disrespecting your fellow Kansan by calling them names is counterproductive and hateful.

Giving a tax break does not create debt. Reducing revenue while not reducing expenses creates a deficit (different than debt). Borrowing creates debt.

somedude20 4 years ago

And borrowing creates what? Debt. If I said you only had to pay a buck in taxes (down from 2) but our spending is still at two (or more) so we borrow money to make ends meet so that you can have you break. When you borrow you take on a debt to the lender

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

OMFG! The United States of America has basically always borrowed every dollar in circulation. Do you think the Federal Reserve Bank just hands the money over to the USA? Wrong...It's borrowed, and they want it back with interest. Fiat money systems always crash. Scroll down, read my posts, and get a clue.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

Why lower taxes and create a deficit in the first place? What's the purpose? Were the rich not still rich under the old tax rates? Are they trying to crash the system? Was it to 'create jobs and stimulate the economy?' Taxes are the lowest they've been in 40 years! G. W.'s tax cuts have been in place for quite a while now. Where are those jobs? WTF is going on? Reality check, Fred: the economy is crashing and the jobs have left the country. One day you're going to wake up and realize that you've been 'suckered' by double-speak and constant lies from the leadership that you so adore.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

Gay marriage...boogie woogie

Abortion....boogie woogie

Religion, the scourge of the Earth.

jaywalker 4 years ago

"Really? You like little old ladies to starve because they don't get SS checks? What about the veterans that will now eat cat food?"

Spare us.

notanota 4 years ago

I'm sure Congress will. They'd rather not have their portfolios collapse, either.

Jim Phillips 4 years ago

Oh no, jaywalker. She is right! My 96 year old grandmother has lived waaaaaaay too long. She is using up my depleting oxygen from all of the CFCs we pumped into the air. I really hope my 75 year old mother doesn't lve as long as granny. That will be two people gone giving me even more of everything. Then there is my 80 year old father. Well, all of the old people just have to go and the sooner the better!

notanota 4 years ago

Well good. Keep up the Tea Party support, and the check won't be in the mail on August 3rd.

jaywalker 4 years ago

I'm truly sympathetic to your elders' plight. Knowing they have progeny this ignorant must be an incredible burden. God bless them all.

Ya'll go ahead and keep believing that essential services like SS will be what's cut. Won't be the billions of dollars spent on things like building "turtle tunnels", transportation to the Dry Tortugas that nobody utilizes, or advertisements to build "consumer confidence".
I've seen the 'fear mongering' posts earlier, and I remember when the shoe was on the other foot. I weep for your parents and for yourselves. I hope you didn't spend good cash money on your higher education. Waste of dough on sheep.

notanota 4 years ago

They'll have a hard time making the payments if there's no money in the bank. We actually hit the debt ceiling earlier this summer, and we've been shuffling money around, but August 3rd is when we hit our first crisis.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

In 1979 the US defaulted on $120 Million out of $800 Billion in debt.

The result of that was that interest rates for US bonds on the $800 Billion rose by 0.6%.

That's almost $5 Billion dollars.

Let me repeat that. Because we didn't pay $120 Million, we added almost $5 Billion to the debt.

Refusing to borrow more at this point, means refusing to pay. Refusing to pay means that you default, and your interest rates go up, and you just owe even more.

Refusing to raise the debt ceiling will only result in more money owed. Not to mention freak out global markets. Look at how the markets have responded to Ireland, Greece, and now Italy. What do you think will happen if the US gets classified with these countries as insolvent?

Brock Masters 4 years ago

The debt ceiling can be increased, all Obama has to do is agree to corresponding cuts and the debt ceiling will be raised. Is cutting a bloated budget really too much to ask?

jafs 4 years ago

Obama has agreed to spending cuts, if Republicans agree to some revenue enhancing measures - they're refusing to do so.

Brock Masters 4 years ago

Why should they agree to tax increases along with raising the debt ceiling? Many Americans including myself want spending cuts not tax increases.

jafs 4 years ago

And many Americans understand that the only real way out of this problem is to both raise revenue and cut spending.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

$4 trillion dollars. That's how much the Obama administration's budget compromise proposed to cut from the national debt.

It was more than the Republicans were even asking for.

The Republicans refused it.

Why? Because it contained the elimination of tax cuts for the wealthy, and the closing of tax loopholes.

This is actually what is happening. Aren't you paying attention to the news?

Brock Masters 4 years ago

The last I read Obama was proposing only about 1.5 trillion in cuts. Got a source for the 4 trillion and is that the current offer? I'll ignore your little poke at the end. Just show me where he is now offering 4 trillion.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

Obama has agreed to significant tax cuts, but it is time for the rich to start paying their fare share.

Were the 1990s such a bad time? Lets take the tax rates back to what they were before 2000 when we had a record surplus, balanced budget and growing economy.

Back to the future. Restore tax rates to 1999 levels.

What is ironic about this discussion is that the rich actually do better when tax rates are higher and social welfare programs are functional. They are voting against their own interests.

gogoplata 4 years ago

It is not fearmongering, it is common sense.

Everyone understands that it is a bad idea for an individual to call up the credit card company to raise the credit limit on their cards just so they can borrow more money to pay bills they don't have the money to pay.

Our government officals should check out this video.
Don't buy stuff you cannot afford. http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/dont-buy-stuff/27169/

notanota 4 years ago

Everyone also knows that individuals are not governments.

gogoplata 4 years ago

Same principles apply to both. It is that simple.

notanota 4 years ago

You may be that simple, but the principles are not.

gogoplata 4 years ago

I'd love to see you back that up.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

I'll back it up.

When their is a financial crisis, equity holders flee stocks and buy US Treasury debt, driving interest rates down and making it cheaper for the nation to borrow.

When you get a giant medical bill and need to pay the hospital. Your credit card company lowers your maximum balance and increases your interest rate.

Oh, and a federal government has the power to tax, you don't.

I can't believe I am even responding to such one dimensional drivel.

notanota 4 years ago

Don't forget about how they frown upon individuals printing their own money.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

They don't like post dated checks either.

gogoplata 4 years ago

When there is a financial crisis..........

The reason there is a financial crisis in the first place is because our governement spends to much money. So now we fix the problem of spending too much money by spending more money?!?!?

Talk about drivel.

jonas_opines 4 years ago

Focusing all of your attention on one facet of many that contribute to the problem does not make you accurate.

Drivel, indeed.

gogoplata 4 years ago

The problem is too much debt. So the solution is adding more debt?

"There's another old saying Senator, Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining"

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

There is another way out of the debt problem, but it's rather nasty. That is to sell off federal assets that are now considered to be untouchable.

The federal government flat out owns the Interstate system, the National Parks, huge tracts of undeveloped land as well as the natural resources beneath them, and many other assets that are considered to not be for sale at all.

I'm sure that wealthy people, both foreigners and Americans, would love to purchase housing lots at outrageous prices right in the middle of Yellowstone National Park, for starters.

And, there is a property at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. that's got to be worth over ten billion dollars to someone, because it would be so prestigious to live in the White House, which has housed every President of the USA since 1801.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

Now that I've thought about it for a moment, I think that $100 billion dollars, or maybe even more, would be an appropriate price for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

deec 4 years ago

Can't. It, the Capitol and the Supreme Court are already bought.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

That is retarded. Raise tax rates, cut some spending. Apply the 4% payroll tax to income over $150K and tax hedge fund income as income instead of cap. gains.

The national parks have been given to us in trust by our parents to pass on to our children.

Talk about irresponsible. The national parks are irreplaceable. Imagine Yellowstone in the hands of Exxon. You don't sell grandma's diamonds to buy groceries. You eat potatoes for a while and get a second job.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

I did say "it's rather nasty."

Did you notice that?

jayhawklawrence 4 years ago

The Republicans say we have a spending problem.

I agree.

I remember paying 40 cents a gallon for gas and now they want almost $4.00.

Next time I go to the gas station I am going to demand in the name of Liberty, the Constitution and the American Dream that I get my 40 cent gas back.

Until I do, I will refuse to raise my debt limit.

beatrice 4 years ago

How much were you making back when gas was 40 cents a gallon? That would have been around 1972, when gas was 36 cents a gallon, before the Arab oil embargo pushed it upwards of 70 cents a gallon, correct? Median household income was $9,697 in 1972. Today, household income is around $44,389. Income has risen by more than 10 times, right along with the price of gas.

Basically, when you take inflation into account, you are still paying around 36 cents per gallon of gas.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

We have inflation because we have a fiat currency, which means that a currency such as the dollar has value only because the government says it does. It is not backed up by any physical commodity at all.

The claim used to be that the dollar was backed by the gold in Fort Knox, but whether or not there even is any gold at all in Fort Knox has not been independently verified for many years. What exactly is in Fort Knox is a closely held government secret.

But, there couldn't possibly be enough gold in there to back up the dollar anyway, because the amount of dollars in circulation would purchase all the gold ever mined since antiquity many times over, even at today's inflated price.

The history of fiat money has been one of failure. Every fiat currency since the Romans first began the practice in the first century has ended in devaluation and eventual collapse of not only the currency, but of the economy that housed the fiat currency as well.

But because we are optimists, we expect things to be different this time.

When U.S. coinage was minted out of a metal with intrinsic value, such as gold, there was no real inflation. A $20 gold coin was made out of $20 worth of gold which could be melted and sold for $20 worth of goods and services. Now that we are off the gold standard, things are different.

Economists generally agree that inflation is caused by a growth of the money supply.

In other words, we have inflation because new money is created out of thin air!

gogoplata 4 years ago

Well put! I'd even sat that inflation is a growth of the money supply. The effects of inflation are what we call inflation.

notanota 4 years ago

Except that gold only has value because we say it does.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

We like our computers and other electronic devices that could not be manufactured if it was not available. What you are saying is that computers and other electronic devices have no value.

See my post below that begins:

"Gold is so valuable in large part because it has so many industrial uses."

notanota 4 years ago

Actually, that's not true. Without gold, we'd figure out a workaround, such as copper treated to resist oxidation.

gogoplata 4 years ago

The fact is Gold has intrinsic value. Gold holds its value while the value of the dollor declines. Gold holds its purchasing power while the purchasing power of the dollar declines. The constitution allows for only gold and silver to be legal tender.

Every time the Fed creates more money they are stealing from you. By injecting money into the economy each dollar you hold is devalued. It is like a back door tax that few people are aware of. People think that inflation is just a natural part of economics. It is not. It is however a natural part of fiat currency. Time to wake up to this fraud.

jayhawklawrence 4 years ago

I remember going to Catholic School and asking the nun in our religious class about which sins are Mortal Sins and which ones are Venial Sins.

It got a little confusing, but here is one that is currently bothering me.

If I ask a Billionaire to pay a little bit more tax, would that be a Mortal Sin or a Venial Sin?

This might be a good question to ask Father Brownback.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

Maybe he would tell you that it was not a Mortal Sin or a Venial Sin, but Moral Sin.

Liberty275 4 years ago

You had to point out he's a catholic. Now I'm always going to think about how all that kneeling in church before god/lie made him develop an inferiority complex that now rules him.

Somebody buy him a Corvette before it's too late!

Brock Masters 4 years ago

It is neither a Mortal nor Venial sin for you to ask someone to pay more taxes.

And, it is not a sin for the billionaire not to pay more in taxes. First, I am not qualified to judge another and second you don't know what they do with their money. Instead of paying taxes they may very well be giving away more than they would pay in taxes to charity and the poor.

Hope you're less confused now.

jayhawklawrence 4 years ago

"I'll bet a million dollars against any member of the Forbes 400 who challenges me that the average (federal tax rate including income and payroll taxes) for the Forbes 400 will be less than the average of their receptionists." - Warren Buffet

This man gave his entire wealth to charity and he is one of the richest men on the Earth.

He says we should tax people who have money.

I believe people who are promoting the absolute position of not raising taxes and who have pushed to lower taxes on the wealthy since Reagan are not capable of rational thinking.

What they are demonstrating is a cult-like mentality. These people may not be capable of rational and independent thought.

A very large percentage of the American people want a mixture of spending cuts and tax reform which may mean expiring the Bush tax cuts and other reforms to our tax code.

The leadership of the Republican Party and the Tea Party is using this man made crisis to implement an extreme agenda.

Although we need to get the money and corruption out of government and the Tea Party did get us out of the earmark business, I do not believe this kind of fundamentalism is leading to better management or governing.

I think I am going to have to start recommending "Deprogramming" and family intervention as a possible option for some of you Right Wing conservatives.

Liberty275 4 years ago

Appeal to authority minus quotations and/or supporting evidence = logical fallacy and not arguable. For our concession prize, you win two internets. Use them wisely.

Carol Bowen 4 years ago

Are wealthy people actually opposing increased taxes, or is "No new taxes" just a hypnotic chant designed to cull more votes?

gudpoynt 4 years ago

It's a mantra.

What the Teapublicans are trying to get their constituencies to believe is that the financial crisis has been treating everybody equally.

It has not.

The amount of suffering realized is inversely proportional with the amount of recession-proof cushion you have.

The less money you had before the financial crisis began, the more you have likely suffered since.

If you had a lot of money going into the financial crisis, then chances are you didn't suffer nearly as much. Indeed, you may have even prospered. Indeed, that seems to be the case.

But to hear the Teapublicans explain it, there isn't a single part of the economy that could withstand an increase in taxes. Not one part of the economy could absorb the additional cost associated with the elimination of decade-old tax cuts and loopholes through which billions in corporate earnings pass each year.

Not one... single... part... of our economy. Not even the parts that were negligibly affected by the financial crisis. Not even the parts that have actually prospered since the fall of 2008.

To hear the Teapublicans explain it, it doesn't matter if your making record profits, due in part to the tax breaks enacted a decade ago. It doesn't matter if you using bookkeeping tricks to keep billions in profits off the books, or in overseas tax shelters. Any increase in taxes at all would be detrimental to the economy.

Even more detrimental, apparently, than defaulting on our payment obligations, allowing the rating of US treasury bonds to fall, which will cause the interest rates to rise, which will contribute more to the debt than anyone is willing to consider.

pace 4 years ago

Skipping making your credit card payment isn't the same as saving money. Congress is playing politics with our credit.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

why is this so hard for people to understand?!?

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

Because the average amurhikkkan is an uneducated dipstick who's opinions are formed by talking heads like Beck, Limbowel, and Hannity. The kings of disinformation and double-talk.

beatrice 4 years ago

With Bush administration tax cuts came massive increase in debt. We need to do away with those tax cuts, but that won't solve the problem. We also must make massive cuts in spending. Both parties have let this go on for too long, and it will take both tax increases and spending cuts to start lowering what we owe.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

Compromise. Wow. Great Idea.

I think I've been hearing the White House saying that over and over and over.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

Depression. Can you say depression? That is what happens if we default on the debt.

Mortgage rates of 10-15%. Good luck ever selling a house again.

Auto loans in the 15% range.

And don't expect wages to keep up. They haven't really risen for the middle class since Regan was elected. (1980)

gudpoynt 4 years ago

read the transcript above....

We defaulted on $120 Million in 1979. It almost immediately translated to $4.8 Billion in increased interest owed.

So, in this instance, for every dollar we defaulted, we added $40 to the debt. That's a negative 4000% return on investment. Bad idea.

gogoplata 4 years ago

Solution? Get rid of our military empire, stop fighting stupid wars, drastically cut the pentagon budget, get people out of social security, quit sending other countries money, end the war on drugs, get rid of the department of education, end welfare, and end the Fed, and go back to the gold standard.

Limited government, sound money, and a non interventionist foreign policy.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

what makes gold so valuable? Ever stop to think about that?

Brock Masters 4 years ago

Supply and demand and a belief that it is valuable. It really isn't worth much if you think about it. You can't eat it, it doesn't power anything and really has no real practical use.

If people just decided one day they didn't want or need it then it'd be worthless.

gogoplata 4 years ago

True. But the reason for the demand does not really matter. Throughout history there has been a demand for gold and because of that demand it is has value. That is the great thing about gold, it actually has value, unlike federal reserve notes.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

"no real practical use."?

You're using a computer, and you're claiming that computers have "no real practical use"? See my post below. You'll have to click on it to expand it, only part of it shows.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

Gold became an accepted standard for currency because:

a) it required a significant amount of labor to get. Which makes it more valuable than, say, pine cones.

b) it's a mineral that doesn't readily deteriorate. It has staying power. If you get gold now, you'll have gold later.

c) It's easily malleable, which means that gold owners could stamp their logo on it with little difficulty.

d) It's not particularly rare. Precious, sure. But not really that rare. Which means that we could use it for a standard. There's enough to go around, but not so much that everybody has some.

e) it's somewhat useful, but many of those uses (other than coin making) were realized centuries after gold was understood as "precious" metal.

f) and last but not least, it's shiny and pretty. No kidding. You might be surprised knowing how much this property propelled gold above other rudimentary forms of currency.

Other than that, it's just faith. Faith in its value.

Kind of like the USD. Ever hear the phrase: "full faith and credit of the United States"? Keywords = "faith" and "credit".

Buyers of US bonds have the "faith" because it's widely accepted that the US always pays it's debts. And because buyers have the "faith", the US has "credit" as a result.

Well, refusing to pay our investors by refusing to raise our debt limit is going to seriously shake the confidence (i.e. "faith") in our abilities to come through with our financial obligations.

We need to get back to sane bookkeeping, I agree. Nearly all US citizens do, regardless of party affiliation. But dealing a decisive blow to our ability to repay our creditors is certainly a poor way of going about it.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

What You Just Said About Gold:

"It's not particularly rare"

Not true. If all the gold ever mined since antiquity were to be molded into a cube, it would be only about 70 feet on each edge.

"it's somewhat useful"

That's true if you consider computers, our telephone system, all other telecommunications equipment, and jet airplanes to be only "somewhat useful". Others consider those items to be essential parts of modern life.

Any Electical Engineering student would bust out laughing if you told him that gold was only "somewhat useful".

gudpoynt 4 years ago

Funny, I have a degree from the school of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Somehow, I didn't bust out laughing at myself.

My point was that the usefulness of gold is not what gives it value. Copper, for instance, is valuable not because it's coveted, but because it's useful. Oil is valuable not because people like to make jewelry out of it. It's valuable because it's useful.

Conquistadors were massacring tens of thousands of natives in Peru long before the industrial usability of the gold they were after would ever be realized ;-)

Furthermore, I heard that the big gold cube would actually be closer to 80 feet. If that's correct, then you were shy by 16,900 cu. ft., which itself is a big gold cube about 55 ft on a side.

But whether or not its 343,000 cu ft or 512,000 cu ft, you are correct that it's not very large volume.

It's so rare in fact, that even after we put a little bit in every computer and airplane, as you point out, we have enough to cap our broken teeth and thinly coat thousands of tons of cheap jewelry!

Rare stuff indeed.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

Gold is so valuable in large part because it has so many industrial uses. Our present technology requires its use, nothing else will do. For instance, you're using a computer board and other associated devices to get onto this forum, and gold was used to produce them. In fact, old computer and other electronic devices are shipped to China in large quantities, and the gold that was used to manufacture them is recovered by methods that are very unfriendly to the environment.

The incredibly high demand for gold for use in jewelry goes back to before antiquity. I don't understand why, to get an answer to that you would have to ask a woman.

And, it's the ideal material for crowning our teeth.

It even goes all the way to producing stained glass. Producing red stained glass used to require the use of gold, however I believe there are other ways of doing that now.

And I'm sure that's just the beginning of the list.

If gold had no use, it would have no value. But that's not the case.

Sigmund 4 years ago

"They are sending the United States economy over the cliff by not raising the debt ceiling. "

The Problem: Massive Debt. The Solution: More Debt?

Forgive me but that answer sounds a bit crazy. Going over the cliff is a given, how much weight do you want around your neck when you hit the cold deep water of economic reality? The only open issue is if we are going over with an extra 2 trillion in debt ($14T vs $16T) around our necks. Had we gone over the cliff 3 years ago it would have been $4T.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

No, you're missing something key, along with a lot of US citizens apparently.

The Problem: Massive Debt The Solution: Pay it down safely, and responsibly.

Not raising the debt limit will have two immediate consequences:

1) The rating of US treasury bonds will fall, causing interest rates to rise, and saddle us with billions more in debt. Immediately. Literally, immediately.

2) We won't be able to borrow anymore, but the treasury bonds will still have to be paid, so we will be forced to pay them with money previously designated for other things.

So... who's to lose out? Think about the ramifications.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

The Walton family. Warren Buffett. Bill Gates. Page & Brin. They will all suffer. Lets punish them by not raising the debt limit.

The middle class? No big deal, we'll just shake it off. The job market is hot right now, isn't it? I have factory skills. I'll be fine.

Sigmund 4 years ago

gudpoynt (anonymous) replies… "The Solution: Pay it down safely, and responsibly."

I think you missed something as well. How is borrowing more money going to "pay it down safely and responsibly?" I am all for paying it off safely and responsibly but borrowing more does neither. Going over the cliff is a given, how much weight do you want around your neck when you hit the cold deep water of economic reality?

gudpoynt 4 years ago

If you resign yourself to the idea that going over a cliff is a given, then you've given up.

You pay it down safely and responsibly by NOT defaulting and unintentionally saddling yourself with tens of billions more in debt. Instantaneously.

I don't think many people get just how quickly our debt will skyrocket even higher if Moody's actually downgrades our bond ratings. it's like when you're late on your CC payment and your APR jumps from 8% to 23%. Instantly, you have more debt.

To avoid that, you borrow Jack to pay Jill, because in doing so, you can keep your rates low for the time being. Once you avert a catastrophe, then you get to serious business.

How?

Well, you could start by offering a compromise on a budget package that equates to about $4 Trillion dollars in spending cuts and revenue increases. It's what the administration proposed. It was turned down.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

no, i realize that. Didn't mean to infer per year.

Sigmund 4 years ago

gudpoynt (anonymous) replies… "You pay it down safely and responsibly by NOT defaulting and unintentionally saddling yourself with tens of billions more in debt. Instantaneously."

Not borrowing more will NOT cause a default, never has never will. Failing to pay principal and interest when due will and that decision is the Presidents. Current revenues are more than sufficient to pay principle and interest and it is up to him what to cut. Borrowing more to pay principle and interest on existing debt is not paying it down safely and responsibly, it is a Ponzi scheme is is illegal in all 50 states.

The economy is going over a cliff, either in the short term or in the near term. The stimulus packages (to avert the past "economic crisis") are the source of much of this debt and the administration recently admitted, there were no "shovel ready jobs." In the new "crisis" we are told borrowing more is the solution to crushing debt. The political parties will refuse to act unless there is a "crisis" and the current one is just as good a place to start as the next crisis or the crisis after that. Postponing the pain in hope of some future solution just makes it harder to quit the failed policies that got us here in the first place.

BTW promising to cut $4 trillion over ten years (two administrations down the road) to borrow $2 trillion today puts us behind the 8 ball 10 years from now even at current interest rates and raising tax rates today is not guarantee to raise tax revenues.Going over the cliff is a given, how much weight do you want around your neck when you hit the cold deep water of economic reality?

Scott Drummond 4 years ago

Wonder what the effects in red state Kansas will be when President Obama decides what to pay and what not to pay.

Self interest alone ought to encourage the dumblicans to cut some sort of deal.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

Ideologs don't function on a rational basis (ask a suicide bomber what is good for him).

The right has given up rational self interest in favor of a no-tax ideology. Like a suicide bomber, they are completely ready to blow themselves up along with the rest of us.

Ironically, if they voted in their own self interest (a tenant of capitalism) we could get a compromise in place and this wouldn't be a big deal.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

Hate to break it to you, but Obama isn't to blame for this crisis. Obama was handed the crisis by G. W. Bush and Company. This has been building up over the last 30 years. Remember, G. W. Bush took office with a budget surplus.

Ronald Reagan; November 1983: "The full consequences of a default -- or even the serious prospect of default -- by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar." The Gipper presided over a tripling of the American national debt to nearly $3 trillion. By the time he left office in 1989, Ronald Reagan more than equaled the entire debt burden produced in the previous 200 years of American history.

Following in Reagan's footsteps, G. W. Bush buried the myth of Republican fiscal discipline. George W. Bush Doubled the National Debt. Inheriting a federal budget in the black and CBO forecast for a $5.6 trillion surplus over 10 years, President George W. Bush quickly set about dismantling the progress made under Bill Clinton. Bush's $1.4 trillion tax cut in 2001, followed by a $550 billion second round in 2003, accounted for the bulk of the yawning budget deficits he produced. By January 2009, the mind-numbing deficit figure reached $1.2 trillion, forcing President Bush to raise the debt ceiling to $11.3 trillion. Republicans Voted Seven Times to Raise Debt Ceiling for President Bush.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

Taxes are the lowest they've been in 40 years! I wonder if that has anything to do with this economic crisis.... Things that make you go, hmmmm.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

But wait, there's more! Lowering taxes was supposed to 'create jobs.' Things that make you go, hmmmm.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

Sigmund:

a) we did default before. 1979. Due to a technical glitch at the tail end of a budget argument (highly reminiscent of the one we're currently in), we didn't pay $120 Million and the resulting increase in 0.6% in interest on ALL of our debt of $800 Billion at the time translated to an instantaneous addition to our debt of $4.8 Billion dollars.

b) "Not borrowing more will NOT cause a default". This is the big question isn't it? Michelle Bachmann agrees with you. Most other professional economists, not only in the US, but around the world, disagree with Michelle Bachmann (and you apparently). Turns out that investors in US treasury bonds are more willing to take the opinion of a consensus of non-partisan, international economists, over the opinions of Michelle Bachmann, her followers, and apparently, you.

Sigmund 4 years ago

pace (anonymous) says… "Skipping making your credit card payment isn't the same as saving money. Congress is playing politics with our credit."

Correct, saving money requires reduced spending. There is more than enough revenues to pay principle and interest, it is up to the administration whether or not to meet those obligations, not the congress.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

So they should pay down debt and cut medicare and social security.

I am for that. Go ahead. Get rid of social security (no more deductions from my check).

Be sure to sign your voting slip. It will truly be the last vote a congressman, senator or president makes.

labmonkey 4 years ago

No new taxes for anyone until the government can provide substantial and permanent spending cuts. Once they prove themselves, then give them more money.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

Obama's economy? Yeah, right. Good thing Bush oversaw the collapse of it all then handed it over to Obama. You freakin' simpletons think you have it all figured out? No one person is to blame for this catastrophe. It's been building up over the last 30 years. Reagan tripled the national debt while in office. G. W. Bush doubled the national debt while in office. Republicans voted seven times to raise the debt limit for G. W. Bush. Get a clue already.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

If it's 'his' economy then why even bother talking to the republicrats? Uh, because it's actually not 'his' economy. No one person controls something as important as our economy. If it's anyone's, it's Helicopter Ben Bernanke's economy.

monkeyhawk 4 years ago

I thought that it was only government that decided how much of their money (the fruits of your own labor) they will allow you to keep. But now I see that the progressive branch of Lawrence also thinks you have no right to your money. Why else do some bores keep mentioning the Kochs? They really want to get some of that.

Could the decline of the US be by design? Someone doesn't want the US to be exceptional anymore. What better way to do that by defaulting and turning into junk, then the Wizard of Soros can fulfill his lifelong dream of open borders and kumbaya.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

"Could the decline of the US be by design?" I think you're on to something here. However, I believe the decline is a concerted effort from both Republicrats and Democans. Looking back over the last 30 years of American history, you can't simply blame one side. G. W. Bush doubled the national debt while in office (after inheriting a budget surplus from Clinton). Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt while in office. Republican administrations have overseen the accumulation of the greatest amount of American debt. Don't believe me? Check the record.

jayhawklawrence 4 years ago

The polls are showing that the Republicans will be blamed if the government defaults.

That is very hopeful because it means that most Americans still have a lot of common sense.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

Ronald Reagan; November 1983: "The full consequences of a default -- or even the serious prospect of default -- by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar." The Gipper presided over a tripling of the American national debt to nearly $3 trillion. By the time he left office in 1989, Ronald Reagan more than equaled the entire debt burden produced in the previous 200 years of American history.

Following in Reagan's footsteps, G. W. Bush buried the myth of Republican fiscal discipline. George W. Bush Doubled the National Debt. Inheriting a federal budget in the black and CBO forecast for a $5.6 trillion surplus over 10 years, President George W. Bush quickly set about dismantling the progress made under Bill Clinton. Bush's $1.4 trillion tax cut in 2001, followed by a $550 billion second round in 2003, accounted for the bulk of the yawning budget deficits he produced. By January 2009, the mind-numbing deficit figure reached $1.2 trillion, forcing President Bush to raise the debt ceiling to $11.3 trillion. Republicans Voted Seven Times to Raise Debt Ceiling for President Bush.

In their few moments of candor, Republican leaders expressed agreement with Tim Geithner's assessment that default by the U.S. "would have a catastrophic economic impact that would be felt by every American." "financial collapse and calamity throughout the world" (Senator Lindsey Graham) and "you can't not raise the debt ceiling" (House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan). In January, even Speaker John Boehner acknowledged as much: "That would be a financial disaster, not only for our country but for the worldwide economy. Remember, the American people on election day said, 'we want to cut spending and we want to create jobs.' And you can't create jobs if you default on the federal debt."

http://crooksandliars.com/jon-perr/10-inconvenient-truths-about-debt-ceiling#two

jayhawxrok 4 years ago

Reps don't care about the people they represent, not at the state or national level, it's all about their lame rhetoric and temper tantrums demanding we keep trying what we know doesn't work economically while they try and govern the rest of our lives by their twisted interpretations of religious doctrine.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

Two things need to happen. Cut spending and raise taxes. There's plenty of fat to cut from the national budget...military/defense spending is the first place to start. Does anyone remember Donald Rumsfeld announcing the the DOD had lost $2.3-trillion? That was back on September 10, 2001. 24-hours later and nobody cared any longer about that lost money. Eisenhower tried to warn us about the Military-Industrial Complex and his warning was disregarded.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/29/eveningnews/main325985.shtml

We're not broke, just twisted. We're not broke. Not even close. The United States of America is awash in wealth. Our corporations are holding record trillions in cash. And overall individual wealth in the United States, the Credit Suisse Research Institute reported this past fall, has risen 23 percent since the year 2000, to $236,213 per American adult.

We have, these indicators of overall wealth suggest, survived the Great Recession quite nicely. So how can average families — and the national, state, and local governments that exist to serve them — be doing so poorly? Why do "deficits" dominate our political discourse? What explains the red-ink hurricane now pounding government budgets at every level?

Two prime drivers behind our current budget "squeeze."

One, we have become wealthier than ever. But our wealth has become incredibly more concentrated at our economic summit. U.S. income is cascading disproportionately to the top.

Two, we are taxing the dollars that go to our ever-richer rich — and the corporations they own — at levels far below the tax rates that America levied just a few decades ago. We have, in effect, shifted our tax burden off the shoulders of those most able to bear it and away from those who disproportionately benefit from government investments the most.

These two factors — more dollars at the top, significantly lower taxes on these dollars — have unleashed a fiscal nightmare. Can we wake up in time to avoid the crippling austerity that so many of our political leaders insist we must accept?

Key Tax Facts:

15,753: The number of households in 1961 with $1 million in taxable income (adjusted for inflation).

361,000: The number of households in 2011 estimated to have $1 million in taxable income.

43.1: Percent of total reported income that Americans earning $1 million paid in taxes in 1961 (adjusted for 2011 dollars)

23.1: Percent of total reported income that Americans earning $1 million are likely to pay in taxes in 2011, estimated from latest IRS data.

47.4: Percent of profits corporations paid in taxes in 1961.

11.1: Percent of profits corporations paid in taxes in 2011.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

If you still think the economic crisis just started and is all Obama's fault, or the Democan's fault....you're beyond help. Critical thinking, folks, it can help you in life.

jayhawklawrence 4 years ago

This "crisis" was staged and is a great example of how political parties try to deceive the american people and get away with it.

Why didn't they do this during the bush and reagan terms?

The last two years has not been about what is best for the country.

It has always been about getting that black guy out of the all white house.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

I believe you've hit the nail squarely upon its head with that comment. I've started to wonder about this for awhile now; the establishment wants to make an example of Obama for the sheeple. "See what happens when you vote a colored for president?!?"

tbaker 4 years ago

Even if the President adopted the Ryan budget plan, the debt ceiling would still have to be raised. I believe the Ryan plan raises it for the next six years - and that assumes robust economic growth. As much as immediately cuting spending to meet the federal obligations sounds like a good idea (which I would love to see) it truely is a pipe dream given the reality in DC. The practical solution, politics being the art of the possible, will require an increase. By no means does this mean there should not also be spending cuts. How much and what gets cut is the real argument going on.

Spending cuts; bringing fedzilla under control so our country doesn't go bankrupt - this is the objective. The debt deal will have to include trillions in cuts, it should not raise taxes (really dumb right now) but thats not saying tax loop holes shouldn't be closed and other revenue-generating ideas explored (sell some federal land maybe?) The people in the hard positions - liberals who must raise taxes, and tea party folks who won't vote for a debt ceiling raise no matter what - those folks are gonna lose. The answer, as usual, will be in the middle somewhere.

Case in point: the libs on this blog who don't agree with the tough spending decisions that have to be made, they are as reliable as a sunrise. They trot out the old, tired race card. Most Americans see this for what it is: plan and simple PANIC on the left, and our gang of trusty socialists are no exception. They see the end of the welfare state and they don't like it. They are part of that group that is not going to be happy when this is over.

Bob Hechlor 4 years ago

You have no idea what you are talking about.

jafs 4 years ago

Of course those in the middle are the most reasonable, which is always the case, and the most likely to find solutions.

But, calling the "libs" wrong is not a middle ground. There are plenty of ways to cut waste, fraud and unnecessary spending, but people seem to disagree on them.

Republicans like to cut education and social services, while Democrats may prefer to cut the military budget.

tbaker 4 years ago

I called people in hard positions wrong Jafs, especially the ones who spastically slobber "racist!" every time someone disagrees with the President. Libs are half that hard-position equation that is wrong in this debt ceiling debate. The Tea Party crew are going to be just as disappointed. As good as it may sound, going cold turkey and not raising the debt ceiling at all just isn't realistic. All that said, whoever doesn't think we need trillions in cuts, I have to call them wrong. How we come about it, well theres plenty of room for debate for that, so long as spending cuts are what is being debated.

Bob Hechlor 4 years ago

Many people here don't understand economics and they won't learn about it on Fox, all propaganda, all the time, News. We have been in this boat economically a number of times. What has been learned by economists is that the way out is to put money into the economy. The best way to do that is to put it into investment in the infrastructure. That creates jobs and increases spending and restores faith in the nation's economy. That creates more wealth, more tax revenues and then it is much easier to pay off the debt. The repubs know this as well as anyone, but the problem is that they are just looking out for themselves and their rich friends and benefactors. The problem with that is, it isn't sustainable. If we keep doing that, we are all going down and it won't take long. The president knows what we need to do and he needs to be allowed to do it before it is too late. Naturally, the repubs don't want him to succeed, because if he does, they will be out of business. Their schemes will be exposed.

Bob Hechlor 4 years ago

The problem with the tax breaks are that (1) they reduce revenue which could be used to create jobs. (2) the rich are not investing in America or in good paying jobs. They are investing in foreign countries, and foreign labor which does nothing to help build our economy. (3) The way the rich spend their money mostly only benefits the rich. There is no trickle down. That was a myth which has been proven over and over. We don't need to learn that lesson again. The quickest way to create jobs now would be by investing in new technology and in the public sector. That is another reason why closing schools and SRS offices is completely stupid. It is eliminating jobs and that reduces spending and reduces revenues from taxes, the kind of taxes you can count on, because middle and lower class people don't have tax loopholes.

camper 4 years ago

If we do not raise the debt ceiling interest rates are going to rise which will:

1) Increase our debt further thru increased interest on the debt 2) Further stall the economy, more job losses 3) Less tax revenue because of #2 4) More defecits because of #3

5) Go to step #1 and repeat several times.

People have got to get it thru that the debt ceiling is a different topic than the budget. It merely says that we are going to pay what we owe....our liabilitiess and obligations. The debt ceiling should be passed without hesitation (as it was 19 times under Reagen, and 9 times under Bush).

Then a budget must get passed. The only way I see us getting out of falling off the cliff is to:

1) Leave Iraq and Afghanistan immediately 2) Cut military expenditures 75% or more 3) Means testing on social security and medicare 4) Remove ceiling from medicare and ss tax 5) Raise taxes on the wealthy (36 to 39%) 6) Possibly consider some time of sales tax to pay off outstanding debt

If you see the numbers 15 trillion is quite staggering, and our future generations are going to be cursing us forever.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

"And eventually the whole corrupt system collapses. Why stop that?"

Because it would ruin 300,000,000 people's day?

Because out of the ashes would rise the Libertopian Phoenix, all of your outrageous claims would be proven correct, and none of us could make fun of you anymore?

Because, as you've said before, you are not an advocate for anarchy, and so you don't really mean what you are saying?

ljwhirled 4 years ago

Liberty_One. Are you ready for the collapse? The deaths, starvation, riots, etc. that go with it? In an evolutionary system, only the strong survive.

For a true look at a libertarian society, look at Somolia, South Sudan, Iraq 2004-2007.

This is definitely not the way to go. Libertarianism and unrestricted capitalism are insane propositions that, if implemented, will lead us to ruin.

jonas_opines 4 years ago

Do not question the agorist's articles of faith!

tbaker 4 years ago

Camper - aside from the fact not one school of economic thought considers raising taxes in this economy to be a good idea, condsider this: Take the people making over $250K a year, the so-called "rich" and lets not stop with 36-39%, lets raise their taxes to 100%. Lets have the federal government confiscate EVERYTHING they make.

This revenue increase would cover about half of this year's $1.23 trillion deficit. Instead of cutting DoD, lets close it all together. Again, this wouldn't even cover half of this year's deficit. Face it: The US did not get into this mess by not being taxed enough. We have a terrible spending problem. Whole cabinet-level agencies need to be closed, tens of thousands of federal government employees need to be terminated, followed by a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. I know - it sounds crazy but this crisis has been coming all of my life. If we fail to make big, painful corrections now, the scenarios go from scary to down-right terrifying in just a few short years.

By the way, Senator Obama, as well as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi all voted against raising the debt ceiling while Bush was President. None of them have any credibility on this matter.

I served in Iraq and Afghanistan in uniform and make my living off of these wars now. Both of my eldest sons are serving in Afghanistan. I would happily become unemployed to see us come home from both places. Niether one is worth another American life or dollar.

heygary 4 years ago

You nailed it tbaker ... "We have a terrible spending problem"

In the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough) used an analogy to describe "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior: “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

From my vantage point, Mr. Tyler’s observation has been unsettlingly predictive of the path of our own experiment in Democracy.

In my youth I studied, with gratitude and reverence, the “bondage to liberty” sequence associated with the birth of our country. I believe I have lived through the “abundance to apathy” sequence. Now, as I watch the current Administration attempt to spend its way out of a recession, push forward massive bail out and entitlement programs, and socio-engineer Government intrusion/involvement in to most aspects of our lives, I cannot help but feel that the road to “dependence” has been charted.

jayhawklawrence 4 years ago

The two most interesting economic perspectives to me have come from Robert Reich and David Stockman.

I tend toward the David Stockman view which I think is a very balanced and realistic perspective of how we got here and how both the Republicans and Democrats have screwed everything up.

What Stockman does not get into is the question of how we start competing in the global economy. This is where most of the experts have been very very wrong.

I blame politicians and wall street.

Crazy_Larry 4 years ago

I just pulled a bot fly larvae out of a kitten's neck...NASTY! First time I've seen this in Kansas.

I like this idea:

The Banker

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