Thursday, September 24, 2009

That's what the deficit looks like?!

Sure, I've heard folks toss out numbers to explain the deficit, but this graph from the Congressional Budget Office is down right amazing to me:

Help, my country has fallen off a cliff, and I can better see why people may be afraid we can't get up.

I've been buying into the invest-our-way-out of the deficit philosophy, and this graph doesn't change that. If you've gone to med school for 3 years, and are hugely in debt, stopping med school won't fix it - finishing, getting a great job, and paying back your loans is the best way to get back in the black. I think the same is true with us.

But still, wow.

Note to self: next time someone goes on and on about the deficit, listen.

Incidentally, I highly recommend you check out the CBO's website and especially their blog. The CBO effectively allows you to listen in on the queries they receive from Congress, and the responses they give. The result is a wonderful form of transparency.

I especially like the blog because in a lot of respects it's written like, well, a blog. Take this cute little nugget from when the head of the CBO was invited to the white house:

People have asked whether it was exciting to meet the President and be in the Oval Office: Yes, and my kids will be jealous when they get back from summer camp and hear about it. Of course, the setting of the conversation and the nature of the participants do not affect CBO’s analysis of health reform legislation. We will continue to work with Members of Congress and their staffs, on both sides of the aisle, to provide cost estimates and other information as health reform legislation is considered.

I guess I also appreciate the somewhat random nature of the posts - from Coast Guard Cutters to housing prices, the CBO has something to say on it all.

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