Magazine July 21, 2014, Issue

Our Democratic Debt

We’re borrowing to fund personal benefits, not public goods

The federal government’s total debt is approaching $18 trillion. Its operating deficit was more than $1 trillion in each of the years 2009–12 and $680 billion in 2013. These numbers are too immense and unfamiliar to be useful. (A trillion is not yet even a standard measure — it means a thousand times a billion in the United States and a million times a billion in much of Europe.) Better to convert them to portions of the economy and government, so that the current debt is 103 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and the 2013 deficit was 4 percent

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Take Two

En route from New York to Philadelphia — It would be hard to imagine a nicer, swankier bus than Dinesh D’Souza’s. “It’s a lot better than Tom Cruise’s,” says Jerry ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Hillary’s War of Fog

Reading Hillary Clinton’s memoir of her State Department years is like wading through an ocean of oatmeal. Cloying, tiring (sometimes to the point of exhaustion), and as controversy-free as possible, ...
Politics & Policy

Shaper of Modern America

Docents at William Tecumseh Sherman’s boyhood home in Lancaster, Ohio, treat visitors to a telling anecdote from the general’s youth. The ginger-complected Sherman was so incensed when a foster brother ...

Sections

The Long View

Official Transcript: Your Money Matters

Syndicated radio call-in show with the Clintons Hillary Clinton: “Hi, is the caller there?” Caller: “Hi, Hillary. Can I call you ‘Hillary’?” Hillary Clinton: “Of course! I’m just an ordinary American grandmother!” Caller: “Oh, ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE PAINTING When I was sleeping in the sun A window seeped into my eyes: Bright green, soft green, then overrun With orange. There was no gift, no prize Greater than seeing it, no thought Of ...
Happy Warrior

Glorious Gridlock

Fact: Washington’s inability to get stuff done is the most critical issue facing our nation today — and, who knows, maybe ever. I know this because D.C.’s lack of productivity has ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Writing and the Right Adam Bellow’s cover piece, “Let Your Right Brain Run Free” (July 7), argues compellingly that without engaging the arts, conservatives’ political efforts are doomed to fail — ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Okay, the World Cup starts when? ‐ Hillary Clinton can’t leave wealthy enough alone. After her “dead broke” interview, she told the Guardian that regular Americans “don’t see me as ...
Athwart

Apocalypse-Proof E-Mail

Lucky Lois Lerner: I couldn’t lose old e-mails if I wanted to. Let me explain. First: I hate e-mail. Loathe it. Oh, it was fun at first, back when AOL was ...

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