The Optimist Next to the Manure Pile

A reader sends a link to a site worth visiting frequently: The Skeptical Optimist.

This blogger has a Debt Clock, which in itself is an interesting thing. Our debt increases at an alarming rate, much faster than your heart beats.

But beneath this clock is….ta da…a GDP clock, and it appears to be ticking just as fast.

Below both clocks you will see a number. This is the Debt-to-GDP ratio. While the other two tick away, this number doesn’t seem to change.

Mr. Optimist says:

All three numbers on the clock are updated two times per second: Debt, GDP, and Debt-to-GDP Ratio.

Unsurprisingly, the first number on the clock, Debt, is hard to keep up with, because it’s increasing so fast—just like it does on all the other debt clocks out there.

The second number on the clock, GDP, indicates the size of our economy. It’s just like the debt number in one very important respect: it’s hard to keep up with, because it’s increasing so fast. I bet you’ve never seen this before on anybody else’s debt clock.

The third number, Debt-to-GDP Ratio, is the most important number on the clock. It indicates our nation’s debt burden, and is very different from the other two numbers. Why? Because waiting for this number to tick up or down is worse than watching grass grow. Nevertheless, I do recalculate it two times per second, just like the other two numbers.

Manure Pile + OptimistHere’s his definition of an optimist: one who believes that humans, on net balance, are builders rather than destroyers.

And go here for his International Debt Thermometer.

Definitely, a keeper. The Skeptical Optimist will be on our blogroll at the next update.

Meanwhile, spread the manure ummm…spread the word.

Hat tip: Nicholas Bretagna II, who in turn, hat tips Cass.

5 thoughts on “The Optimist Next to the Manure Pile

  1. There are a number of reasons to be
    a lot less sanguine about our debt
    burdent than what this clock may

    Number one is unfunded obligations
    do not show up as debt in official
    figures but they exist as surely as
    my desire to claim social security
    and medicare benefits.

    Second and related, even if the
    demographic bulge of the baby boom
    retirement was manageable in terms
    of pension costs, healthcare costs
    are rising far faster than either
    inflation or inflation plus growth.
    Somethings going to have to give
    here and I’m afraid its going to be
    government paid health benefits for
    the elderly.

    Third, the US savings rate was
    negative last year. In order to
    finance our tremendous fiscal and
    trade deficits we have to borrow.
    At some point two will have to take
    place to pay that money back. We
    will have to cut consumption and
    export more and or we will face
    higher interest rates and thus a
    greater proportion of GDP will go
    to debt service than we have had to
    pay in the recent past. Neither
    option is exactly a recipe for GDP
    growth. In fact it can lead to the
    ‘stagflation’ Britain, and to a
    lesser extent the US experienced in
    the 1970’s.

    Finally, and most controversial, is
    the changing nature of the US
    population. Economic growth is not
    just a matter of labor and capital
    as the Marxists would have it. The
    most important factor is human
    genius. One Tom Edison,eg, is more
    important to economic growth than a
    million low wage immigrants.

    The US became the largest economic
    power in the world when the culture
    of this country was dominated by,as
    Rudyard Kiping presciently noted in
    the 1890’s, the “Anglo-German-Jew.”

    Out of this eclectic mix came the
    intellectual and entrepreneurial
    horsepower that created modern

    This population has begun to decline, relative to the total US
    population. Making up most of the
    growth in US populaton has been
    people with no demonstrated ability
    to match the accomplishments of the
    earlier US populations. There is a
    philosophical preference to believe
    that this is not important but so
    far no one has been able to lay on
    the table the evidence that black
    and mestizo populations produce any
    thing like the number of high IQs
    upon which our society depends as
    the prior racial mix produced.

    While we have increasad the high IQ
    Asian component of our population
    the great majority of our growth
    has come from the bottom of the
    socio economic barrel of Latin
    America and indigenous growth among
    black and other low achieving third
    world people.

    Pending some social or genetic
    technology that has so far eluded
    us to eliminate this IQ problem the
    future may not be as bright as one
    would expect if one chooses to
    simply extrapolate past performance
    into the future.

  2. Here’s his definition of an optimist: one who believes that humans, on net balance, are builders rather than destroyers.

    That’s a pessimists definition of a optimist.

  3. Scott,

    Superb post and I for one want to thank you. These are issues that will not attract the sort of attention (if any at all) necessary for a rational immigration policy.

  4. Speaking of the debt thermometer, I reckon his assessment of the UK rather underestimates our truw national debt and over-estimates our economy quite a bit. Much of our public spending has been rather cleverly pushed off the books by the government’s use of “private finance initiatives” that are neither private, nor showing of much initiative. I’d say our national debt is somewhat higher, and growing quite rapidly, while our GDP is shrinking very fast.

    Of course that’s not his fault. The government has been hiding this quite effectively for several years, but it’s starting to show up. Brown as much as confessed that most PFI is purely to cook the books in a recent session of parliament.

  5. …that strange flower, the sun,
    is just what you say.
    have it your way.

    the world is ugly,
    and the people are sad…
    (Wallace Stevens)

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