Intelligence Deficits: The National Debt, My Internet Trolls, and George Neugent


artificial intel

The main event today is why Carlos Curbelo’s main talking point, fighting the so-called national debt, is fiscal folly. My best acolyte for the book I got published 20 years ago, The Deficit Lie: Exposing the Myth of the National Debt, is finally writing his own book on this vital topic. He took a break as a regular writer for the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, and has been sending me drafts to vet, so it’s on my mind again.

But first, the Neugent and troll update. My ethics complaint has been assigned to the Florida Ethics Commission’s top investigator, the most senior fellow who oversees the rest. This is good news. I’ll bet anyone $ 1,000 George does not get away without any sanctions.  Any takers?

On the down side, the county got an opinion from Special Counsel for Open Government for the Attorney General’s Office allowing them to keep hiding the transcripts of the closed sessions for their disastrous lawsuit against SUFA. This delay, waiting for the last defendant to settle the case on his terms, is not all bad. If I get vital information after the current ethics complaint has been ruled on, I will have cause to refile on that issue.

Last week I wrote about my discovery of what “internet trolls” are, by virtue of having acquired a couple. They are people who post anonymously not to really argue any points, but to say mean things and pump up their own egos. I think they have had an orgasmically wonderful week responding to the column, as I got an email every day for a week announcing that they have posted something new.

I decided to follow one of Blue Paper founder Dennis Cooper’s maxims about critical responses to a Blue Paper column: let the critic have his say, without response. So I have not been responding. In fact, I’ve gone a respectful step further, by not even reading them. If any of my 99+% non-troll readers think the trolls made any points worth responding to, please email me what you think is intelligent enough to warrant a response, and I will.

But I already asked two of my most intelligent readers sympathetic with what we can dimly sense of the trolls’ political positions, and they were not able to say what would be worth discussing with them.  Actually, I think what I have done, giving them the immense satisfaction of seeming to slam me for a week without my being able to come up with a single defense, is perhaps the kindest thing I’ve done in my life for people who deserve no kindness. I’m usually nice only to nice people.

Now to the national debt, Carlos Curbelo, and my friend’s book. I’ve written about the fallacy of fearing what is called the national debt” for 20 years, and many times in Key West, but not for at least a year, so here’s a brief recap. Okay, so you think “debt” is always a bad thing. but my average client has a $300,000 debt and only $100,000 income. That is three times worse than America’s debt, which is only equal to our national income.

So my average client must be in really bad shape, right? Or are there questions you’d like to ask?

Ding!  Time’s up. The main question is, what are his assets? For my client, the answer is, he has a home worth a million bucks—what’s what the mortgage is for—and a stock portfolio worth $500k. He’s in great shape.

If you ask the same question about the “national debt,” the answer is even better: our national wealth, which is annually measured by the same people who measure debts, is between ten and 20 times our debt. Our debt includes investments like the Louisiana Purchase, cost $16 million, asset value minimum of a trillion bucks.

This country is wondrously rich. That is why every single prediction of disaster for us and our grandchildren has always been wrong. Interest rates and inflation have stayed at historic lows, which are the main economic predictions of the debt mongers. The Chinese and everyone else have been buying more and more of our bonds, not dumping them as they also predict constantly.

So Carlos Curbelo is recommending European Economic Austerity, which has kept the entire continent on life support, as they have decided raising taxes and cutting taxes to fight their own national debts is their plan for prosperity. It has utterly failed. It ruined Greece and Ireland, has caused France to wisely revolt, and would ruin the Ukraine if they foolishly join the EU. In this country, Kansas’ Republican governor drank the austerity Kool-Aid, torpedoed the state’s economy, and may lose in a 70% Republican state.

Paul Krugman has relentlessly exposed the austerity hawks’ endlessly wrong beliefs in imaginary benefits like the “confidence fairy,” inspiring business owners to see low debts as reason to invest and spend to spike economic growth.  Instead, business owners see an economy derived of government stimulus as killing their customer base, and they have kept their money in government bonds, not flowing through the private workers and spenders.

My friend’s book is aimed more at conservatives, and tries to explain that it is not the debt that matters, but our ability to pay our debt, which is actually very easy. The problem with any book like his and mine on the economy is that not only do people have to read it, and understand it, but then act on new knowledge.

This fantasy scenario almost never happens.  The most dispiriting news I’ve read this year is that higher intelligence causes people to defend bad ideas better than less smart people can.  Arrgh! Being smart makes you better at defending wrong ideas! So no matter how persuasive and compelling my friend and I can be about the folly of fighting the national debt, people will still vote for job-killing austerity advocates like Curbelo, just because, uh, debt, like cancer, must always be bad, end of story.

The most hopeful news I’ve read for intelligently running the country is that computers are expected to be way smarter than us fairly soon. I can now fantasize that come the day, they will decide to run our economy exactly as I proposed in my book, and everyone in the world will be able to live as I do. Then I will be posthumously awarded the NoblAI Prize (AI is artificial intelligence) in Economics.

Sweet daydreams instead of entering my trolls’ outhouse of malicious madness.  A good choice, one I recommend you make whenever you can.


Rick Boettger

Rick Boettger

  No Responses to “Intelligence Deficits: The National Debt, My Internet Trolls, and George Neugent”

  1. “Dave, it is really good for me to have people like you, wankjam, and postconsumerman to the radical left of me–makes me seem like the plutocrat in the room, gives me a tiny chance to get the centrists in my readership move our way.

    Any way I can help give voice to your perspective, is good. Don’t mind at all if you slap me around a bit while making your point–helps make it readable, since most people by now are way too polite to me (except George Neugnet, tho not in print!).

    Do you have any longer pieces addressing these politcaleconomic issues? Especially the responsibility of the oppressed to rise up or at least vote againt the real plutocratic fascists?

    If you make your way to Key West, we can put you up for a few days, or until we start punching each other.



    This is the e-mail I received from Mr. Boettger. Perhaps he has not read far enough in the dictionary to reach the word “anonymous,” but its meaning surely doesn’t involve having a personal correspondence. So when reading his take on “anonymous internet trolls,” one may wish to ask if Mr. Boettger is familiar with the words “truth” and “factual.” That is credibility strike number 1.

    It seems Mr. Boettger fondness for debate and differing perspective declines precipitously when his positions are dissected, challenged, and revealed as the spurious tripe that they are. Rather than engage in meaningful debate and defense of his position, we see a resort to name calling and baseless accusation as a means to escape exposure of his inability to intelligently respond. Most tellingly, he now uses his column as a one-way means to attack his readers, labeling him I’m afraid, a journalistic bully. That is credibility strike number 2.

    Now to the substance of the article. This is Mr. Boettger’s nadir, as both a “journalist” and “economist.” I understand that Mr. Boettger authored a book on the subject, but as usual, the misinformation he is disseminating should be an embarrassment for a person of his self proclaimed “investigative adroitness” and educational pedigree. First, to equate institutional debt with that of an individual is an irresponsible comparison demonstrating a comprehensive lack of financial sophistication, even in the paradigm as he understands it.

    But the main point of my comment is that by merely discussing the debt question in the confines of orthodox financial modeling, Mr. Boettger displays a dissonance truly remarkable for a man who seemingly does understand the irrational connection between money and wealth. For if Mr. Boettger truly understood the discipline about which he writes, he would tell you that the national debt does not even have to exist in the first place. Without getting too deep into that discussion, as Mr. Boettger should know, money(credit) is created out of thin air, and is created as debt. Every dollar that is issued carries an interest debt that must be repaid. Since that interest in not created along with the dollar, the only way to pay it back is to borrow more money, and create more debt. There is no way, EVER, to pay back the debt. You will always need more money than is created. In other words, a Ponzi scheme. That is why you pay taxes; that is why you don’t get full value for the dollars that you have. That is why your wealth is being siphoned away. That is why you do not get to realize the incredible “wealth” this country has that Mr. Boettger referenced.

    If Mr. Boettger understood this, he would be telling you that there is no reason for the government to borrow our money. They can (and should via the US constitution) issue our money debt free. There is no need to have a debt at all.

    Mr Boettger should be telling you this, but he doesn’t. That is credibility strike number 3.

    You’re out.

  2. Did social media create the “Troll” or just improve conditions for their particular fungus to form? I like your approach to neutralizing the perpetually-angry-at-the-world viewpoints of this small, but noisy demographic…. Ignore them. Good plan.

    My other query is when will John Q. Public stop buying into the right’s simplistic trickle down crap and comparison of government budget to a business or household budget? Where are all the jobs produced by austerity? Ask Sam Brownback how that’s working….As you point out, not so well.

  3. Alex, when social media got started with chat rooms and newsgroups in the early 90’s (remember when we paid for AOL by the min?) the troll was born. I have been slammed by Ricks trolls and learned long ago that they are attention seekers and don’t give their comments any of my time. If you want some to listen, unconditional positive regard is the only approach. Thanks for your contributions.

  4. mr ricky
    I a TROLL? I’m flabbergasted not only to your reference of me being a ‘troll’ but also your statement that I’m “to the radical left” which is down right silly! I cannot see where you would get that impression from the only posting I made to you as referenced below.

    ” horror of horrors them tea partiers. out all night doing drugs sex and rock and roll. jeeze…I just can’t stand them tea party types who believe in the upholding of the constitution and libertarian ways of the rule of law applying to each person equally and self control in ones life and taking responsibility for ones actions ad infinitum. lets condemn that tea party philosophy since collectivism is way more acceptable because its not my fault anyway! the dog ate my homework.”

    in fact mr ricky I’m so far to the right I’m probably off the scale. I suppose if I were offered a place in the ‘anarchists hall of fame’ being a free libertarian by philosophy all the leftists would prefer me hung….just to shut off the counter opinions.
    my above lightly sarcastic tea party posting a couple of weeks ago to your essay was hopefully for you to do just a tad of research into the tea party movement but apparently my gesture was to no avail.
    I guess one can lead a donkey but you can’t make him drink!

  5. keysbum
    hear hear and three cheer. the federal reserve central bank I agree needs be abolished and constitutional money be returned to the citizen as in u.s. notes with gold and silver transacted as it was prior to 1934 and 1965 respectively. Keynesian fiat is a huge Ponzi scheme of the NWO that only benefits the collectivist ‘elite’ at the great expense to the citizens of this nation.
    but then again to read mr ricky I’m just a troll.

  6. This is why I don’t mind labeling myself as a troll…because these so called educated writers do not understand the meaning of the word and do nothing more than twist it into the definition of anyone who dares to disagree with them. I’ll accept their definition and label because I definitely do disagree with them 99% of the time. Therefore..I am a troll to them…go ahead and delete my post…doesn’t matter anyway…might as well change the name of this paper to Theleftynews…following the matrix into hell, one article at a time.

  7. Or maybe you can call it richwhiteoldman’snews…I made mine off the system, why can’t you?

  8. Isn’t “unconditional positive regard’ another phrase for ass kisser?

  9. so now we’re fungus?

    really, why do you people bother to publish if you disdain your readers so? why not just pass your articles amongst yourselves, pat yourselves on the back for a job well done, and be done with it?

    I am surprised the editors of this fine paper don’t kick the lot of you off for your attitudes towards their readership.

  10. LOL sister one troll to another….
    and my question to mr alex from last week including his response still to this day goes unanswered other then a quick barb this week stating he was called a ‘leftard’ by me [ “I was accused of suffering from “white guilt” and called a white racist and a “libtard”.”] and conveniently taken to the far side of the moon out of context!

    Alex Symington

    October 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Dear Rick,

    “Your point that the many of 99 percent are complicit in their own enslavement is well founded, but does not absolve assholes like the Kochs that engineer said enslavement. I really enjoyed reading your introspective piece today.”



    October 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

    do you consider George Soros and asshole also? :b


    Alex Symington

    October 25, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Turn off the rots your brain 🙂



    October 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    just as good as the libtard excuse ‘the dog ate my homework’ but nevertheless does not answer the question! or perhaps it does in this instance? shall I insert al gore instead? or maybe the rothschilds or rockefellers but no that may be way to ‘conspiratorial’ for ‘progressive’ thought.
    fox is no different then cbs or abc or nbc or any msm. must be its because of the kochs brothers too? 😉 :-p

  11. don’t feel bad Sister… the editors refused to post my last comment. what we are facing is a local newspaper, populated by columnists who are friends with each other, and the editors, who have formed a tight little circle inoculating themselves from anything they don’t like.

    just enjoy it for what it is. I for one am always interested in your comments. I would add tho, that this is far from a left wing paper; the authors would like to think they are, but as you have read countless times here at The Blue Paper, they are pretty mainstream.