And impeach the president: The political and economic blog of a strict constitutionalist.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Should we pay our debts?

Should we pay our debts?

On 7/15/2011, "Real Time With Bill Maher" described the debt ceiling issue as one party -- the republicans -- saying that we should not pay our bills.

I'm aware that this is humor. But that's a little extreme. Lets look at it better.

Both parties say "Pay our bills". One party says "And, lets increase our income so we can pay future bills". The other says, "And, lets reduce our spending so we don't have future bills to pay".

The problem? Those "future bills" are things that the U.S. government has promised to pay.

Democrats want to pay all bills, both those that we've already gotten the billing invoice for, and those that we owe but have not yet gotten the paper work for. This is pretty close to Accrual accounting -- you incur a debt when it happens, regardless of when it is due or when you get the paper. The republicans, on the other hand, want to treat things as cash accounting -- if you haven't gotten the bill yet, then it isn't a debt.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spy, or Whistleblower? Can something be classified to prevent its use as evidence of wrong doing?

Spy, or Whistleblower? Can something be classified to prevent its use as evidence of wrong doing?

If a document is disclosed, in a manner that results in someone being a whistleblower, do we have laws to protect whistleblowers from suits? (As far as I know, yes).

Now, what happens if that same document is classified? Do the same whistleblower protection laws protect the whistleblower? Or is the disclouser considered a "Spy", and subject to persecution?

Should Manning be persecuted as a "Spy", for giving classified documents to a foreign national? Should the laws be reviewed -- does "foreign national" really count as a valid distinction? Is it less damaging to give documents to a U.S. person, such as a U.S. newspaper, than to a neutral person such as Assage/Wikileaks? Is any disclosure bad no matter who?