You provide a valuable service, and I wanted to express my gratitude for getting to be part of it.

Monday, November 11, 2019

What is deficit spending? What is the real problem with deficits?

Guest post by Roger Carlton:
Sorry to say that most of us are guilty of deficit spending. If you have a mortgage, car payments or credit card balances you are a deficit spender. If you borrow to go to college, you are a deficit spender. My liberal friends look at these "deficits" as investments. 

One of the key stories that got lost in the news regarding the impeachment process going on in the House of Representatives and the termination of the ISIS leader Baghdadi was the growth of the annual Federal deficit to nearly one trillion dollars.

It is important to understand that a trillion is a million-billion and a billion is a million-million. If that doesn't have you lost, assuming that you can afford a $50,000 F-150 pick-up, there are 20 of those in a million, 20 million of those in a billion and too many to contemplate in a trillion.

My conservative friends think negatively about deficits to the point that some are called deficit hawks. Sorry to say that most of us are guilty of deficit spending. If you have a mortgage, car payments or credit card balances, you are a deficit spender. If you borrow to go to college, you are a deficit spender.

My liberal friends look at these "deficits" as investments. Only time will tell if either view is correct. As George Will asks of conservatives, "What are you trying to conserve?"

The 2018 Federal deficit rose to $984 billion, which is a 26 percent increase over the previous year. 
The most amazing element of the deficit is the $380 billion that is spent on interest necessary to fund the borrowing cost of all previous deficits. In times of war, we need to deficit spend to protect ourselves. When the Great Depression and Great Recession happened, we needed to deficit spend to stimulate the economy by keeping critical companies and banks from failing. When the economy recovers those "loans" are usually repaid at a profit to the Treasury.

Politicians love to blame the deficits on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. These programs actually run a surplus and if the economy is growing and we are at full employment revenues are increasing. The law governing the situation requires that the dollars needed to fill the general fund deficit pot be funded in part by borrowing from the surplus in the entitlement pots. So, we are borrowing from ourselves.

The debt will eventually be repaid with interest...we hope. This political blame shedding is really a way to avoid alienating the recipients of Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid by suggesting higher payroll deductions or heaven forbid lower benefits.

The real problem with deficits is Congress' inability to work out compromises on spending and revenue. Do we really need a multi-billion dollar wall? Should we increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid? Should we spend to harden our communities against the impacts of climate change? Should we subsidize charter schools? Did we really need a tax cut for the wealthy and corporations during very strong economic times just to name a few of the many demands on the Federal budget. Said another way, where is the line between needs and wants?

On the subject of deficits, perhaps Groucho Marx' comment on life says it all. "Whatever it is, I am against it."

Roger Carlton is a columnist for The Graham Star.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A place to submit your work

Check out Chattahoochee Review, published by Perimeter College at Georgia State University.
The poetry editor is Michael Diebert, a friend of Writers Circle around the Table.

The review publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, interviews, and more. See their submission page for guidelines.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Networking at a Writers' Conference

If writers don't attend the big writing conferences, they are cheating themselves of much that will improve their work and help them as writers and poets.

Over the past 25 years, I have attended several conferences held by North Carolina Writers' Network like the one to be held November 8-10, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. I remember when locals complained that the conferences were all too far away from us so no one could go. At that time, one had to travel to Raleigh because all the conferences where held there.

But anyone can make the trip to Asheville (except me). Go for the day, attend the entire conference, Friday through Sunday, or just go and hang around, meeting agents, publishers, presenters and learning all you can about publishing. The cost to "hang out" is a smaller fee than attending the sessions. 

Every day I read about one or two of the presenters and long to sit in those classes. I can't go because of my health issues with fragrances, air fresheners, and chemicals I would run into in the hotel. I would pay if they could ever put those sessions online where I can learn right here at home.

I hope many of our members and local writers will take advantage of this event that comes here to the mountains every three years. How fortunate we are that the staff of NCWN can give us such a high quality three day conference. Some of my favorite memories of the conferences I have attended are the friends I made. Pat Davis, author from Brevard, and I met standing at the elevator in a hotel in Winston-Salem. She lived in Pennsylvania at the time, but we became good friends and are still friends today.

So many of the outstanding writers and poets I call friends today were presenters at conferences. And I am grateful for every one of them. 

Some of you attended our Day for Writers in August in Sylva, NC. Some told me they had never been to a conference and were delighted to know that the fall conference would be in Asheville.

I invite anyone who attends the NCWN Fall Conference to contact me if they would be interested in writing a post for our blog. Those who don't get to go would find it interesting to hear what is done, what attendees liked and the benefit gained from going to the conference. What connections did you make at the conference?

The article below gives you excellent ideas of what to do to make your time worthwhile. Read it carefully and need the advice.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Last WNO for 2019 November 8

I missed Writers' Night Out for October, but I surely hope to attend on November 8 when Rosemary Royston and Diana Anhalt will be featured. Check out their online information.

After the planned program, the floor is open to writers who want to share a poem or short prose piece. Those reading at Open Mic sign up when they arrive and this is always an interesting part of WNO.

This is the last one of this year. From December through March, we take a break due to the weather here in the mountains. 

I hope all our local friends will come out on Friday night, November 8, 7:00 PM.  If our sponsored events are not well attended, we might lose them for good.