Why has government become so financially irresponsible?
July 17th, 2012
03:25 PM ET

Why has government become so financially irresponsible?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It didn't used to be this way.

Our government - local, state and federal - didn't always spend money like a drunken sailor and run up astronomical debts.

In recent weeks, three california cities - Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Beranrdino - have declared bankruptcy.

Scranton, Pennsylvania is so cash-strapped that it has cut the pay of all municipal workers to $7.25 an hour - minimum wage. Scranton's mayor wants to raise property taxes by 80% to try to close a $17 million budget deficit and prevent bankruptcy.

And there will likely be more cities forced to declare bankruptcy because of toxic economic conditions.

High unemployment along with foreclosures and plummeting home values means less tax revenue.

The Los Angles Times reports that tax receipts in some areas have shrunk more than 20% over the last three years - and soaring pension costs top funding levels by as much as a $3 trillion debt nationwide.

Meanwhile our federal government is nearly $16 trillion in the hole - that's more than a $5 trillion increase since Pres. Obama took office.

CNSNews.com crunched the numbers and found that the National Debt has now increased by more than $64,000 per federal taxpayer in the last three and half years under President Obama. To pay off the entire $15.8 trillion national debt it would cost every taxpayer in the country $194,000.

In the meantime neither Democrats nor Republicans are doing anything meaningful about the so-called fiscal cliff as we get closer and closer to the edge.

Here’s my question to you: Why have we become so financially irresponsible?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: Finance • Money
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. MNResident

    Why are we so financially irresponsible? Look at what be financially responsible gets people. We have a sitting president that openly says that any person who was personally financially responsible and started their own business didn't do squat beans, and that that person has to turn all the rewards of their labor over to the state in order to support the irresponsible. Meanwhile the slackers who do nothing but process bowel movements on police cars are being called heroes and Time Magazine's "Person of the Year". We reward the irresponsible, so we will get more of it....

    July 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  2. jk in MN

    Because we live in an instant society. Alot of people want everything now. Saving for anything is a bad word. The Credit industry made credit too easy as a response and they basically have no consequences thanks to the lobbyists in Washington for borrowing to people they know won't be able to pay their bill or have the strength to not use them when they can't afford it. The industry doesn't have enough controls on it thanks again to Washington listening to the lobbyists.

    July 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  3. Russ in PA

    Because we can be. After all, isn't it a "right" for the majority in a democracy to demand that the productive support the non-productive? That the money from one be taken to care for the other? Aren't the politicians doing us a favor by demanding that health care and free cell phones be recognized as a "right" for all? Perhaps the public schools should be teaching fables like the ant/grasshopper, rather than worrying about a person's test scores...

    July 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  4. Mel - Houston

    True, America has become a country of excess. We probably have the highest amount of indebtedness of any country. However, if your debt is due to an unexpect illness or medical expenses that probably wouldn't be concidered an irresponsible debt. If you intend to pay off your debt that wouldn't be irresponsible, it would be poor planning. Poor planning definently leads to irresponsibility.

    July 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  5. Jenna Roseville CA

    Why have we become so financially irresponsible?

    Speak for yourself Jack, I owe nobody anything. My house is paid in full. My new Lexus is paid in full. I am going to Hawaii on a vacation next month. I pay my credit card in full every month. And I am a LIBERAL.

    Roseville CA

    July 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  6. David Gerstenfeld

    Easy question Jack, "Greed is Good" & to many people truly believe & revel in it.
    David, Las Vegas

    July 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  7. Ed in Harrisburg

    I love this question because I think it strikes to the heart of the matter of what we need to clear up in American thinking. We have been lead to believe that there is a free lunch and that you can have something for nothing and that you can spend more than you take in. We have given Nobel Laureates to economists we think were brilliant for deriving such formulas (derivatives.) and so we have been taken in by own own greed and willful ignorance. We tried to defy gravity and lost and are now paying for it.

    July 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  8. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Republican Senator Phil Gramm and others lobbied against the Glass-Steagall Act and once controls were off Wall Street the thieves stole our economy. The irresponsibility that tanked us was in Congress and on Wall Street, not Main Street.

    July 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  9. Gary H. Boyd

    Your question appears directed at individuals Jack, when, in fact, it should be directed to the brain trust in Washington who's gotten us into a $16 trillion dollar hole. There's a malaise in America today that has people believing the end is in sight so many just don't care anymore.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    July 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  10. Elizabeth From Toronto

    A few people are financially irresponsible but most people who have debt simply cannot find work to pay the bills! And so they are in debt to live. Everyone in the US Congress should loose their job so that they understand what debt is. They earn a living every week, get free health care and will retire with a pension while the working middle class stay in debt with no jobs to pay bills! Totally intolerable but it goes on!!!!!

    July 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  11. Doug Ericson

    The people havn't become financially irresponsible, the government has. It isn't where do you start with the Governments incompetency, it is where do you end. It is the corruption stupid, because all the bad decisions which have led to the 16 trillion dollar debt, stem from corruption. Would we be any less safe if we didn't fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? I say we would be safer if we skipped those unneccessary wars. There is a big chunk of your debt right there. Wasted Militrary expenditures. Then you have the corruption of the Mortgage Backed Securities Industry. Ben Bernacki thinks Mortgage Backed Securities are swell and he would like to buy some more. I guess someone forgot to tell him they are responsible for much of the recent world economic troubles. Oh well, what is a mere
    Federal Reserve Chairman to trouble with minor details. The Military Industrial Complex flips out at the slightest hint of budget cuts which would affect them. That is corrupt and irresponsible. So, cut the MIC in half, and make the other half the Industrial fix the Nation up Complex, and get Wall Street and the Federal Reserve out of our homes and maybe this country could start getting real again. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    July 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  12. Martha Brooks

    The Great Divide. One side won't allow an increase, ANY increase, in revenue. The other sees the need for that to happen, and resists further incursions into funding for vital programs. Which is the only thing the first side will even consider. Result: fiscal stalemate. Who gets it in the neck? Us.

    July 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  13. Dave Laguna Niguel, CA

    Excellent question Jack,

    We have gone from temporary politicians who stayed in office on or two terms and then returned to their farms or businesses to professional politicians, many of whom have never worked for anyone but the government , be it local state or federal. Hence they see that their primary job is to get re-elected, The easiest way to do that is to use our tax dollars to buy our votes. When you consider that 95+% get re-elected each cycle , you have to admit they are very successful at what they do. Unfortunately being fiscal responsible won't help you get re-elected so no one has any interest in it.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  14. Gary in San Jose, California

    As a financial professional I find this topic very frustrating. My assessment is that our politicians find it easier to get elected by deferring problems instead of addressing them. Think about it. In order to address our financial problem the political leadership would have to have an honest discussion with us about the depth of our financial problem, how we got here, and the painful actions required to fix this situation. I don't see the political will or the electoral will to address this problem so it will be forced on us at some point in the future and that will be painful.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  15. Barbara

    Ask Dick and George. It didn't start in 2009. In fact, go back to Reagan or before.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  16. Susan-NJ

    The government is trying to give everyone everything they want including not paying taxes. They even bring people from other countries to increase the burden and take jobs from Americans. They get re elected and the country falls apart.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  17. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    When you have a man like Glover Nordquist wasn't even a member of government making the Republican Party pledge to him not to raise taxes especially on the wealthy, you then have a problem when it comes to trying to reduce the deficit fairly and responsibly. The Republican candidates during the primaries all refused to even agree for every $10 cuts there would be one dollar in taxes. Because of this Glover Nordquist took away any hope of coming together and compromising with decent proposals on solving the crisis. I for one do not like pledges any member of Congress takes other than the one they take to enter office. For one thing it is scary and reminds me of a cult.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  18. Matt

    Instant gratification. We can't delay reward or pleasure and we can't say no. Plus few in power want to be held accountable so they just kick the deficit can down the road for someone else to deal with.


    July 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  19. Sylvia from San Diego

    Because Washington has the mentality that if you vote for me, I will give you what you want no matter the cost. Like parents,Washington needs to learn how to say NO and mean it.....

    July 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  20. RickFromDetroit

    The reason that the government is financially irresponsible is because the business sector is financially greedy. Substandard wages has reduced tax revenues and increased entitlements while the government continues to issue tax cuts to increase consumer spending. With 45% of the American Citizens listed as low income or poverty, and corporate profits being funneled into wall street profits, we have the economy working backwards. Corporate profits should be used to increase workers wages rather than increase wall street profits. This would increase tax revenues and consumer spending while it reduced entitlements for the unemployed and underemployed.

    If we are going to continue with these types of economic policies, then we should tax wall street and split the money evenly between the U.S. Treasury and the SSA Trust Fund. We could then use the excessive profits to stimulate the economy and increase consumer spending. Also, investment accounts per investor over $100k should be subject to Federal Income Tax and the Capital Gains Tax should be eliminated for the same. Many wealthy earn their income from wall street investments or receive their compensation as company stocks and they only pay the Capital Gains Tax when they should be paying Federal Income Tax.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  21. Phyllis G Williams

    Why have we become so financially irresponsible?
    Because the bank books are loaded with money and the country's bills are not paid
    "Charge them that are rich in this world...not to trust in uncertain riches..that they do good,
    ..are rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up.. for eternal life"
    (1st Timothy 6: 17-19)

    July 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  22. Richard Texas

    Because there is no accountability. A politician sells his ideas by manipulating his next vote. These politicians act independently to achieve their goal and the goals of their own voters. They do not think of the nation as a whole and could careless about the other states. It is all about what is in it for them. Their goal is to bring the pork back to their state. That is how you get bridges to nowhere and other wasteful spending. After all it is not their money it is our money.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  23. James - Alexandria, VA

    Two reasons: One, the people in Congress are a bunch of spoiled brats with and open checkbook that Two, the Federal Reserve gave them. Get rid of the spolied brats, take back the checkbook and audit the Fed. Then once people see what is going outside of what the news networks want us to see then you will see them become financially responsible

    July 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  24. Brad, Portland, OR

    That's easy... lobbyists and corrupt politicians. Lobbyists give politicians money, and politicians give lobbyists new tax loopholes, loopholes in regulations, or new laws that will make their clients money.

    Everyone inside the Beltway is happy with this evil little symbiosis.

    Everyone outside the Beltway is unhappy, except for the lobbyists' clients.

    The only way to solve the problem is to make lobbying illegal as the bribery it is, and come up with another way of funding campaigns.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  25. Oliver El Paso, TX

    Mad John Boehner and his smiley Sid kick Cantor are at fault for financially irresponsible, they head the do nothing house in congress, Wolf this are the guys you should be on, I do not care who become president these jokes will continue not to work for the America good.They want to make America a 3rd world power!

    July 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  26. james in greenville north carolina

    Who wants to save money? It is just no fun. Politicians do not get elected to save money but to spend, spend, spend. If you spend enough you create an electorate that depends on your largesse. That is what is happening now. Soon there will be more people voting for a living than working for a living. That way the rich will fade away without Obama having to tax them to death.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  27. Ann from Charleston SC

    Congressmen over the past twenty years or so have been so busy with their re-election campaigns they forgot to mind the store.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  28. Ray in Knoxville

    Why, Jack? Because it's long been known that a congressman gets re-elected based on the money he or she brings into his or her state or district. Think the Tea Partiers are any different? Notice that the spending they object to are always other peoples pet projects. Talk to one about military spending cuts and watch him turn red in the face and see the truth come out.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  29. Allan Hanson Placerville, ca

    YES Because polittiions, at every level, are owned by special interests that want their projects bought. The worst is the "Military Industrial Complex" Our "defence" budget excedes all other countries combined, next the aid we give other countries, most are better off than we are, no more aid to anyone.
    Make them all live the same as we, and I don't mean the upper 1%.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  30. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    We the people have made it easy for our public servants to be financially irresponsible. Our governments public servants, and the last time I looked, we are supposedly the government, are emulating their constituency's economic behavior. We buy things we don’t need and can’t afford, so we buy on credit just like us in Washington. The public’s credit card debt is expected to rise to $1.177 trillion this year, and our legislators have run our other debt, the national one, up to $15 trillion dollars.
    I guess it is OK, we keep voting for the same old big borrowers, who are unfortunately, just like us.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  31. Overby

    Same ol' question, same ol' answer: We've got a bunch of career politicians that never learned to run a business and have no business common sense.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  32. SayWhat?

    Politics; it's all politics. Republican politics. Both parties have agreed that spending must be cut, and in many cases already has been. But cuts alone will not solve our financial problems, it's also going to take increased revenues. Which is where the Republicans refuse to compromise. It's okay with them to eliminate poor Johnny's free lunch at school and cut the number of teachers and cops, but good Lord, don't you DARE try to take away tax subsidies for big oil, big pharma, or big farmer!

    July 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |

    tampa, fl we now have an economy totally dependent on consumption. more people, more consuming. if we are responsible and not spending or making more people, congress has to to keep it going by spending money and unlimited immigration, i.e. a pyramid scheme. and they sure do know how to spend money on the most useless, inane things that seem to only benefit themselves.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  34. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Sacred cows. About 22% of the GDP goes to the military, regardless if there is a war or not. That’s about $750 Billion dollars annually and purveyors of war, Republicans, want it increased to keep their contributors happy. Politicians do not believe we will have to pay back all the borrowed funds. After all, we are the United States, infallible at all times. And we also have the biggest stick.

    July 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  35. Dave, Orlando, FL

    I haven’t become financially irresponsible, and the crooks in Washington haven’t either. The only difference is that they are looking out for themselves and their corporate masters – not me. Unfortunately, they have the power to take my money from me and give it to them. The problem is that we are “electorally” irresponsible. We keep voting for crooks, thieves and the dishonest.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  36. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Everyone wants more and more including Congress. We'll pay the piper soon and it will be the most painful time in our countries history, even moreso than the Civil War as violence will be 10 times worse. The bottom line is greed and selfishness.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  37. Ed from California

    L-O-B-B-Y-I-S-T-S!! Jack, we have a bought off congress. What has Boehner, Cantor or McConnell done for us? Not a damn thing! What has Ryan, Chavitz, Rubio, West, Bachmann or any other tea-heads have done for us? Nothing. Also, two unfunded wars! Off-shoring of our jobs, and our operating tax dollars. Borrowing money from communist China to pay for the unfunded wars. Jack it's not the American people that has done this...it's your favorite politicians who have done this at the bidding of the1%. I hope the rust-belt heads wake up and vote for their future and their kids future. We all can't work at Walmart or Mickey D's !

    July 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  38. Annie, Atlanta

    Greed. You need a lot of money to run campaigns. That means a lot of give-aways to the wealthy, who finance politicians, while the rest of us can just drop dead. Greed. You have to wonder if it will be our downfall, or if we can pull back in time. I don't think we'll be able to pull back, myself, just watching how out of control we've become.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  39. Dee, New York

    We the people have been lazy and ignorant. We have allowed politicians elected by us and paid by us, to run amok with our tax dollars once they are in office. We need to wake up, step away from our bread and circuses and pay attention to what's going on. If we don't vote out the irresponsible bums, then it will be our own fault when they run our country into the ground.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  40. David - Augusta, Georgia

    Its because we spend like we live on Rodeo Drive! If we see something we spend like there is no tommorrow and its about time the US' credit card got declined and put on a budget of coupons.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  41. Sandstone

    "Ir? I think you mean Financially-Resonsible: Since Obama has now taken over the US Piggy-Bank on spending, and has bought a few more coffer's in which he plans to fill with more of your taxes come next January!"

    July 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  42. Tom (Atlanta)

    Jack I believe we "have met the enemy and they are us". We hear things like "it's the right thing to do", "it's the fair thing to do". I am 69 and during my professional career we constantly were reminded of our obligation to correct injustices to others, and we were willing to sacrifice right those injustices. So, for 40 years we accepted this mindset "the fair thing to do", and to to keep quiet, it's just the way it is. To question is to admit that you are predigest and therefor a bad person. People are entitled, and we let it go wild. Now we have cities, states and counties going bankrupt, and leaders are still saying its the "fair thing to do". It reminds me of the what the guy was heard to say after he jumped of the top of the Empire State building as he passed the 34th floor. "So far, so good". We need people in government who actually know how to run a business. Government is a business. Some people say "oh, no". Government don't make a profit. Wrong!! Governments cannot make a loss and survive. That is a "not for loss business". It is time we wake up.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  43. Roger from Albion PA

    You can't get elected or re-elected unless you promise a lot of free stuff to voters. Politicians care more about their job than the fact that this "free" stuff will be paid for by babies being born today.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  44. Karl in Flint, MI

    Gee Jack, can it be the outsourcing of jobs by the GOP candidate and his cronies, the unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy that used to pay higher rates when we were the finest industrial nation in the world [refer to outsourcing jobs] and 2 unfunded mismanaged 10+ year wars that got us here, for starters? Now that the greedy, snot-nosed brat offspring of the great industrialist and capitalist the built this nation have decided they aren't paying for anything. we either shut it all down or spend until the greedy bunch realize they have to do something positive for the country or lose it all. We haven't got there yet, but we are close. I have nothing left to lose so I can just watch it all happen.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  45. Dave - Phx

    The banks and corporations who put us in this mess are still planning on taxpayers to bail their wealthy 1% behinds out of any mess.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  46. Gordon from Virginia

    If we raise taxes on those making over $250,000 dollars a year the whole thing will be straightened out!

    July 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  47. Gail, Plano TX.

    Because we are not the generation that fought thru the Great Depression & WW 2. We have no sense of collective sacrifice & working for the common good. If the 1%, Congress included, would work with the Pres. We might accomplish something. If they continue their "let them eat cake policy" the nation is doomed. Fiscal cliff is on the horizon & we are all going over the edge!

    July 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  48. Cindy

    Government is too large and can't govern itself due too its size properly. We need less government, less taxes, less regulations, more emphasis on requiring all things to benefit the USA over other countries, and if at war their must be a draft. I have spent most of my life supporting the Democrat party and their are totally out of touch. I choose no affiliation to any party and would like my vote too count no matter what state or party.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  49. Tonybottomline

    It's not so much spending that's the main issue here, but– lack of revunue - that's the problem.
    Until the voters start doing their diligent best to elect the best people into office( people
    that can't be bought), the deficits would continue to go throw roof.

    July 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  50. Thom Richer

    Not too hard to diagnose. Government greed, corruption, lobbyists, war for profit, lack of accountability, misrepresentation, elitism, and indifference to the American working class needs.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    July 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  51. James in San Diego

    How about since Reagan was elected and voodoo economics became our policy?

    July 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  52. curtis in philadelphia

    Jack, I got into retail because I wanted a job with no responsibility and at the time neither Wall Street or Washington were hiring. Boy did I ever pick the wrong irresponsible profession.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  53. Donna Wisconsin

    Intrenchment......uncompromising Congress. republicans refuse to increase revenue when it is needed and democrats won't reliquish entitlements. As long as Republicans focuse on their hate of Obama and not care about helping this country by raising some taxes, we are going no where. There has to be tax increases and a tighting of purse strings at same time. But everyone is politicing to get re-elected, they won't do anything that is good for this country.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  54. wayne, va beach, va

    Because, Jack, we have become an entitlement socity. When we go over the cliff all people will be effected. The poor
    can say they won't because they have nothing to lose, but they forget about the welfare check.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  55. Dan from New York

    We are so overloaded with information these days, that misinformation is as viable as the truth. Therefore, the truth... or the blame is so elusive, the politicians no longer care. And if they are undeniably caught with their hand in the cookie jar, there is no downside. They simply become a high-paid lobbyist while retaining their congressional pensions and benefits. The American public has to stop identifying our elected officials as Democrats or Republicans. There are criminals hiding under those political labels and their American flag lapel pins.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  56. jk in MN

    Trickle down economics, too many lobbyist and not having the guts to say NO to spending or the lobbyists when they should for fear they will not get re-elected.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  57. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Susan Cain put it simply, we were once a culture of character, we have become a culture of personality.
    I would add that we were once also a culture of virtues, we have become a culture of ego.
    Personality and ego will always lead to the addiction for power through one sided ideology and dogma.
    Hence we stand at the precipice of cultural collapse, like all great empires in history who chose self over spirituality.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  58. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Politicians don't care if the government is bankrupt, they only care about one thing, getting elected. Buying votes with tax breaks, unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, free health care, farm aid, foreign aid, endless foreign wars/occupations, massive defense spending, and corporate welfare have all lead to the16 trillion dollar federal debt, and the100 trillion dollar unfunded mandates for SS/ medicare/medicaid.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  59. Loren, Chicago

    The Chicago Way has infected the country. For those who don't know, the Chicago Way is promising voters everything, but making sure that your donors get theirs. The result is hidden deficits, and unfunded liabilities. President Obama promised change and the change we've received is the Chicago Way. Time for a new way.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  60. rex in portland, oregon

    because it can

    July 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  61. Chris, Ottawa Canada

    Because politicians get elected by offering voters "free" stuff. Unfortunately there is no such thing as free and the cost is now 16 Trillion. Nobody wants to touch Medicare or Social Security because they'll lose the senior vote and nobody wants to touch the military industrial complex.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  62. Kim, Dodge City

    Because Congress views our tax dollars as free found money that belongs to them personally, and have demonstrated time after time their contempt for the citizens of this country. It took decades, and several administrations of both persuations, to take us to the brink of financial ruin all because they want to appease their corporate masters.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  63. Joseph, Los Angeles CA

    The government is financially irresponsible because the voters are financially irresponsible. Until we learn to balance our own budgets, we have no right to demand that the government balance its budget.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  64. Gordo from NJ

    Governments have always been financially irresponsible...remember the Air Force's $5,000 toilet seats. What's changed is that the people who have gained so much from America now think they owe the country nothing in return. In the 1960s, wealthy Americans paid marginal tax rates over 70%, and we built the most powerful economy in the world, a strong middle class, the interstate highway system, stopped communism, and went to the moon. Today's 'entitled' millionaires think they should pay next to nothing while we fund government necessities by impoverishing the poor, gutting the education system, and neglecting America's infrastructure.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  65. Jim Charlotte NC

    Yes we are anation of people who want everything. I do believe it all started with the cowards who ran back during the Vietnam War. So many people thought they were so special and didn't have to serve our nation. Much like a contagious disease it spred to every aspect of life.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  66. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    I really hate to say it but I think that corruption has become legal and it's penalized by a 7or 8 figure income with a Law Firm on retainer. Go figure.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  67. John from Alabama

    Jack: Local and state governments ran out of stimulus funds in 2010. President Obama did not believe the recession was as bad as it really became in 2010. The stimulus package should have been $1.4 trillion dollars, instead of, $880 billion dollars. A bigger stimulus package would have gotten most states and local government out of bankruptcy. Most states balanced their books with the stimulus funds, and some which got down to local governments help pave roads and fix bridges. The old saying, "if your going to go big, go really big". The stimulus was a good idea, but was $520 billion dollars short.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  68. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    With all due respect, your question morphed from why is government so financially irresponsible to why have "WE" beacome so financially irresponsible...that hurts man !

    July 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  69. Gigi Oregon

    What it shows me is the tax cuts for the rich, isn't working. That tax cuts to the rich will go down in history as the down fall of the American dream. Our parents were children of the great depression and grew up when America became the builders of the "True American Dream". The truly rich and the growing middle class built the Dream for my generation and my children but some where Capitalism got in he way. The rich wanted to be richer and then the middle class became the new poor. And the rich began to deregulate banks and sell loans to those who would fail. I guess my parents great- great grand children will be in the same place my parents found them selves 80+ years ago. The problem...Jack it's called capitalizing on the lower class or Capitalization.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  70. Kevin in CA

    I disagree with your premise. People and most government entities are coping with massive wealth drains as best they can. The irresponsibility lies with the corporate and political elite leadership that promotes self interest to the exclusion of all else.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  71. 1grasshopper

    WE. do you have a mouse in your pocket? Who are you encompassing in 'we'. Surely you are saying you, big business and the government, because people,regular people, have to manage the amount of money they get just to survive. "we" can't afford to spend beyond our means nomatter what the housing industry and government says.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  72. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    Good question, Jack. Now here's a liberal democrat's take on the matter. Congress-and by this I mean BOTH houses and BOTH parties-have allowed petty bickering and distraction over healthcare reform to stall all talks aimed at getting the federal deficit under control. BUT, while the Democrats have been making efforts to address the matter in committee, the GOP and their 'junior' colleagues in the Tea Party, have been stalling talks in their drive to make Obama a one-term president. If they would stop using the debt-ceiling crisis to further their political agenda and take a good long look at how their constituents are suffering, then perhaps a solution could be quickly found.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  73. Bob in Kansas City

    Why has government become so financially irresponsible?-Because we allow it and the "freebie" lobby.....personal credit cards should be illegal in this country....I once worked with an old guy back in the late 60's at my first job while still in high school, he said if you stand back and watch, the American people are some of the stupidest people on the planet. The more things change the more they stay the same, that about sums it up in one paragraph.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  74. Steve Edna, KS

    Jack, Lend me your wallet. It is easy for government to spend other peoples money. Broken government protecting their jobs, loading bills with pork, afraid to offend the voters leads to deficit.
    I am not joking about your wallet, I seek a higher plateau of living, that I could adjust to. Of course you would be homeless and broke in about a month, just like the governments..

    July 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  75. Jane in CA

    Fiscal irresponsibility began when politicians swore "no new taxes" without looking at the legal obligations of their governments. Failure to properly fund future liabilities has been a problem for decades, and has finally reached the breaking point. Anytime government opts for a less efficient more costly way of doing things for political reasons, (ie outsourcing) it adds up. Taxes are lower than any time in my life. Back in the 50's and 60's we at least tried to pay for our expenses. Now it is easier to welsh on your obligations, and in some circles is considered the right thing to do.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  76. First


    The Conservatives/Republicans take, while Liberals/Democrats increase domestic spending for middle class and fellow Americans that are less fortunate to stay afloat. Look at the wealth gap and how much Corporations and big Businesses save annually without hiring for their "so-called" fear of the market. Jack, I believe Conservatives/Republicans and their big Business and Corporate friends like Romney Nascar buddies etc, are holding jobs hostage. Knowing that's what the voters are voting on jobs and the economy.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  77. Rick from Colorado

    Because we want bread and circus, and we have found fools who will provide.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  78. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    The Goverment's credit card like the consumer's has been too easy to keep raising the debt limit than pay off the principle in a timely manner. Now it has to be cut back very very slowly so as to not cause any sudden movements in the social fabric.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  79. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    When we understand the meaning of responsible we can understand the cause for our politicians of today being irresponsible in most of what they are tasked to do.
    Responsibility is about self discipline.
    M. Scott Peck the renowned psychologist states that self discipline is:
    1. Delaying gratification
    2. Accepting responsibility for self.
    3. Telling the absolute truth and being dedicated to reality.
    4. Bracketing ego needs for the sake of spiritual growth
    So to answer your question, I cannot, and I challenge you to, name one politician that possesses these tenants of self discipline in their entirety. So how on earth can they be responsible even if it is to tie their own shoes.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  80. Gary, Iowa

    Depends on who is making the decisions as to what is irresponsible. You cannot equate the amount spent on gov't
    activities with the "size" of government. Governents from the Federal, State, County and Municipal levels are getting
    smaller in numbers. Unfortunately, we have a system where nobody wants to pay for these services. Revenues are
    down – for various reasons – including the internet sales. Running a gov't like a family budget when someone earns
    more than paying out – you don't decline the money. YOU SAVE IT FOR A RAINY DAY. It has been pouring since 2008
    and the collapse of the stock market and the economic downturn. Of course, Blame Obama for not fixing it right away.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  81. Ed in Sacramento

    Cities have to spend much of their money, time and other resources trying to prevent lawsuits by opportunistic lawyers. I had the occasion to see this firsthand some years back in a regional transportation agency. It is sickening the hoops an agency has to jump through just to change a light bulb!!! Most of the public is never aware of these costs or what they wind up costing the citizens in education, police and fire protection.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  82. Rich in Texas

    As a small business owner who used to employ 100 people, now employs 43 and barely hanging on, i would say that we are no longer respected and looked at as the evil greedy ones who owe everyone a living with out them earning it. I will most likely end up closing my business. It is no longer worth fighting the good fight. I'm telling you small business owners (even in Texas) are broke and tired.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  83. Boomer in Mo

    Because the legislative bodies are bought and paid for. The highest bidding lobbyist controls the votes. The people are no longer in charge of their elected representatives. Money has totally corrupted Congress and every statehouse in this nation.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  84. Barbara

    I just read someone's post from your other article.

    WOW – I didn't realize Robme was going to put ALL of us in the top 1% by June next year. WOW. Sign me up.

    Nah – I'll stay with my 28% tax rate because I like roads, bridges, clean air, clean waterr, a living wage, public school, sidewalks, etc. My life is fine the way it is. Unless Robme ships it overseas – OOPS!!!

    July 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  85. First

    Jack, Most people in this Christian Country forgot and/or replaced Deuteronomy 15:7; If there be among you a poor man of thy brethren within any of thy gates in which the Lord giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy hearts, nor shut thine handfrom thy poor brother.

    July 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  86. Jeff In Minnesota

    It's not so much irresponsibility as it was a mistaken belief that things can only get better, not worse. There is no housing bubble, property values never go down, there is no economic cycle, etc. All blue sky thinking and rose colored glasses, no reality. Well, guess what? Property values do go down and when you rely on property taxes as your main source of revenue, your revenue drops accordingly. Oh yeah, the economy contracts from time to time. Whoops! You need to structure your finances and spending to take into account the economic downturns as well as the economic upturns. Somehow, people forget that what goes up, MUST come down. We've learned that lesson at the moment, but give society about two generations and they will have forgotten and the learning experience will be repeated.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  87. Susan from Ca

    It ani't their money or jobs on the line.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  88. Earl S. Anniston, Alabama

    For the most part, the Republicans are to blames. Most of the financial problems these governments are facing were caused by governments investmenting in businesses. State after state, county after county and city after city is facing financial catastrophe because their pension funds—invested in mutual funds, stocks, etc—lost value during the collapse. At the same time, the commitments remained the same. As early as 2006 John C Vogel, whose spent decades leading the world's largest mutual fund company, was arguing that his company's research of other companies showed that most companies were not good long-term investments. Last Saturday Ali Velshi showed that the Bush tax cuts and military spending accounted for half the accumulated national debt. Military spending accounted for 2/3 of the increase in federal spending over the last 10 years. By and large, the government debt problem is a result of Republican policies.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  89. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    I get it. When public servants do it, it is irresponsible, when bank robbers do it...it's a crime.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  90. Nancy, Cunningham, TN

    Our local, state and federal governments are being run by people who have never had to budget their money. We are electing the most afluent Americans to be in charge of our finances. We need hard working Americans who know how to tighten the purse strings in charge. The expensive trips for team building would be replaced by advice in a company meeting to get your job done and cooperate with your fellow employees. Pork barrel spending would be eliminated and those who got elected by special interest groups would have egg on their face when it came time to pay up. No more good ole boy systems in government – that's what we need.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  91. Jake in Omaha

    Why have we become so financially irresponsible?

    It's easy to file bankruptcy. Why pay the bills if the courts will forgive your debts.
    Someday soon we will Uncle Sam standing in line at the bankruptcy court. This
    country is in deep trouble.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  92. Larry in Houston

    Why have we become so financially irresponsible?
    Answer : You certainly aren't talking about "everybody" I'm not in that catagory – I worked for almost 30 yrs. drawing a pension , waiting on the S.S. to "kick in" I'm on the other side of the hill, been there, done that. I'm a Liberal and "once in a while" catholic – and give what the hell I want – everytime I see the priests that are driving brand new cars every year, it makes me give Less & less, hope you see what I mean there, Mr. C.
    I believe in Smaller Government – not handouts ( YES, I'm a Democrat)
    We are Now Past the Fiscal Cliff, in my honest opinion. When the G D P exceeds the National Debt, we will be SUNK, do you see what I mean ? If You go to the national debt dot org – you will see that the GDP is adding much more quickly – and will "meet up" AND Surpass the National Debt. Anyone with half a brain should see & know this. But I guess it doesn't matter to our Government. And it won't much matter Who's in office come January 2013.

    Do you want to know what hurt this country ? the Republicans, that's who. under Reagan, when he fired those air traffic controllers, and then the W.T.O. / and then when Clinton was in office, Gingrich held his feet to the fire, when he was speaker, and when the republicans had control of congress. Clinton wasn't crazy about NAFTA, but they put a noose around clinton's neck, and he had to say "uncle" – the Republicans started this NAFTA thing, and it just went on & on. We used to trade with germany / united kingdom /great britain / and a host of other countries, but – Oh No ! That wasn't enough ! we had to go and "Trade" with 3rd & 4th world countries, now look where we are. Back when I was a kid, we used to see some items (such as various toys & games) that was "made in Japan" The American people ( back then) used to Stay Away from anything that was made in "Japan. Why ? because it wouldn't last long, and it would be broken , in no time. ( because it was cheaper) The republicans wants the middle class (in the u.s.) to live like the people in those 3rd world countries. Pathetic, isn't it ? NOW – You can't Buy Anything that's made here, Pitiful, isn't it ? I'm glad I'm out of the "rat race" Jack.
    Vote Democat – 2012 ( for the working "middle class" People)

    July 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  93. Scott

    Hey Jack

    It's called GREED,and everyone is guilty of it,republicans,democrats,the presidents,all the congresses of the past,every dirty stealing lobbyist,and every money hungry special interest group you can think of;those are some of the problems.calling for a hard solution which is: now it's time to give it up,raise everyone's taxes to 30% no one excluded,cut the budget by 7% each of the next 7 years,balance the budget,which means everyone in govt. must work for less,including congress and the president,It's time to be giving bac,instead of always taking

    July 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  94. Tracie

    How you ask? My son was 6 years old when we went to war with Iraq. He was 15 years old when the war ended in Dec of 2011. Does anyone have any idea how much this really cost?

    July 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  95. grady early

    It's called 'buying votes.'

    July 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  96. Eric Bates


    July 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  97. Ishmael

    Why? Because the sheeple of the land (american people) let it happen!

    July 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  98. Michael Riggs Florida

    Because we keep placing our faith into a two party system both republicans and democrats are to blame and it's time for us all to vote independent insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result only fix is voting independent for EVERY OFFICE

    July 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  99. Daryl

    Easy answer Jack, we're in this position because as a whole, Americans got what they asked for. (Lot's of stuff, don't want to pay for it)

    July 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  100. Chris from Jacksonville, FL

    We have become so irresponsible because we have lost all accountability. Voters don't hold lawmakers accountable and lawmakers don't show personal accountability for money that is not their own. If federal money was their money would they spend the way they currently do? No...but they can just all vote to increase their own credit limit and voters allow them to continue doing this!

    July 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  101. Michael-Chapel Hill

    We all need to pay our fair share. Our fair share today costs more than our fair share yesterday. In order to pay for it, we need to understand that we may need to cut some entitlements, but we also may need to increase revenues which means raising taxes. Neither side is free of blame.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  102. Richard Broderick, Jr

    Many years ago this country was much less well off, but we could still build bridges and roads, we could have good schools, we could take care of sick people and the old, and we could even look forward to doing better, bigger things, even going to the moon. It was an upward path.

    Yet, even though as a country we are much more wealthy, even though we have knowledge and technology far exceeding what we used to have and, even though our workers produce far more per person than ever before, we are told that we can no longer do the great things we used to. We are told our government can only take from the middle class, that we can no longer afford the things we want and need as a country and that the American middle class has to work harder for less.

    All of this we sacrifice for the Reagan/Bush/Romney/Ryan Republican party’s one
    true goal: more and more tax breaks for the rich. It’s a downward path.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  103. Ken Dulaney

    The reason is that the people have lost touch with basic economics. The populus believes that there is an endless supply of funding bolstered by the fact that 50% pay no taxes so don't have a stake in the viability of the government . if you are in debt to your credit card company but never get a bill why stop spending. The Obama White house knows that the easy way to get elected is to keep giving out funds and as long as nothing bad happens, it works (Hugo Chavez has used this strategy to great success).

    July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  104. Randy

    They have not necessarily become irresponsible. They have merely become employed by the wealthy and corporations that insure that they will not only get re-elected but support legislation that protects the few from paying their fair shre of government expenses. These types have shown repeatedly, sine Ronald Reagan, that they are not concerned about America but only themselves.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  105. william james

    It not that the government has just become irresponsible, some seen it ten years ago. It just started hitting everyone now. They only care about their money

    July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  106. Karen from Beaumont

    Greed. A dysfunctional Congress (especially the Republicans) that is more concerned with reelection and their corporate owners than what is best for the country. Corporate welfare. The corporate state. Oligarchy. Neoliberalism. Refusal to raise revenue. That pretty much sums it up.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  107. Becca

    It's really simple, the eight years of Bush taxes put America in such aa abyss, it's hard for ANY president to take us out in four years.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  108. Bill

    Which president was it that "proved" deficits don't matter again? That combined with the grand bargain between republicans who never increase taxes while democrats never reduce social programs lead directly to this situation.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  109. Derek

    The error lies in the government trying to please every single American even if the ideas conflict each other. The government is irresponsible with money because they wasted absolutely no effort in acquiring that money. It's easy to take for granted something that you didn't work for.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  110. Jeff Parker

    It's a complete and utter lack of courage. I think most in congress have a grasp of the issue but they are unable to break ranks, unable to speak with the opposition, unable to share reasonable ideas (ideas that might actually have a chance), for fear of repercussions from party leaders, donors and anybody else who pulls the strings. We need congressmen and congresswomen who are willing to lose their jobs as a consequence of showing the courage to speak the truth. Time to step, put on the big boy pants, and work for the people.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  111. lvlassimo

    It's all of our faults. We don't care about financial responsibility. If we did, we would vote people in office who care about making the government more efficient and cutting ridiculous, pointless spending. Instead, we let them debate with rhetoric that means nothing and vote for whoever wins. We'll never have fiscal responsibility until we demand it.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  112. Rick from Ohio

    There are several factors at play here. One is the fact that we are off the gold standard, other nations are willing to loan to the U.S. Government at favorable rates, and our leaders in Congress have no fiscal discipline. This includes Republicans and Democrats. Plus most people do not want their entitlements reformed. The nation is bankrupt and no one seems to know it.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  113. CTMaloney

    This is what happens in democracy, also in socialism. The WORST effect is that with this debt the government has no funds to invest in CLIMATE CHANGE and ENVIRONMENT which is the GREATEST threat to this generation of humans. Both our efforts to forestall financial collapse, and population collapse because of environment change, will occur at the same time, and within a few decades.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  114. Stewart

    Hey Jack I know why they are so irresponsible!!!!! Maybe they know that the end of the world is coming on December 21st and they decided to have a spending party...the only thing is, we arn't invited.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  115. jessmissy

    Come on Jack! We have become a society of irresponsibility. We vote or in most cases don't vote based only on laziness and greed . We have forgotten what it means to be an American. So has our government and it is our fault.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  116. Katie

    Ashtabula, Ohio

    Jack, as Geoge Carlin would say "If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re gonna get selfish, ignorant leaders." if we want more from our government, we need to demand more from ourselves as well as public officials. Change starts with us.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  117. peter

    The answer is too obvious: it's not our incompetent government – it's us. We have the government we demand, the government we deserve, and, as long as an increasing percentage of the sheeple believe in the "free lunch," it will only get worse.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  118. James San Antonio

    Government has acted to disguise spending, made possible by low interest rates, relatively low taxes and a compliant mainstream media. It's time to wake up.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  119. Richard Broderick, Jr

    Hey Mitt, what is really "dishonest" is that at a time when the top tax rate is about the lowest it has been in 80 years, you continue to suggest that still more tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy will somehow help to balance the budget.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  120. ELD

    How about stopping the needless spending and the funding of needless projects like a bridge to nowhere or useless arenas built with state's tax dollars. The taxes were mismanaged from the get. Municipal employees are being blamed for the cities'downfall. we make very little to begin with. Is the mayor of Scranton on minimum wage also? Are ther judges? Are the city council members? NO! It's always the little guy that gets the crappy end of the stick! I say, easch state should offer a separate lottery to help bail out its drowning cities. By the way, the gov't should also start a lottery to help get it out of its debt! People would buy the tickets. Just don't pay out too much for the winning ticket! People LOVE to gamble! By the way, how have thestate managers been spending our tax dollars?

    July 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  121. M. Stewart

    It's Congress who is so irresponsible. If they got paid what the average teacher in their district got paid, with the same benefits as the teachers, we'd lower the debt in a hurry. Or, perhaps they should be paid minimum wage like the police and firemen you reported on. Frankly, we need our police and firemen a lot more than our congress people.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  122. joe

    has everyone forgotten the gazillion of dollars in tax cuts and and the gazillion of dollars we've been spending on wars the past what 10 years. why are we so financially irresponsible ask the republicans they can tell you some lies because their hope is that we all have no memory (apparently neither do you jack ... have a memory).

    July 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  123. Vince Hugh

    Our government has become so irresponsile because Democrats want to spend and haven't the wherewithall to cut spending because its where all their votes are. I know this seem bias against Dems, but its the truth. And until the media acknowledges this and reports it as reality, nothing will ever get better.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  124. mike t.

    Two words, laziness and greed. Because government officals are more interested in filling their own bank accounts than they are in fixing the economy. Untill someone who knows about a hard days work can get into public office, I.m afraid it wont change.

    Claremore, OK.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  125. Bowen H.

    It didn't happen overnight. Honest people worked hard and earned pensions which had a little extra, because hey, they've earned it, haven't they? Over time that little extra has insidiously grown to the nightmare today. Since those people have worked hard, they don't want to give up their cushy pension to save the next generation from crippling debt because hey, they've earned it. It's one of the seven blunders Gandhi warned us about: wealth without work.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  126. Phil

    Because brownie troop Republican and brownie troop Democrat keep arguing about birth certificates, tax returns and repealing a law that the Supreme Law of the Land has said is constitutional... Meanwhile they're feeding us selling us their cookies and we as fools are buying it... All the while our dollar and our jobs are slowly spiraling down the drain...

    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  127. Drew from Maine

    It's in our blood. We as Americans are always focused on what we can buy or what we can get. The government doesn't realize that for every action there is a reaction, and that everything we buy comes with a sacrifice, money. If the government doesn't get their mind in the right state soon, we could be facing the wall, and loose our place as the most influential country in the world.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  128. Barb Townsend

    Let us not forget that we had a huge surplus in the US treasure as President Clinton handed the reins over to GW Bush. He sent out the surplus in the form of small checks and he proceeded to cut taxes. Under GW and since then, under the Republican-dominated Congress we have had the lowest rates of taxes for wealthy Americans in many decades. Something like the 1950s. There was deregulation of big businesses under Pres. GW Bush. He started a war then two wars. I was there at the time and I remember reading that financial experts released statements you do not drastically cut taxes and try to wage two wars. He was warned and the american people were warned in a few years we will be discussing how to fund Social Security Medicare, how to repair the infrastructure e tc. Well that day has come. Financially irresponsible? Try mentioning it was the Bush Republicans who wreaked havoc on the economy. Thar was not Obama's doing. Every thing he has tried to do has been blocked almost every step of the way by Republicans whos mission was to make sure he failed. Obama has NOT raised taxes on the middle class and he HAS helped small business. He has made his position very clear we need to insource not outsource and he has provided tax incentives to small business to do this.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  129. Riley ODay

    It costs money to run this country but those in charge refuse to collect the money to do so.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  130. RichardinGA

    With all due respect Mr. Cafferty...Why are you asking the Gov't officials? They are the ones meeting behind closed doors at midnight on Friday, passing the legislation that is ROBBING the American Citizens.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  131. Name*Norm from Rochester

    Financially irresponsible? Politics, self interest, congressional lack of charactsr. Doesn't matter, both Democrats & Republicans. Congress serves itself and has become a "special interezt group". We've elected a PAC!!!!

    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  132. erich

    Obviously we're going to have to elect a debt reduction president – someone who will be dedicated to reducing the debt to a manageable number and would be willing to run on that platform. Sometimes I wonder if our present government intends to just ride the pony all the way to the end of the trail like Greece or Spain. Look, our government obviously isn't going to take measures to fix this problem so it is now up to us, the voters. Let's take it to the ballot boxes.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  133. Terry

    Jack, how could you go through your entire statement without mentioning Wall Street and the financial services sector? They escape any kind of mention in a catastrophe that they created. Their greed destroyed 9million jobs, home equity, and retirement plans of millions of Americans. All the lost revenues these towns are experiencing disappeared along with those jobs.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  134. Steve Kemp from Sacramento, Ca.

    Steve from Sacramento

    Another easy question, Jack.
    It's because Republicans are deadbeats!

    THEY spent like drunken sailors and then blame someone else.
    They want "free-riders" to continue to be so.
    Then they scream bloody murder about the debt. But their own offered budgets would INCREASE the debt!

    They've obviously memorized the book 1984.
    Double-speak abounds!

    July 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  135. Ian Thacker

    Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes? When the voting public realized that they could essentially vote themselves benefits from the treasury they have always elected those who have promised them the most.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  136. Scott

    Simple Jack, too many men. My wife can find a paper bag on sale. I am a man, and I say we need more woman.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  137. Cal in CA

    There as so many tax loopholes the wealthy and the corporations rarely pay any taxes. Then we want to have costly wars and police the world and throw billions at countries that don't even like us. All you need to do is the math to figure out. Dick Cheney may have said, "deficits don't matter" but eventually they do.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  138. William Kuehler

    It appears that the basic property of a democracy is to end in a financial collapse. The cause being irresponsible management of the nations finances by the legislature.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  139. jessmissy

    From NC ...Come on Jack! We have become a society who lacks personal responsibility. We elect based on greed and selfishness. Our government is following suit and it is our fault.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  140. Fred S

    Spending has went out of control due to the "virtuous" cycle of government workers forming unions which gather dues to "lobby" lawmakers to give benefits that are out of line but hidden from plain sight because the bill does not come due for years. Well those years are now here and guess what, the bills are due.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  141. Met Destin

    Because they've forgotten about the Middle class

    July 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  142. earlwalker

    The public forgets what we were dealt from the Bush administration. Bush wiped-out the surplus with his give aways to the wealthy and proved again that trickle-down economics doesn't work. President O'Bama has tried to get the economy going but has met opposition by the republicans at every turn. Their only objective, which they have admitted, is to make sure that O'bama is not re-elected regardless of what happens to the country. If Romney is elected we will be in deep trouble. He will destroy the middle class and plunge us into a deep depression with policies that benefit only the wealthy.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  143. Leon Spencer

    The spending is not irresponsible; the unwillingness to provide sufficient revenue to pay for essential services, from infrastructure to health care to safe food and drugs to law enforcement to the needs of those of us who are poor and marginalized – that is what is irresponsible. We have become victims of a right wing that always considers taxes to be too high, even when they are the lowest in decades, and has intimidated anyone who challenges their view

    July 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  144. Steve

    well, lets see: Saving the private sector from its own multi-trillion-$$ failed adventures (count the whole world's loss = far more than the US tax cost) which destroyed more jobs, for more years, than government ever has, reduced the revenue side even if the borrowers eventually paid the nominal loans (if not the equity) back. Was there a problem before the private-sector-driven collapse reduced Americans' ability to earn wealth, build equity, not seek transfers and pay their taxes? Yes, it was called exploitative private lending, it collapsed before Obama ever got elected, and now we live in the results and will for decades. Thanks, private sector! Sweet

    July 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  145. Sarah Middleton, OR

    As long as the politicians keep promising the moon, their constituents will keep voting them in. "They" will always be able to shift money around in the budget so it really doesn't cost anything. Problem is "we" are "they" ("them") and now we've maxed out both our Visa and our Mastercard. Its time to pay the Ferryman, End of the Line, The Jig is Up, or whatever you call it, its time to rein the greed in politics. The Republicans want to do it at the expense of the Middle Class, the Democrats want to do it at the expense of the 1%ers, but it will have to be ALL of us. They need to be honest with their constituents and tell it like it is. Problem is, if they do, they won't get reelected. Its going to be up to the electorate insisting they do their job and make the hard choices, work together, and stay in Washington (DC) until they get a working budget, and overhaul the tax code.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  146. Steve Vreeland

    The voters are responsible for government irresponsible spending. The majority of the voters will only vote for politicians who promise more and more government spending, and most voters refuse to support the few politicians who are honest enough to say government spending is destroying our nation. Ron Paul is was the only presidential candidate speaking honestly about the danger of irresponsible spending, and he could not garner the support of more than about 10 percent of the conservative vote, and virtually zero percent of the liberal vote.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  147. Mitchell owens

    Because the bulk of Americans live in a dream world where someone else pays for the services they receive.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  148. John Fischer

    It is not government. Have we forgotten that the govt is us? Over the years we have gradually replaced almost every one of our representatives with those who would cater to our greed and sense of entitlement and resentment of success. What public official today could stand his ground against the teacher's unions or SEIU or the general public clamor for more more more? This is NOT a government problem. It is a problem of the governed.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  149. d. wikson

    Simple jack.. democrats take care of all the people and republicans just take care of the wealthy and the republican party of no has refused any idea that creates revenue for the government except stop spending to fix all the problems the relublcans created during the bush era that insisted trickle down economics would be the answer and that destroyed us.. give the rich all the capital gains tax breaks and they just hoarde the money and let the less fortunate eat dirt and die.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  150. Jeremy from Michigan

    Because we elect lawyers and celebrities who only care about themselves instead of making our country better for the next generation. It's easier for them to put it on credit.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  151. john mccorsley


    I am a former Republican, now Independent, and believe that only Congress should be held accountable for the situation we are currently in. I base this on three primary facts.

    First off there is now way to expect a budget surplus to be maintained when you conduct a war for over 10 years that is not paid for in some way by the public.

    Secondly, the media and the public seem to forget that the American taxpayer was put on the hook for the financial crisis in the last days of the Bush Administration NOT IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION!

    Thirdly, the fact is that Only Congress holds the purse-strings of the American Budget (NOT THIS OR ANY PRESIDENT- SEE THE CONSTITUTION AND THE SEPARATION OF POWERS) and since the late 1990's there has been a fantasy that we (the American Public) do not need to pay for what we benefit from in the way of services.

    I sadly admit that I supported the Republican agenda until the late 1990's when the REPUBLICAN CONGRESS betrayed everything they stood for regarding fiscal responsibility and accountability. And now they want me to believe their rhetoric again. I DON'T THINK SO BUBBA!!!

    July 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  152. Linda in Arizona

    Endless wars, military spending, corruption, runaway corporate greed, crooked politicians, republican intransigence, and so on. Your question is all over the place, and is designed to put all the blame on Obama. Let's go back to reagan, whom I'll bet you admire. This mess didn't spring full-grown in the last 3 1/2 years, as much as you would like to spin it that way.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  153. Ted

    STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES....This is our leaders

    July 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  154. Hal in PIttsburgh PA

    Why has government become so financially responsible?

    My opinion & observation

    1) Government has gotten too big to control/monitor
    2) Career politicians
    3) No accountability for government/politicians
    4) Big Business & special interests steering government

    July 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  155. Booth Rankins

    Polarization by biased broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh has destroyed politicians ability to work together for fear of retaliation fueled by people like Rush. Couple that with a public who are not critical thinkers and you have a recipe for disaster.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  156. Bill waterloo,ny

    the two parties can't get togrther, the reason is the rep. party still thinks they are part of the confederate states and people like obama should be working for them. high dollar folks should have regular folks working for them, people better wake up its not only minorities its anyone who is working for a living, ask the minority leader mitch i'll make him a one term president, i don't care what we don't get done for tax payers as long obama looks bad

    July 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  157. gdstanford

    Because they can! We allow our Leaders to say one thing and do the exact opposite and never call them or their surrogates on it....I see them on CNN , lying to you!

    July 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  158. Zada

    Responsibility has been deregulated by FOX news and right wing talk shows who PURPOSELY lie and misrepresent the truth, giving ordinary citizens license to use & believe that OPINION is fact~When NO NEWS MEDIA corrects the misrepresentations that are perpetrated DAILY, those stories become 'faux fact' and soon Congressmen are using those misrepresentations to explain & call out the opposition...happened again this week about Obama's speech regarding small business. FOX news edited his speech & CNN invites pundits that support that edit w/o calling them out~ NO RESPONSIBILITY~

    July 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  159. Robert

    It's been this way as long as I can remember, remember the stuff that we were charged thousands of dollars for? The several thousand dollar hammer, toilet seat, ect... What about all the trips and elaborate conventions? It's a monkey see monkey do political environment because no one really knows what to do, let's do what this president did or this congress did.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  160. Lee Neat

    Our elected "representatives" are using our money to buy their reelection. Unlike all of us, their budget is flexible. If they run low on money they just raise taxes and fees. We need to have a system where states elect their representatives but if they are only good for their states (bridge to nowhere, etc.) we can have a nationwide recall vote forcing the state in question to put up new representatives and senators.

    I think that the best man for president is a woman. Where is our Margaret Thatcher? A woman can likely do better with the economy than many of her predecessors. Having a woman running might stop these two seemingly childish candidates from their current campaign tactics to tell us what they will do using plain English. A woman takes care of the books in our house. Let's have one taking care of the nation's books.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  161. Flyingwolf from Manchester, NH

    One word–outsorcing. In Manchester, then-mayor Frank Guinta went to an outside (philadelphia) agency to draw up a plan for Manchester, NH. This plan cost over a million dollars of taxpayer money and all they basically did was to tell him to remake Manchester into some upscale travel venue and where the residents made at least 39,000 a year. So our then mayor who ran on the platform of reducing taxes, reduced tax rates, alright, and then tripled all the property values, so that a anybody who could, moved out of town. Those of us who didn't have enough equity in our houses couldn't, nor can we keep up with these exhorbitant taxes and all the money that could have gone for police & fire salaries never appears because of the outsiders who took control

    July 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  162. Jim, Nicholson PA

    In a word, the answer is pandering. Constituents of both parties want all their respective goodies but don't want to foot the bill for it. The Democrats provide theirs with all the social programs that keeps them coming out to vote, and the Republicans provide theirs with wars for the military industrial complex, and tax breaks for those who need them least, whether they create any jobs or not. Lastly, neither side has the spine or integrity to tell their voters that they can't have everything they want because if they did they wouldn't get re-elected. And the final blame goes to the increasingly uneducated American people, for allowing themselves to be pandered to so brazenly.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  163. Bob-Long Island

    It's simple. It's easy to spend someone else's money. When the government overspends, they just raise taxes. They don't have to show a profit like a private business. They don't go out of business. They just continue to raise taxes. Over the years, both parties have been at fault but let's face it, the Democrats are quicker to the draw to raise taxes. Add an "I don't care " attitude to what things cost and you wind up in a big hole.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  164. kingsaul

    Middle Class Republicans are the problem following leaders that are interest in themselves and not in America. They feed them out right sugar coated lies and they eat them up. They have a crazy high believing falsehood while the rich Republicans laugh their way to the bank. Working to overthrown Obama hurting America without regard for the Middle Class. If Middle Class Republicans stop supporting this foolishness, we might have a chance. The Democrats are struck because Obama gave the House of Representatives away running after health care. America is screw only if we can get a 400 to 600 billion dollar stimulus for small business the engine of the economy, no matter who gets in office without this type of stimulus we are looking at a long time for the economy to turn around.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  165. Bob

    Jack, you need to hear/read your preface to this question, again. Think about your framing of your question...you indicated particular deficits of the public sector why what you think is the cause...irresponsible behavior. How does one answer your question when you noted the RESPONSIBLE behavior by those in the public sector, you know, school districts, counties, cities, etc., to reduce costs?????

    July 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  166. ilya

    The government has been spending more and more money since its existence. This is due to wars and even economy downturns. As the government receives more money it expands with new programs and "operations". However, the government does not follow economic laws in the sense that it has the ability to keep receiving money and push the defect higher. As the defect rises the payments rise. It becomes harder to pay the payments. To pay the payments the government must choose which programs it wants to eliminate. This is the problem; no one wants to lose money! It's not about greed, but, wanting to expand government to many areas of our life's.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  167. Dan Riordan, Springfield

    I blame nobody but ourselves...we ALL have skin in the game on our country's financial situation. EVERYONE wants the best of EVERYTHING and we want it NOW. Government is no different...the BEST military (to fight numerous wars), the BEST services (DEA, DOE, IRS, FBI, EPA, CIA), the BEST entitlements (Social Security & Medicare), the BEST national parks, the BEST benefits (Auto & Bank Bailouts, FEMA, Homeland Security), etc., etc., etc. The problem is...we want all of this for FREE or at a VERY reduced price. No matter what side of the fence you are on politically or maybe you are somewhere in the middle...we are ALL guilty of the financial situation we are in and whoever calls for "CHANGE"...it's totally fine...just as long as the change does NOT affect THEM.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  168. Marc in Toronto

    Jack it isn't rocket science.

    Politicians are simply a reflection of the society they are elected to represent. Greed and a lack of common sense or personal responsibility and the role each citizen plays or is not playing is what is destroying your country. How many of your citizens actually do their part to buy American made products? How many take the time to read labels etc. or are willing to pay a bit more for domestically produced products? A recent study showed that Republicans are more likely to purchase an import car than the well made American cars now being produced. You don't need to go much deeper than that. Until Americans stop whining and recognize and realize they all play a part in this your once great country will continue it's it's downward spiral. As long as Congress continue to play this game of putting party first over country then America is destined to fail. Until every American realizes it's time to shop for American made products and create a demand for American made goods your country will continue to falter and ultimately go bankrupt. Until you come up with cheaper and more effective universal single payer healthcare system that covers all you will fall behind other countries that have it right.

    All hands on deck Jack. This problems facing your country are simply to big for government alone to solve. You can thank Bush 43 for most of this. He put the country on this course and it's one that cannot be sustained.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  169. Walt M

    The only thing that has driven up our debt is the Trickle Down Economics theories since the 1980's where we decided that debt for the government was good (thanks Ronnie). And anyone that wants to say President Obama has added that $4-5 trillion in debt since he took office is just plain stupid. What policy has he passed that cost $4-5 trillion that hadn't already been in place? Answer that question honestly....$1 trillion in stimulus is his. The rest is interest on our debts, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, spending exponentially more on defense than all of the countries considered our enemies combined, and the Bush tax cuts which are the biggest culprit.

    You want to fix the economy simply well here is the hard truth no one in Washington will tell us folks: The Bush Tax Cuts Need To Expire, Defense Spending Must Be Brought Down To Levels That Are 25% More Than Our Largest Perceived Enemy, The ACA Needs to Stay In Place for Long Term Debt Reduction And To Give The Middle Class A Break On Healthcare Costs, We Have To Invest In Our Infrastructure Which Is The Only Profession That Cannot Be Outsourced, AND Most Importantly Taxes Have To Be Increased On Those That Ship Jobs Overseas And On Any Imports Coming From Other Countries Whether Or Not The Owners Of Those Companies Are American While Companies That Bring Jobs Back From Other Countries Get A Temporary Tax Break.

    Ronnie & HW Bush put us on the wrong path in the 80's, Clinton tried to fix it and had the car turned back around until old W stole the election without the popular vote (Get rid of the Electoral College System) and turned us completely back around hit his oil patch and drove us in the ditch, Obama has tried to fix it but has been roadblocked at every single attempt by a certain side of the aisle in Congress so the answer is clear to me. The party that's contributed the most to the debt (i.e. The GOP) needs to go in November.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  170. ELD

    Also,companies are not hiring just so they can stick it to Obama! They don't care about our economy and the world-view of the U.S. They are selfish and greedy. My sister applied for a job she was perfect for, went in for the second interview, and wasn't hired. One year later that job is still being advertised. Come on, you can teach a monkee how to drive a car! Any person of reasonable intelligence can be trained to do ANY JOB, even yours Jack! Just remeber the quote from Martel's, BRING UP THE BODIES: Full bellies breed gentle manners but the pinch of famine makes monsters.." That being said, Bastille Day just passed!

    July 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  171. Marc

    Honnestly Jack, I think the american public needs to stop blaming governement for everything. In fact the american public is to blame for these economic challenges. We created an artificial economy by a culture of overfinancing, overspending and greed that made america look richer than it really was. Everybody refused to see what was going on until it blew up in their face and even today, nobody seems to get it. The municipal governments are just elected officials that are emulating theit constituents. If you think its over...its not.

    Marc, Shediac

    July 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  172. Jack in Costa Rica

    Financial responsibility went out the window when the Neocons convinced us that we could have it all – guns, butter, prescription drugs, bridges to nowhere, and more guns. There was no need to pay for it with anything but tax cuts.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  173. RAA

    People who work with their hands for a living have their hands tied thanks to the obstructionists in the GOP! They'd rather flush our country down the Bush/Cheney/Rove toilet to make a Black Democrat look like a bad president than to be Patriotic Americans & save our country from the excesses of Corporate Greed & lust for Power. It's Criminal,Disgraceful & so totally UN-AMERICAN!! (Most of the GOP don't seem to really represent this country anymore. They've been bought & sold.) The GOP should be called the SELL-OUTS !!!

    July 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  174. George S.

    I happen to agree with those who believe it's the main objective far too many politicians (local, state, national) to get reelected and not to solve buckle down to solve problems. From their first day in office such politicians start working on behalf of those who helped them get elected in the hope they'll be reelected. That's where their focus seems to remain. In addition, I believe some folks elected to political office have little background in law, economics and/or finance and simply can't comprehend the impacts that their votes will have on the financial viability of the entity they're elected to help govern. Finally, far too many folks look to governments (local, state, and national) as a source of "free" money.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  175. Chris in South Florida

    Because people don't want to hear the truth. I'm unemployed and my house is in foreclosure. If a politician says it isn't my fault and the government should do something to fix it, well hey that sounds great! That's what I want to hear. The truth is, my personal spending habits got me into this mess and I need to clean my own mess. Who wants to hear that and who would ever get elected telling people that? Government can't change irresponsible behavior and has gotten to the point now where they actually encourage it.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  176. Jim leonard

    The United States maybe the only country where the voter assumes fell responsibility for their vote. Dispite our finger pointing at those we voted to be our representatives in government. The buck stops here with us, the people. We the peoplo who voted or abstained exercised our indivdual choice that created our government. So, lets make no mistake, the people are the board of directors and our "government" is the executors of the will of the people for a period of 4 years

    July 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  177. marybeth, massachusetts


    Kindly do not put me and other hard-working, frugal Americans who live within their means and who save for rainy days in the same category as Congress or as the lobbyists and big corporations and top 1% who own Congress.

    I remember that when Bill Clinton left office, he turned over a SURPLUS to Bush II. Bush II promptly gave huge tax cuts to his wealthy cronies and completed the deregulation of the banking and financial services industries begun under Reagan. Republicans controlled the White House and Congress, and went on a drunken spending bender, giving subsidies to the wealthiest corporations and industries who earned billions in profits per quarter and yet paid ZERO taxes. More taxes were given to the already super-wealthy, and businesses were encouraged to shut down companies here and ship jobs overseas. Then he started two unfunded wars in the Middle East and started Medicare part D, also unfunded. Where was the "party of fiscal conservatives" during this era? Whooping it up like sailors on leave in port, like frat boys partying on spring break. Where were the Democrats while Republicans were spending the surplus they inherited from Clinton? Lobbyists and other special interests have bought Congress and the Supreme Court via Citizens United. They've taken Gordon Gekko (fictional character from the movie Wall Street) maxim "greed is good" to heart and have taken everything. In the meantime, we still have obligations, but due to the loss of jobs (economic crash as well as all that wonderful outsourcing), gov't is taking in less taxes. Lobbyists and sending only super wealthy men to Congress has resulted in gov't now only looking out for the Mitt Romneys of the world, without feeling any duty to help those who lost jobs, homes, pensions, etc. through no fault of their own. Taxes are at their lowest rate in more than 60 years, including the corporate tax rate, yet corporations still howl with indignation about taxes and regulations.

    It can be fixed. Taxes will have to be increased. Companies that are currently rewarded for outsourcing jobs should be penalized and rewarded only when they bring jobs back here. Gov't spending will have to be cut too. Tax loopholes will have to be closed, tax shelters shut down. We have to stop being the world's policeman and let other nations step in to deal with conflicts. And bring back sensible regulations like Glass-Steagall.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm |