Federal debt Archive

The Empire Strikes Back

By John Lumbard, CFA. We've just been reading comments by Establishment journalists---the LA Times, Slate, Paul Krugman of the NY Times---who raged against Time Magazine's excellent and well-researched cover story about the federal debt .  The truth is that the dangers described by Time were minimized;  author James Grant used the $13.9...
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$18 Trillion!!!

    Chinese Citizens Gather In Beijing Square To Watch U.S. National Debt Clock Strike $18 Trillion News in Brief • World • foreign affairs • money • finance • china • News • ISSUE 50•45 • Nov 14, 2014   BEIJING—Celebrating the milestone with hugs, jubilant cheers, and singing, over 600,000 Chinese citizens...
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Land of the Setting Sun

By John Lumbard. When news came that we had not, like lemmings, jumped over a Cliff, celebrations broke out across the nation. Nearly a million people jammed the streets around Times Square, and the party lasted well after dawn. As the sun rose---coincidentally the first day of a new year---revelers quietly...
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“Who ARE You People??!?”

By James Schaefer. Outraged by partisan gridlock, corporate CEOs have become central players in the fiscal cliff negotiations -- and the far larger effort to tame the nation's deficits and debt. Friday's Wall Street Journal ("Honeywell CEO in the Middle of Cliff Standoff", Monica Langley, December 14, 2012) gave a behind-closed-doors look at...
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The Fiscal Cliff Explained, With Links To The White House Budget Office

By John Lumbard. According to the National Debt Clock, the US is currently collecting about $2.4 trillion in taxes, and spending about $3.5 trillion. Put another way, we’re collecting 16% of GDP in taxes and spending 23% of GDP on government programs.  Entitlement programs such as Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security are almost 16%...
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The Bipartisan Debt Machine

By John Lumbard. Below you'll find the text of a speech that Senator Barack Obama gave in the Senate in March of 2006 (you want page S2237, if you'd rather read it there) regarding our debt and deficits---which at the time were growing rapidly under President Bush.  Now they're growing rapidly...
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On Savings and Debt

By James Schaefer. Some years back, at an annual company off-site retreat, a presenter was elaborating on money.  He gave many definitions, then asked us to think of money in a slightly different way.  Rather than thinking of it as a medium of exchange, he asked us to think of money as...
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Non-Partisan

By John Lumbard, CFA. When we launched this blog in January of 2010 the federal debt stood at $12 trillion.  The debt owed to the public (not including, that is, the US Treasury bonds held in the Social Security and Medicare trust funds---which Congress doesn't have to pay interest on or...
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Putting It in Perspective

By James Schaefer This snapshot of federal spending recently crossed my desk, and it is worth sharing.  It simply converts the federal numbers into an equivalent household budget.  The numbers are approximately correct for 2012, though they don't have to match exactly to make the point.   Why the U.S. was downgraded: • U.S....
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Contagion and Eurosclerosis

By John Lumbard. The debt of Portugal has fallen in value so much that a buyer can now get a yield of 16% on long term, ten year bonds.  Portugal won't have to actually pay 16% until it has to borrow again (most likely when an old bond issue matures and...
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