Federal deficit Archive

An Irresistible Force

By John Lumbard. In the upper left corner of this page you'll see a pretty little girl wearing a sign saying that she's $38,375 in debt.  That number is now $57,764, if you're willing to use the Enron accounting standards of the federal government, which don't acknowledge that she's carrying liability...
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On Medical Insurance and Personal Responsibility

By James Schaefer. Paying routine medical bills out of pocket, as our parents and grandparents did before us, is part of life. It is no different from our obligations to put food on the table, to pay the rent or mortgage, to work, and to be productive, law-abiding citizens. Insurance protects against risk, and...
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It’s Time for a Diet

By James Schaefer. In "Blotting the Balance Sheet", (Wall Street Journal, April 26-27, 2014), James Grant reviews the book, The Reckoning, by Jacob Soll. In it, Soll highlights the fall of successful societies, and points some of the finger of blame at accounting, and the behaviors that follow. And he lays  blame equally...
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Health Insurance Is Not Health Care

By John Lumbard, CFA. In late December movie mogul Michael Moore, writing in the NY Times, described Obamacare as “awful” and said that he’d known this all along---but didn’t want to say so because it would give comfort to the President’s “enemies”.  Maybe it’s time we stopped the hyper-partisan hyperventilating, and...
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Happy Days Are Here Again

By John Lumbard .  The economy is strengthening. Home prices have jumped 10% in the last twelve months alone, and home equity---the part of the home that the homeowner actually owns, is up an incredible 25%.  Over the same period the stock market is up 20%, adding another $2.5 trillion to...
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The Pundit Wars

By John Lumbard. The economy is accelerating.  It’s been almost four years since the official end of the 2007-2009 recession, yet New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman is still calling for more stimulus spending!  Maybe if we were to pave every road every year . . . Last month the former...
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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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The Value of Bipartisan Reform, or, We’re In This Together

By James Schaefer. It's amazing what  can be found on government websites.  The Social Security Administration posts a chart of their annual FICA tax revenue, from 1937 to 2009, a full seventy-two years' worth (link).  It shows the Trust Fund's cumulative surplus, and is reproduced below. From inception to 1987, the Trust...
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