fiscal responsibility Archive

Facts and Figures

The debt-clock number you see in the upper-right-hand corner of this page is the federal debt, according to conventional accounting.  You can make it look smaller by counting only the debt that the government owes to the public, and not the debt (held by the Federal Reserve and the "trust...
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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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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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It’s The Economy, Stupid . . .

By James Schaefer. House Budget Chairman Tom Price just released his draft for the new federal budget (WSJ, Opinion: The GOP's Budget Test, March 18, 2015).  It sets a blueprint for the federal budget in the coming fiscal year, and will reduce federal spending by $5.5 trillion over the coming decade.  If...
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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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The Price of Affection

By John Lumbard, CFA .... Argentina just defaulted on some of its bonds, for the very first time in 13 years. It’s their seventh default since declaring independence from Spain.  Investors kept buying Argentine bonds . . What were they thinking??? In the early 1900s the people of this bountiful land---their economy...
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How To Get The Economy Moving Again

On August 8 George Schultz, Secretary of Everything (Labor, Treasury, and State;  also OMB director) penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, offering ides for renewal and reform to a country that seems to be suffering from Eurosclerosis.  We'll stick to the parts that affect the economy and...
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Opportunity

By John Lumbard. It’s springtime, and investor doubts and fears are in full bloom.  Profit margins are too high, unemployment is too high, the Fed is printing too much money, China’s growth is slowing, Europe is never, ever going to get out of its funk, and we don’t have high speed...
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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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