unsustainable fiscal policy 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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Welfare for The Middle Class

  “The U.S. program that pays elderly Americans’ hospital bills will exhaust reserves in 2028, two years sooner than last year’s estimate, trustees of the program said on Wednesday.” -- Reuters. In 2015 the federal government collected an all-time record of $3.25 trillion in taxes.  According to the White House Budget Office (see table...
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The War On Poverty

“The official poverty rate in the United States, defined as lacking resources for life's basic needs, was 19% in 1964. It had fallen to 12.1% by 1969, the year Johnson left office. Last year, it stood at 15%.” -- USA Today. ... What would a victory in the War on Poverty look like? ...
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The Rest of the Story

By John Lumbard, CFA. Miley Cyrus was scratched by a cat. A man tickled two girls on a playground slide, and he didn’t even know the girls.  TV newsrooms judged that these recent stories were more important than world crises, voter anxiety and rebellion, student debt, or the federal debt. Ah yes,...
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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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Young In America

By John Lumbard, CFA. According to The Daily Kos, 27% of recent college graduates (ages 21 to 24) are either unemployed or underemployed.  The Democratic Underground says that recent college graduates earn $3,200 less than they did 13 years ago.  Of course, it’s not just college graduates;  low starting salaries and...
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(Dis)Ability

By John Lumbard. Guy walks into a bar, orders a beer, and stands there drinking it while he watches a Bruins game.  Orders another beer, and stands there drinking it . . . While he’s drinking the third one, he’s asked what he does for a living . . . . “I’ve...
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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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The Obama Tax Cuts

By Drew Kellner, CFA. In the final days of 2012, as the Bush Tax Cuts were about to expire forever, the sitting President pressed to make them permanent for nearly every American.  There was a brief debate about whether “nearly every” meant 98% or 99% of all taxpayers (in the end...
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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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