Friday, January 27, 2012

$16,400,000,000.00 ($16.4 Trillion) in Debt by End of Year.. Posted by Daniel Horowitz ~ Friday, January 27th 2012...

$16.4 Trillion in Debt By End of Year

So this is what the "age of budget austerity" looks like?
Yesterday, the Senate voted against a measure to disapprove of Obama's request for an additional $1.2 trillion of debt.  Every Democrat (except for Ben Nelson and Joe Manchin) voted against the resolution.  Consequently, pursuant to the Budget Control Act (the "debt ceiling deal"), Obama will automatically get his new credit card.  Our debt will increase by another $1.2 trillion, topping $16.4 trillion by the end of the year.
Here are the relevant numbers that should define Obama's presidency, yet they will not be disseminated in the major media.  When Obama took office, the total federal debt stood at $10.6 trillion.  By the end of his first term, the debt will be at least $16.4 trillion, an increase of $5.8 trillion.  To put that in perspective, it took us until late 2001 (from our nation's founding) to accrue $5.8 trillion in debt.  Even President Bush, who was a big-spending Republican, racked up "only" $4.9 trillion over 8 years.
Let's now explicate the debt figures as a percentage of our economy.  Our total federal debt and our GDP stand at parity.  The debt is $15.281 trillion, while our GDP is 15.294 trillion.  It is unlikely that our economy will grow by more than a 2-2.5% annualized rate in the coming year.  On the other hand, with the additional $1.2 trillion of debt, our national debt will grow by 7.9%.  In other words, our GDP will remain below our gross debt indefinitely.
Unfortunately, the Republicans are not innocent from reproach in this debt crisis.  While every Republican except for Scott Brown voted for the resolution of disapproval, most of them supported the debt ceiling deal that engendered this disaster in the first place.  Only19 of the 47 Senate Republicans opposed the debt deal, which gave Obama a defacto blank check to raise $2.1 trillion in debt without any transformational budget reforms.  We have already raised the debt ceiling by $900 billion since passage of the Budget Out of Control Act.  Today, by default, Obama was granted the rest.
This just underscores the need to focus on congressional races.  We might win back the Senate in November; however, if we continue to elect those who will vote for similar inane legislation, it will be worthless.
Cross-posted from The Madison Project

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

After Three Years, it's time to admit President Obama has FAILED! By Peter Morici

After three years, it's time to admit President Obama has failed

Published January 25, 2012
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama hammered away on two resounding themes—fairness and the economy.
Both of them rang hollow from a president who has failed on the job. 
He has not kept his promise to get the economy going again, and inequities in income and opportunities have hardened during his tenure. Scratch the surface of his largely reworked proposals, and too much political opportunism and hypocrisy emerges.
Once again, he promised to tax the wealthy and lambasted oil companies, and offered the vision of an economy where every American has a decent shot at success through education and hard work. Yet, too many of his tax proposals are intended to punish his opponents and protect his friends, and his education proposals simply won't help the unemployed if the economy is creating too few new jobs each month.
The big fairness problem with taxes is that wage and salary incomes are taxed at much higher effective rates than capital gains and carried interest in partnerships—the latter include the income managing partners and employees receive for running private equity firms and hedge funds.
Mr. Obama's minimum tax for millionaires would punish mom and pop businesses that create so many of the new jobs, as well as raise taxes on capital gains and carried interest. 
For the former reason, such a tax simply won't pass the Republican House. 
Doing more to tax investment income would surely do more to upset lots of Democrats and Wall Street financiers, and consequently, the president won't do much to surgically fix that problem.
Mr. Obama wants to take tax breaks away from oil companies, give those to high tech companies and leave carried interest giveaways in place for Wall Street. 
Yet, it is not an accident that oil executives are usually Republicans, and high tech and financial executives provide the largest sums to Democratic campaign coffers and political action committees.
Sadly though, oil companies, in so many ways, have been blocked by President Obama from developing domestic oil, building pipelines, and creating lots of jobs in construction, steel and other building materials. 
Meanwhile, Apple and high-tech companies are champion outsourcers, and Wall Street too much specializes these days in downsizing American factories and financing foreign investment.
The president played to the middle class with high words, while offering to punish his opponents and reward his friends—the economy be damned.
Once again, President Obama promised to beef up education—train 2 million workers at community colleges for high tech jobs even though the economy is not even creating 250,000 manufacturing jobs each year. 
He wants to send more young people to college but a legion of new graduates during his three year tenure remain underemployed—unable to start meaningful careers because stimulus, regulation and industrial policies, championed by Mr. Obama have largely failed to fire up growth.
The problem with jobs is demand for workers not supply. 
The trade deficits on oil and with China send consumer dollars and create employment abroad without returning to buy U.S. goods and create jobs for Americans.
President Obama says he's been tough on China and will get tougher—but even he agrees China's undervalued currency is the big problem. He promised to forcefully address it as a candidate in 2008, has warned Chinese leaders he can take action if they don't, but he never acts.
On oil, he brags imports are down but that's mostly because the economy is slow. Too many Americans don't have a job to get to each morning, and too many can't even afford to fill tanks for a Sunday drive.
After three years, it's time to admit this president is a great orator and skilled politician but as a national leader, he has failed.
Mr. Obama was elected to turn the economy around but hasn't, and it's time for a change.
Peter Morici is a professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. Follow him on Twitter@pmorici1.

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