WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government ran a bigger deficit in January, pushing the imbalance so far this budget year up 6.2 percent from the same period a year ago.
The Treasury Department said Wednesday the deficit for January stood at $17.5 billion compared to $10.3 billion a year ago. For the first four months of the budget year that began in October, the deficit widened to $194.2 billion from $182.8 billion during the same period last year.
“President Barack Obama unveiled last week his new budget proposal, which projects the 2015 deficit to rise to $583 billion, sharply higher than the CBO’s latest estimate.”
The budget deficit has gradually narrowed since 2012, which was the fourth straight year in which it topped the $1 trillion mark. The improvement reflects the country’s economic recovery from recession. The government is seeing higher tax revenues as people go back to work and smaller payments for safety-net programs such as unemployment assistance. It also represents efforts by Congress to control deficits through higher taxes and across-the-board spending cuts.
Last year’s deficit benefited from a $24 billion special payment Freddie Mac made for the support it received during the financial crisis. The Congressional Budget Office forecasts a deficit of $468 billion for the full 2015 budget year, 3.1 percent lower than in 2014.
“Obama’s new budget is asking Congress for authorization to spend $4 trillion next year and projects a 2016 deficit of $474 billion. The president’s budget proposal will set off months of wrangling in Congress.”
For the current budget year, government revenues total $1.05 trillion, an increase of 8.7 percent from the same period a year ago. Government spending totals $1.24 trillion, up 8.3 percent over last year. Read the rest of this entry »
Charles Krauthammer: Under this administration, the American national debt has still managed to racked up $7 trillion over 5 years.
“This is unimaginable — almost undoable but Obama has succeeded in doing it.”
In order to address the issue of excessive spending, Congress and the president must work towards reforming entitlements, but he remained doubtful that it would take place with the current makeup of Washington…(read more)
Matthew Boyle reports: The price tag for Congress suspending the debt ceiling until March, 2015 may give some Americans sticker shock.
According to an analysis by the Senate Budget Committee Republican staff, the national debt when the debt ceiling comes back into effect will be $18.2 trillion, about $1 trillion more than the current, $17.2 trillion debt.
Ali Meyer reports: The debt of the U.S. government has increased $6.666 trillion since President Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, according to the latest numbers released by the Treasury Department.
When President Obama was first inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, the debt of the U.S. government was $10,626,877,048,913.08, according to theTreasury Department’s Bureau of the Public Debt. As of Jan. 31, 2014, the latest day reported, the debt was $17,293,019,654,983.61—an increase of $6,666,142,606,070.53 since Obama’s first inauguration.
Matt Egan reports: China stepped up its purchases of U.S. government debt late last year, increasing its holdings of Treasurys to an all-time record of $1.317 trillion in November, government data released this week revealed.
The statistics underscore how reliant the U.S. and Chinese economies are on one another even as political tensions occasionally emerge.
According to figures inadvertently released Wednesday evening on the U.S. Treasury Department website, China’s holdings of Treasurys increased by 0.9% in November to $1.317 trillion, up from $1.305 trillion in October. Year-over-year, China’s holdings rose 11.3% from $1.183 trillion.
Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar
MOSCOW — Marc Bennetts writes: Predicting the imminent collapse of the U.S. dollar, a Russian lawmaker submitted a bill to his country’s parliament Wednesday that would ban the use or possession of the American currency.
“If the U.S. national debt continues to grow, the collapse of the dollar system will take place in 2017,” said Mr. Degtyarev, a member of the nationalist Liberal Democrat Party who lost in Moscow’s recent mayoral election.
“The countries that will suffer the most will be those that have failed to wean themselves off their dependence on the dollar in time. In light of this, the fact that confidence in the dollar is growing among Russian citizens is extremely dangerous.”
JOHN HINDERAKER: As Tyler Durden notes, this is the “most disturbing sentence uttered during the debt ceiling debate/government shut down.” America is now going on $17 trillion in debt, a level of insolvency that would already be regarded as catastrophic if the Fed were not keeping interest rates close to zero.
No need for lectures from a debt-saddled president
Charles Hurt reports: In the seven years since President Obama voted as a U.S. senator not to raise the federal debt ceiling any higher, he and his government cronies have piled up $7 trillion in crazy new spending that even our grandchildren have little hope of ever paying off.
We citizens signed no document assuming responsibility for this unthinkable spending binge. We never co-signed any trillion-dollar loans.
Yet as reckless and inexcusable as this crowd’s behavior has been, we never missed a payment. We just keep on paying the bills and these people just keep on racking up crazy debt.
Anyone caught failing or refusing to continue paying the bills — no matter how strongly they object to them — has been fined, kicked out of their homes, imprisoned or worse.
Still, Mr. Obama and his government cronies have gone flat broke, yet again, using our credit. And like drug-addled little punks, they have come home — stinking and drunk in the night — and are now pounding on the windows demanding one more loan. They are at the height of their drug-fueled binge and they’ve just got to keep it rolling.
Seven years ago, when then-Sen. Barack Obama objected to raising the debt ceiling, he said that merely bumping up against the debt ceiling was “a sign of leadership failure.”
“It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies,” he intoned, senatorially.
BREAKING: Congressional and White House Debt-Ceiling Negotiations and Debates to Appear LIVE on C-SPAN, as Candidate Obama PromisedPosted: October 14, 2013
Okay, well, not so much.
The Fearmongers can shove it.
Powerline‘s JOHN HINDERAKER notes: One remarkable aspect of the shutdown/debt limit battle is the irresponsibility (on the part of the Obama administration) and incompetence (on the part of the news media) concerning the claim that the federal government will default on its debt obligations if Congress fails to raise the debt limit. President Obama and his minions have clearly suggested that default is a real possibility:
“As reckless as a government shutdown is … an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse,” Obama said on Thursday. Clearly targeting Republicans, he said a default would be “the height of irresponsibility.”
Then, on the same day, Obama’s Treasury Department released a brutal statement that said a default would prove catastrophic, causing credit markets to freeze and leading to “a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.”
Within the last few hours, Obama repeated that Congress must “remove the threat of default and vote to raise the debt ceiling.”
But there is no threat of default. Constitutionally, the federal government must pay its debts. The Fourteenth Amendment, Section 4, states:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
I believe this provision is universally understood to mean that the federal government must pay its debt obligations, both principal and interest, even if that means prioritizing debt service over other government spending. So the question is, if Congress does not raise the current debt ceiling, will the federal government run out of money needed to pay its existing debts? The answer is clearly No. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON — Kevin G. Hall reports: Wondering who to thank for the bizarre rules that allow Congress to approve spending, then later slam the door on new borrowing to pay the bills? Thank the Founding Fathers.
Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the exclusive powers to legislate and the power of the purse. In fact, Section 8 of the first article deals specifically with paying debts.
But the Constitution’s Article 2 empowers the president to carry out the laws passed by Congress and run the government at the levels authorized and appropriated by Congress.
In that simple civics lesson is the root of the problem. Congress passes legislation to spend, but it’s the president who must ensure those bills get paid. Those two objectives don’t neatly line up. President Barack Obama complains that past presidents haven’t been subjected to the types of conditions being asked of him in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling, but it just isn’t true. To the contrary, there’s plenty of precedent. Read the rest of this entry »
Elisabeth Sheild reports: In response to NY Times Poll: People Prefer Default to Increasing the Debt Limit Without Cuts:
I think what is even more surprising John, is that 79% of adults surveyed want reduced spending, one way or another.
43. As you may know, there is a debate in Washington about raising the federal debt ceiling, which is the amount of money that the federal government can borrow to pay its bills. Which of these comes closest to your feelings about raising the debt ceiling now? 1. It should be raised without conditions, because the government must pay its existing bills and obligations; OR 2. It should be raised, but only with the condition that the government also cuts spending to offset it; OR 3. It should not be raised under any condition even if that means the U.S. could default on its loans and obligations.
Here are the results for each of those three options:
Raised without conditions – 17
Raised with spending cuts – 55<—-Spending Cuts
Not raised – 24 <—-Will Result in Reduced Spending
Don’t Know – 4
Both option 2 and 3 would result in spending cuts, #2 explicitly and #3 as a consequence of the government defaulting on its loans and obligations, thereby cutting off the money faucet entirely.
With four out five people indicating they want government to spend less money, it seems appropriate to ask which political party is holding the country hostage?
Andrew Malcolm writes: Barack Obama has never been accused of possessing the most refined sense of appropriate, especially when it comes to what normal people regard as tragedies.
Fifty-three weeks ago when four Americans were murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, Obama appeared after a good night’s sleep, bemoaned the loss, vowed to deliver justice to the killers (still unfulfilled), then flew off for fundraising parties in Las Vegas. Hey, they’re still dead anyway, and there was big campaign money waiting.
When a 133-foot-tall wall of tsunami water rolled 10 miles inland to kill 16,000 in Japan two years ago, Obama expressed his sorrow, then went golfing. When bad weather canceled his trip to the funeral of Poland’s president, Obama paid his respects by golfing. Read the rest of this entry »