Category Archives: Debt

As budget deficit balloons, few in Washington seem to care, by Andrew Taylor

Everybody has a plan to eliminate the budget deficit in ten to fifteen years, but the debt and interest payments are ballooning now, and the economy is supposedly doing well. From Andrew  Taylor at apnews.com:

The federal budget deficit is ballooning on President Donald Trump’s watch and few in Washington seem to care.

And even if they did, the political dynamics that enabled bipartisan deficit-cutting deals decades ago has disappeared, replaced by bitter partisanship and chronic dysfunction.

That’s the reality that will greet Trump’s latest budget , which will promptly be shelved after landing with a thud on Monday. Like previous spending blueprints, Trump’s plan for the 2020 budget year will propose cuts to many domestic programs favored by lawmakers in both parties but leave alone politically popular retirement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

Washington probably will devote months to wrestling over erasing the last remnants of a failed 2011 budget deal that would otherwise cut core Pentagon operations by $71 billion and domestic agencies and foreign aid by $55 billion. Top lawmakers are pushing for a reprise of three prior deals to use spending cuts or new revenues and prop up additional spending rather than defray deficits that are again approaching $1 trillion.

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Time’s Running Out for World’s Most Indebted Oil Company, by Don Quijones

Venezuela is not the only country with “problems” in its oil company. Mexico’s appears to be going down the drain, too. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

US rating agencies pressure Pemex and the new Mexican government. But Pemex is too big to fail. 

The financial pains and strains continue to grow for the world’s most indebted oil company, Petroleos de Mexico (Pemex). Standard & Poor’s became the latest in a succession of rating agencies to downgrade the company. Pemex is state-owned. So S&P has two credit ratings for the company: One, as if it were a stand-alone company; and one for the company as part of the Mexican state.

S&P slashed its stand-alone rating of Pemex three notches to ‘B-‘ from ‘BB-‘ on growing worries that financial support pledged by the government might not be enough to prop up the company and might not be enough revive declining production. Anything below ‘BBB-‘ is non-investment grade, or “junk.” ‘B-‘ is six notches into junk (see our corporate credit rating scales by Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch).

S&P left unchanged its rating of Pemex-as-part-of-the-Mexican-state, at ‘BBB+’, the same as its rating of Mexican government debt, but lowered its outlook for both to negative from stable, and warned that Mexico faces a one-in-three chance of being downgraded in the coming year. This, in turn, triggered a cascade of outlook downgrades for many of Mexico’s biggest corporations and 72 financial institutions, including the country’s biggest banks and insurance companies.

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New York City is edging toward financial disaster, experts warn, by John Aldan Byrne

If you keep spending more than you take in, you’ll go broke. Who knew? From John Aldan Byrne at nypost.com:

New York City is careening closer to all-out financial bankruptcy for the first time since Mayor Abraham Beame ran the city more than 40 years ago, experts say.

As tax-fleeced businesses and individuals flee en masse, and city public spending surges into the stratosphere, financial analysts say Gotham is perilously near total fiscal disaster.

Long-term debt is now more than $81,100 per household, and Mayor de Blasio is ramping up to spend as much as $3 billion more in the new budget than the current $89.2 billion.

“The city is running a deficit and could be in a real difficult spot if we had a recession, or a further flight of individuals because of tax reform,” said Milton Ezrati, chief economist of Vested.

“New York is already in a difficult financial spot, but it would be in an impossible situation if we had any kind of setback.”

De Blasio has detailed $750 million in savings for the preliminary fiscal 2020 budget, but that won’t be enough to stave off a bloodbath if New York’s economy is hit by financial shocks — including a recession, which some see on the horizon — analysts warn. Gov. Cuomo’s preliminary budget has $600 million in city cuts in the coming year.

But city spending, up some 32 percent since de Blasio took office — triple the rate of inflation — may need to be cut deeper, these analysts add. The city’s long-term pension obligations have escalated, as well, as its workforce has soared by more than 33,000 in the last five years.

Other startling indicators:

  • New York state — and city — are ranked No. 1 nationwide in state and local tax burden.
  • Property taxes, almost half of the city’s revenue, is rising faster than any other revenue source — squeezing businesses and forcing homeowners, already hit by federal property tax deduction changes, to relocate to lower-tax states.
  • The top 1 percent of New York City earners pay some 50 percent of Big Apple income tax revenue.

“New York City could go bankrupt, absolutely,” said Peter C. Earle, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research.

“In that case, the city would get temporary protection from its creditors, but it would be very difficult for the city to take on new debt.”

 

Super Mario Draghi’s Day of Reckoning Has Arrived, by Tom Luongo

As SLL has been saying for at least a decade, a central bank exchanging its fiat debt for a government’s fiat debt is not an economic strategy, it’s a fingers-crossed wish and prayer that ultimately does more harm than good. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.com:

“Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.”

— MARIO DRAGHI JULY 26TH 2012

No quote better defines Mario Draghi’s seven-plus years as the President of the European Central Bank than that quote. Draghi has thrown literally everything at the deflationary spiral the Euro-zone is in to no avail.

What has been enough has been nothing more than a holding pattern.

And after more than six years of the market believing Draghi’s words, after all of the alphabet soup programs — ESM, LTRO, TLTRO, OMB, ZOMG, BBQSAUCE — Draghi finally made chumps out of traders yesterday.

Draghi reversed himself after December’s overly hawkish statement in grand fashion but none dare call it capitulation. For years he has patched together a flawed euro papering over cracks with enough liquidity spackle to hide the deepest cracks.

The Ponzi scheme needs to be maintained just a little while longer.

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Fake Money’s Face Value Deceit, by MN Gordon

The Federal Reserve has destroy about 96 percent of the value of the dollars since it was entrusted with preserving the value of the dollar back in 1913. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

hane Anthony Mele stumbled off the straight and narrow path many years ago.  One bad decision here.  Another there.  And he was neck deep in the smelly stuff.

These missteps compounded over the years and also magnified his natural shortcomings.  Namely, that he’s a thief and – to be polite – a moron.  Recently the confluence of these two failings came together like a sewage spill to a river draining through the center of town.

Mele made a dishonest mistake.  He failed to recognize that he’s not the only dishonest soul operating in a dishonest world.  That is, he failed to comprehend the difference between face value and real value.

So it was, with dishonest intentions, that he burgled a rare coin collection with no clue what it was that he’d taken.  To his soft and greedy mind all he saw was a hoard of coins with a face value of One Dollar.  Thus, he redeemed them for cash.  Zero Hedge offers the details:

“After stealing a rare coin collection from an elderly and disabled retiree, Shane Anthony Mele, dumped what their owner said was at least $33,000 worth of collectible coins down a Coin Star machine at a Florida supermarket and collected their face value, receiving about $30 – enough for a couple of 12 packs.”

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Default Or Exit: A Battle Between Italy And The EU Is Inevitable, by The Oriental Review

Italy’s debt problem makes Greece’s look like small change. From The Oriental Review editorial board at orientalreview.org:

There is a dual Italian crisis brewing in the European Union. On the one hand, it is a political, or even geopolitical, crisis. Italy is undermining the unity of the European Union; blocking the EU’s recognition of those behind the coup in Venezuela as the legitimate authority; preventing the expansion of sanctions against Russia; and even supporting the ‘yellow vest’ movement in France, which is arousing the anger of the French government.

On the other hand, the crisis is economic in nature. Italy is once more sliding into a recession (economic growth was negative in the country); Italian banks are again facing financial problems; and the business media has already estimated that the Italian economic crisis could blow up the entire European banking system.

There is a strong possibility that the EU’s leaders will soon be faced with a choice: try to save Italy (and the whole of Europe) from yet another crisis or set an example by punishing the Italian government for the country’s independent economic and foreign policies. In turn, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government will most likely have its own dilemma to deal with: bow down and sell its principles to get help from Brussels or go all out and regain Italian independence. The choice will not be easy and either decision will be painful. Neither ending to this Italian drama could really be called happy. As this headline in The Telegraph quite rightly notes: “Crisis brewing in Italy will lead to default, exit from the euro, or both.”

Conte Salvini MaioItalian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte delivers his speech during the confidence vote for the new government at the Italian Senate. In the picture at left vice premier Luigi Di Maio and right vice premier Matteo Salvini, Italy, Rome, June 05, 2018

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Can Trump Stop the Invasion? by Patrick J. Buchanan

The majority of people coming over our southern border will end up getting more from the system than they put it, and those people are coming in record numbers. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

In its lead editorial Wednesday, The New York Times called upon Congress to amend the National Emergency Act to “erect a wall against any President, not just Mr. Trump, who insists on creating emergencies where none exist.”

Trump “took advantage” of a “loophole” in the NEA, said The Times, to declare “a crisis at the border, contrary to all evidence.”

The Times news desk, however, apparently failed to alert the editorial page on what the top story would be that day.

“Record Numbers Crossing to U.S., Deluging Agents” was the page-one headline. The Times quoted Kevin K. McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection: “The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point. … This is … a border security and a humanitarian crisis.”

Reporter Caitlin Dickerson explained what is behind CPB’s alarm: “The number of migrant families crossing the Southwest border has once again broken records, with unauthorized entries nearly double what they were a year ago.”

She continued, “More than 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization in February, an 11-year high … newcomers continue to arrive, sometimes by the busload, at the rate of 2,200 a day.”

Only if one believes in open borders is this not an emergency, not a crisis. Consider the budgetary impact alone of this invasion.

The majority of migrants breaching the border are from Mexico and Central and South America. Most do not read, write or speak our English language, are not college graduates and arrive with few skills.

Almost all will enter the half of the U.S. population that consumes more in social benefits during their lifetime than they will ever pay in taxes.

With the U.S. debt over 100 percent of gross domestic product and the deficit running at nearly 5 percent of GDP, at full employment, the burden the migrant millions are imposing upon our social welfare state will one day collapse the system. For these folks are coming to a country where education K-12 is free and where, if the Democrats take over, pre-K through college will be free.

These folks will be eligible for city, county, state and federal programs that provide free or subsidized food, rent, housing and health care.

All were enacted for the benefit of U.S. citizens. Uninvited, the Third World is coming to partake of and enjoy them.

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