July 28, 2011 |
THE WRANGLING in Washington over raising the nation's debt ceiling was getting heated. The president supported the increase. Certain members of Congress were resisting the change. It was the 1980s. Then the 1990s. And here we are again. Every few years, it seems, the question of raising the federal borrowing level becomes an issue. But this time, the divide seems even more extreme. The possibility that the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling won't be increased - and the country won't be able to pay all its bills come next week - seems even more possible.
July 27, 2011
THE VOLUME of calls to the House of Representatives yesterday was so heavy they jammed the congressional switchboard - evidence that Americans responded to President Obama's plea Monday night. The president asked Americans to tell Congress to "compromise" and stop the suicidal "three- ring circus" that risks economic catastrophe over what in the past has been a routine vote by Congress to raise the debt ceiling. How routine? During the Bush administration, Republicans voted to raise it four times for a total of $4 trillion.
July 26, 2011 |
Congressional offices in the Philadelphia region were swamped with phone calls and emails Tuesday as voters lashed out in frustration at Washington's failure to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis. It was the same all over the country following the televised speech by President Obama Monday night in which he urged Americans to call their representatives to urge them to make a deal - any reasonable deal - to end the stalemate before an Aug. 2 deadline that could throw the nation into financial crisis.
July 25, 2011 |
The debt ceiling looms. Confusion reigns. Schemes abound. We are deep in a hole with, as of now, only three ways out: the McConnell plan, the G6 plan, and the half-trillion plan. The McConnell essentially punts the issue until after Election Day 2012 - a good last resort if nothing else works. The G6, proposed by the bipartisan Gang of Six senators, reduces 10-year debt by roughly $4 trillion. It has some advantages, even larger flaws. The half-trillion raises the debt ceiling by that amount in return for an equal amount of spending cuts.
July 19, 2011 |
DES MOINES, Iowa - They have one eye on Washington and the other on Wall Street. Investors are paying close attention because the contentious debate in Congress could have very serious implications for their 401(k) accounts. There's no doubt much is as stake for retirement savers. All told, they have more than $3 trillion invested in 401(k) plans. So far investors haven't made significant shifts within their accounts. The Vanguard Group, a leading 401(k) provider, says that there hasn't been a notable rise if the volume of client calls or visits to its website.
July 14, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - The once-vaunted unity of congressional Republicans has become a distant memory, crumbling under pressure of the deadline to raise the government's credit limit. As the internal fissures widened and another White House meeting ended inconclusively, the economic stakes rose. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned in congressional testimony that failure to raise the government's debt limit by Aug. 2 would be a "huge financial calamity. " And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., issued a political warning that the party risked losing the next election if Republicans persisted on their current path.
July 13, 2011
By Stephen J. Marmon On Aug. 4, $90,785,744,400 in U.S. Treasury bills will come due. If the federal debt ceiling hasn't been raised by then, the government will have only $16 billion available to redeem them. That's a full-blown default. President Obama can unilaterally prevent that and the worldwide financial crisis it would cause. And he won't have to claim, as some have, that the debt-ceiling law is unconstitutional. He can use the rarely discussed power of executive discretion.
July 12, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama and congressional leaders yesterday emerged still deeply divided over how to slash the nation's debt, with reality sinking in that even a middle-ground proposal was not big enough to succeed and would not get through Congress anyway. As time runs perilously short for action, Obama challenged top lawmakers to return to the White House today with fresh ideas for a debt-reduction plan that could pass the House and Senate. All sides are scrambling to reach a deal as part of a tradeoff in which Congress would agree to extend the nation's debt limit by Aug. 2 to prevent a catastrophic government default on its bills.
July 11, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama met last night at the White House with congressional leaders, after his Treasury secretary warned that failing to reach a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling could cause "catastrophic damage" to the American and global economies. U.S. credit could be downgraded if a deal isn't reached by Aug. 2, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, complicating the government's ability to cut checks for Medicare and Social Security recipients. Failure to reach a deal would affect "the value of all Americans' savings, the capacity of businesses to borrow to put people back to work," Geithner said on NBC's "Meet the Press.
July 10, 2011 |
On Oct. 1, in a continuing effort to extricate itself slowly from the mortgage business, the federal government will reduce the size of loans it will back from $729,700 to $625,500. Once the change takes effect, if you want to get a loan higher than the new limit and you are buying in a part of the United States with high-priced housing - such as California or the New York City and Washington metropolitan areas - you will be required to put more money down and pay higher interest rates.