Posts Tagged Debt
It’s going to be a long slog
By Ruth Marcus,
“We have to get right in our minds that the bully pulpit will always probably get better press than we will,” the House Budget Committee chairman and the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee told me Wednesday evening in an interview. “That cannot deter us. . . .The sequester will happen, and that will be occurring all along until the president is willing to do an agreement that deals with the entitlement problem and the debt crisis.”
To listen to Ryan is to understand that the country should brace for a months-long slog, from sequester to continuing resolution to, yes, another debt-ceiling showdown sometime this summer.
Really, I ask, the debt ceiling, again? I thought Republicans were determined to avoid replaying that losing hand. “Not this time,” Ryan said, before the words were even out of my mouth.
“The debt problem is getting worse,” he said. “We’re not leaving this session of Congress until we have a down payment on the problem.”
That stance might not be so worrisome — indeed, it might be welcome, because the debt problem is real and curbing entitlement spending essential — were it not for the insistence of Ryan and fellow Republicans that the down payment be composed entirely of spending cuts.
That’s no surprise, but one insight that emerges from talking to Ryan is the degree to which his zeal for tax reform drives the refusal to consider new revenue. The general Republican allergy to taxes and the party’s specific unwillingness to swallow another increase, on top of the rate rise agreed to as part of the fiscal-cliff deal, is part of what drives the current no-new-taxes attitude, but only part. There is some method to this anti-tax madness.
In making the cliff deal, White House officials had bet that dangling the lure of tax reform before Republicans would lead them to cough up hundreds of billions more in additional revenue.
In fact, as Ryan explains it, exactly the opposite may be true. The extra revenue provided by the cliff deal provided the cushion needed to accomplish tax reform — a higher base from which to start trimming loopholes and lowering rates.
At the same time, however, only so much pruning is politically palatable. So closing enough loopholes to produce additional revenue — on top of what is needed to pay for the rate-trimming — is difficult. “Been there, done that,” Ryan says of new tax revenue.
I disagree, vehemently, with Ryan’s assessment of the proper mix of tax revenue and spending cuts to deal with the debt. Much more than the $700 billion or so raised in the fiscal cliff deal is needed to get the debt under control without imposing damaging cuts.
But I think he makes two legitimate, interconnected points. First, where’s the president’s budget? “I’ve never seen such staggering disrespect for the budgeting process,” Ryan said.
The budget was due, by law, the first Monday in February; now, it probably won’t be out until sometime in March.
The White House says that the delay is due to fiscal-cliff wrangling and the cumbersome process of updating discretionary spending numbers once the deal was struck. But the document ought to have been out by now — not because failing to have the president’s budget delays action on Capitol Hill but because the public is owed an overview of the president’s blueprint for governing.
Second, and related, how precisely does the president propose to rein in entitlement spending? The White House points to its offer from the last negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner and says that remains on the table. It cites earlier budget proposals on Medicare and puts it all together in a blog post that confirmed its willingness to change the formula for calculating Social Security cost-of-living increases. But, really, a blog post? What about a plan that the president himself explains, and sells, to the country?
“He never gives the public an honest account of what he’s willing to do on entitlements,” Ryan said of the president. “Trimming a statistic,” he sniffed of the proposed Social Security tweak, “is not entitlement reform.”
Ryan didn’t expect to be reliving what he describes as budget “Groundhog Day.” At this point in a Mitt Romney administration, Ryan imagined, he would be maneuvering to pass the grand debt-reduction plan.
“Mitt and I were going to bring to Congress a plan to fix this this year and we were going to launch a charm offensive with Senate Democrats to work with them to do it,” Ryan said.
So much for charm offensive. This is going to be trench warfare.
- It’s going to be a long slog on the federal fiscal crisis: Ruth Marcus (oregonlive.com)
- Ryan: We’ll See If Obama Uses the Sequester Flexibility We Plan to Give Him (cnsnews.com)
- The details Paul Ryan doesn’t want you to know (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- How we got to the sequester’s doorstep: Ruth Marcus (oregonlive.com)
- “GOP Reversion To Form”: When Did “Tax Reform” Become A Tax Hike? (bell-book-candle.com)
- My Message to the White House & Senate Democrats Tomorrow: Do Your Job & Pass a Bill (speaker.gov)
- Charles Krauthammer – Republicans mustn’t wimp-out on Sequester (mypoliticalmusings.wordpress.com)
- ABC confronts Paul Ryan for praising sequester before using it to slam Obama (rawstory.com)
- How Republicans see the sequester (washingtonpost.com)
- What happened when I asked Paul Ryan why he hates taxes (washingtonpost.com)
We Need Growth, and Growth Requires Reform
Erskine Bowles was the co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
AUGUST 29, 2012
Getting our economy growing is our most pressing economic problem. But there can be no sustainable economic growth as long as we face America’s enormous debt overhang. If we don’t put our nation’s fiscal house in order, we face the most predictable economic crisis in history.
Solving this economic crisis the right way means avoiding the large, immediate, indiscriminate cuts and tax increases that are on the horizon, from the “sequestration” deal.
We should be careful not to cut too deep too soon. But failing to deal with the debt is the real risk we just plain can’t afford.
One of the key principles set out by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which I co-chaired with former Senator Alan Simpson, was that a debt-reduction plan must be phased in gradually so as not to disrupt a very fragile economic recovery.
Our commission’s plan would reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade, but would do so in a way that encourages, rather than hinders, economic growth and stability.
The real short-term risk to the economy isn’t a carefully thought-out deficit reduction plan, but the mindless spending cuts and tax increases — known as the “fiscal cliff” — that are scheduled to go into effect at the beginning of next year.
Allowing those deep and abrupt measures to occur would put us into a double-dip recession. At the same time, continuing on our current path by punting these measures would send a dangerous message to the markets that America is not willing or able to deal with our debt.
The only responsible course of action is to replace the fiscal cliff with a gradual and thoughtful plan to save at least $4 trillion over the next decade and put the deficit on a clear downward path relative to the economy.
Such a plan can lay the foundation for sustained economic growth through a combination of debt reduction, comprehensive tax reform, and maintenance of important investments in education, infrastructure, and high-value research and development.
We should be careful not to cut too deep too soon. But failing to deal with the debt is the real risk we just plain can’t afford.
- Jack Mintz: U.S. Worse Than Europe! (socioecohistory.wordpress.com)
- What Paul Ryan has Learned in Congress (conservativeread.com)
- Paul Ryan’s Speech: Too Much Debt, Not Enough Growth (kudlowsmoneypolitics.blogspot.com)
- SocGen: Italy Looks ‘Perilously Close’ To Getting Shut Out Of The Bond Markets (businessinsider.com)
- US Budget Experts: Debt Reduction Requires Action, Not Talk (forexlive.com)
- Are Romney and Ryan throwing away the tax issue? (aei-ideas.org)
- Borrowing figures prompt co-ordinated growth push across Whitehall (guardian.co.uk)
- Exclusive: Osborne’s supporters turn on him (newstatesman.com)
- EconoMeter takes pulse of VP choice Ryan’s budget (utsandiego.com)
- Dems ask debate organizers to disallow questions about Obama’s deficit commission (michellemalkin.com)
News Flash: It is Illegal for Debt Collectors to Stalk Debtors on Facebook or Threaten to Kill Their Dogs – Credit Slips
News Flash: It is Illegal for Debt Collectors to Stalk Debtors on Facebook or Threaten to Kill Their Dogs
posted by Nathalie Martin
Do any of you read creditcards.com? It is a great source of info on various topics, not just credit cards. Today’s story featured three debt collection horror tales, as well as a state of the nation of nasty collection efforts. According to the story, in 2011, the FTC received 180,000 complaints about debt collectors, an increase of over 40,000 from 2010. In one case, a debt collector filed a lawsuit against a California debt collector, hired by a funeral home, who threatened to dig up the body of the debtor’s daughter — and also to shoot her dog. Here is a run-down of three other featured stories.
In the first one entitled “terrorized by text,” Jessica Burke fell behind on her car payments. She called the financing company, and they agreed to give her extra time to pay. But the next day, she got a call from a man using a fake name who threatened to sue. He got her address and other private information from her cell phone company (say what?) by impersonating her father and asking to be added to her account. He called and texted and called and texted, after some time of which she called the police, who ordered the collector to stop contacting her. But the texts continued for weeks, coming from a disguised number and implying that he was watching her. In one, he called her “Porky Pig” and a “200-pound slob” and added, “I got picture messages of you today.” Late one night, she says, he texted her, claiming he was outside her house. She says: “It was
11 o’clock at night, I lived in a very rural area and I was home by myself. I was terrified.” She ultimately got a judgment of $33,312 against the debt collector, who told her lawyer he had no intention of paying.
In tale number two, entitled “get your gun,” the debt collector called West Virginia homemaker Diana Mey about a debt owed by a son that had not lived there for eight years. The debt collector left a message on Mey’s home answering machine. “It was a very ominous message that implied legal action,” Mey says. Later, after requesting that the debt collector stop contacting her, the calls continued, and now caller ID suggested that the calls were coming from the local sheriff’s department.
“I called the sheriff’s department and said, ‘Is somebody trying to get ahold of me?’ They said ‘No.’” in one late-night call, a deep male voice on the other end asked for Diana, using a vulgar slur. He then went on to make graphic threats of sexual assault. Horrified, Mey told him she was recording the call. After she hung up, Mey called 911 to report the incident. Home alone, she got her husband’s gun and hung it on her bedpost that night. She says: “I was literally shaking I was so scared.”
Mey sued the company, Global AG, also known by several other names, including Reliant Financial Associates. Alas, the collection company’s attorney didn’t show up in court, so a judge listened to Mey’s testimony and the super-vulgar tape with a local TV station filming. The judge awarded Mey a judgment of more than $10.8 million, but of course collection will be another story.
Tale number three involved facebook stalking, in a case in which Kathryn Haralson in Florida fell behind on her car payments. The bill collectors called the debtor, her office, her father, her brother, her husband, and her daughter, who was away at college. The collector dialed her husband’s cell phone so much that he had to stop answering it and missed several business calls, she says. The collector called her brother at work enough to jeopardize his job and refused to stop, she says. Then he tracked Haralson down on Facebook and wrote: “Good day. Please contact Mr. Rice at MarkOne regarding a personal business matter,” followed by his phone number. She found a lawyer and is prepared to sue. No kidding!
Check out the whole story (this was most of it) and get some useful tips for consumers for dealing with this sort of thing.
- Collection Agency, Rapid Recovery Solution, Speaks About New Addition Made to the Medical Field When It Comes to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (prweb.com)
- DEBT COLLECTORS the series (blackgirlnerdy.blogspot.com)
- Another case of debt collectors using pressure tactics (cleardebt.co.uk)
- Everything You Need to Know About Debt Collection (loans.org)
- Deal with Debt Collectors: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities (wellkeptwallet.com)
- Illegal Debt Collection Tactics: Knowledge is Power (mobankruptcyblog.com)
- Woman Says Her Husband’s Bankruptcy And Death Didn’t Stop The Debt Collectors (huffingtonpost.com)
- Five Things That Debt Collectors Are Never Allowed To Do (fdcpaattorney.org)
- Two debt collectors deceived WNYers (wivb.com)
- Jailed for $280: The return of debtors’ prisons (cbsnews.com)
China Returns As Net U.S. Treasury Buyer
Posted: June 15, 2012
A new report from the U.S. Treasury called the Treasury International Capital Report is showing that, at least for now, China (and other nations in total) remains a net buyer of U.S. Treasury debt. In the month of April, foreigners were net buyers of longer-term U.S. securities.
Treasury debt held by China rose by $1.5 billion to $1.146 trillion. This may not sound like much, but it is important because China was a net seller of Treasury debt to the tune of about $11.2 billion. This is no ‘back to normal’ yet for China but it is still showing that the U.S. may be the least ugly debtor in a world of deadbeats.
Japan reduced its holdings again but remains very high with over $1.06 trillion in total Treasury holdings.
One key issue is that foreign investors as a total purchased a net $37.26 billion in April, and that is before the global concerns really started to grow in May. March’s net foreign buying of Treasuries was $20.09 billion.
The United States gets to keep financing its deficits with foreign capital. For now.
JON C. OGG
- China Returns As Net U.S. Treasury Buyer (247wallst.com)
- Protect Yourself From Economic Crisis (personalliberty.com)
- Foreign holdings of U.S. debt hit record high (wnd.com)
- Is China Really Liquidating Treasuries? May 23, 2012 – From Reuters: Via http://azizonomics.com/2012/05/23/is-china-really-liquidating-treasuries/ (worldwright.wordpress.com)
- Chinese Purchases Of U.S. Treasuries (ritholtz.com)
- China’s Exclusive Relationship with the U.S. Treasury Revealed (wallstreetpit.com)
- Foreign holdings of US debt hit record high – San Francisco Gate (sfgate.com)
- Exclusive: U.S. lets China bypass Wall Street for Treasury orders | Reuters (mbcalyn.com)
- You: U.S. Said to Let China Buy Direct From Treasury (nytimes.com)
- Foreign holdings of US debt hit record high (investmentwatchblog.com)
Free Wood Post – Paul Ryan Tells Americans To Quit Their Jobs And Stop Buying Food In Order To Pay Their Bills
Paul Ryan Tells Americans To Quit Their Jobs And Stop Buying Food In Order To Pay Their Bills
March 22, 2012
By Sarah Wood
According to a statement made by Paul Ryan (R-WI) after he released his latest budget proposal, he told struggling Americans that in order to get back on their feet they should quit their jobs and stop buying food to focus on paying down their bills.
It’s really this simple. In order for someone to pay their bills they need to make some cuts in their everyday life. One of the biggest expenses that a person needs to pay for is food for themselves and for their family. Imagine if they just cut that expense out. There would be so much money left over to pay down their other debts. And what better way to really buckle down and focus on reducing spending and paying current debts than by quitting a job. So much time is wasted by finding ways to bring in money. That time could be better spent looking at ways to save money, cut spending on day-to-day items, and look towards a brighter future.
Well with this “common sense” thinking in Congress it’s no wonder we’re in the pickle we’re in. Here I was thinking that if we cut spending on unnecessary luxury items, and found ways bring in extra revenue, debts would be lowered, and no one would have to go without food.
Ryan’s budget proposal reflects his statement to Americans. He feels we should cut crucial programs for the poor, women, elderly, etc. all the while keeping tax breaks for the wealthy, extending oil subsidies, and increasing military spending. It seems his plan would actually increase the deficit. My question to Ryan is, “who is going to cover the expenses if we are bringing in less money, but spending more on the wealthy and the interests of the wealthy?”
Bringing in less money and cutting essential needs doesn’t seem to be the best way to reduce the deficit, especially considering the extra burden that will place on the middle and working class, but who knows? Maybe Paul Ryan knows something we don’t. Maybe ending a revenue stream is the best way to pay down a debt. Who am I to say?
- Can We Please Stop Making Excuses for Paul Ryan? (motherjones.com)
- Paul Ryan Claims Romney Budget, Which Adds $10 Trillion To Debt, Will ‘Prevent A Debt Crisis’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Paul Ryan is mad at President Obama for telling the truth about Republicans (dailykos.com)
- Paul Ryan: “Are these programs working? Are people getting out of poverty?” (erickbrockway.com)
- Paul Ryan Defends Cutting Food Stamps For The Poor: ‘You Have To Get Savings In Some Of These Areas’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Paul Ryan: We Must Pass My Austerity Budget to Avoid Austerity (crooksandliars.com)
- Attacking Paul Ryan, But Not the National Debt (papundits.wordpress.com)
- Paul Ryan and Scott Walker’s Radical Vision (socyberty.com)
- Rep. Ryan says his budget plan would ‘prevent’ need for austerity measures (thehill.com)
- Paul Krugman: Big Fiscal Phonies (economistsview.typepad.com)
Should Greece Default?By DANIEL POLITI
As Greek lawmakers passed a deeply unpopular austerity bill amid huge protests to secure another bailout, many are wondering whether the country should embrace a default.
The Irish Independent thinks it’s only a matter of time. “At some stage over the next few weeks, maybe just days, matters will come to a head, Greece will default on its debts and the country will either leave or be ejected from the euro.” Stefan Kaiser, of Der Spiegel, agrees: if negotiators tried “being honest for a change” they would realize that there’s no option but bankruptcy.
For Panagiotis Sotiris, of the Greek Left Review, the real “question is not if Greece is going to default but how.” That’d be better anyway, writes Costas Lapavitsas in the Guardian: Athens should abandon “the charade of voluntary haircuts” and instead “default in a sovereign and democratic way by immediately declaring a cessation of payments.”
There are skeptics. A default could help strengthen the euro in the long term,writes Heather Stewart in the Observer, but it “would be a costly and chaotic process.” The Irish Times also argues that no matter how a default were managed, it “would prove disastrous for Greece, damaging for the euro zone” and hurt “other debt-laden peripheral economies.”
Some also question the big creditors’ motivations. M.E. Synon writes in the Irish Daily Mail that “the Germans may want to trigger a disorderly default in Greece so that Greece falls out of the eurozone — and out of the domestic political problems of Angela Merkel.”
For Greece, pride, not just economics, is at issue. “If we cannot stay in the euro zone, if we find ourselves on Europe’s edge, we will be defeated, humiliated and alone,” writes Nikos Konstandaras in the Athens-based Ekathimerini.
- More calls for Greece to default (americablog.com)
- Euro Crisis: Cold morning after a hot night in Athens… (sluggerotoole.com)
- Summary Box: Greece wary of default consequences – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Disgruntled Greeks Protest New Austerity Measures – Niki Kitsantonis and Rachel Donadio via NYTimes.com (underpaidgenius.com)
- Eurogroup’s Juncker warns of possible Greece default (vancouversun.com)
- Greek Parliament Passes Austerity Plan as Riots Rage – Niki Kitsantonis and Rachel Donadio via NYTimes.com (underpaidgenius.com)
- A Greek Default Doesn’t Need To Be Chaotic For Greece (zerohedge.com)
- Greece Perilously Close To Default (247wallst.com)
- Greece approves austerity cuts to secure eurozone bailout and avoid debt default (guardian.co.uk)
- Is Greece facing disorderly default? (cnn.com)