US Closes 2010 With $14,025,215,218,708 And 52 Cents In Debt, A $154 Billion Increase Overnight – When we predicted a few weeks ago that the US would end 2010 with $13.8 trillion in debt we miscalculated the settlement dates on all the last round of bond auctions . As a result, we are happy to announce that as of December 31, 2010, the US now has $14,025,215,218,708 and 52 cents in debt (incidentally this is an increase of $154 billion in debt on the US balance sheet overnight). As a reminder the debt ceiling is 14,294,000,000,000. Which means at a run rate of $125 billion in net monthly issuance, the US may not even get to the end of March at the current burn rate. Which also means Congress better start the discussion on raising the debt ceiling as soon as February. Which means someone is about to [win/lose] some serious cash on the Feb 28 debt ceiling hike InTrade contracts.
George Soros: The United States Must Stop Resisting The Orderly Decline Of The Dollar, The Coming Global Currency And The New World Order – In the video you are about to see, George Soros talks about "the creation of a New World Order", he discusses the need for a "managed decline" of the U.S. dollar and he talks at length of the global need for a true world currency. So just who is George Soros? Well, he is a billionaire "philanthropist" who came to be known as "the Man Who Broke the Bank of England" when he raked in a staggering one billion dollars during the 1992 "Black Wednesday" currency crisis. These days Soros is most famous for being perhaps the most "politically active" (at least openly) billionaire in the world. His Open Society Institute is in more than 60 countries and it spends approximately $600 million a year promoting the ideals that Soros wants promoted. Soros and his pet organizations have played a key role in quite a few "revolutions" around the globe over the last several decades, but these days the main goal of George Soros is to bring political change to the United States.
CNN: Massive fish and bird kill in Arkansas — Arkansas officials are investigating the death of an estimated 100,000 fish in the state’s northwest, but suspect disease was to blame, a state spokesman said Sunday. Dead drum fish floated in the water and lined the banks of a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Ozark, about 125 miles northwest of Little Rock, said Keith Stephens of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. A tugboat operator discovered the fish kill Thursday night, and fisheries officials collected some of the dying animals to conduct tests. Stephens said fish kills occur every year, but the size of the latest one is unusual, and suggested some sort of disease was to blame. Ozark is about 125 miles west of the town of Beebe, where game wardens are trying to find out why up to 5,000 blackbirds fell from the sky just before midnight New Year’s Eve.
The American Dream – The AMERICAN DREAM is a 30 minute animated film that shows you how you’ve been scammed by the most basic elements of our government system. All of us Americans strive for the American Dream, and this film shows you why your dream is getting farther and farther away. Do you know how your money is created? Or how banking works? Why did housing prices skyrocket and then plunge? Do you really know what the Federal Reserve System is and how it affects you every single day? THE AMERICAN DREAM takes an entertaining but hard hitting look at how the problems we have today are nothing new, and why leaders throughout our history have warned us and fought against the current type of financial system we have in America today. You will be challenged to investigate some very entrenched and powerful institutions in this nation, and hopefully encouraged to help get our nation back on track.
Private Construction Spending increases in November
– The Census Bureau reported
overall construction spending increased in November compared to October. [C]onstruction spending during November 2010 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $810.2 billion, 0.4 percent (±1.6%)* above the revised October estimate of $806.7 billion.
Private construction spending also increased in November: Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $491.8 billion, 0.3 percent (±1.1%)* above the revised October estimate of $490.5 billion.
This graph shows private residential and nonresidential construction spending since 1993. Note: nominal dollars, not inflation adjusted. Private residential spending increased in November; private non-residential construction spending is still declining. Residential spending is 65% below the peak early 2006, and non-residential spending is 38% below the peak in January 2008.
ISM Manufacturing Index increases in December
– From the Institute for Supply Management: December 2010 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® Manufacturing continued to grow in December as the PMI registered 57 percent, an increase of 0.4 percentage point when compared to November’s reading of 56.6 percent. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting. ISM’s New Orders Index registered 60.9 percent in December, which is an increase of 4.3 percentage points when compared to the 56.6 percent reported in November. This is the 18th consecutive month of growth in the New Orders Index. …
ISM’s Employment Index registered 55.7 percent in December
, which is 1.8 percentage points lower than the 57.5 percent reported in November.
Here is a long term graph of the ISM manufacturing index. This was slightly below expectations and in line with the regional Fed manufacturing surveys.
Taking Aim at Public Workers
Public employees are much in the political bull’s-eye these days, as governors, mayors and legislatures struggle beneath the burden of three years of declining tax revenues, all brought on by the Great Recession. I wrote
Sunday about how this struggle has played out in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, has taken after the public-employee unions like a bloodhound to the scent. He wants the unions to pay more into their health plans and more into their pension plans, and to accept wage freezes. Echoes of his attack are heard across the nation, in cities like Chicago, where Mayor Richard M. Daley has said the pension plans may go bankrupt before there is reform, and Los Angeles, where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has hammered at the teachers’ union to accept changes in tenure rules. In Wisconsin, the incoming Republican governor has even talked of revoking the right to collective bargaining, leaving public unions stillborn.
AmericanDream: 30 Reasons Why 2011 Is Going To Be Another Crappy Year For America’s Middle Class
-Do you think that 2011 will be a good year for America’s middle class? Well, you might not be so optimistic after you read the 30 statistics posted below. The truth is that 2011 is going to be another crappy year for America’s middle class, and there is not a whole lot that you or I can do about it. Sadly, what we are facing as a nation is not just a short-term economic downturn. Rather, there are some very serious long-term economic trends that are absolutely ripping apart the U.S. middle class. For example, did you know that even though our population has been growing at a brisk pace we have lost about ten percent of our middle class jobs over the past decade? The vast majority of jobs that have been created have been low paying service jobs. We now have hordes of highly educated young people that are waiting tables and that are welcoming customers to Wal-Mart. Without good paying jobs there is no middle class, but today American corporations are actually creating more jobs overseas than they are inside the United States. This has helped pad the profits of the big corporate fatcats, but it has been devastating for middle class communities across the United States.
WashingtonPost: Austerity is first order for Boehner’s installation as House speaker – Austerity is the theme of Boehner’s ascendancy to House speaker this week, placing the start of this new Congress in stark contrast to the more lavish festivities that accompanied Democrat Pelosi’s swearing-in four years ago. Boehner will recite the oath and take the gavel from Pelosi with the attendant pomp and no more – except, perhaps, a few tears. In his speech, Boehner intends to survey the difficult choices facing the country and pledge to "listen to the American people" and to reform the way the House has operated in the past under control of both parties, according to a GOP leadership aide. "The American people want a smaller, more accountable government. And starting Wednesday, the House of Representatives will be the American people’s outpost in Washington, D.C.," Boehner said. "We are going to fight for their priorities: cutting spending, repealing the job-killing health care law and helping get our economy moving again."
The Tax Rate that Maximizes Economic Growth, Part 2… With Tax Burdens Too
– This post continues my look at the relationship between taxes and growth, which I will continue expanding on over a series of posts. Today I want to look at marginal rates, effective tax burdens, and how each or both affect growth rates. As an added bonus for non-economists and folks who don’t deal with statistics on a daily basis, I will also expand a bit on regression analysis and the process of building a rigorous “econometric model.” (Some basic material appeared at the Presimetrics
and Angry Bear
blogs). To begin… its no secret that marginal tax rates don’t always have all that much to do with the amount that taxpayers actually pay. This is especially true for folks with extremely high incomes, particularly if a big chunk of their income doesn’t come with a W-2 attached.So, while the Kimel curve equation I provided last week dealt with the effect of the top individual federal marginal tax rate on economic growth, this week I want to throw the federal “tax burden” into the mix. The tax burden is simply the percentage of income that actually gets paid in taxes, which we can calculate as the personal current federal taxes divided by personal income.
Market Governance is about People (and how they think)
This week I want to raise with you a few thoughts about the way forward on financial regulation that have come out of interviewing and observing regulators in their interactions with market participants over ten years. Before I get started though, the wider theme this week is going to be how vitally important it is to get out in the market and among regulators and talk to people rather than to just assume we know what a rational person in this or that role might think or do. I am continually amazed at how little we know about what regulators think and do; how little they know about what market participants think and do; how little market participants know about each other; how little the journalists know about any of this. And yet there is a growing body of very serious and solid empirical qualitative research out there based on long term observation and deep knowledge of particular markets that we could be relying on to answer these questions. Some examples: Doug Holmes
on central bankers, Vincent Lepinay
and Hiro Miyazaki
on derivatives traders, and my work
, and the work of Credit Slips’ own Anna Gelpern
on lawyers. We need to start basing out regulatory policies on the empirical facts–on what we know about how real people in the markets think and act–not on what we imagine they might do.