Sometime within the next few days, Congress will pass, with great fanfare, what it proudly calls a $305 billion, five-year transportation bill . But while the measure will authorize much needed infrastructure spending, it won’t pay for much of it. More than one-third of the $305 billion would
It is easy to mock Senator Marco Rubio, who cashed out $68,241 in IRA retirement funds last September. The GOP presidential hopeful, who made about $230,000 last year, told Fox News he needed the dough to prepare for his campaign, buy a new $3,000 refrigerator, and fix his busted a/c. As it happens
Thanks to artificially low interest rates, the United States has been able to finance deficits exceeding $1 trillion every year from 2009 through 2012 at very low cost. Throughout the period, the ratio of interest to the GDP has remained almost stable and is not expected to start rising until 2015
When policy folks talk about America’s federal borrowing, their go-to measures are the public debt, currently $12 trillion, and its ratio to gross domestic product, which is approaching 75 percent. Those figures represent the debt that Treasury has sold into public capital markets, pays interest on
The federal government has been borrowing rapidly to finance recent budget deficits. But that’s not the only reason it’s gone deeper into debt. Uncle Sam also borrows to issue loans, build up cash, and make other financial investments. Those financial activities have accounted for an important part
Jim Hamilton's Mock Up of a Trillion Dollar Coin Policy wonks are debating whether a trillion-dollar platinum coin would be a clever or insane way for President Obama to play hardball with Republicans in the upcoming debt limit battle. Here’s what you should know about this crazy-sounding idea: 1.
In 2008, Barack Obama brought an all-star squad of centrist and center-left economists to the White House. Now, as he confronts a critical turning point in the economy and his own political career, he can barely field a team. Much as I hate to admit it, politicians need economists, especially in