January 20, 2012 |
About two years ago I wrote an article saying that despite the lack of evidence, and despite the near-universal belief among economists that it was not a problem, I was worried about inflation. My reason was that I couldn't see how the government could pay off the massive debt it was running up except by inflating at least part of it away. For this, I was widely ridiculed, and I'd like to take this opportunity to claim vindication. That is, I'd like to — but I can't. Inflation has been creeping up the last couple of years — from less than 2% to more than 3% — but that's still pretty low. Nevertheless, I double down: Barring a miracle, there will be a fierce storm of inflation sometime in the next few years, and it will wipe out a big chunk of the national debt, along with the debts of individual citizens and the savings of others.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 7, 2011 |
San Fernando, a two-square-mile city of tree-lined streets, bungalows and mom-and-pop shops in the northeast San Fernando Valley, is a typical small town, a place where everybody knows everyone. Perhaps too well. Two weeks ago, Mayor Mario Hernandez shocked the community when he announced at a City Council meeting that he was having an affair with a colleague, Councilwoman Maribel de la Torre. The mayor's wife was in the audience at the time. PHOTOS: Political scandals and gaffes of 2011 The revelation is the latest in a series of scandals at City Hall in recent months that have become a major distraction at a time when the predominantly Latino, working class town of 25,000 is grappling with a large budget deficit and major cuts in municipal services.
November 7, 2011 |
The federal government recorded a $1.3-trillion budget deficit in the 2011 fiscal year, roughly even with the previous year's shortfall. An analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released Monday showed that federal government took in $2.3 trillion while spending $3.6 trillion. Receipts increased at a faster rate than the growth in spending -- 6.5% versus 4.2%, respectively. The deficit as a share of the national economy actually decreased slightly from 9% to 8.7%, though that figure was still the third-highest since World War II. The analysis comes as congressional negotiators are working to meet a Thanksgiving deadline to put forward a plan to slash long-term deficits by $1.5 trillion.
September 27, 2011 |
With several European countries facing key votes this week on a bailout plan for the weakest links in the Eurozone, Greece's prime minister made a high-profile pledge to German industrialists that there would be no letup in his country's reform efforts. But even if the plan is confirmed by skeptical parliaments in Finland on Wednesday and Germany on Thursday, it is likely to be insufficient. And there is no consensus on what to do next. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou traveled to Germany on Tuesday to urge business leaders in Europe's economic powerhouse not to give up on his country.
September 20, 2011
President Obama offered his latest proposal for reducing the federal government's enormous deficit Monday, calling again for a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. This time, though, there was a new wrinkle: The plan included a proposal to make millionaires pay at least as high a tax rate as working- and middle-class Americans. Republicans responded by accusing Obama of waging class warfare, a charge they trot out whenever Obama suggests that the wealthy sacrifice more of their income.
September 17, 2011 |
President Obama will propose that people earning more than $1 million a year pay at least the same tax rate as middle-class earners to help reduce the soaring budget deficit, according to administration officials. Obama will call the plan the "Buffett rule" after billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, a supporter of his who recently called the tax system unfair, noting that it lets him pay a lower rate than his secretary does. The plan would replace the complicated alternative minimum tax, which was enacted decades ago to ensure that the wealthy paid at least some income taxes, according to the officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
September 1, 2011 |
A so-called Super PAC that supports Michele Bachmann is going after Rick Perry, suggesting that he doesn't merit the support of the "tea party" movement. It's the first real attack on Perry since polls have shown him to be the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. The spot by Keep Americans United (below) has run on CNN, CNBC and Fox News in South Carolina, the group says. The early primary state is a key battleground for both Bachmann and Perry, as the chase votes from tea party activists and religious conservatives alike.
August 17, 2011 |
The jobs package that President Obama plans to unveil shortly after Labor Day could include tens of billions of dollars to renovate thousands of dilapidated public schools and a tax break to encourage businesses to hire new workers, according to people familiar with White House deliberations. As aides work to put together the proposal, they are also hammering out a companion plan to reduce federal budget deficits over the next decade, which Obama would share with the 12-member congressional "super committee" charged with finding long-term fixes for the growing national debt.
August 10, 2011 |
Republicans announced their six appointees to the congressional "super committee" on deficit reduction, the bipartisan panel that experts give at most a 50-50 chance of agreeing on substantial budget reforms. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday appointed Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a conservative leader, as co-chairman. He also named Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton, also from Michigan, who is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and a former budget officer in the Reagan administration.
August 8, 2011 |
If there is anything about which the average American has no doubt, it's that the state of the economy is a five-alarm emergency. Consumer demand, already weak, is destined to ebb even more as Americans watch their retirement savings and other investments shrivel in the global markets meltdown. Businesses won't hire in this kind of environment, no matter how much cash is sitting on their balance sheets. And the cycle continues to roll, downhill. These are the times when Americans look to Washington for leadership and solutions.