Thursday, May 7, 2009

Worries Rise on the Size of U.S. Debt

this is a very good - and very accurate - piece on what the debt situation is shaping up to look like in America in the not-too-distant future; and the trouble that's in store. I say, "accurate" (these are not predictions, per se), because the Congrssional Budget Office is the "bomb" when it comes to analyzing these types of things. No one - and I mean no one - was more accurate with their analysis during the Bush years than the CBO. They're experts in the field, to be sure. I trust their information more than I trust Obama's team on matters such as these. - sj

The New York Times
May 4th
by Graham Bowley and Jack Healy

The nation’s debt clock is ticking faster than ever — and Wall Street is getting worried.

As the Obama administration racks up an unprecedented spending bill for bank bailouts, Detroit rescues, health care overhauls and stimulus plans, the bond market is starting to push up the cost of trillions of dollars in borrowing for the government.

Last week, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose to its highest level since November, briefly touching 3.17 percent, a sign that investors are demanding larger returns on the masses of United States debt being issued to finance an economic recovery.

While that is still low by historical standards — it averaged about 5.7 percent in the late 1990s, as deficits turned to surpluses under President Bill Clinton — investors are starting to wonder whether the United States is headed for a new era of rising market interest rates as the government borrows, borrows and borrows some more.

Already, in the first six months of this fiscal year, the federal deficit is running at $956.8 billion, or nearly one seventh of gross domestic product — levels not seen since World War II, according to Wrightson ICAP, a research firm.

Debt held by the public is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to rise from 41 percent of gross domestic product in 2008 to 51 percent in 2009 and to a peak of around 54 percent in 2011 before declining again in the following years. For all of 2009, the administration probably needs to borrow about $2 trillion.

The rising tab has prompted warnings from the Treasury that the Congressionally mandated debt ceiling of $12.1 trillion will most likely be breached in the second half of this year.

Last week, the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, a group of industry officials that advises the Treasury on its financing needs, warned about the consequences of higher deficits at a time when tax revenues were “collapsing” by 14 percent in the first half of the fiscal year.

click here for rest of story

No comments: