Gloves Come Off in Debt Ceiling Fight
Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
The gloves came off in the fight over raising the debt ceiling yesterday. On CBS News, the President basically threatened to cut off Social Security checks by August 3rd if a deal was not reached. Mr. Obama said to veteran newsman Scott Pelly, “I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven’t resolved this issue, because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.” (Click here to see the complete CBS story w/video.) What? So, the President admitted there is no money in the Social Security Trust Fund? Why in heck didn’t Mr. Pelly call the President on this???!!! Is it because Pelly is afraid he will never get another Presidential interview? I don’t know if the President really believes this, but it looks like a political scare tactic to me.
What I do know is the President’s statement is simply not true! According to Social Security, the Trust Fund holds something called “special issues.” Here’s what the government’s own website says, “Unlike marketable securities, special issues can be redeemed at any time at face value. Marketable securities are subject to the forces of the open market and may suffer a loss, or enjoy a gain, if sold before maturity. Investment in special issues gives the trust funds the same flexibility as holding cash.” (Click here to get complete information from Social Security.)
Did you get that? What Social Security holds is the same as “holding cash!” Threatening to cut off funds to seniors and the disabled is more political theater than budgetary fact. It is also a clear sign the budget ceiling fight has turned ugly. I think making political threats like this is a big mistake by the President. This could harm the idea of “full faith and credit” of the U.S. even if a deal is reached in time to make the August 2nd deadline. Hardline politics on both sides could make consumers of our debt run like hell. The President should be reassuring Treasury holders. Instead, the President is not just scaring seniors, but also buyers of our debt. Why would anyone want to go through this kind of drama every year? Wouldn’t you be looking for fixed income investments someplace else? That’s what the biggest bond fund in the world (PIMCO) is doing. Also, every time the debt ceiling is raised (and there will be more in the future), this further devalues the dollar. In short, I think U.S. debt is already damaged goods. Treasury buyers might impose a real debt ceiling and stop buying altogether. Some countries have recently done just that.
If a debt deal is not reached in time, the dollar will be the biggest loser. It would cause panic selling of the buck and interest rates would skyrocket. I think folks on Social Security will get their checks. What people on fixed incomes should really be worried about is how much those checks will buy in the future. Hyperinflation here we come, if the U.S. defaults.
Could the U.S really default? Most experts say no, but in this game of “chicken” environment, I am not sure that either party wouldn’t use a financial calamity for political gain. Both Democrats and Republicans would surely cast blame on the other side if the U.S. goes into another Great Depression. What is going on now is unprecedented in American history. No matter what happens, the country will slide or plunge into deeper financial trouble. At this point, we are only talking about the speed of descent.
Now, there is renewed talk from the Fed about another round of Quantitative Easing (QE3) because the first $12.3 trillion of money printing worked so well to bring the economy back to health. Of course, for a record number of Americans on food stamps (nearly 44million), what’s going on is hardly a laughing matter. I (and my sources) have been predicting there was going to be another round of money printing because the economy is continuing to sink. QE3 is going to happen sooner than later, and I now feel it will be overt and not covert. The Fed is going to want everyone to know it is doing something about the rotten economy because, after all, what we have is nothing more than a confidence game that’s caving into reality.
This past weekend on “Meet the Press,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said, “This is a very tough economy. And I think for a lot of people it’s going to be – it’s going to feel very hard, harder than anything they’ve experienced in their lifetime now, for some time to come.” (Click here for the complete Meet the Press program.) Host David Gregory should have asked about the continued Wall Street banker bailouts at failed mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie and why Geithner forgave Bank of America $127 billion in sour mortgage debt at the first of the year. Gregory did ask about failed policies of the Obama administration, but nothing about the hundreds of billions of dollars in sour debt taxpayers now own. Why aren’t the banks forced to buy it all back? At any rate, what is going on today is just the opposite of Geithner’s bold comments last July on PBS. Mr. Geithner said, “The economy is healing, it’s getting stronger and I’m very confident we’re going to continue to grow and continue to make progress – not just repairing the damage caused by this crisis but building a stronger economy that’s going to create better opportunities for all Americans.” (Click here to get the complete PBS interview.) There is no mystery why Mr. Geithner reportedly wants out at Treasury. He and his policies have been a complete failure. Well, not a complete failure. The banks he will go to work for someday have done very well. As far as the debt problem the U.S. faces, it is going to be with us all “for some time to come.”
In reply to what Hoppe said, EVERY mortgage in the country could have been paid in full for far less than the amount that has been given to the big banks. (Remember when we were being told that the bailouts were necessary to save all the mortgages?)
I think the idea of paying off all the mortgages in the US should have been a serious consideration, especially in light of the amount of paper produced over the past 3 years and what has been lost in terms of value. What this will bring us in the future remains cloudy, but a storm is obvious.
The problem with the mortgage idea would be the perception of politicians. One, it would only benefit people that held a mortgage. Two, it would not be “fair” to those that do not have a mortgage. Always keep in mind that no one has the best interest of the American people in mind.
Another problem is that with the payoff of all the mortgages in the US, the Derivatives produced would be instantly worthless. The closes number I have read from that scheme was something around $78 trillion (simply incredible from paper totaling around $12 trillion), just imagine if the “bankers” had to swallow that pill (that they created). While the financial system may have still unraveled, we would at least have a point to restart the entire system.
I believe that the main reason the economy continues to decline (and will for the foreseeable future) is the refusal of the financial entities (including the FED) to put an actual price on the so called “Bad Debt”. The so called “Quantitative Easing” has only fueled the fire. At this point, I really don’t know what can be done because of the additional “debt” created.
Greg,…”we are only talking about the speed of descent” is so true. The American economy has tipped and no matter what they say or do, or whoever is elected its never going to be the last century again.
Our politicians have squandered the pie and they may as well put on Togas and argue constantly with each other and president Ceasar all the while Rhome burns around them. The Roman circus continues over debt they all know they will never repay. Good work again Greg!
The wage depression is upon us. Wages have been gutted by big business and since we live in a world economy supressing wages here in the USa will do nothing more than put the American worker behind the fianancial eightball. Henry Ford told others that I want my workers to be able to afford to buy the products I produce and other businessmen laughed at him ….. exactly how do the powers to be expect the US to maintain any kind of standard of living when the business community doesn’t see that problem!
As is to be expected, Obama is engaged in pure demagogy here. The big mistake of the TARP program was the failure to link the bailout of the big Wall Street banks with both the restoration of Glass-Steagall Act and there dismemberment, trust busting if you will, as Teddy Roosevelt had done with the Standard Oil and the steel and railroad industries. There is a big “reset” coming in the economic and financial world coming. It can’t be prevented, only postponed. The longer it takes the more painful it repercussions will be. All the political pontifications to the contrary, the can has been kicked down the road just about as far as it can go and is coming up against the brick wall of sovereign default, Europe first and the here.
Crash and burn baby. I am completely convinced thru many years of research that the Primary Dealers and the CBs run the world. The only fix at this point is of the 1789 variety. There is not now, nor will there ever be a political solution. I am preparing accordingly and would encourage other to do same. Time draws nigh.
What is wrong with the republicans????????? Why do I ever bother voting for them?????
The one thing I’ve learned about republicans is that they will never lose a chance to compromise (to the hurt of the rest of us). I believe they are deluded into thinking that the belt-way media will love them if they cave…and every time they’ve caved they lose votes and are scorned. This is their big chance to hold the dems’ feet to the fire, but my bet (I hope I am disappointed) is that they will put the liberal media first over their constituents. McConnell is already trying to look statesmanlike (instead of like an American) by trying to avoid conflict with our socialist leader. The cracks are forming…
The RNC called our home recently asking us to donate to their cause. My wife (who answered the phone) laughed and the caller didn’t know how to respond to that. She told him when the republicans actually put up a conservative (e.g., Marco Rubio) as a candidate (not RINOs like McCain or Romney), call us back. I don’t think they will be calling.
It is a foregone conclusion that if the republicans don’t get some intestinal fortitude, there will be a major third party by the next election in 2012. I actually think that’s what Palin is waiting for (and I’m sure she won’t be disappointed).
To the point of your article (and thanks to Senator McConnell, who is fully complicit in this whole affair) , I fully expect QE3 (and QE4, and QE5, …). The inmates are running the asylum!
whoa hoss!! just a durn minute here.
you got it completely ass backwards on that one.
classic definition of “republican”
`sovereign people, states and nation.
`free market enterprise
`accountability in business and goverment
by those standards, ron paul is the ONLY republican in congress or the party that falsely goes by the name republican.
sociofascism is NOT a true republican concept. ergo the republican party is not the party of republicans.
Add Huntsman to the RINO list..
I would like to call you a prognosticator (see link below), but it was evident that QE3 was going to happen when obama was elected in 2008. 😉
I would like to take this opportunity to predict QE4 and QE5. I won’t predict additional “QEs” because I doubt the USD will be viable before the end of QE5.
Thanks for the article…
Greg, as usual you are spot on. QE3 is right around the corner, as the Fed really has no choice. And the buyer of last resort for bonds will be the Fed, paid for by debasing the dollar even further by printing more money.
As an aside, The government is reporting in the past year export prices have risen 9.9% and import prices have skyrocketed 13.6%. Continuing erosion of the dollar is the principle cause. Major inflation is also right around the corner.
And today, gold is approaching $1600 per troy ounce.
Surely now the American people will wake up and smell the coffee. TARP, the Bailouts, and QE 1, 2 (and soon, apparently, QE3) prove that the U.S. government’s purpose is to transfer wealth from the people to the Banks. The sole purpose of the political parties (and their sound-and-fury politics) is to pit the people against each other and distract them from the theft.
Greg, do you think any of the politicians other than a handfull of Tea Party conservatives will not go for some deal to increase the debt and avoid any real decision. Right now much of this is political posturing, trying to get the upper hand on th issue, but in the end, I believe there will be some deal that allows the government to increase the debt, will avoid any tax increases, avoid any revenue increases and avid any large cuts in entitlements in the near future, leaving the heavy work to a congress 4-6 years from now. They will never make any decisions that harm their chances for reelection until a disaster has occurred and they are forced to make hard decisions. That is why they voted in the Independant Payment Advisory Board for Medicare as they will no longer have to vote for cuts in Medicare. The board will make those decisions and congress will be far removed from any repercussions that occur.
I’m thinking that they already lost the confidence of most of us, now its a matter of keeping our anger in check as these outrageous antics and insults to our intelligence ensue.
Its such a farce, pro wrestling seems more real than the 2 party crap fest. Regardless which side wins Republicans or Democrats most of us lose and those on top keep winning. Two solutions to a problem on most issues both usually bad. At this point in my life actively following politics since the late 80s, believe that not many of our elected officials want to solve most problems. If anyone has any different idea’s to solve issues besides the lousy ones that both parties support, they will be lucky to even be heard. On the rare occasion that they are, the main stream media attacks them portraying them to be loose cannon’s, crazy, radical, conspiracy theorists, etc. Its been such a broken record.
Imagine the problem being debated and solution found by people of many(not just 2) opposing view points that actually seem to give a damn about the country. Dennis Kuchinich a true liberal and Ron Paul a true conservative would be a good start, do not agree totally with either on many issues but have much respect for them both. Need more brave men and women in government like them, regardless of political views.
Do we really want to save the economy?
Here’s an idea. For the next round of quantitative easing, divide up the QE amount by the number of people in the United States and send each U.S. Citizen a check for that amount. For each 1 trillion of QE, a citizen would receive a check for (approx.)$2,777.00.
I bet the economy would pick up and stay up much longer than if we give the money to the idiot bankers and charlatans on Wall Street.
One more thing…I believe in “Trickle-Up” economics. Give the poor and middle class more money and if the elites/rich have a good idea, we’ll spend our money on it.
Republicans,Fox news and pundits like Fat-Headed Rush Bimbo and that leprechaun of a diarrhea mouth Hannity and idiots like them, would try to have us believe that it’s the American people that are at war with the President, but we all know that it’s a classic war between the rich and the poor, the have’s and the have not’s, how the rich in the end always wind up with the wealth by stealing it from the hard working serfs or working class.
I say serfs because we have just witnessed the world’s largest transfer or theft of working class wealth in the history of the world by the elitist.
I say in the end, because this is the part when the American people get tired and rise up against them and we know what the consequences are going to be.
It’s classic history repeating itself.
Ive just got to say this now. Im 27, never voted in my life, work 85 hours a week, make over 75,000 a year, raised from nothing and still have almost nothing, but am happy in the fact that i dont rely on anyone but myself to make it through. Now all the sudden everyone cant figure out why the politicians are so despondant. THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY!!!!! Thanks Greg.
You were right on about QE3. I heard on the worthless radio news that QE3 was going forward because no one bought our debt. 13 days is all it took. The learned Bernake said gold is not money and our economy is being held back temporarily by high energy and food prices. Imagine that! Thanks Greg for your work and honest reporting.
Well, now I have heard it all…Fed Chairman Bernanke responds to Ron Paul that: “…(is gold money?) no, it is an asset…”; glad I lived to see and hear that!
The three ring circus (with apologies to circuses around the world) that is taking place in Washington, DC is a most disgusting display of narcissistic, elected individuals behavior that has ever been perpetrated.
To even allow to be considered the thought of the credit of the U.S. of A. being downgraded below AAA by a default of the ‘full faith and credit’ to this American smacks of Treason; and I do not use that word lightly. I strongly suggest that the denizens of that grand edifice that comprises two bodies of ‘We The People'(s) legislature and the resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue think long and hard about the course they are on and the consequences that will most certainly result from same.
As Ayn Rand is quoted: “…you may ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
Great article and comments!
The comments regarding a “classic war between the rich and poor” are similar to those made before the revolutions in France, Russia and many other countries, and look what happened to them. Personally, I am not rich by any definition, but I don’t have a problem with others being rich either. Those that do hate the rich are just jealous and want what they have (Joe above?). That’s the tactic that those wealthy dems in congress try to use to pit regular folk against those who the dems do not have power over. The “tax the rich” mantra is so old and overused. If people work hard, then perhaps they can be rich too. Just a thought.
What I do have a problem with is HOW some people get rich. Many in congress got rich by selling their representation of us to the highest bidder. Some in the white house or state department got rich by making deals with publishers and supposedly selling millions of books that were more boring than dictionaries (as a “legal” way to transfer money to them – obamas, clintons, etc.). GE’s Immelt telling businesses to quit complaining about the government AFTER his company did not pay a dime in taxes.
Private enterprise is what made this country great (not government). Government can only get in the way, and recently (past few decades) has been getting in the way more and more. Now, those in government (national or local) actually believe THEY are responsible for the prosperity of our country (not those who actually build and sustain it).
All these QE programs are nothing more than wealth transfer facilitated by the FED and condoned by the government to a)transfer wealth, b) to make citizens more dependent on the government, and c) (my opinion) to finish off our constitutional form of government. What I have never understood was how those in power believe they will get away clean WHEN the government fails. It will no longer be business as usual when it happens. Typically, the military steps in when it gets bad and somehow I doubt they will bow down to someone who has repeatedly kicked their teeth in at every turn. Unfortunately, I guess we will all get to see how it goes in the near future…
Joe, there are a couple things I would add to your post. When you refer to “many” in Congress selling their representation of us I would say that it is “most”. I think “many” new congressmen (and congresswomen) arrive with the absolute best of intentions. But soon after they arrive they realize that they are only 1 person and unless they “play ball” they will not be able to accomplish anything on their own. After a short time they fall prey to lobbyists and special interests. Before long they are just another corrupt member of Congress. The people who are really calling the shots are the global elitists and world banks (like the federal reserve). I only see a handful (if that many) of congressmen who I believe are honest (like Ron Paul).
I agree with most of what you said about private enterprise–particularly that it is one of the things that has made this country great. However there is a serious problem when corporations such as the oil companies become so big that there is no real competition. It is not free enterprise at that point it is a virtual monopoly. In the case of the oil companies it is technically an oligopoly. For those that don’t know an oligopoly occurs when there are so few competitors that when any one of them makes a change is has a profound effect on the entire market. I don’t know what the answer is but reducing or removing regulations on them is not the answer. Time and time again they have shown that they will put profit ahead of everything and absolutely will not do the right thing unless they are forced to.
This may prove the Russians correct. They forecast that the US would divide into various groups, along regional lines. It may happen. How sad to see the efforts of generations of Americans come to this.
Once again I agree Greg, both parties stink. They just refuse to do the right thing and put themselves on a balanced budget. Then to add more insult and injury to the American people, they act like they are trying to do the damn “Quantitive Easing”, debt raising schemes and say they are in everyone’s best interest. The biggest Banks are the only ones to make out great, while the people lose. The Politicians are just soulless puppets of their masters in the big banker cartel. I say end the FED, central banking and fiat money.
As a Canadian, my limited understanding of American history goes something like this:
The American Civil War started in 1861 and ended in 1865.
The United States Government then decided to create a Trans-Continental Railway financed by the issuance of long term Government Bonds. Unemployed soldiers found employment. For most, everything boomed across America -at least for a few years.
The trans-continental rail line was completed by the end of 1869.
To keep the boom going, a second trans-continental rail was considered and proposed to be financed by the issuance of even more long term Government debt. [sound familiar]
To the investors and to the market players of the time this scheme was not well received.
By 1873, a stock market panic occurred with massive financial losses followed then by a Great Deflationary Depression which lasted for 22 YEARS – from 1873 – 1895.
Some astute market analysts today believe the elements of present circumstances closely parallel the Great Deflationary Depression of 1873 – 1895. Too much debt. The fact is: 22 YEARS is a very long time to exist in a Deflationary Depression.
The whole world should hope and pray today that the politicians in Washington and Europe make the right decisions soon. Thank you.
We live in a lawless country and no wealth has worth in a lawless land.
I have been a D and and R, but I truly loathe both parties and refuse to be associated with either of them. Both have sold out the country and the people. When I registered Independent I noticed I get realy letters back from the politicians I write too. I always sign my name and Independent Voter. I guess they want me to vote for them.
I think it is the only way to send a message, don’t be a sure vote for either party. I try to get everyone I know to register Independent.
Greg, I hope you do not mind my posting this video. Everyone needs to hear Ross Perot at the 1992 Presidential debate. Think about what he said and then look at the country today. I agree with you, Ron Paul is the only candidate for change. He is labeled a kook too. After listening to Ross Perot again, I’ll take the kook.
Anyone seen the new Newsweek. They now love Sarah Palin and are playing kissy face? MSM trying to influence the election? Michelle Bachman scarring them? She does me.
Opps, forgot the link: http://www.stumptownblogger.com/2011/06/ross-perot-is-81-years-old-today.html
Instead of making secret deals behind the door, I would like to see the debt ceiling debates be broadcasted nationally through all MSM and Internet. We deserve to see if our elected officials really stand tall for our benefits.
The national debt problem is actually not that hard to solve IF the President and all the members of the Congress can handle our tax dollars just the same way they handle their own money. Even during economic depression, a lot of congressional members are doing quite well while many Amercans are struggling with unemployment, losing their medical insurance and have their homes foreclosed. If they can do that, the government waste will be greatly reduced. Tax loopholes will be looked at and stopped. Every tax dollar will be carefully spent. The debt will start to going down.
All my life I’ve paid into Social Security not because I wanted too, but because my employers would remove it automatically each pay period. I often thought how nice it would be if it were paid to me directly, I would have so much more money. I would have definately put some of that money aside into retirement savings but I guess the government didn’t think I was capable of saving for my own retirement so they would do it for me. With the cost of living rising so fast, it was all I could do to live paycheck to paycheck anyway. Now I can see how we’ve all been scammed. The government has used my savings as their own to spend as they see fit. The debt limit debate has been, at the very least disheartening, especially with the threat of Social Security benefits being witheld so that bond holders (aka China) will be paid. Paying money into the Social Security system is like throwing money down a rat hole. But there is no way to stop it as long as my employer keeps automatically removing it from my paycheck.
Greg, I loved the article that Moody’s would downgrade our credit rating if the USA didn’t raise the debt ceiling when we are already bankrupt. But then wasn’t Moody’s one of the rating firms that had Enron bonds as Triple A when it was common knowledge that there were questions?
Eat your peas, children. Then you can go out and play.
Pretty good coming from a guy who has to take break all the time. The rest of those D.C. Wankers are just thinking about if they are going to survive the next elections. How long have they been talking about a balanced budget amendment? An Energy plan? Social Security and Medicare have been showing signs of distress for how long? Who are the government bean counters? Can’t they use the U.S. Census to determine the health of the nation. Where are the wind mills for electric power and solar panels that can be massed produced, lowering the cost so everyone can purchased. Oil is FINITE! Don’t see commericals saying anything on that subject. Where are the Green Producing jobs? Just a bunch of ambulance chasing lawyers and pharmas proclaiming the miracles of their new wonder drugs. OH! Listen to the side effects of some of those drugs. Fills my life with amazement.
All this grand standing will result in the raising of the debt limit. Did you have any doubt? Did you not hear the IMF concerns about our debt and the ratings institutions warning of a downgrade?
Well, go ahead and raise it. Print more money. All you want. Didn’t matter when it was a million or billion and now the trillions of dollars. Truly the explanation of, “Deficits Don’t Matter”, is right before our eyes.
Tell me. Can you do anything to stop them? Do you really want to stop them?
We as Americans are totally screwed. We as a world could also be totally screwed by the banksters. This is not going to be pretty. There is nothing left to do but QEIII. It is not like they could raise rates right now, so print and spend shall carry the day at this juncture in time unfortunately. The correction from 15-20 years ago is still trying to correct and it is working hard right now. The market rules regardless. You can only BS for so long and people are not listening to the propaganda anymore. People are being directly affected by this at all levels sans the super rich. It’s gonna get ugly before it gets pretty again for us all. Thanks Greg
Greg, when Harry Reid spoke a few minutes ago, the crap that came out of that pie hole stunk so bad, it needed a gas mask on any TV. It was a terror attack directed on all that rely on SS to get by. This man should be took to the wood shed for some manners & for a lesson on how to tell the truth. Any one with a bit of common sense would see though his bull crap.
Then just a few minutes later a black lady was asked if she knew Herman Cain, she said no, he pointed out the pizzas she had been feeding her kids for yrs! Her rely, no matter what I am voting for Obama. There is the core problem here, the USA has been put into a place where the gov feed you as a baby & takes care of a certain group all their life & they knew what real freedom is like & if they ever became self reliant they see just how much a slave to the gov & bankers they have been, but the lack of common sense in a whole class of 3 or 4 generations of brain washed folks is what the progressives do best, as long as it’s not their own money, it’s OK!
Dr Paul will need a lot of folks waking up from the daze they have lived in for years. We can only hope & pray & reach out to them to show the way to real freedom.
I thank you, Mr. Hunter, for this eye opening and heart stopping article.
Believing that the USA Government and/or the USA President can solve the huge debt problem is very optimistic. A country debt is for real and we all need to pay it, whether we like it or not, better sooner than later. Tax increase is inevitable and unavoidable.
The last option would be to sell Alaska, like we bought it, when Russian Empire went broke. This sounds very sad proposal but the only way out of our huge debt crises. Or, sell the Louisiana, like we bought from France, when she went broke. These type of solutions would not be anything new in the history of the world but actual necessity. It is cheaper solution than going to another world war.
Sell Alaska? If we’re going to sell anything, let’s make it either (1) the District of Columbia; (2) New York; or (3) California.
Mr. Brady, you have good ideas about what part of the USA to sell but the buyers would have no use of New York and/or Washington DC. They have no market values at all since they have no natural resources. As far as California is concerned, that is a point for further discussion at the national level since that state has more than 37 million people. For the buyers, the people have no market values at all.
If the Democrats and Republicans won’t make a deal. The President has the EXECUTIVE ORDER in his back pocket! That means for the good of the country. He can declare MARTIAL LAW! Under Marial Law the President can change anything and everything of the United State constitution.
Under Social Security rules the Treasury can have the FED simply print more money ( so to speak) for distribution to SSI recipients – instead of sending it to Morgan, Goldman, FNMA, etc.
Maybe this is what should have been done from the beginning. The bailouts should have gone directly to the pockets of American citizens- to spend in our economy or pay real debts ( as opposed to fake debts) AIG and others paid.
The big losers in this “default” are the big bond holders who will take a hair cut when rates go up ( fractionally).
That is where the political pressure is really coming from – just like in ’08.