If you’re the country’s most unpopular governor, who along with his party has helped make his state a worse place to live, and politicians would rather be caught in a compromising picture with a farm animal than in a photo-op with you; and you’ve made a big deal about killing high speed rail, cuz, um, it’s “Obamarail,” and then another rail project, much wanted by your party comes up for a veto or a signature, what do you do? What … do … you … do?
But here’s the thing: turns out the deal Rick Scott signed for SunRail is worse for Florida taxpayers than the 71,000 job boon that HSR would have produced.
Meanwhile, USAT’s John Waggoner explains that on Wall Street, they’re not worried about America’s fictional “debt crisis.” What they’re worried about is that hypocritical Congresspeople will let the U.S. default. Why no tea party style worries on the U.S. debt?
The U.S. debt has two components: public debt and intragovernmental holdings.
The $9.7 trillion public debt is what the U.S. has borrowed through Treasury securities — Treasury bills, notes and bonds.
The remaining $4.6 trillion is intragovernmental debt, primarily, the government securities held by the trust funds for Social Security and Medicare. The $4.6 trillion is largely an accounting fiction: The special government bonds used for the trust funds would be counted as identical assets and liabilities on a standard balance sheet. Both Medicare and Medicaid are essentially pay-as-you-go operations funded by payroll taxes.
Economists take the $9.7 trillion public debt more seriously than intragovernmental holdings. Congress can authorize cuts in Social Security and Medicare, but it can’t renegotiate the terms of outstanding Treasury securities without defaulting.
While $9.7 trillion is still an enormous number, what makes a debt onerous is the borrower’s ability to pay. By that measure, the U.S. is nowhere near a debt crisis. Last year, the public debt was about 58% of U.S. gross domestic product. The United Kingdom’s was 79% of GDP, and Greece’s was nearly 124%.
Even if Congress does nothing to trim spending this year — which is unlikely — government expenditures will fall next year as the federal stimulus program ends and people start to lose unemployment benefits, says Mark Zandi, economist for Moody’s Analytics. And tax revenues will rise as the economy expands.
And here’s a chart, also from USA Today:
|Public Debt 2010||Total debt|
Still, don’t tell that to Congress, where Republicans are guarding high income tax rates like they’re Fort Knox. But Democrats are fighting back, by pointing out just what it is, specifically, that Republicans are putting their brand behind.
BTW, the probable fact that the president can go ahead and issue new debt without Congress’ help has reached Schumer level. Do it, Mr. President.
While Mitt Romney begins the slow walk away from things Mitt Romney has said.
Jon Huntsman raises $4.1 million, and he only has to give himself “less than half” of that total! Winning!