Debt Ceiling
The House passed a Budget deal on October 28, 2015 that, among other things, will extends the government’s borrowing authority through mid-March 2017. In 2013, the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate negotiated with the White House on three fiscal matters with looming deadlines: raising the debt ceiling now approaching the limit $16.5T, massive federal spending cuts known as sequester and a budget resolution. On February 4th, the President signed a bill into law extending the debt limit debate until 5/18/13. This date may also get extended as far as August due to financial manipulations similar to those used in 2011. The "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013" also mandates that pay for lawmakers be held in escrow starting April 16 until their chamber has passed a 2014 budget resolution. Congress must pass a spending bill, called a continuing resolution or “CR,” which would continue spending after Sept. 30, 2013, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. As it stands now, the government’s legal authority to borrow more money runs out in mid-October, 2013. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, if that date arrived on October 18, the Treasury “would be about $106 billion short of paying all bills owed between October 18 and November 15. The congressionally mandated limit on federal borrowing is currently set at $16.7 trillion. The debt limit has been raised 13 times since 2001 and has grown from about 55 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2001 to 102 percent of GDP last year. The hoped for legislation will raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 31, 2014.

Families Go Deep in Debt to Stay in the Middle Class

8/2/19
from The Wall Street Journal,
8/1/19:

Wages stalled but costs haven’t, so people increasingly rent or finance what their parents might have owned outright.

The American middle class is falling deeper into debt to maintain a middle-class lifestyle. Cars, college, houses and medical care have become steadily more costly, but incomes have been largely stagnant for two decades, despite a recent uptick. Filling the gap between earning and spending is an explosion of finance into nearly every corner of the consumer economy. Consumer debt, not counting mortgages, has climbed to $4 trillion—higher than it has ever been even after adjusting for inflation. Mortgage debt slid after the financial crisis a decade ago but is rebounding. Student debt totaled about $1.5 trillion last year, exceeding all other forms of consumer debt except mortgages. Auto debt is up nearly 40% adjusting for inflation in the last decade to $1.3 trillion. And the average loan for new cars is up an inflation-adjusted 11% in a decade, to $32,187, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from credit-reporting firm Experian. Unsecured personal loans are back in vogue, the result of competition between technology-savvy lenders and big banks for borrowers and loan volume. The debt surge is partly by design, a byproduct of low borrowing costs the Federal Reserve engineered after the financial crisis to get the economy moving. It has reshaped both borrowers and lenders. Consumers increasingly need it, companies increasingly can’t sell their goods without it, and the economy, which counts on consumer spending for more than two-thirds of GDP, would struggle without a plentiful supply of credit.

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