Red Alert Off – Federal Budget Deficit Normalizes From Previous Quarter

End of March I pointed out that economic numbers indicated a disastrous drop in net private saving, foreshadowing a recession unless things change quickly.

It looks like things have changed quickly this past quarter (Q1 2018), plus there seem to have been revisions to Q4 numbers. The federal budget deficit has expanded sharply to -$1.1 trillion which should take us out of the danger zone for now:

The current account deficit has expanded a bit to -$569 billion:

This means that net private saving (Fed data not yet available) will come in at around $531 billion, a level that hasn’t been seen since 2013.

Red alert is off, numbers are looking good again, for now.

Related Posts:

Why Deficits Are Needed & How Austerity Is Killing Greece

I had another great conversation with with Dylan at Volitional Science Network. We talked about deficits, monetary policy, Weimar Germany, hyperinflation and what all of this means for Greece and the European Currency Union.

Related Posts:

Keynesianism’s Depredations and Futility in Action

Japan’s Prime Minister sounds the alarm bells:

Japan’s top government spokesman said the country’s fiscal situation is “approaching the edge of a cliff,” underscoring Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s call for a national debate on raising the 5 percent sales tax.

Kan is “expressing his deep sense of crisis and resolution about the sustainability of social security as the aging population increases under a low birth rate,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku told reporters today in Tokyo. “The supporting fiscal conditions don’t allow for any delays, it’s finally approaching the edge of a cliff.”

Politicians don’t blow the whistle until it’s way too late. So this pretty much sounds like an open and official admission that Japan’s retirement avalanche has begun and is in full swing.

Here’s what I wrote about this a while back:

From 1989 on, the Japanese government has launched one stimulus after another to no avail, leaving Japanese taxpayers with the largest public debt per capita of all industrialized nations.

A burden that the US government seems to be more than willing to have its taxpayers shoulder over the years to come unless someone picks up a history book and tries not to feverishly repeat mistakes others made in the past.

Thus the long term outlook for the US economy is the fate Japan took: A long lasting correction supercycle with one failing “stimulus” program after another, and with on and off periods where the economy slips out of and back into recessions from time to time.

This whole mess in Japan started over 20 Years ago!

Keep this in mind any time you hear Keynesian whackos like Paul Krugman alongside politicians in power propose more and more government spending and debt as a panacea to the US’s comparable problems. They are today laying the foundation for the depredations that are to come in 10+ years from now.

Note that Japan’s PM is proposing to raise the sales tax to cover the shortfall.

This kind of stuff is predictable. As I explained in What’s the Problem With Government Budget Deficits:

Ironically, when you look at the political stage, all you will hear in regards to “solutions” to deficits in the end, will for the most part be tax hikes. These are not solutions. They are the ultimate manifestation of the very problem at hand. They are, in fact, the precise opposite of a solution. Keep this in mind whenever you hear politicians talk about deficit solutions. Raising taxes to reduce deficits is absolutely and 100% an admission that one has completely failed to solve this deficit problem, and in fact laid the final brick that was missing in the very process of the public’s depredation via deficit spending.

Also don’t fall prey to the illusion that the newly elected Republicans in Congress will do anything meaningful to turn the tide. If anything at all, they may come up with half-assed measures to appease the public for a little while longer. But will they propose 50+% cuts in military spending, Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security??

Just take military spending as an example:

Republicans claim to be anti-taxes, yet they gladly and openly support the wars and destruction that end up gobbling up more tax money than anything else. Democrats claim to be anti-war, yet they gladly and openly support the higher taxes that end up funding all those war expenses.

Could there be a more beautiful example for this mad and brilliant shell game called “public finances”?

Related Posts:

Obama’s Laughable “Spending Freeze” Proposal

The AP writes:

Obama also has proposed a three-year freeze on most domestic spending, beginning in the budget year that starts Oct. 1. Spending related to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and national security would be exempt.

OK, so Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and spending on war, killing people, dropping bombs, etc. will be exempt from this “spending freeze”. I wonder why?

Maybe a quick look at your average annual federal budget will help clear this up, I am here using the federal government’s budget for 2010:

2010-federal-budget-composition

The only category above that is not surely exempt from the “spending freeze” is “Other Discretionary Spending”, 20% of the total budget. Note that nobody talks about cutting any of that. It’s merely going to stay where it already is.

Meanwhile, on the remaining 80% we are being blatantly assured by the President, by virtue of the fact that he is exempting them from the outset, that they will in fact continue to grow moving forward.

On top of that, even out of those 20% of other discretionary spending there is certainly some of it that falls under one or the other holy cow categories, namely Military, Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. Thus the total subject to the freeze is rather around 12.5%

As Mish points out:

Exemptions

  • The $154 billion jobs plan pending before Congress
  • Medicare
  • Social Security
  • The $787 billion economic stimulus plan already being implemented
  • Department of Defense
  • Homeland Security
  • Veterans Administration
  • International operations.

What’s Covered

  • One eighth of the total annual budget

This is so ridiculous I don’t know how the administration is not embarrassed to death to present it. Moreover “The freeze would be measured overall and would not be applied across the board.” The freeze is only for three years.

How can anyone in the Administration expect to be taken seriously about budget deficits after presenting this ridiculous plan?

What the administration is serious about is a strategy of extend and pretend. The sheeple are upset about budget deficits, so what do they get? The president announcing a spending freeze (that is none), endorsing a “deficit reduction task force” and talking day in day out about the importance of “tacking the deficit”, while simultaneously spending $787 billion on a stimulus, pushing through another $150 billion for a “jobs plan”, and spending more than any previous administration on wars.

By the way, the deficit task force got rejected in Congress … it is pretty amazing that they can’t even agree on at least talking about deficits, so please don’t even dare to think that they will actually do anything about it, other than of course raising your taxes as they always have.

Related Posts:

The Solution to Deficit Reduction – A Task Force … Yay!

As a response to its rampant and unprecedented budget deficits, President Obama is doing just what we would expect from a good old fashioned and clueless politician – he endorses a task force to talk about deficit reduction until the end (!!) of the year:

President Barack Obama Saturday endorsed a bipartisan plan to name a special task force charged with coming up with a plan to curb the spiraling budget deficit, though the idea has lots of opposition from both his allies and rivals on Capitol Hill.

The bipartisan 18-member panel backed by Obama would study the issue for much of the year and — if at least half of the GOP panel members agree, a big obstacle — report a deficit reduction blueprint after the November elections that would be voted on before the new Congress convenes next year.

“These deficits did not happen overnight, and they won’t be solved overnight,” Obama said in a statement. “The only way to solve our long-term fiscal challenge is to solve it together — Democrats and Republicans.”

This task force will have plenty of time to sit around and do nothing while the taxpayer will continue to be pillaged. In the end, all I expect them to come up with is some superficial and immaterial spending reductions (to make it look good), and massive tax increases.

The highlighted part above is actually quite funny: Over the past 100 years there have been two parties in Congress that continuously ran up government spending and deficits. In particular over the past 10 years the Republican Bush administration ran up until then never before seen deficits. Then the Democratic Obama administration picked up on that an ran up even higher deficits.

Now, the solution to the problem is supposed to be a bipartisan task force, comprised of Republicans and Democrats to solve the structural deficits brought about be Republicans and Democrats.

If one is capable of understanding the hypocrisy behind these policies, the following is of course completely predictable and unsurprising:

First, however, the plan would have to pass the Senate on Tuesday, where a vote has already been scheduled. Moderate Democrats want to attach the deficit task force plan to legislation to permit the government to continue borrowing money to pay for its operations.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you … the Government of the United States!

Related Posts: