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Where is the U.S. headed if Pres. Obama is adding an estimated $5 trillion to the national debt in his first term?
February 15th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Where is the U.S. headed if Pres. Obama is adding an estimated $5 trillion to the national debt in his first term?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama has broken a promise to the American people to cut the deficit in half.

His latest budget forecasts a $901 billion budget deficit for 2013.

If you add in the $1 trillion-plus deficits he has run for his first three years in office, along with an estimated $200 billion in economic stimulus, that's about $5 trillion in the red in his first term.

George W. Bush set the previous record of $3.4 trillion of deficits in eight years. President Obama is on track to add $5 trillion in deficits in just four years. This is part of the reason why our national debt is now a whopping $15 trillion.

The Weekly Standard crunches the numbers to find that deficit spending just under President Obama equals more than $17,000 per person or about $70,000 for a family of four.

In February 2009, shortly after President Obama took office, he pledged to cut the $1.3 trillion deficit he inherited from President Bush in half by the end of his first term.

"I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay – and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control."

Meanwhile, a quick look at what's happening around the world could provide a glimpse of our own future.

Greece saw more violent riots this week after the government's approval of austerity measures.

The credit rating agency Moody's also downgraded six European countries, including Italy and Spain, amid concerns over the continent's debt crisis and sluggish economy.

Here’s my question to you: Where is the U.S. headed if Pres. Obama is adding an estimated $5 trillion to the national debt in his first term?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

How much confidence do you have in the super committee to do anything meaningful about the national debt in the next four weeks?
October 27th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

How much confidence do you have in the super committee to do anything meaningful about the national debt in the next four weeks?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been nearly three months since the so-called super committee was created.

We've had months of closed-door, secret meetings - and only a few public appearances - as the panel's deadline rapidly approaches.

The public has been shut out of the negotiations while the lobbyists have had continuous access to committee members. How's that transparency-thingy President Obama promised us working out for you? Sort of reminds me of the health care legislation.

So far there are no signs the committee has agreed to any meaningful cuts.

Democrats proposed a plan for cutting up to $3 trillion... but Republicans quickly rejected it because it addition to the cuts, the Democrats plan also called for tax increases. $1.2 trillion in tax increases - to which the Republicans said, "no chance."

They called the plan "outrageously absurd" and a "non-starter," and some are accusing Democrats of leaking the plan because they think the panel will fail.

The super committee has until November 23. If no agreement is reached, across-the-board "trigger" spending cuts would go into effect in 2013.

House Speaker John Boehner says the trigger cuts are unacceptable, and that it's important for the super committee to meet its goals. A lot of people don't think that's going to happen.

And while the politicians fiddle, our country's $14 trillion national debt keeps growing.

Here’s my question to you: How much confidence do you have in the super committee to do anything meaningful about the national debt in the next four weeks?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: National debt
July 18th, 2011
04:25 PM ET

What's your greatest fear if the U.S. fails to raise debt ceiling?

ALT TEXT

Blank U.S. Treasury checks are run through a printer at the U.S. Treasury printing facility in Philadelphia. President Obama recently stated he can't guarantee retirees will receive their Social Security checks in August if the House and Senate can not reach an agreement on reducing the deficit. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

On August 3, the U.S. government is scheduled to pay $23 billion in Social Security benefits. But if a deal isn't reached in Congress to raise the debt ceiling, there's a chance those checks won't go out. That's because only $12 billion in revenue is expected to come in that day, which would leave the Treasury a cool $11 billion short, according to Politico.com.

Without an agreement, the federal government's line of credit will run out, and so will its options to write those checks. And when you include other payments scheduled that day, the federal government will be $20 billion short. Wonderful.

That's just one scenario, of course. Talking heads from Washington to Wall Street have weighed in with predictions on what could happen if a deal isn't reached - everything from a financial apocalypse to a nonevent. The administration has used words like "calamitous," "catastrophic" and "Armageddon." But a handful of vocal Republicans say the Obama administration is exaggerating the situation. They claim not a whole lot would happen if an agreement isn't reached by August 2.

But by and large, most economists say if the United States defaults on some of its loans, interest rates would shoot up, the dollar would plummet, stock markets around the world would tumble and our very fragile economy could suffer a mighty blow. Suffice it to say there doesn't appear to be a lot of upside to Uncle Sam defaulting on his obligations.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • National debt
July 13th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

What does it mean that 42 percent of Americans don't want Congress to raise the debt ceiling?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite that nasty game of chicken going on in Washington over raising the debt ceiling, congressional leaders from both parties have agreed that doing it is necessary.

National debt exceeds $14.3 trillion as the government faces an August 2 deadline to get congressional leaders to agree to a deal.

National debt exceeds $14.3 trillion as the government faces an August 2 deadline to get congressional leaders to agree to a deal.

The argument is over what else goes into a such bill that's tying them up and bringing us dangerously close to defaulting on some of our loans.

But according to a new Gallup poll, 42% of Americans don't want the debt ceiling raised and want their members of Congress to vote against any measure that raises it. Only 22 percent want their lawmakers to vote for raising the debt ceiling. One third of Americans say they are unsure.

When asked which is a greater concern, 51% say raising the debt ceiling without plans for major spending cuts worries them more. Only about 1/3 say they are more concerned with the risk of a major economic crisis if Congress does not take action.

But there are two separate issues here. Republican lawmakers have tied voting to raise the debt ceiling to long term deficit reduction. The fact is, if we don't raise the ceiling by August 2 and the U.S. defaults on some of its loans... interest rates would shoot up, the dollar would plummet, stock markets around the world would tumble. If you think things are ugly now, they could get much uglier.

In a separate poll, the number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track rose to 63% this month, up three percentage points from June. And if the United States fails to pay its creditors, it's a good bet that number will go even higher.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that 42 percent of Americans don't want Congress to raise the debt ceiling?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • National debt
July 11th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

How do you see the debt ceiling issue being resolved?

ALT TEXT

The U.S. National Debt Clock billboard is displayed on July 11, 2011 in the New York City. The national debt exceeds over $14.3 trillion.(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama and Congressional leaders from both parties met behind closed doors at the White House this afternoon to discuss a deal on the debt ceiling - the second time in two days. All parties are still pretty far apart.

Both Republicans and Democrats have laid down ultimatums– Republicans have said everything's on the table except tax increases. Democrats have said they will not agree to a deal based solely on spending cuts. The President has proposed his own deal– a 10-year, $4 trillion plan that tilted 4-to-1 in favor of spending cuts. Boehner said it was dead on arrival.

And the clock is ticking...If they don't reach an agreement by August 2nd, the U.S. could default on some of its loans...and that could send stock markets tumbling, shoot interest rates sky high and cause the dollar to plummet. Both sides in the debate know this. Right now it seems to be a game of chicken - who will blink first. But this time the stakes couldn't be much higher. And it will be interesting to watch the head-on collision between politics and the reality of default. They're juggling hand grenades here.

The president has ruled out signing a short-term extension of the federal debt ceiling. And with just a few weeks left the rhetoric more resembles school yard trash talk than statesmanship. If you're not worried about the outcome of this, you probably should be.

Here’s my question to you: How do you see the debt ceiling issue being resolved?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: National debt
May 16th, 2011
04:27 PM ET

Should Congress vote to raise the debt ceiling?

ALT TEXT

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaks during a press conference. Geithner announced that the Social Security Board of Trustees estimates that the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust funds will be exhausted by 2036. (PHOTO CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. government officially hit its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling today, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress. It comes as no surprise of course. Geithner pointed to this date months ago. But here we are, and lawmakers don't appear to be any closer to any sort of agreement on raising the limit the U.S. government can borrow.

The U.S. spends on average $118 billion more each month than it takes in. Geithner says he can keep things going until early August. After that, all bets are off. If Congress doesn't agree to raise the debt ceiling by then, the United States could default on its debt obligations. That could have devastating effects on our still-shaky economy and markets worldwide.

Many Republicans and some Democrats are refusing to vote in favor of such a move without a promise to make meaningful spending cuts. And while critics have warned against tying the two issues together, lawmakers are more concerned about how all this talk of debt ceilings and deficit reduction will play out with voters. Some Republicans believe if they vote for raising the debt ceiling, voters - particularly those in the highly vocal, newly powerful and very conservative Tea Party - will see it as a fiscally irresponsible.

A new Gallup poll shows 47% of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling. Only 19% are in favor of it. But more than one-third say they don't know enough about the topic to say one way or the other. And that's a big part of the problem.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress vote to raise the debt ceiling?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • National debt
April 28th, 2011
04:09 PM ET

How do you see the debt ceiling fight being resolved?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's back to work for Congress on Monday as lawmakers return from a fun-filled two week Spring Break.

The National Debt Clock pictured in Manhattan last week.

The National Debt Clock pictured in Manhattan last week.

During their time off, some members returned to their districts to hear from constituents, many angry and confused about the budget cuts and deficit reduction plans. Then there are those like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and nine other senators who went on junkets instead to faraway places like China and its city of Macau, that country's closest thing to Las Vegas.

The fun and games will be over next week though. One of the first big battles that awaits this Congress is the question of raising the nation's debt ceiling. The U.S. is expected to reach its current debt limit of $14.3 trillion on May 16th. That's just about two weeks away. If Congress doesn't agree to raise it, we could default on our debt obligations and that would have devastating effects on the markets and this economy. But simply raising it may not be that simple.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he will not agree to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats promise to make meaningful spending cuts to the budget and to reform Medicaid and Medicare.

In a recent interview, Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill under George W. Bush called Republicans who insist on linking a debt ceiling increase to budget cuts quote "our version of al Qaeda terrorists." unquote.

He says the two should not be part of the same debate and the lawmakers who insist on doing that anyway are putting our society at risk.

He might be right. But putting our country at risk has never been that much of an issue for Congress.

Here’s my question to you: How do you see the debt ceiling fight being resolved?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: National debt
March 8th, 2011
05:29 PM ET

Should Congress vote again to raise nation's debt ceiling?

ALT TEXT

The National Debt Clock in New York City. (PHOTO CREDIT: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As Congress continues to all but ignore the debt crisis in this country, the threat of a government shutdown is now less than two weeks away. Lawmakers are looking to make spending cuts for this fiscal year's budget both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

It won't happen.

With a $14 trillion debt and a projected deficit of $1.6 trillion for this year alone, Congress is arguing over whether to cut $10 billion or $60 billion from the budget. They are completely divorced from reality in Washington.

Here's the reality:

Sometime between April 15 and May 31, our national debt is going to exceed the debt ceiling – the U.S. borrowing limit – which now stands at $14.29 trillion.

The debt ceiling has been raised 40 times in the last 30 years. Under President George W. Bush, Congress approved measures to increase the debt limit seven times.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke both want the debt limit raised. If it's not raised, they say the United States could default on loans and other financial obligations, which could lead to an economic meltdown.

President Obama and Democratic leaders support raising the debt ceiling. Of course. But Republicans say they'll vote down any measure to increase the debt limit unless some sort of cap on federal spending is included.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress vote again to raise the nation's debt ceiling?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Congress • Congressional Spending • National debt
September 14th, 2010
04:41 PM ET

Should Congress adjourn early when they haven't passed a budget?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Our lawmakers ought to be ashamed of themselves:

A 2009 file photo of the National Debt Clock. That number now stands at over $13 trillion.

A 2009 file photo of the National Debt Clock. That number now stands at over $13 trillion.

They've yet to pass a federal budget, but some in Congress still think it's a good idea to leave town early to go home and campaign for the upcoming midterm elections. You know - go home and tell the folks what a great job they're doing.

The new fiscal year starts on October 1, and there are no signs Congress will have a new budget in place by then. This is inexcusable. Our national debt now tops $13 trillion. Annual deficits are running at more than $1 trillion. And without a budget it is impossible to have any idea what the hell the government is doing with our money. Our money.

In place of a budget, Congress usually passes what are called "continuing resolutions" for a month or two at a time. This prevents the federal government from shutting down. At this rate, Congress might not finalize a budget until after January - when the new Congress is sworn in. Four months from now.

So far, neither the House nor the Senate has even passed a formal budget resolution - which usually happens in the spring - last spring.

It's not to tough to figure out why there's no budget. Congress doesn't want to vote on a budget that could mean tough spending cuts right before an election. Heaven forbid. In other words, they are cowards.

But, no matter. Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the so-called House leaders are thinking about adjourning October 1 - a week earlier than scheduled - so they can go campaign for re-election. It's just disgraceful.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress consider adjourning early to campaign when they haven't passed a federal budget?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Congress • Economy • National debt
July 1st, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What's the answer to America's financial crisis?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The United States' national debt level is the highest it's been since World War II. The Congressional Budget Office is warning President Obama's deficit commission that something must be done - and quickly.

FILE PHOTO: A shot of the National Debt Clock on July 13, 2009

FILE PHOTO: A shot of the National Debt Clock on July 13, 2009

By the end of this year, it will represent 62 percent of the nation's economy and will rise to 80 percent in 2035. That means that simply paying the interest on the national debt will consume one-third of all federal revenue. And that's the CBO's most optimistic scenario.

Their worst case scenario has the debt hitting 185 percent of GDP by 2035 and interest payments consuming nine percent of GDP, or more than two-thirds of all federal revenue.

And getting to that point is not at all improbable. The CBO says it has just extend the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for most people, permanently protecting the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax, and permanently increasing Medicare payments to doctors, and Presto! We're there.

The president's bipartisan deficit commission has until December to come up with some ideas on how to bring down debt and stabilize the deficit. But none of their recommendations will be binding on anyone. And it's no accident their report isn't even due until after the midterm elections. In the meantime, we have a ticking financial time bomb on our hands and our government is sitting on theirs.

Here’s my question to you: What's the answer to America's deepening financial crisis?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Economy • National debt • United States
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