Nov 22, 2011, 5:15 am EST
Tasked with finding $1.2 trillion to cut in the federal budget, after summer’s playground antics that caused the markets to tumble and roll like a roller coaster, the 12-member congressional “super committee” — as expected — has turned into the “stupor” committee.
Monday was their deadline to send their plan to the Congressional Budget Office, and — surprise, surprise — the Dems and Reps released a joint statement of failure. But you can be sure that the rhetoric of blame has already begun. Even on Sunday, when unofficial statements suggesting no agreement had been made, the airwaves were filled with pointing fingers.
Business as usual in Washington. I’m not going to rehash the politics, as that won’t help you understand the importance of this failure. Instead, let’s look at how the inaction may negatively impact your financial situation. Read
Nov 21, 2011, 8:29 am EST
What happened to Thanksgiving?
What once was an entire season worth of anticipation toward family, friends, the meal of the year and watching the Detroit Lions get pummeled during the NFL’s traditional Turkey Day contest has been cut to practically just the holiday day itself — thanks to the ever-expanding “holiday season” that now sops up most of fall.
Now, Thanksgiving’s parasitic cousin, Black Friday, is threatening to finish the job on the back end. And the unlikeliest of champions — people who actually have a job in a down economy — are fighting back. Read
Nov 20, 2011, 9:16 pm EST
How broken is government in Washington? So broken that Democrats and Republicans don’t even need to wait until the last minute to announce their failures. After all, it’s clearly a foregone conclusion — so why fake it?
The 12 members of the bipartisan congressional supercommittee given the task of finding spending cuts of $1.2 trillion admitted on Sunday night that they are heading for failure. As a result, the U.S. government and financial markets are wrapped in turmoil and uncertainty — again.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. I wrote last week why the supercommittee would fail, and how the market would sell off sharply as a result. I was hardly the first to say that, and it’s hardly news to anyone watching these so-called “negotiations” on Capitol Hill. Read
Nov 17, 2011, 2:27 pm EST
When the congressional supercomittee tasked with finding more than $1 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years first met in August, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-Kent.) declared that “failure is not an option” for the dozen-member bipartisan group. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Failure, as anyone with common sense will tell you, is always an “option.” That’s especially the case in Washington, where partisan gridlock this summer nearly caused the U.S. to default on its obligations and triggered an unprecedented downgrade of the debt of the world’s largest economy. The supercommittee process was designed to find $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade or else $1.2 trillion in mandatory spending cuts — $500 billion in defense spending alone — would be triggered. That, of course, is an option that neither Democrats nor Republicans want, which should — in theory — encourage them to compromise.
Sadly, that has not happened. Read
Nov 17, 2011, 11:58 am EST
If you look at the crisis in Europe, the key questions to ask are clear: Will this crisis continue to spread? And will the United States get singed by the fallout?
In both cases, the answer is a very clear “Yes.”
Whereas traders once were content to play around the edges by trashing Greece, Ireland and Portugal, now they’re going for Europe’s jugular vein. What I mean is that traders are now dumping the debt associated with so-called “core” European Union nations. Read
Nov 17, 2011, 7:30 am EST
The U.S. Postal Service’s future is bleak. With mail volumes having dropped more than 20% over just the past five years, radical change is coming to the USPS.
Like many other giant companies that confront a rapidly shrinking market, the USPS is “discussing restructuring options with potential advisers,” according to Bloomberg News. Among those advisers are Moelis & Co., Rothschild and Perella Weinberg Partners. But USPS, which could run out of money on Sept. 30, 2012, is already in the midst of a major overhaul: It has announced plans to slash 220,000 jobs by 2015 and shutter as many as 3,700 post offices. Clearly, there’s more to come.
For the year ended Sept. 30, the USPS reported a $5.1 billion net loss. The only reason the loss wasn’t even more massive was that the Postal Service delayed a $5.5 billion retiree health care payment until 2012. Read