We Owe Our New Debt to the Fed

Feb 14, 2012, 11:47 am EDT

One of the excuses we often hear about our federal debt is that “we owe it to ourselves,” meaning our $15.4 trillion in debt really isn’t so bad since interest checks are sent to individuals, pension accounts and other private holders of U.S. Treasury bonds. But that’s no longer true.

We owe our new debt to the Fed!

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported the Fed’s Operation Twist has overpowered the most recent long-term Treasury bond auctions. According to the Journal, data compiled by Barclays Capital shows that since Operation Twist began in October, the Fed has bought $50.3 billion in new Treasury bonds maturing in 20 to 30 years, accounting for a whopping 91% of new long-term Treasury bonds. Read 

Obama’s Budget: A Campaign Document, but One That Works

Feb 13, 2012, 6:04 pm EDT
Obama’s Budget: A Campaign Document, but One That Works

Even before the Barack Obama administration released its official budget blueprint, Republicans both on and off the campaign trail were roundly denouncing it as nothing more than a campaign document. They are outraged at the higher taxes, lack of entitlement reform and short-term spending.

While the four GOP primary contestants continue to rail against Obama’s record and ideas, they do so at their own peril with regard to general election voters.

Obama’s budget blueprint is filled with some of the same ideas he has been advocating since September and crystallized in the State of the Union address on Jan. 24. Among other things, he wants to spend more on education, job-training and infrastructure. He also wants to extend the payroll tax holiday and subsidize companies to keep jobs in America. Read 

5 Unpopular Things That Are More Popular Than Congress

Feb 9, 2012, 7:00 pm EDT
5 Unpopular Things That Are More Popular Than Congress

A recent Gallup poll found that Congress’ approval rating reached an all-time low, with just 10% having a favorable opinion of the legislative body. This broke the previous low of 11% approval from two months earlier.

In fact, Congress is so unpopular, you might be surprised by some of the people, events, and things that Gallup polling has found to be more popular than Congress. Here are five of the more interesting ones, from a Washington Post slideshow: Polygamy

Yep, more people look favorably upon having more than one wife than they do Congress. In August of 2011, polygamy’s approval rating sat at 11%. Read 

House Overwhelmingly Passes Ban on Congressional Insider Trading

Feb 9, 2012, 6:25 pm EDT

A week after the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban insider trading by members of Congress, the House followed suit.  Legislation similar to the STOCK Act in the Senate passed in the House today by a margin of 417-2.  Two Republican Congressmen, John Campbell and Rob Woodall, who represent a large portion of Orange County, Cal. and counties northeast of Atlanta, respectively, were the only ones to vote against the bill.

The legislation is similar, but not exactly the same. One large difference is the House removed a provision in the Senate version of the bill that would regulate firms that collected political intelligence for investors. The Senate bill would require such firms to register and report on their activities, much like lobbyists do now.

Instead, the House included a provision that calls for a study of whether or not such registration should be required for these firms. The next step is for the two parts of the legislative branch to either form a committee or negotiate informally to reconcile the differences between the bills. Read 

Austerity Deal Reached in Greece

Feb 9, 2012, 1:21 pm EDT
Austerity Deal Reached in Greece

Just hours before the latest talks in Brussels between finance ministers from 17 eurozone nations, Greek political leaders finally have agreed to new austerity cuts necessary to receive a fresh bailout package.

The deal was necessary for the beleaguered nation to avoid bankruptcy, since Greece needs the bailout cash by March 20 to redeem a boatload of bonds coming due. If the nation wasn’t able to make the payment, it would’ve been in technical default and could be forced to leave the eurozone.

Although this is good news for Greece and helps protect the economic stability of global markets, they aren’t out of the woods just yet — this is the fifth year of recession for the country, its manufacturing output fell by 15.5% in December on a year-over-year basis and unemployment continues to climb, rising to 20.9% in November. In addition, the nation needs to figure out how to reign in its unsustainable spending habits. Read 

Takeaways From Santorum’s Stunning Sweep

Feb 8, 2012, 7:28 pm EDT
Takeaways From Santorum’s Stunning Sweep

Yesterday, Rick Santorum pulled off a spectacular upset. Practically left for dead after his Iowa win didn’t translate into further victories in primaries in New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Florida, Santorum won all three primary events hosted on Tuesday.

The wins in Colorado and Minnesota’s caucuses and Missouri’s nonbinding primary catapult Santorum back into the conversation for the GOP nomination, and signal a possible shake-up for the primary season ahead. Here are six takeaways from Santorum’s big night. 1. Santorum’s bragging rights

With these victories, Santorum has now won four states, a larger number than any of his competitors for the nomination. And while these states aren’t the biggest or most influential in the nomination process, losing them significantly hurts Santorum’s competition for the Republican nomination. Read 

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