U.S. debt ceiling set to rise
House votes to raise limit by $800B to $8.2 trillion; White House says Bush will sign.
November 19, 2004: 6:18 AM EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives has approved a measure to raise the nation's debt ceiling by $800 billion.
The bill narrowly passed late Thursday by a vote of 208-204, and a statement issued by President Bush's press secretary said Bush intends to sign the bill into law Monday.
"The President commends the Congress for passing the debt limit increase," the statement said. "Passage of this legislation was important to protect the full faith and credit of the United States."
The Bush administration asked Congress to raise the U.S. debt ceiling to $8.2 trillion, up from the current $7.4 trillion. The Senate approved the measure Wednesday, 52-44, largely along party lines.
Dollar Dump Accelerates
Fri Nov 19th, 2004 at 04:42:29 PST
A full page of comment and analysis in the Financial Times this morning on the accelerating flight from the US dollar.
The US currency came under renewed selling pressure the moment it became clear George W. Bush had been re-elected president. In the two and a half weeks since then, the alue of the dollar has fallen 2.5 percent against the euro and 1.9 percent against the yen. The falls represent an acceleration of the dollar's steady decline since 2002. Since the start of that year, the greenback has fallen 32 percent against the euro and 21 percent against the yen. . . .
Darek Halpenny, currency analyst at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, points to a "very grim" outlook for the dollar in the near term. "With the foreign exchange market now focused entirely on the problem of the US budget deficit and current account deficits, there is a real risk that dollar selling becomes a crisis of confidence," he says. . . .
There is a fear in the currency markets that the dollar's decline, which has been gradual and orderly so far, will turn into a rout.
Debt crisis much worse than admitted! Comptroller General: You owe Uncle Sam $330,000.
by DC Pol Sci
Fri Nov 19th, 2004 at 15:25:16 PST
David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office:
Question: When you talked about the overall debt, you broke it down; could you give me that figure again, please?
Answer: If you consider the total debt outstanding in the United States, it's about $7.4 trillion. If on top of that, you add the difference between promised benefits and funded benefits under the current structure for Social Security, Medicare, Veterans' health and a variety of other issues, the current accumulated unfunded burden in today's dollars is over $40 trillion, which is about 18 times the entire budget, about three and a half times the economy. We are in a deep hole. First, we have to stop digging, and then, we've got to figure out how we're going to reconcile the gap.
Question: You gave a figure per worker.Answer: Per worker?Question: You gave a figure.
Answer: I'm sorry; $330,000 per full-time worker, $140,000 per American, even the newest newborn.
But, you ask, how does Bush's economic policies really affect me? Just look at what he plans to do now:
Bush Plans Tax Code Overhaul
Changes Would Favor Investment, Growth
By Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 18, 2004; Page E01
Instead the administration plans to push major amendments that would shield interest, dividends and capitals gains from taxation, expand tax breaks for business investment and take other steps intended to simplify the system and encourage economic growth, according to several people who are advising the White House or are familiar with the deliberations.
The changes are meant to be revenue-neutral. To pay for them, the administration is considering eliminating the deduction of state and local taxes on federal income tax returns and scrapping the business tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, the advisers said.
Now, ask yourself if your employer can keep your health insurance plan at its current level if he does not receive a tax deduction.
And, you didn't really need that state and local tax deduction on your federal return, did you now?