The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released its most dire warning yet of a looming U.S. debt crisis, openly comparing the U.S. budget situation to the Greek, Irish, and Argentinian debt crises and calling for a 20 percent cut in the size of the federal government. The July 27 report, “Federal Debt and the Risk of a Fiscal Crisis,” comes just days after the Obama administration revised upward its deficit projections for fiscal 2010-11 to a two-year total of $2.89 trillion. The CBO had labeled the federal spending path “unsustainable” in a June report.
Federal Reserve boss Ben Bernanke told Congress this week that despite not having any imminent plans to further “support” the economy, the central bank was “considering all options” to fight unemployment and could “step into new areas” because the alleged recovery remains “unusually uncertain.”
Earlier this year, it looked as if columnist Paul Craig Roberts had hung up his word processor in disgust, having just published his book How the Economy Was Lost (mostly a collection of his best columns of the past decade) and a swansong article “Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It.” Recently, however, he has returned with a few new columns, e.g., this one — and a revealing interview with the Swiss-based free-market webzine The Daily Bell.
The White House on July 21 extolled the extension of unemployment insurance by the Senate, claiming it was “not only the decent thing to do but one of the most effective ways to boost our economy.” President Obama signed the extension into law immediately, saying that this was “desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession…Americans who…will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times.”
Instead of asking for a federal bailout, Maine is considering shifting part of its underfunded pension plan liabilities to Social Security. Without the proposed fix, the pension liability the state currently faces is “going to rip the guts out of our budget,” according to Peter Mills, the state Senator who initially suggested the plan.