Posts Tagged ‘budget deficit’
Municipal bond investors beware!
On June 14, it was announced that Detroit will not make a $39.7-million payment on unsecured municipal bonds worth $2.0 billion. This makes Detroit the most populated city to default on its debt, after Cleveland, since 1978.
The Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr, who was sent by Michigan state to look over Detroit’s budget deficit told reporters in a news conference on June 14, “We have to strike a balance between the legacy obligation to our creditors, our employees and our retirees, and the duty we have as a city to 700,000 residents to give them lights, police, fire, emergency management, clean streets.” (Source: “‘We’re Tapped Out’: Detroit Emergency Manager Proposes Plan to Creditors,” CBS Detroit web site, June 14, 2013.)
As horrific as this news may be to the mainstream media and the politicians who say the U.S. economy is getting better, it shouldn’t be a surprise to Profit Confidential readers in any way. I have been harping on about the growing problem of cities and municipalities in financial trouble in the U.S. economy, and their effects on the municipal bond market, for some time now.
The “Motor City” defaulting on its debt obligation is certainly a big issue, but it isn’t the only place where municipal bond holders are facing losses. Cities like Stockton, California have already filed for bankruptcy due to their inability to control their budget deficits.
Jefferson County, Alabama, which previously filed for bankruptcy, recently came to a decision with its municipal bond holders. It has decided that the largest creditors will only receive 60% of what the city owed.
Gone are … Read More
Not so long ago, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said it expected the U.S. government to register a budget deficit in the current fiscal year of $642 billion.
But hold on a minute…
The budget deficit so far (as of May 31, 2013) has already hit $626.3 billion, and we still have four more months to go in the government’s current fiscal year!
Since the beginning of the U.S. government’s current fiscal year 2013, which began in October of last year, the government has posted a budget deficit in six out of the past eight months.
The Department of the Treasury just reported the U.S. government registered a budget deficit of $139 billion for the month of May. The federal government took in $197 billion and paid out $336 billion for the month. (Source: Department of the Treasury Financial Management Service, June 12, 2013.)
Comparing it to last year, May 2013’s budget deficit was 11% higher than that of May 2012.
The government has been raking in a budget deficit of over one trillion dollars in each of the last four years; and with four months still left in this fiscal year, it wouldn’t surprise me to see us register a fifth consecutive year of trillion-dollar-plus deficits, despite being repeatedly told by politicians that our budget deficit this year would come in under $800 billion.
This is troubling news; the more budget deficits the U.S. government registers, the more the national debt will increase, and the more the government will need to borrow to pay for expenses. It’s that simple.
Currently, our national debt stands at … Read More
Looking at the monthly budget statement from the Department of the Treasury, in fiscal 2013, year-to-date (that’s October 2013 to this April), the U.S. government has already paid interest of $227 billion on its national debt. For the entire fiscal year 2013, the government expects to pay a little more than $420 billion in interest payments. (Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service, May 10, 2013.)
If I calculate the amount of interest payments relative to the national debt outstanding, which is around $17.0 trillion, the U.S. government is paying interest on the national debt at the rate of about 2.5%.
Now, look at these two scenarios…
If we assume that the U.S. national debt will be $23.0 trillion by 2023, then the interest payments on the debt will rise to about $575 billion, not taking interest rate changes into account.
If in 10 years from now, interest rates go back to historical levels and double to five percent, interest payments on the national debt will exceed $1.0 trillion per annum. 2023 is 10 years from now. You can be assured the economic environment will be very different one decade out from today.
But as I wrote the other day, according to the action in the 30-year Treasury market, interest rates may already be on their way up.
Since their peak in July of 2012, the 30-year U.S. bonds have declined in value—they are down almost six percent. Trading above $153.00 in mid-2012, 30-year U.S. bonds now hover around $144.00.
Take a look at the chart of 30-year U.S. Treasury bond prices below:
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
As … Read More
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE/WMT), the biggest retailer in the U.S., just reported its second-quarter same-store sales declined 1.4%. As a reader of Profit Confidential, this should come as no surprise to you.
Consumer spending in the U.S. economy is bleak; it doesn’t seem to be improving, and it’s nowhere near what the stock market is depicting. Consumer spending makes up about two-thirds of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), so if consumer spending continues to decline, our economic growth becomes questionable.
Personal consumption expenditure, a measure of consumer spending, has been experiencing a decline. From between 2010 and 2011, consumer spending increased by little more than five percent. Meanwhile, the rate of change between 2011 and 2012 was only 3.64%. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis web site, last accessed May 16, 2013.)
What Wal-Mart’s contracting same-store sales and slowing consumer expenditure rates show is that consumer spending in the U.S. is not growing. From the statistics, we can see the average American consumer is suffering.
As of February (the latest available figures), there were more than 47.5 million Americans, which is 15% of the population or 23 million households, on food stamps. (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, May 10, 2013.) Food stamp usage has increased immensely. So, how can consumer spending increase when we are sitting at record poverty levels in the U.S.?
This “job growth” the government talks about—the official rate—doesn’t include people who have given up looking for work and people who have part-time jobs but want full-time jobs. And even if we put that aside, the majority of jobs that have been created over the … Read More
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