Earlier today, Obama formally proposed his 2013 budget (link) which sees a $1.33 trn budget deficit in the 2013 fiscal year - more than the $1.296 trillion 2011 budget deficit, which unfortunately indicates that even with rather rosy assumptions, the deficit hole continues to grow, which also means that the debt plug will be higher in the next year compared to the prior, which in turn lends even more credibility to the US debt clock analysis which assumes a nearly 140% debt/GDP ratio by the end of a potential second Obama term. While that will likely end up being an optimistic estimate, for near-term discussion purposes, the probability of even this particular budget passing is slim to none as the GOP reaction in the republican controlled Congress has been swift and brutal. Per the WSJ: "Republicans moved quickly to denounce Mr. Obama's budget plan. "This proposal isn't really a budget at all. It's a campaign document," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said... Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said, "Again the president has ducked responsibility, he has punted again, he has failed to take any notable action on this crisis." "All we're getting here is more spending, more borrowing and more debt that will lead to slower economic growth," Mr. Ryan said on a conference call with reporters. Republicans are expected to offer their own budget plan in the next month. The president's populist message is weaved throughout his proposal. "For many Americans, the basic bargain at the heart of the American dream has eroded," the president said while reiterating a call for nearly $1.5 trillion in tax increases on higher-income Americans over 10 years. He added he is seeing "signs that our economy is on the mend" and that this is a "make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get there." So while this "budget" is not even worth the paper it is printed on (unlike reserves, they actually still use paper for these things) here per the WSJ, are the key charts that form the foundation of the budget forecast.
On Friday, we gave the skinny on some of the more amusing and/or aggressive key assumptions in the president's 2013 budget. Now hear the TOTUS, as presented via the president.
Greece is the epicenter of a drama that threatens to unwind with all the intrigue and subterfuge of ancient Greek myths and tragedies. As with the legend of Icarus, big, and now bigger, transnational banks provoked the gods with their wax-and-feather financial fabrications to create the appearance of soaring wealth. Now that they have flown too close to the sun and their wings have melted, these banks are being brought to earth by the obligations and consequences imposed by their fabrications. Rather than take responsibility, these banks seek to appease the gods by sacrificing taxpayers. In fact, if one looks closely, these banks aspire to be gods themselves. They clothe themselves in their indispensability and shield themselves from accountability with tales about how many innocent citizens will be hurt if they don’t get their next bailout. It is as if they say, “We are above the law… We are the law.” Mathematics, legal enforcement, restraint, humility all must fall under the sword of their hubris. In the end, just as with a Greek tragedy or a Yeats poem, this center cannot hold and things fall apart.
Obama Revises CBO Deficit Forecast, Predicts 110% Debt-To-GDP By End Of 2013, Worse Deficit In 2012 Than 2011Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/10/2012 14:54 -0400
While we have excoriated the unemployable, C-grade, goalseeking, manipulative excel hacks at the CBO on more than one occasion by now (see here, here and here), it appears this time it is the administration itself which has shown that when it comes to predicting the future, only "pledging" Greece is potentially worse than the CBO. WSJ reports that "President Barack Obama's budget request to Congress on Monday will forecast a deficit of $1.33 trillion in fiscal year 2012 and will include hundreds of billions of dollars of proposed infrastructure spending, according to draft documents viewed by Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. The projected deficit is higher than the $1.296 trillion deficit in 2011 and also slightly higher than a roughly $1.15 trillion projection released by the Congressional Budget Office last week. The budget, according to the documents, will forecast a $901 billion deficit for fiscal 2013, which would be equivalent to 5.5% of gross domestic product. That is up from the administration's September forecast of a deficit of $833 billion, or 5.1% of GDP." Where does the CBO see the 2013 budget (deficit of course): -$585 billion, or a 35% delta from the impartial CBO! In other words between 2012 and 2013 the difference between the CBO and Obama's own numbers will be a total of $542 billion. That's $542 billion more debt than the CBO, Treasury and TBAC predict will be needed. In other words while we already know that the total debt by the end of 2012 will be about $16.4 trillion (and likely more, we just use the next debt target, pardon debt ceiling as a referenece point), this means that by the end of 2013, total US debt will be at least $17.4 trillion. Assuming that US 2011 GDP of $15.1 trillion grows by the consensus forecast 2% in 2012 and 3% in 2013, it means that by the end of next year GDP will be $15.8 trillion, or a debt-to-GDP ratio of 110%. Half way from where we are now, to where Italy was yesterday. And of course, both the real final deficit and Debt to GDP will be far, far worse, but that's irrelevant.
The concept of social fractals can be illustrated with a simple example. If the individuals in a family unit are all healthy, thrifty, honest, caring and responsible, then how could that family be dysfunctional, spendthrift, venal and dishonest? It is not possible to aggregate individuals into a family unit and not have that family manifest the self-same characteristics of the individuals. This is the essence of fractals. If we aggregate healthy, thrifty, honest, caring and responsible families into a community, how can that community not share these same characteristics? And if we aggregate these communities into a nation, how can that nation not exhibit these same characteristics? If this is so, then how do we explain the complete corruption of America's financial and political Elites? What else can you call a nation that passively accepts financial predation, looting, robosigning, etc. by protected cartels as the Status Quo but thoroughly corrupt?
The other other John Taylor (not the FX trader, nor the guitar player, but the "Taylor Rule" discoverer, which is at the base of all Fed monetary decisions), spoke on Bloomberg TV, and his message was certainly a far less optimistic one than that conveyed by the man charged with putting his rule into practice. "We could get into a situation like Greece, quite frankly. People have to realize it is a precarious situation. The debt is going to explode if we don't make some changes." What changes does Taylor recommend? Why the same that Bill Gross warned about yesterday - that ZIRP4EVA means a liquidity trap pure and simple, and the Fed needs to start rising rates: "the Fed has bought so much of the debt that people don't know how they're going to undo that. They pledged to have interest rates at zero until 2014, but people are saying how can they possibly do that when the economy picks up. This uncertainty had lead people to sit on all this cash. I think if the Fed gets back to the policy that worked pretty well in the '80s and '90s, we would be in much better shape." Ah yes, but the one thing, and only one thing that matters, and that is not mentioned at all, is what happens to the stock market when the Fed officially sets off on a tightening path. Actually make that question even simpler - will the drop in the S&P will be 30%, 40%, or any other greater mulitple of 10% thereof, considering that as we noted previously, the Fed and the other two central banks alone have injected over $2 trillion in just over a year. And about $10 trillion in the past 5. Calculate what the removal of this liquifity would do to stocks...
Luckily they are easy to spot: the demagogues, the manipulators and the hired claqueurs. Unfortunately, there is no lack of media willing to provide a platform to perform their insidious game. “We need more, not less, government spending to get us out of our unemployment trap. And the wrong-headed, ill-informed obsession with debt is standing in its way.”How can a Nobel-prize carrying economist, who is presumably smart, write such nonsense? “He knows better”, says Jim Rickards (author of “Currency Wars”). And that makes Krugman so dangerous. Decision makers will reference his “debt does not matter” mantra over and over again – until it’s over. Thank you, Mayfly. You really understand debt – and how to make others believe it doesn’t matter.
At least he knows where the bathroom is.
What do the NAR, Consumer Confidence and CBO forecasts have in common? If you said, "they are all completely worthless" you are absolutely correct. Alas, the market needs to "trade" off numbers, which is why the just released CBO numbers apparently are important... And the fact that the CBO predicted negative $2.5 trillion in net debt by 2011 back in 2011 is largely ignored. Anyway, here are some of the highlights, but here is the kicker: "Had that portion of the decline in the labor force participation rate since 2007 that is attributable to neither the aging of the baby boomers nor the downturn in the business cycle (on the basis of the experience in previous downturns) not occurred, the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2011 would have been about 1¼ percentage points higher than the actual rate of 8.7 percent"- translation: CBO just admitted that the BLS numbers are bogus and real unemployment is 10%. Thank you.
To picture how a cutback in social programs will impact the US populace, consider that in 2011, 48% of Americans lived in a household in which at least one member received some kind of Government benefit. Over 45 million Americans currently receive food stamps. And 43% of Americans aged 65-74 are Medicare beneficiaries. Consider the impact that even a 10% reduction in these various programs would have on the US populace.
SOTU Post Mortem:
The best news possible: "Nothing will get done this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that." Barack Hussein Obama
The worst news: Everything else.
Here is the text of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address as prepared for delivery at 9 p.m. ET. "Jobs" 33 vs. "Fat Cats" 0, Rich 3 vs Poor 1, Hope 2 vs Unicorns 0, Change 9 vs Tooth-Fairy 0, Mortgages 5 vs Apple 0, Main Street 1 vs Wall Street 3, China 4 vs Europe 1; DEBT CEILING 0
Humans are a flawed species. Our minds are easily manipulated. We don’t like pain. We prefer instant gratification. We are susceptible to mass delusion. We will often choose hope over critical thought. Those with higher IQs will regularly attempt to take advantage of those with lower IQs. Fear and greed are the two motivations used by the minority in power to control and manipulate the majority. The American people have been led astray by a small group of powerful men. We were herded through a door in the wall of perception that promised an American dream of material goods, entitlements and pleasure with no obligations or responsibility to future generations. There is only one choice that can save this country from ruin. Each individual must make a choice to either to continue supporting the manipulative, corrupt status quo or coming back through the Door in the Wall.
“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend” – Aldous Huxley
Present-day journalism in America has an unspoken double-standard. Any "news" story or analysis based on press releases from Central State fiefdoms such as the CBO, Medicare, BLS, etc. is accepted without reservations or independent inquiry, or indeed, even basic journalistic skepticism, while any reports that are critical of the Status Quo are treated quite differently: sources are treated as suspect, critical comments are always countered with official assurances, high-visibility "experts" are tapped to dismiss the criticism, and finally, the story is buried: it runs on a public-service broadcast in the wee hours of the morning, it is relegated to page B-19 in the newspaper, and it briefly appears at the bottom of a list of web stories that is quickly "refreshed" before too many people can spot it. This gives the Corporate Media "plausible deniability" when critics question the veracity and quality of its analysis. The Corporate Media digs up the buried story and presents it as "proof" of hard-hitting journalism. We now live in an era of unmitigated propaganda that is accepted much as propaganda in wartime: we all know it's been censored or gussied up with positive spin, but we accept it as "necessary" because the Status Quo is under threat.
The debt ceiling, coporate taxes and health care.