Running On Empty

Actually, we’re running beyond empty now. The United States can’t legally borrow any more money until Congress acts to raise the debt ceiling.

US government hits debt ceiling, lighting 11-week fuse

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner informed Congress on Monday that the United States has reached its legal debt limit, setting off a ticking time bomb that could explode in less than three months if lawmakers can’t bridge differences and allow more government borrowing.

In hitting the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling – the limit on how much the government can borrow – the Obama administration on Monday began temporarily halting payments to the retirement and federal pension accounts of federal workers and started borrowing from those funds, to be restored later.

Geithner sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., warning that the government can move money around for about 11 weeks but if a new debt ceiling isn’t agreed to by Aug. 2, the U.S. government could effectively default on its obligations to its creditors. He warned of “catastrophic economic consequences for citizens” unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.

An increase of about $2 trillion is expected, enough to get the issue past the 2012 elections before Congress would have to lift it again.

Republicans who control the House of Representatives vow to link raising the debt ceiling to cuts in government spending of at least equal measure. In a combative statement Monday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, upped the ante.

“As I have said numerous times, there will be no debt limit increase without serious budget reforms and significant spending cuts, cuts that are greater than any increase in the debt limit.” Boehner has called previously for $2 trillion in spending cuts as part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling.

See also:
US hits $14 trillion debt limit
US Hits Debt Ceiling, But Treasury Market Rules Out Default For Now
Deja Vu, But No Disaster: U.S. Government Hits Debt Ceiling
U.S. Hits Debt Limit, Sky Doesn’t Fall
U.S. hit debt limit today
Treasury Tapping Federal Retirement Accounts to Stave Off Default
Turbo Tim Raids Pension Plans
With Debt Limit Maxed Out, Lawmakers Hold Firm On Remedy
Rep. Jordan: U.S. won’t default if debt ceiling isn’t raised
U.S. National Debt Clock

Well, we hit the debt ceiling and, despite all the Democrat Chicken Little hysteria, the Sun didn’t explode, the seas didn’t boil, and the markets didn’t plunge thousands of points. Go figure.

/all I can say is that the Republicans had better stand firm and hold their ground this time and hold out for concrete, verifiable spending cuts that at least equal the amount of any debt limit increase

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Waddling Back To The Trough

Here comes a squealing Fannie Mae, begging to suck on the taxpayer teat yet again. Hey, I know, let’s throw some more good money after bad.

Fannie Mae Seeks $8.5 Billion in U.S. Aid After Reporting Loss

Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance company operating under U.S. conservatorship, will seek $8.5 billion in Treasury Department aid to balance its books after reporting a $6.5 billion loss in the first quarter.

Fannie Mae is requesting the money to eliminate a net worth deficit of $8.4 billion for the three-month period that ended March 31, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today. The $6.5 billion loss for the quarter compares with an $11.5 billion shortfall in the same period a year ago.

. . .

Fannie Mae’s smaller rival, Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia, posted a $676 million first-quarter profit on May 4. Freddie Mac reported a net worth of $1.2 billion and didn’t request additional aid.

The two companies, which own or guarantee more than half of U.S. single-family mortgages, have drawn more than $160 billion in Treasury aid since September 2008, when they were seized by the federal government amid losses that pushed them to the brink of insolvency.

See also:
Fannie Mae Falls Back Into the Loss Column
Fannie Mae to ask $8.5bn of Treasury
Fannie Mae seeks $8.5 billion from taxpayers
Fannie Mae Posts Deep Loss
Fannie Mae requests additional 8.5 billion dollars in government aid
Fannie’s Friday Earnings Release: $8.7-Billion Loss

And who’s responsible for this financial black hole?

Why are we continuing to prop up this bull[expletive deleted]? Let Fannie Mae fail. How much worse can the housing market get? In fact, the government’s insistence in meddling in the housing market. led by the Democrats, only prolongs the inevitable and prevents the free market from sorting itself out.

/take away the trough, wean Fannie Mae from the taxpayer teat, vote Republican in 2012, it’s the only way to be sure

What Was The [Expletive Deleted] Point?

First they promised to cut $100 billion, then said what they really meant was that they’d hold out indefinitely for $60 billion, then they totally caved in to the Democrats, compromising on $38 billion, and in the end all we got was a lousy $352 million in cuts. What a gyp, shame on the spineless Republicans.

Budget deal: CBO analysis shows initial spending cuts less than expected

A federal budget compromise that was hailed as historic for proposing to cut about $38 billion would reduce federal spending by only $352 million this fiscal year, less than 1 percent of the bill’s advertised amount, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Although that analysis dampened enthusiasm for the deal among many Republicans on Thursday, the House and the Senate approved the measure with bipartisan support. President Obama is expected to sign the bill Friday, officially ending the prospect of a government shutdown.

The findings from the budget office warned that the deal may never come close to delivering on its promises. The analysis found that $13 billion to $18 billion of the cuts involve money that existed only on paper and was unlikely to ever be tapped.

See also:
U.S. Budget Analysis Shows Smaller Savings
CBO Says Budget Deal Will Cut Spending by Only $352 Million This Year
Forget $38B: Budget only cuts $352 million this year
Deal Approved but Debate Continues Over Actual Extent of Spending Cuts
Budget cuts too small for many conservatives
Spending cuts fall short of $38 billion: CBO
How Washington Turned $38 Billion Into $352 Million
CBO: 2011 Budget Cuts Far Less Than Promised
Editorial: Washington’s $38 Bil In ‘Cuts’ Are Bogus

This is insane, the United States is $14 trillion in debt, the world bond markets could decide to cut up our national credit card at any given moment, the laws of mathematics dictate that the American economy will completely collapse by 2037, and these congressional buffoons spent the entire last month arguing over cutting $352 million?

The 2012 elections can’t come fast enough. We need to start with a new President and Republicans taking control of the Senate and keeping control of the House. It’s apparent that one party rule, with a party that’s serious about restoring fiscal sanity (and that ain’t the Democrats), is going to be required to stop this country from careening off the cliff of financial ruin.

/and, if that doesn’t work, we’ll have to get us some new Republicans starting in 2014

How Do You “Invest” When You’re Broke?

Hey Obama, what part of “we don’t have any money” don’t you understand?

CBO: Federal deficit to hit $1.5T this year

Last month’s bipartisan tax cuts and spending deal has deepened the federal deficit dramatically this year, putting the government on track for a nearly $1.5 trillion shortfall — the largest in history — the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

The sobering check on the country’s finances was announced a day after President Obama‘s address to Congress and underscored the country’s tenuous fiscal standing, which could doom many of Mr. Obama‘s initiatives to boost government spending on education, roads and other infrastructure.

The CBO did say the economy appears to be improving, albeit slowly, from a deep recession that drove the unemployment rate to more than 10 percent. The rate is still above 9 percent, despite efforts by Mr. Obama and Congress to pump money into the economy.

“It’s been a slow recovery by the standards of our past. The labor market in particular has been coming back slowly; income has been coming back slowly,” said CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf.

Social Security Will Post Shortfall This Year, CBO Says

Social Security will post a $45 billion shortfall in fiscal 2011 and will pay out more in benefits than it accepts in payroll taxes through at least 2021 without legislative changes, the Congressional Budget office said on Wednesday.

See also:
The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2011 to 2021
CBO projects record-high $1.5 trillion budget deficit this year
As deficits, debt soar, Obama, Congress fail to confront them
Deficit Outlook Darkens
CBO forecast: frightening fodder for both parties
It’s official: The debt is ballooning. Now can we think clearly?
Social Security to Run Deficits for Foreseeable Future, CBO Says
Social Security fund now seen to be empty by 2037
Social Security to Operate in the Red for the Next 10+ Years: CBO
Social Security to run permanent deficits, says CBO
CBO: Social Security Will Run Permanent Deficits
A Roadmap for America’s Future

I swear, Is Paul Ryan the only adult in Washington? When are these moron politicians going pay attention, grow some spines, and start taking this fiscal crisis seriously. Every day that goes by, we dig ourselves deeper into the national debt hole and it becomes ever so much more difficult and painful to try and climb out of our self inflicted, bottomless deficit pit.

/we’d better just forget about pie in the sky choo choo trains and go straight to the required austerity budget measures

Iran Plays Cash For Karzai

Could Hamid Karzai be any more corrupt? Iran arms the Taliban against Coalition forces and the Afghan army.

Karzai: We receive cash from Iran

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has said that his office receives cash in bags from Iran.

The Afghan leader said on Monday that this method of aid distribution is transparent and helps cover government expenses. He also said that the US makes similar cash payments.

The comments came after a report on Sunday that Karzai’s chief of staff, Omar Dawoodzai, receives covert bagfuls of money – possibly as much as $6 million in a single payment – sent by neighbouring Iran in a bid to secure influence.

Karzai said the money was used for palace expenses, salaries and for “people outside,” but gave no further details.

The New York Times, citing an unnamed Afghan official, said that millions of dollars in cash channelled from Iran are used to pay Afghan parliamentarians, tribal elders and Taliban commanders.

US concern

Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, said world leaders should have “every reason to be concerned about Iran trying to have a negative influence on Afghanistan.”

He added Iran had a responsibility to exert “a positive influence on the formation of a government there, and to ensure that Afghanistan is not a country where terrorists can find safe harbour, or where attacks can be planned on their soil.”

Karzai said he gets money from several “friendly countries” but named only the US and Iran, the latter contributing almost $1 million twice per year. Karzai said he will continue to ask for Iranian money.

“The government of Iran assists (my) office with five or six or seven hundred thousand euros once or twice a year, which is official aid,” Karzai told reporters at a joint news conference in Kabul with visiting Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon.

See also:
Afghan president confirms large cash payments by Iranian officials
Karzai Says Iran, US Give Afghanistan ‘Bags Of Money’
Iran Is Said to Give Top Karzai Aide Cash by the Bagful
Karzai Admits Getting Cash From Iran
Hamid Karzai confirms Iranian cash
Karzai Says Iran Provides `Transparent’ Financial Aid in Euros or Dollars
White House says concerned about Iran’s “negative influence” on Afghanistan
US ‘concerned’ about Iran influence in Afghanistan
US ‘Skeptical’ of Iranian Motives in Cash Payments to Karzai Aides
Karzai’s bags of cash a conundrum for the U.S.
Karzai calls Iran payments to Afghanistan ‘normal’
Afghan President Karzai downplays cash from Iran; calls it ‘normal’
‘Let’s not make this an issue,’ says Karzai
Three Questions About Karzai Accepting Iranian Cash

The situation in Afghanistan gets more farcical by the day. Who the hell is the enemy, everybody?

/I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to think [expletive deleted] it, what’s the point of us even being there anymore?