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Posts Tagged ‘jobs’


Watch It and Weep….For Our Country

   Posted by: Pat    in Budget/Economy, Congress   Print Print

I would like to recommend that you watch this fascinating and poignant interview with Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot. Mr. Langone discusses the debt ceiling debate, President Obama’s damaging class welfare rhetoric, and America’s poor job market. Mr. Langone’s words and advice should be heeded in Washington. Enjoy

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1. ‘Give Greece What It Deserves: Communism‘, Bill Frezza, Forbes

No real need to provide an introduction to this bitingly fun take down of modern Greece. Just read it!:

What the world needs, lest we forget, is a contemporary example of Communism in action. What better candidate than Greece? They’ve been pining for it for years, exhibiting a level of anti-capitalist vitriol unmatched in any developed country. They are temperamentally attuned to it, having driven all hard working Greeks abroad in search of opportunity. They pose no military threat to their neighbors, unless you quake at the sight of soldiers marching around in white skirts. And they have all the trappings of a modern Western nation, making them an uncompromised test bed for Marxist theories. Just toss them out of the European Union, cut off the flow of free Euros, and hand them back the printing plates for their old drachmas. Then stand back for a generation and watch.

2. Some Federal Workers More Likely to Die Than Lose Jobs, Dennis Cauchon, USA Today

A major indictment of the efficiency of our Federal government bureaucracy is found in this study done by USA Today. In the study, it was found that only .55% of federal employees were fired in the 2010 calendar year. So we tax payers are supposed to swallow that our federal bureaucracies are having a 99.45% success rate in finding effective and worthy employees? It seems that if a department wants to replace someone, they just have to wait for them to die, that’s all:

Death — rather than poor performance, misconduct or layoffs — is the primary threat to job security at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget and a dozen other federal operations.

The federal government fired 0.55% of its workers in the budget year that ended Sept. 30 — 11,668 employees in its 2.1 million workforce. Research shows that the private sector fires about 3% of workers annually for poor performance, says John Palguta, former research chief at the federal Merit Systems Protection Board, which handles federal firing disputes.

3. ‘Home Depot Co-Founder: Obama Is Choking Recovery, John Merline, Investor’s Business Daily

An informative interview with a man who built a small business into a giant, hiring thousands of Americans along the way:

IBD: What’s the single biggest impediment to job growth today?

Marcus: The U.S. government. Having built a small business into a big one, I can tell you that today the impediments that the government imposes are impossible to deal with. Home Depot would never have succeeded if we’d tried to start it today. Every day you see rules and regulations from a group of Washington bureaucrats who know nothing about running a business. And I mean every day. It’s become stifling.

If you’re a small businessman, the only way to deal with it is to work harder, put in more hours, and let people go. When you consider that something like 70% of the American people work for small businesses, you are talking about a big economic impact.

IBD: President Obama has promised to streamline and eliminate regulations. What’s your take?

Marcus: His speeches are wonderful. His output is absolutely, incredibly bad. As he speaks about cutting out regulations, they are now producing thousands of pages of new ones. With just ObamaCare by itself, you have a 2,000 page bill that’s probably going to end up being 150,000 pages of regulations.

4. ‘Obamacare’s Raid On the Medicine Cabinet‘, John Graham, Washington Times

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week. The subject was the impact the new Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will have on doctor’s reimbursement rates and whether that would lead to denied care for seniors on Medicare. She denied that there would much impact because savings would be found elsewhere in Medicare Parts C (Medicare Advantage) and D (prescription drug plans).

John Graham provides hard figures showing even if you took all the “savings” from these other programs, the Board would still be far short of reaching it’s cost-cutting mandate. All this to mean that the Board WILL have to cut physician reimbursement rates significantly because it simply has no where else to look:

Although IPAB can theoretically cut Medicare Advantage, the private program used by one-quarter of Medicare beneficiaries, Obamacare has already subjected Medicare Advantage to $145 billion in cuts this decade. This analysis suggests that IPAB will have to carry a lot more weight than expected. In 2019 alone, Medicare spending will likely be about $75 billion higher than officially estimated – or 7.5 times greater than what IPAB is called upon to save in the official estimate. For the entire decade, Medicare spending will be more than $400 billion greater than Obamacare estimates.

5. ‘The Half-Trillion Plan, Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post

With the debt ceiling THE issue in national politics right now and several plans floating around, Charles Krauthammer has an interesting (and in my view, most persuasive) take on the options facing Congress and the President. He calls it the Half Trillion Plan:

The debt ceiling looms. Confusion reigns. Schemes abound. We are deep in a hole with only three ways out: the McConnell Plan, the G6 Plan and the Half-Trillion Plan.

— The McConnell essentially punts the issue till after Election Day 2012. A good last resort if nothing else works.

— The G6, proposed by the bipartisan Gang of Six senators, reduces 10-year debt by roughly $4 trillion. It has some advantages, even larger flaws.

— The Half-Trillion raises the debt ceiling by that amount in return for an equal amount of spending cuts. At the current obscene rate of deficit spending — about $100 billion a month — it yields about five months’ respite before the debt ceiling is reached again.

If you have other articles you want to recommend or have an opinion on our choices, let your voice be heard in the Comments.

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Top Articles of the Week

   Posted by: Pat    in Budget/Economy, entitlements, health care, Top Articles   Print Print

1. ‘Why the Jobs Situation is Worse Than It Looks‘ – Mort Zuckerman, US News and World Report

Zuckerman details how our economy and job situation is worse than even an unemployment rate of 9.1% make it appear. Plain and simple, America’s job market has been faltering for three years and is not currently showing signs of significant improvement that one would expect during a recovery. Zuckerman, an Obama supporter in 2008, believes this administration’s fiscal and economic policies have failed greatly:

The Great Recession has now earned the dubious right of being compared to the Great Depression. In the face of the most stimulative fiscal and monetary policies in our history, we have experienced the loss of over 7 million jobs, wiping out every job gained since the year 2000. From the moment the Obama administration came into office, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs, only in part-time jobs. This is contrary to all previous recessions. Employers are not recalling the workers they laid off from full-time employment.

Click here to find out more!

The real job losses are greater than the estimate of 7.5 million. They are closer to 10.5 million, as 3 million people have stopped looking for work. Equally troublesome is the lower labor participation rate; some 5 million jobs have vanished from manufacturing, long America’s greatest strength. Just think: Total payrolls today amount to 131 million, but this figure is lower than it was at the beginning of the year 2000, even though our population has grown by nearly 30 million.

2. ‘Obama’s focus on visiting clean-tech companies raises questions‘ – Carol D. Leonnig, Joe Stephens and Alice Crites, Washington Post

A thorough report on some of the winners and losers of the Obama administration’s green job promotion. The stimulus package was full of giveaways to companies doing green projects and when the government gives away money or tax breaks there are inevitable winners and losers. This report details how many of the ‘winning’ companies had connections to Obama’s campaign and many of the losers did not. When one company making electric car batteries gets federal money and another one doing the same thing doesn’t it’s called crony capitalism:

There was intense competition for clean-tech stimulus dollars. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said his agency reviewed 50,000 applicants and chose 5,000, a 90 percent rejection rate.

For the winners, there was an added bonus when Obama or his Cabinet secretaries dropped by to tout progress. “You couldn’t get that kind of publicity if you devoted all your advertising budget to it,” said Brendan Doherty, an assistant professor at the U.S. Naval Academy who has studied and written about presidential travel.

Obama began his clean-tech travel in March 2009. At a number of companies the president visited, there were connections — not all of them close, to be sure — to his 2008 campaign. Over the months, Obama touted a Florida’s utility’s electric grid project (a company in an Obama fundraiser’s portfolio was doing extensive business with the project) and a Nevada company that generates emission-free power from waste heat, the warmth radiated by machines or industrial processes (an Obama fundraiser is a partner in a venture fund that has a small stake in the company).

3. ‘The McKinsey Health Insurance Survey Was Rigorous, After All‘ – Avik Roy, Forbes

FMFP recommended this article which details the methodology behind the McKinsey Health Insurance Survey which concluded that tens of millions of working Americans would be dropped from their current employer’s insurance and forced onto Obamacare rolls. Commentator S O brought to our attention that McKinsey did not release how they came to their numbers, but hopefully this will clear things up:

Because McKinsey had refused to release details of the methodology used in their work, Democrats and left-of-center writers accused the company of having something to hide. A “keyed-in source says McKinsey is unlikely to release the survey materials because ‘it would be damaging to them,’” asserted Brian Beutler in Talking Points Memo. Senator Max Baucus (D., Mont.) wrote a letter to McKinsey demanding they release the survey’s methodology, with three House committees intending to follow suit.

Well, lo and behold, McKinsey decided to release the details: the full questionnaire used in their survey, along with a 206-page report detailing the survey’s complete results. Accompanying these details was a thoughtful discussion of the survey’s methodology, one that pops the balloon of those who tried to tar McKinsey as some sort of careless, partisan outfit. Despite reporting which implied that McKinsey wanted to distance itself from its own work, the company declared, “We stand by the integrity and methodology of the survey.”

4. ‘The U.S. and E.U.: Have They Ever Been in Such Terrible Shape? – Josef Joffe, The New Republic

Joffe sheds light onto how the Greek crisis is hurting both the EU, Germany and France, and the United States and that the situation is likely to get worse. Europe and the United States have been the saviors for so many facing tough or critical fiscal crisis, but as Joffe asks ‘who will save them?’:

Europe will inevitably buy time by handing over a few more slices of bail-out money to Greece, even though, one day, the country will default. With 50 cents of the euro, it will halve its debt as well as its repayments and thus buy more time. The E.U., meanwhile, still won’t have any idea where it’s going or how to handle the crisis long-term. But what else is new? Twenty-seven governments do not a “more perfect union” make. Certainly not when the natural leader, which is Germany by dint of wealth and weight, sounds such an uncertain trumpet as it has under Chancellor Merkel. Yet what, exactly, is she supposed to do when the chickens of an ill-designed monetary union have finally come home to roost? Neither she nor Sarkozy can undo the mismanagement of the PIIGS in one fell swoop.

Meanwhile, back to the United States—to its still-sinking dollar and rising unemployment. It is hard to think of a time when both the U.S. and the E.U., the two biggest players in the international economy, were in such miserable shape. We are talking about two giants with a total of 50 percent of global GDP. Who will save them?

5.’The Local Government Pension Squeeze – Steve Malanga, Wall Street Journal

We all know that the US federal government and numerous state governments (Illinois, California, Wisconsin a few months ago) are facing rising fiscal crisis. Basically, these entities are spending far more than they are bringing in and they have structural issues (entitlements for the federal government, pensions for the states) that are the wolf at the door. Well, our nation’s city governments are also facing fiscal crises that are already coming to a head. You can’t have libraries, police, and no pot holes when half your budget is going toward retired city workers:

While the national media has focused on state budget face-offs between government unions and governors such as Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, municipal officials like Mr. DeStefano are engaged in their own budget warfare. Wages and benefits account for 30% of state general fund expenditures, according to data from the National Governors Association. But U.S. Census surveys show that in the typical town or school district, employee pay and benefits can consume from 70% to 80% of the budget.

Pensions are an enormous part of the problem. While pension payments now consume about 4% of state budgets, many municipalities are already spending 15% to 20% of their finances on pension costs. Earlier this year, California’s Little Hoover Commission, a government oversight agency, observed: “Barring a miraculous market advance and sustained economic expansion, no government entity—especially at the local level—will be able to absorb the blow [from rising pensions] without severe cuts to services.”

Costa Mesa, Calif. (population 110,000) made news earlier this year when it sent layoff notices to 43% of its employees. In 10 years, the city’s annual pension bill increased to $15 million from $5 million and now consumes 16% of the city’s $93 million budget. In nearby Anaheim, pensions already account for 22% of its $252 million budget. San Jose’s pension costs for police and firefighters have quadrupled in a past decade. Without reform, the city estimates that its yearly pension costs, $63 million in 2000, will swell to $650 million in 2015.

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Top Articles of the Week

   Posted by: Pat    in Budget/Economy, China, Congress, Conservative, Top Articles   Print Print

1.’The ‘Anti-Christie’ Agenda Driving Connecticut – Steven Malanga, Real Clear Markets

This is the story of the new Democratic governor of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy, who apparently fancies himself an anti-Gov. Chris Christie. Good luck Connecticut, as it seems likely you are just speeding up the time when you’ll need your own Chris Christie:

But despite proclamations in the press and the statehouse that Dannel Malloy, the state’s first Democratic governor in 20 years, was seeking to distinguish himself from anti-tax governors like Chris Christie and also from Connecticut’s past, the new ruling regime in Hartford is merely taking the state in the same direction it’s been heading for decades, albeit at a quickening pace. Under previous joint rule by Democrats and Northeastern Republicans, Connecticut became one of the nation’s most heavily taxed, heavily indebted, and economically struggling states. The new Connecticut looks suspiciously like the old one, maybe just on steroids.

Back when those ‘tax-cutting’ Republicans were in control of the governor’s office in 2009, for instance, Connecticut already had the highest per capita state and local tax burden in the country, according to the Tax Foundation. The state’s commercial taxes, the foundation estimated, amounted to the third highest burden on businesses in the country.

2. ‘China’s Cyberassault on America – Richard Clarke, Wall Street Journal

Clarke, former head of American counterterrorism, warns that cyber attacks from the Chinese government are becoming more and more threatening to American national security:

Senior U.S. officials know well that the government of China is systematically attacking the computer networks of the U.S. government and American corporations. Beijing is successfully stealing research and development, software source code, manufacturing know-how and government plans. In a global competition among knowledge-based economies, Chinese cyberoperations are eroding America’s advantage.

The Chinese government indignantly denies these charges, claiming that the attackers are nongovernmental Chinese hackers, or other governments pretending to be China, or that the attacks are fictions generated by anti-Chinese elements in the United States. Experts in the U.S. and allied governments find these denials hard to believe.

3. ‘Nobel Prize Winner Analyzes the Obama Growth Gap – Daniel Mitchell, CATO Institute

Mitchell provides us with some telling graphs of the US economy by economist Robert Lucas. These graphs show a sharp fall in GDP growth for the US during the current recovery, a troubling sight to see when many expected a strong turnabout after the recession ended:

I’ve explained before that one of the most damning pieces of evidence against Obamanomics is that the economy is suffering from sub-par growth, something that is particularly damning since normally one expects to see faster-than-average growth following an economic downturn.

In a recent presentation, Robert Lucas of the University of Chicago included a couple of graphs that illustrate this phenomenon. This first chart shows the history of U.S. economic growth over the past 140 years. As you can see, the growth rate was remarkably constant over time, and there were always periods of rapid growth following economic downturns.

4. ‘GOP shifting on anti-tax policy – Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times

This article details the internal debate within the GOP regarding closing tax holes and deductions, highlighted by the recent ethanol subsidy vote in Congress:

The ethanol tax credit provided a glint of a breakthrough for Coburn. But other tax breaks are more complicated. For example, an oil company tax break long in the crosshairs of Democrats also applies to countless other industries nationwide.

Even more politically fraught are tax breaks for individual earners: tax-free employer-sponsored health benefits, the tax-deferred 401(k)-style retirement accounts, and the sacred mortgage interest deduction. Republican congressional leaders have flatly declared that taxes will not be on the table during the summer’s negotiations over increasing the nation’s $14.3-trillion borrowing limit. But proposals to raise revenue are being pushed onto the table over GOP resistance. Both the Obama administration and congressional Republicans want to streamline the tax code, an issue that could come be up for debate later this year or next.

5. ‘Who Is James Johnson? – David Brooks, New York Times

In short, he’s a crook who made a fortune for himself and many other powerful political friends while helping collapse the American housing market, a devastating result for millions of families:

The most devastating scandal in recent history involved dozens of the most respected members of the Washington establishment. Their behavior was not out of the ordinary by any means.

For that reason, the Fannie Mae scandal is the most important political scandal since Watergate. It helped sink the American economy. It has cost taxpayers about $153 billion, so far. It indicts patterns of behavior that are considered normal and respectable in Washington.

The Fannie Mae scandal has gotten relatively little media attention because many of the participants are still powerful, admired and well connected. But Gretchen Morgenson, a Times colleague, and the financial analyst Joshua Rosner have rectified that, writing “Reckless Endangerment,” a brave book that exposes the affair in clear and gripping form.

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The mainstream media have finally started to catch on the President Obama may bear some responsibility for the sad present state of the United States economy. With the unemployment rate spiking back up to 9.1% after another disappointing jobs report and the 2012 election season kicking off, we have seen news or blog article titles like these below (H/T James Taranto, WSJ):

  • “Obama’s Toughest Re-Election Challenge May Come From Economy”–headline, Bloomberg, June 4
  • “Economy Will Force Shift in Barack Obama’s 2012 Strategy”–headline,, June 4
  • “What Can Barack Obama Do to Fix the Economy? Not Much”–headline,, June 3
  • “Bad economic numbers and a justified perception that Obama’s leadership is precipitating a decline of America’s fortunes may doom his chances of reelection. But they also may not.”–Jonathan Tobin, Commentary website, June 5

The US economy and American worker have an unparalleled track record of resiliency and I’m still confident that we will get out of this rut eventually, but as of right now, the numbers, trends, and personal outlook (that is how individual Americans view the economy and America’s future) are dismal. It’s hard to believe that the country would probably be thankful for an unemployment rate in 7%, but we are hundreds of thousands of jobs away from that right now. Americans are more pessimistic than ever it seems and this feeling is palpable in daily transactions. According to a Pew Charitable Trusts poll, 55% of Americans still rate the national economy as poor, with only 47% believing their kids will have a higher standard of living than they enjoy, down from 62% in 2009. I used the term rut above and it definitely seems apt.

Jay Cost details in a short paragraph some of the other economic factors that are dragging us down:

Have you noticed that the economy is slowing down once again? The data of late has been pretty unequivocal on that front. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen monthly reports from Fed regional banks that show local economic growth stalling. Industrial production for April was flat. The housing market is in a double dip, despite the fact that mortgage rates are at bargain basement levels. Weekly jobless claims have bounced back up. And while the top-line number of April’s unemployment report showed somewhat good news, though it also revealed clear signs that wages are not keeping pace with inflation, which is bad news, considering how dependent the economy of today is on consumer spending. Looking ahead, the major firms are already starting to cut their growth forecasts for Q2. Japan’s economy slowed more than expected last quarter, and the sovereign debt crisis of Europe is back with a vengeance. Belarus just devalued its currency, Greece remains in very real danger, and China’s now thinking of bailing out Portugal.

Cost sees a ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and who can blame him. Speaking of blame: How much should be laid at the Obama administration’s feet for our current economic malaise? This is an important question and will go along why in determining who will be America’s president in 2013. It is true that presidents are in many ways stuck with an economy, good or bad, that is largely out of their control. Barack Obama himself can largely thank the fiscal crisis of 2008 for the position he currently holds. Senator Obama absolutely went to town bashing Bush/McCain’s handling of the economy and fiscal crisis, riding this into the White House. The problem now is Obama’s now been in charge for three years with an economy that is not only still in the diaper bin, but doesn’t appear to coming up for air anytime soon.

Though it is true that macroeconomic sides of the US economy are mostly out of the executive branch’s hands, they still play can play a major role. For instance, President Obama said it was an absolute necessity for the federal government to pass and implement a massive stimulus plan to get the economy growing and people back to work. Here is the President in 2009:

“I hope that we can continue to strengthen this plan before it gets to my desk. But what we can’t do is drag our feet or allow the same partisan differences to get in our way. We must move swiftly and boldly to put Americans back to work, and that is exactly what this plan begins to do.

Well, not exactly. The administration also released a chart showing how the Stimulus package (totally nearly $800 million dollars) would lower the unemployment rate. Here is that chart with something extra added on; the actual employment rate (H/T Cato Institute’s Daniel J. Mitchell):

There is no doubt that the Obama administration’s single greatest attempt to revive the economy was a huge failure. We’ve all heard the counterfactual’s (‘unemployment would be 12-13% without the Stimulus’), but we have the administration’s own statistics to judge it by. The administration needs to be held accountable for its policies and their outcomes. According to just released poll by Washington Post-ABC, they are starting to be:

Overall, about six in 10 of those surveyed give Obama negative marks on the economy and the deficit. Significantly, nearly half strongly disapprove of his performance in these two crucial areas. Nearly two-thirds of political independents disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, including — for the first time — a slim majority who do so strongly.


One more point: I came across this statement from President Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney on twitter:

“There is no issue that matters more to this president than the economic health of this country.”

Unfortunately for Mr. Carney, and more importantly for President Obama, is that I and most Americans have memories. Reading this quote, I immediately recalled another key legislative ‘victory’ for the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Before the Stimulus bill even had time to cool, let alone be implemented, Obama and the Democrats spent the next year attempting to pass one of the most controversial, ideological, and most importantly, economic damaging bills in American history. It was like they said; ‘Stimulus done, economy okay now, onto our liberal dream of government run health care’.

History now tells a different story: ‘Economy not okay, health reform still very unpopular, 2012 election up in the air’.

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Below is some weekend reading for you GPPers:

1. Internet Cop -Peter Suderman, Reason

A solution in search of a problem; Suderman profiles the Obama administration’s new head of the FCC with a focus on his role overseeing the Internet:

Julius Genachowski, the man hand-picked by President Barack Obama to chair the FCC, insists not. “I’ve been clear repeatedly that we’re not going to regulate the Internet,” he told The Wall Street Journal in February 2010. But his actions suggest otherwise. Since taking office in June 2009, Genachowski, a tech entrepreneur and former FCC counsel, has led the commission on an unprecedented quest for power over the Web’s network infrastructure, sparking a thunderous, confusing lobbying battle over who gets to control the Net.

2. Revolution in the Muslim World – George Freidman, Stratfor

Geopolitical strategist Freidman takes a stab at predicting how the uprisings in the Arab world may shake out:

If I were to guess at this point, I would guess that we are facing 1848. The Muslim world will not experience massive regime change as in 1989, but neither will the effects be as ephemeral as 1968. Like 1848, this revolution will fail to transform the Muslim world or even just the Arab world. But it will plant seeds that will germinate in the coming decades. I think those seeds will be democratic, but not necessarily liberal. In other words, the democracies that eventually arise will produce regimes that will take their bearings from their own culture, which means Islam.

3. California Dreaming About Texas Jobs -Steven Malanga, Real Clear Markets

Texas is growing, California isn’t. Malanga tries to explain why:

But every politician in California of either party ought to know that the answer to the state’s economic woes lies not in Texas, but in California. Job migration is a very sexy issue, and one blogger, relocation expert Joseph Vranich, is even keeping an online list of firms that have exited California. But migration makes up only a small part of the job gains or losses a state experiences. By contrast, job creation through expansion of businesses and the formation of new companies is far more responsible for job growth. California once knew how to create new jobs and new companies, and a few places in the state still do it fairly well. The answers to California’s woes lie in those places, not in Texas.

4. The Truth about Obama’s 2012 Budget – Veronique de Rugy, Reason

This one is a bit dated, but we should all remember that before Obama’s ‘fiscal policy’ speech last week, he put out a budget that has been so panned that he, well, had to make another one just a few months later:

Myth 1: Under President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget, we will “live within our means”.

Fact 1: Debt and spending will continue to grow and deficits will continue to persist under the president’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew claims that President Obama’s new budget calls for a “sustainable” deficit but the facts tell a different story. Despite a nominal commitment to fiscal reform, the president’s budget calls for $3.7 trillion in spending. That’s more spending than occurred in fiscal year 2010. This spending will result in a projected net deficit of $1.6 trillion, the highest level of deficit in U.S. history.

5. Understanding the S&P Report – Keith Hennessey

Economist Keith Hennessey explains S&P’s decision to downgrade the US fiscal outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ in layman’s terms:

Yesterday’s report by Standard & Poor’s on the U.S. government’s credit rating is driving headlines. You can learn a lot more from reading the primary source document than from news coverage of it.

Here is what S&P did:

On April 18, 2011, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed its ‘AAA’ long-term and ‘A-1+’ short-term sovereign credit ratings on the United States of America and revised its outlook on the long-term rating to negative from stable.

Happy Easter and have a good weekend.

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