What Happens If the US Hits the Debt Ceiling?

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In summary, the conversation discusses the issue of the US debt ceiling and the potential consequences of reaching it. It also touches on the idea of printing money without borrowing as a solution, but highlights potential problems such as inflation. The conversation also addresses the misconception of the US owning Europe and examines the impact of large amounts of dollars being held abroad. Overall, the conversation highlights the complexities and challenges of the US financial situation.
  • #36
FlexGunship said:
See, I used to feel the exact opposite; very strongly, in fact. When Geithner was nominated I thought it was the apocalypse. But he has a very practical sense of economic theory (oxymoronic?) which was not made obvious to the public.

I didn't know a lot about Geithner but I had faith in Obama. :biggrin:

Paulson may have done well from an "overcoming-personal-challenges" point of view, but he had a history of repeatedly saying the housing market was either stable, already at the bottom, or under control. Even when he chooses not to take action, he should've been able to do a better job of figuring this stuff out. Could I have done it? NO WAY! But I'm also not accepting nominations for Secretary of the Treasury. I don't, for a second, think he was anything but honorable and did his best on behalf of the country... he just didn't seem to do a very good job in retrospect.

Agreed. His record as Sec of Treasury was dismal before the crisis. In fact, his decision to allow Lehman bros to fail is what actually started the crash of the stock market. But his handling of the crisis was most impressive. He went to the President and Congress and did what had to be done - essentially asked for a blank check and absolute control. It took a lot of nerve and personal discipline to manage things as he did.

Also... he looks disturbingly like Sarek from the newest Star Trek movie.

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR9q3AISkczTx2KiWRh51XAH6SjQ5zce-DjfpwEbSje-xYYcNaenQ.jpg

220px-Henry_Paulson_official_Treasury_photo%2C_2006.jpg

Hey, even former Sec's of Treasury need work.
 
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  • #37
Ivan Seeking said:
I didn't know a lot about Geithner but I had faith in Obama. :biggrin:

Well, not everyone did (or still does).

Ivan Seeking said:
Agreed. His record as Sec of Treasury was dismal before the crisis. In fact, his decision to allow Lehman bros to fail is what actually started the crash of the stock market. But his handling of the crisis was most impressive. He went to the President and Congress and did what had to be done - essentially asked for a blank check and absolute control. It took a lot of nerve and personal discipline to manage things as he did.

Eh, I have a hard time holding Lehman's failure against him. That's a tough call to make (to suddenly overhaul capitalism in the blink of an eye) and I think anyone with a sound economic background would've done the same thing. All free market ventures are experiments, and the Lehman experiment failed.

The only thing I hold against him is his weird obliviousness to what we could all see around us.

Here: I'm calling it RIGHT NOW... the next bubble will be the college-tuition and college-degree bubble. It's growing, and it will pop in about 8 - 10 years.
 
  • #38
FlexGunship said:
Actually, Geithner is the secretary of the Treasury. Bernanke is the chairman of the Federal Reserve. But, yes, Geithner is quite the "wizard." It's good to have an economist on the post as opposed to a banker; I like him better than Paulson.

EDIT: The fact that I didn't like Paulson had NOTHING to do with his previous position as CEO of Goldman Sachs; I think that actually worked in his favor.

actually, i was referring to this from your link:
Adding to the uproar: a coming debate over the need to raise the federal government's debt limit. Washington is rapidly nearing the roughly $14.29 trillion ceiling and is expected to exceed the cap by mid-May. Although the Federal Reserve can take some steps to delay the need to raise the cap until July, a failure to do so could ultimately lead to a default.

what is this about the treasury?
 
  • #39
Proton Soup said:
OK, so the Wizard is doing some magic behind the curtain at the Fed.

Proton Soup said:
what is this about the treasury?

I incorrectly assumed you were talking about Geithner since, at the time, the topic of discussion in the thread seemed to be Geithner and the Treasury's role.
 
  • #40
FlexGunship said:
Well, not everyone did (or still does).

That's okay. Everyone will catch up eventually. :biggrin:

Eh, I have a hard time holding Lehman's failure against him. That's a tough call to make (to suddenly overhaul capitalism in the blink of an eye) and I think anyone with a sound economic background would've done the same thing. All free market ventures are experiments, and the Lehman experiment failed.

He picked on Lehman Bros to demonstrate market discipline - a completely arbitrary and philosophical choice. The markets started to crash as soon as he made the announcement. It is conceivable that the crash might have been avoided were it not for that misstep. Again this speaks to his ignorance of [or inability to accept, which is understandable] the magnitude of the events transpiring. There was no way to avoid the downturn but it might have been a softer fall.

Likewise, much of that spending Obama has done is not driven by liberal ideology, it is driven by the economics of severe recessions. I get so sick of the right ignoring the reason for much of the spending - nevermind two wars.

Here: I'm calling it RIGHT NOW... the next bubble will be the college-tuition and college-degree bubble. It's growing, and it will pop in about 8 - 10 years.

I think we are seeing the next bubble right now - gold.
 
  • #41
Ivan Seeking said:
Likewise, much of that spending Obama has done is not driven by liberal ideology, it is driven by the economics of severe recessions. I get so sick of the right ignoring the reason for much of the spending - nevermind two wars.

I think we are seeing the next bubble right now - gold.

How does one separate liberal ideology from the increased spending (and wanting to raise taxes) in a recession? Also (trouble keeping score:confused:) - Bush gave President Obama 1 war that he didn't like and 1 war that President Obama did like - and President Obama raised Bush 1 war that nobody likes - is that correct?

As for bubbles - let's not discount the remaining problem with housing and derivatives (global and local), US Treasuries (although QE may have taken enough off the street), US Dollars (printed to pull back Treasuries) might be a problem with inflation lurking, and yes gold might be a problem (VERY complicated - but a problem).

I still think physical gold is safe (today) - futures are scary (better know your limits) - can you think of a better way to lure a lamb to slaughter than with GOLD?
 
  • #42
WhoWee said:
How does one separate liberal ideology from the increased spending (and wanting to raise taxes) in a recession?

First of all, you asked two questions. How does Obama justify increased spending during a recession? That is what governments are supposed to do. That is economic theory, not ideology.

Next, how does he justify raising taxes in a recession? The same way the right is demanding that we reduce spending, which also has a negative impact on an ailing recovery. The problem is that we face pressure on two fronts - a recession, and excessive debt. But you also assume that conservatives never support more taxes. That is false. It is however the popular paradigm in the right-wing media. This is where ideology and economics part company.

Even the conservative columnist David Brooks agrees that many of the loopholes were themselves distortionary. The pragmatic conservative position is that we want to minimize taxes, not eliminate them. As have many economists, as well as the bipartisan Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, one can accept that we need to adjust tax rates without breaking out the incense and pyramids.

Also (trouble keeping score:confused:) - Bush gave President Obama 1 war that he didn't like and 1 war that President Obama did like - and President Obama raised Bush 1 war that nobody likes - is that correct?

That is correct on the first two points and media hype on the third. Bush ignored the real war that Obama supported and instead went off on a wild goose chase. Had Bush done his job, Obama wouldn't have been handed such a mess.

As for Libya, we will see which works better: Bush's approach, or Obama's approach. Iraq vs Libya - let's see where we land before passing judgment. Which cost us the most. You are calling the game in the third quarter. From what I see, Libya is costing us so much less than Iraq that hardly anyone notices.

It was no surprise to me that Obama got Bin Laden after only two+ years when Bush couldn't get him in over seven years, and after starting two wars. As they say, luck favors the prepared.

As for bubbles - let's not discount the remaining problem with housing and derivatives (global and local), US Treasuries (although QE may have taken enough off the street), US Dollars (printed to pull back Treasuries) might be a problem with inflation lurking, and yes gold might be a problem (VERY complicated - but a problem).

I still think physical gold is safe (today) - futures are scary (better know your limits) - can you think of a better way to lure a lamb to slaughter than with GOLD?

I too think gold is safe today, but everything that goes up must come down. I think we will recover and the panic buying that has been in process for some years will at some point, collapse. However, I don't need to know my limits. I earn my money. I don't gamble. :biggrin:
 
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  • #43
Ivan Seeking said:
It was no surprise to me that Obama got Bin Laden after only two+ years when Bush couldn't get him in over seven years, and after starting two wars. As they say, luck favors the prepared.

It doesn't hurt that he was hiding in a million dollar compund next to an allies military college - instead of a cave either.
 
  • #44
Ivan Seeking said:
I too think gold is safe today, but everything that goes up must come down. I think we will recover and the panic buying that has been in process for some years will at some point, collapse. However, I don't need to know my limits. I earn my money. I don't gamble. :biggrin:

IMO - one of the worst things that happened to our economy was when savings (downward pressure on interst rates) fled to the stock market in search of higher returns. Continued IMO - the pensions were in trouble after the S&L collapse and the small investors cashed CD's to bail them out.
 
  • #45
Ivan Seeking said:
That's okay. Everyone will catch up eventually. :biggrin:

We don't need to turn this into a pro-Obama or anti-Obama thing, but there are a LOT of perfectly valid reasons not to like our current president. I am freely and openly admitting that he is doing significantly better as a leader than I would've guessed, but that doesn't somehow magically assuage all of those historically valid concerns.

To begin with, he had an eerily short political career before running for president. He was a state legislator for 7 years (not quite an impressive office) where he sponsored bills on "Racial Quotas" (http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicago...dids=352884461:352884461&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT") for police by forcing them to record the skin color of a driver detained during a traffic stop. As though there was some ideal ratio of white to black people that had to be met. I'm not saying he's racist; there's a HUGE difference here. I'm saying that he, with the best possible intentions, made some serious legislative mistakes.

Then he was elected to the U.S. senate where he held office as a Junior Senator for 2 years before announcing his candidacy for president. At the time, even other Democratic Senators had a hard time naming any piece of legislation he sponsored or authored and yet they supported him whole-heartedly.

You don't have to hate Obama to admit that there were, and might still be, perfectly valid reasons to worry about his presidency.

Ivan Seeking said:
He picked on Lehman Bros to demonstrate market discipline - a completely arbitrary and philosophical choice. The markets started to crash as soon as he made the announcement. It is conceivable that the crash might have been avoided were it not for that misstep. Again this speaks to his ignorance of [or inability to accept, which is understandable] the magnitude of the events transpiring. There was no way to avoid the downturn but it might have been a softer fall.

"Market discipline" is neither arbitrary nor philosophical. It's a perfectly valid economic principle which has served as a good baseline in the past. In fact, it is THE guiding principle in a non-command economy. The rest of your paragraph is fine; I take no issue with it.

Paulson didn't make an arbitrary decision. MAYBE he made the wrong one; but it wasn't arbitrary.

Ivan Seeking said:
How does Obama justify increased spending during a recession? That is what governments are supposed to do. That is economic theory, not ideology.

To be fair, his economic theory is driven by his liberal ideology. Specifically Keynesian theory. The term "liberal" as it applies to financial policies means "liberal application of government in the economy." Keynesian economic theory as applied to a recession REQUIRES a liberal application of government in the economy. To say that Keynesian economic theory is not "liberal" is to distort the meaning of the word.

Ivan Seeking said:
I too think gold is safe today, but everything that goes up must come down. I think we will recover and the panic buying that has been in process for some years will at some point, collapse. However, I don't need to know my limits. I earn my money. I don't gamble. :biggrin:

It's not a gamble! It's a sure thing! Haven't you seen gold-backed funds lately?! :approve:

Joking aside, gold is inherently a little safer because it is a precious metal with limited supply. Houses, on the other hand, are made of relatively cheap and plentiful resources. The value of a house is largely determined by the labor invested in it's construction. Gold doesn't rely on this as a determiner of value. So there IS a difference; however, I agree... its value does seem to be heavily inflated.

I would still argue that college (as a service and commodity) is on it's way to bubble-status. The value of a college degree is largely determined by the labor value and that value is artificially inflated right now; when students begin defaulting on school loans because they can't find high-enough paying jobs, institutions will stop lending to prospective students because they are high-risk, and the bubble will burst.

The worst part is that as colleges collapse the market will be flooded with... blech... academics.
 
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