[OPE] US government mortgage

From: Jurriaan Bendien <jurriaanbendien@online.nl>
Date: Fri Jan 21 2011 - 05:25:01 EST

Record $14 trillion-plus debt weighs on Congress

The Associated Press
Saturday, January 15, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The United States just passed a dubious milestone: Government
debt surged to an all-time high, topping $14 trillion - $45,300 for each and
everyone in the country. That means Congress soon will have to lift the
legal debt limit to give the nearly maxed-out government an even higher
credit limit or dramatically cut spending to stay within the current cap.
(...) Remarkably, nearly half of today's national debt was run up in just
the past six years. It soared from $7.6 trillion in January 2005 as
President George W. Bush began his second term to $10.6 trillion the day
Obama was inaugurated and to $14.02 trillion now. The period has seen two
major wars and the deepest economic downturn since the 1930s. With a $1.7
trillion deficit in budget year 2010 alone, and the government on track to
spend $1.3 trillion more this year than it takes in, annual budget deficits
are adding roughly $4 billion a day to the national debt. Put another way,
the government is borrowing 41 cents for every dollar it spends. (...) "At
some point you run out of accounting gimmicks and resources. Eventually the
government is going to have to start shutting down certain operations," said
Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics. "If we get into a heated,
protracted debate over the debt ceiling, global investors are going to grow
nervous, and start driving up interest rates. It will all become negatively
self-re-enforcing," said Zandi. "No good will come of it."

(The federal government owns circa $3 trillion of physical assets excluding
land and $1 trillion of financial assets, according to budget documents)

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