Stay the course. We're in deep doo doo.
Well, yippy. W and the republican congress are back in the saddle for another 4 years. Now, they can start dealing with the mess they've made.Remember the deficit?WASHINGTON
- The Bush administration announced Wednesday that it will run out of maneuvering room to manage the government's massive borrowing needs in two weeks, putting more pressure on Congress to raise the debt ceiling when it convenes for a special post-election session.
Treasury Department officials announced that they will be able to conduct a scheduled series of debt auctions next week to raise $51 billion. However, an auction of four-week Treasury bills due to be completed on Nov. 18 will have to be postponed unless Congress acts before then to raise the debt ceiling.
"Due to debt limit constraints, we currently do not have the capacity to settle our four-week bill auction scheduled to settle on Nov. 18," Timothy Bitsberger, acting assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets, said in a statement.
The need to raise the debt ceiling reflects the record budget deficits of the past two years. The deficit for the 2004 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, was an all-time high of $413 billion, surpassing the old mark, in dollar terms, of $377 billion in 2003.
The administration says the president has a plan to cut the deficit in half by 2009 (Yeah, right), but critics contend that the real problems will come in later years as retiring baby boomers put unprecedented strains on Social Security and Medicare.
In its announcement Wednesday, Treasury said it will sell $51 billion in new securities next week including $22 billion in three-year notes on Monday, $15 billion in five-year notes on Tuesday and $14 billion in 10-year bonds on Wednesday.We can sell but will they buy?
According to the Post
...a rash of new data, including Treasury Department figures released yesterday showing a net sell-off by foreigners of U.S. bonds in August, has stoked debate over whether overseas investors -- private individuals, institutions and government central banks -- are growing dangerously bearish on the U.S. economy.
Foreign governments and individuals hold about half of the $3.7 trillion in outstanding U.S. Treasury bonds, for example, and the government has been heavily dependent on continued overseas bond purchases to finance the roughly $1 billion a day it has to borrow to pay its bills. Foreign lending and investment are also needed to finance the country's roughly $50 billion monthly trade deficit, while foreign capital has been a key prop to U.S. stock prices.
A turn in overseas attitudes toward the United States could ripple deeply through the economy, depressing the market, raising interest rates and pushing down the value of the dollar.
In August, foreign private investors actually sold $4.4 billion more in Treasury bonds and notes than they bought that month, the Treasury Department said yesterday -- the first time in a year that net foreign purchases were negative. That followed a 20 percent decline in July that shrunk net foreign purchases to $18.3 billion.
Bond purchases by foreign central banks also dropped sharply in July, falling 76 percent, to $4.1 billion. A rebound in August brought them back to $19.1 billion. The recovery was timely: Without it, the dollar may have taken a serious hit, said Ashraf Laidi, chief currency analyst at MG Financial Group in New York, who headlined yesterday's client newsletter, "Foreign Central Banks Save Dollar From Disaster."
Foreign purchases of stocks are off as well, going from net purchases of $9.7 billion in July to a net sell-off of $2.1 billion in August. Over the past 12 months, private foreign investors have purchased a net of $17 billion in U.S. stocks, compared with $30 billion in the 12 months before that.
The fear among economists is that those foreign lenders may grow concerned that their portfolios are too swollen with dollar-denominated assets. Global balance of financial terror.
(Don't piss the Chinese off!)
The U.S. dependence on foreign capital concerns economists on both ends of the political spectrum. In a speech this March, Lawrence H. Summers, a Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and now the president of Harvard University, warned of "a kind of global balance of financial terror," in which the economic well-being of the United States depends on the actions of foreign governments.
"There is surely something off about the world's greatest power being the world's greatest debtor," he said. "In order to finance prevailing levels of consumption and investment, must the United States be as dependent as it is on the discretionary acts of what are inevitably political entities in other countries?"
Posted by bushmeister0
at 6:48 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 3 November 2004 6:52 PM EST