Saturday, September 20, 2008


The quote "spending like a drunken sailor" has morphed recently into the new quote "spending like a drunken Congressmen."

As key Congressional leaders meet with Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed Chairman Bernake, news is leaking to the public about plan(s) to avert the next Great Depression. News of several plans tied together with recent emergency spending point to a near term 14-17% increase in our national debt.

(Picture of tired Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson)

The first part of any plan will involve Congress raising our national debt ceiling to 11.3 trillion. The plan will also include the buyout of $700 billion in bad mortgage debt (sources: AFP, NY Times).

How did they determine the new $11.3 trillion debt ceiling? This is what I could piece together:

(1.) $9.6+ trillion in national debt (sources: debt clock, former comptroller general quote in article)
(2.) July '08 projection of a $482 billion 2009 budget deficit
(3.) $300 billion in FHA refinancing available for failing mortgages
(4.) $200 billion bail out Fannie Mae (FMN) and Freddie Mac (FRE) in return for preferred stock
(5.) $87 billion to JP Morgan Chase (JPM) to underpin trades with bankrupt units of Lehman Brothers (LEHMQ.PK).
(6.) $85 billion to rescue AIG, in return U.S. Gov gets 79.9% stake in AIG
(7.) $29 billion purchase of Bear Stearns bad debt, enabling JP Morgan's buyout
(8.) $4 billion to local communities for purchase and rehab of abandoned homes (Source for 3-8)
(9.) $50 billion to ensure money market mutual funds (Source 2,9).

Adding items 1-9 plus the proposed $700 billion bad mortgage debt bail out you get:

$11.54 trillion!!

That's about $240 billion over the previously discussed $11.3 trillion. I guess Congress expects to recoup some funds through the warrants / equity stakes it is taking in the bailed out companies.

All of this is back of the envelope math. It ignores the FDIC bailout of banks which supposedly should be covered by insurance premiums FDIC banks are paying to the Treasury. Please let me know if you've figured out anything else with more accuracy.

The above story is just the tip of the iceberg. If you really want to know the dire consequences of our nations' fiscal irresponsibility, conduct an online search on:

Former Comptroller General David Walker + unfunded liabilities

If you do, you'll see that our nation has between $44 and $50 trillion in unfunded liabilities (much of it coming from social entitlement programs). Two articles quoting the Former Comptroller General David Walker include this Seattle Politics Examiner article and a more dire website posting here.

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