Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Moody’s anticipates U.S. credit downgrade following fiscal cliff deal

Here’s the latest from the Moody’s web site.

Excerpt:

Moody’s Investors Service said that the fiscal package passed by both houses of Congress yesterday is a further step in clarifying the medium-term deficit and debt trajectory of the federal government. It does not, however, provide a basis for a meaningful improvement in the government’s debt ratios over the medium term. The rating agency expects that further fiscal measures are likely to be taken in coming months that would result in lower future budget deficits, which are necessary if the negative outlook on the government’s bond rating is to be returned to stable. On the other hand, lack of further deficit reduction measures could affect the rating negatively. Notably, yesterday’s package does not address the federal government’s statutory debt limit, which was reached on December 31. The need to raise the debt limit may affect the outcome of future budget negotiations.

[...]The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net increase in budget deficits from the fiscal package when compared to its baseline scenario (which assumes taxes on all income levels would increase) is about $4 trillion over the coming decade, excluding higher interest costs on the resultant higher debt. Based on that estimate, a preliminary calculation by Moody’s shows that the ratio of government debt to GDP would peak at about 80% in 2014 and then remain in the upper 70 percent range for the remaining years of the coming decade. Stabilization at this level would leave the government less able to deal with future pressures from entitlement spending or from unforeseen shocks. Thus, further measures that bring about a downward debt trajectory over the medium term are likely to be needed to support the Aaa rating.

This will not be our first credit rating downgrade, we had one before from Standard and Poor’s in August 2011 and a second one from Egan Jones in April 2012. So this will be the third one in a row during Obama’s borrowing and spending spree.

Would you like to see some graphs showing the impact that the fiscal cliff deal has on our long-term debt? There is a pretty good article on National Review by Yuval Levin that has the charts. The truth is that entitlements are driving our debt, and the fiscal cliff deal does nothing about it.

All Obama seems to be able to do as President is borrow from future generations in order to spend now. When I consider his drug-using years with his “Choom Gang” friends, I’m not sure that he is really qualified to do anything other than borrow and waste money. So far, he’s spent a lot more time using drugs than running businesses in the private sector, it seems to me. Maybe he has an addiction issue with borrowing and spending?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ratings agency Moody’s downgrades 15 banks, some by two notches

From Yahoo News.

Excerpt:

Ratings agency Moody’s downgraded many of the world’s biggest banks on Thursday, lowering credit ratings of 15 companies by one to three notches.

Morgan Stanley, one of the most closely watched firms, had its long-term debt rating lowered by just two notches, one level less than had been expected, and its stock rose in after-hours trading. The downgrade left Morgan Stanley more highly rated than Bank of America Corp and Citigroup but a step below Goldman Sachs Group.

Credit Suisse , which last week was warned about weak capital levels by Switzerland’s central bank, was the only bank in the group to suffer a three-notch downgrade. But its new A1 deposit and senior debt ratings, however, rank higher than many of its peers.

[...]In addition to Morgan Stanley, downgraded by two notches were Barclays , BNP Paribas , Royal Bank of Canada , Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase , Credit Agricole , Deutsche Bank , and UBS .

Falling one notch were Bank of America, HSBC Holdings , Royal Bank of Scotland and Societe Generale.

Nomura and Macquarie were included in an original list of global banks, but have already been downgraded.

I don’t think that the Obama administration should be so concentrated on legalizing gay marriage and subsidizing green energy right now. I also think that if you are going off to college, you would do well to study a STEM field. There’s a storm coming.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

United States receives another credit downgrade under Obama’s leadership

From Breitbart. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Credit rating agency Egan Jones downgraded the United States Thursday on concern over the sustainability of public debt. Egan Jones is one of the most important ratings firms in the world; they lowered our credit level from AA+ to AA. The firm reduced America from AAA to AA+ in July 2011, just before Standard & Poor’s did the same.

Egan Jones warned. “Without some structural changes soon, restoring credit quality will become increasingly difficult . . . without some structural changes soon, restoring credit quality will become increasingly difficult.” They added that there was a 1.2% probability of U.S  default in the next 12 months.  The company cited the fact that the US’s total debt, which now equals its total GDP, is rising and soon will eclipse the national GDP; the company sees the debt rising to 112% of the GDP by 2014.

The debt grew 23.6% the first two years of Obama’s presidency. When the debt is more than 100% of the GDP, treasury notes fall, which is a problem because they are used for transactions between financial institutions. This, in turn, could raise rates on mortgages and other loans, which would discourage growth in the economy, as well as state and local governments feeling the pinch, which could eliminate more services.

Paul Ryan has offered a debt reduction plan which would reduce the current six federal income tax rates to just 2 — 10% and 25%. His plan would also reduce the federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 25%, the same rate as the international average. Because of the additional revenue accrued from economic growth as a result of the tax reductions, federal revenues could double over the next 10 years; the added revenue  would be more than the entire GDP of almost every other country in the world.

Meanwhile, President Obama continues to vilify Ryan’s ideas, saying they are, “a Trojan horse, disguised as deficit-reduction plans . . . thinly veiled social Darwinism.” And White House projections show the federal debt’s ratio to gross domestic product growing to a record 124 percent in 2050 under Obama’s plan.

He just wants to keep spending and spending and spending money we don’t have. Money that he didn’t earn. Money that people not even born have not yet earned.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

How to easily develop your knowledge of the way the world works

If you’re not reading IBD editorials every day, you are missing out. I agree with them on practically everything they write. I try to stay in touch with what’s happening in the world, with respect to economics and foreign policy, and Investors Business Daily is indispensable. (And sometimes, they even cover social issues like school choice, affirmative action and stem cell research). It’s not just the news that I want, it’s the analysis. They fit every data point into an argument – and that makes the world a very interesting place.

Here are four sample articles.

Did the latest European bailout fix anything?

Excerpt:

Led by the Fed, top central banks added dollars to the global financial system on Wednesday as Europe’s crisis deepened. We hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but this won’t solve the EU’s problems.

The central banks’ bold action, though met with wild enthusiasm by financial markets, amounts to little more than a multibillion dollar Band-Aid on a deep, dangerous wound.

[...]But even as they juggle and sell off their portfolios of bad loans, major banks in Europe, the U.S. and Asia are being forced to raise capital to meet new international banking standards. The result: a credit crunch.

In short, the global financial system is near collapse, and the central banks are madly pumping dollars into it to keep the collapse from happening.

It’s an emergency, we get it. But while such actions might help in the short run, they won’t in the long run.

The EU faces the same problems today as it did yesterday, and no amount of central bank money-printing changes that.

Namely, its 17 members, used to an ever-expanding welfare state and leisure-class lifestyle, can’t sustain that way of life with their chronically weak economies and aging, low-productivity workforces.

Contrary to recent actions, the EU’s problems aren’t short-term and financial, but long-term and fiscal.

The same kind of problems that we are having USA, as we have moved from 160 billion dollar deficits under Bush in 2007 to approximately 1.4 trillion dollar deficits in ever year that Obama has been President. Maybe we can learn some lessons from the mistakes that others have made and are making instead of making those mistakes again ourselves?

If global warming is real, where are all the hurricanes?

Excerpt:

Sunday will be the 2,232nd consecutive day that the U.S. has gone without being hit by a major hurricane. This is a big enough deal to be covered by the mainstream media. But of course it won’t be.

On Dec. 4, a new record will be set for the number of days between landfalls of category 3 or stronger storms. The previous streak, according to Roger Pielke Jr., began on Sept. 8, 1900, and ended on Oct. 19, 1906, when the Great Galveston Hurricane hit.

The record won’t be broken by just a day or even a week. Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at University of Colorado, says it will be crushed.

“Since there won’t be any intense hurricanes before next summer, the record will be shattered, with the days between intense hurricane landfalls likely to exceed 2,500 days,” he writes in his blog.

Why is this significant? Because the global warming alarmists have been telling us that man’s carbon dioxide emissions would bring bigger storms.

[...]The mainstream media has happily trafficked this nonsense, but it’s not likely to mention Pielke’s point even though it would be appropriate in stories covering our very mild hurricane season, which ended Wednesday.

Why won’t they do it? Because it’s inconsistent with their narrative. It’s like the latest batch of Climategate emails, which show again a group of scientists manipulating the process for political gain. News that contradicts the alarmists’ tale simply isn’t news to the media.

If you think that global warming alarmism has no effect on you, then you need to realize that it is being used to justify all kinds of job-killing regulations. If you want to know why companies ship jobs overseas and expand their operations outside the United States, then look no further than the EPA.

Is existing U.S. oil drilling in the EPA’s crosshairs?

Excerpt:

The latest salvo in the administration’s war on energy may be new rules and permits to regulate a process to get oil and gas from porous rock, sacrificing jobs and economic growth while under review.

There are a few areas of the U.S. that are booming. Two of these are in North Dakota and Pennsylvania, states that sit atop two massive shale rock formations, the Bakken and the Marcellus.

Extraction of oil and natural gas from these formations have created jobs and economic growth in the midst of a stagnant and parched economy.

[...]Yet the Environmental Protection Agency, bowing to environmentalists’ pressure and faithful to the administration mantra that fossil fuels are harmful and obsolete, is preparing to nip this economic boom in the bud by regulating it to death.

[...]Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry estimates fracking in the Marcellus created 72,000 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2011. Drilling in the Bakken formation along the North Dakota-Montana border helps explain North Dakota’s unemployment rate of 3.2%, the nation’s lowest.

The Gulf Coast energy industry has never fully recovered from a similar moratorium and a new glacial permitting process.

Similarly, the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline project to bring Canadian tar sands oil to American refineries is stalled on environmental grounds.

It’s not enought that Obama blocks the creation of hundreds of thousands of new energy sector jobs – and wastes money on alternative energy companies connected to his campaign fundraisers – but now he might be going after existing energy production jobs, too.

Should we continue to send our “ally” Pakistan foreign aid?

Excerpt:

In what’s become a common occurrence, the Pakistani military — in an unprovoked attack — fired on coalition troops based across the border in Afghanistan. We responded by hitting two Pakistani border posts. The airstrikes killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers, sparking anti-American riots and threats of reprisal by Islamabad.

[...]So why still coddle Pakistan, diplomatically? Several reasons, not the least of which is Pakistan’s arsenal of nuclear weapons and cold war with India. But it’s mainly because we need its permission to transport military supplies across its border into landlocked Afghanistan, the terror swamp believed most worthy of draining.

More than 40% of the fuel, food, ammunition, equipment and other supplies sent to U.S. forces in Afghanistan are shipped via Pakistani ports and roads. Islamabad also gives us access to airspace — including landing rights at three air bases, where we launch the Predator drone aircraft targeting Pakistani-based terrorist camps in lieu of U.S. boots on the ground.

Islamabad could easily deny us those landing rights and cut off supply routes at any time, hamstringing our Afghan operations. Sure enough: Islamabad did exactly that over the weekend. After the coalition air strike that killed 24 of its troops, Pakistan blocked two coalition supply routes running through Pakistan. It also gave the U.S. two weeks to vacate the Shamsi air base in Balochistan, which has been used for drone sorties.

These moves make reducing our dependence on Pakistan all the more critical.

The Pentagon should hike supplies coming into Afghanistan from the north through Central Asia. To fund the added expense, it could use the billions in aid Pakistan is secretly using against us by funding and arming Afghan insurgents. It could also use a chunk of U.S. aid dollars to build larger fuel-storage facilities on the ground in Afghanistan, so that military operations can withstand major disruptions to supplies.

So there you have it – four great articles on the European crisis, global warming science, the employment situation at home, and foreign policy. And you get this analysis for free every day with Investors Business Daily. You can check out their editorials at this link, and bookmark it. Even if you don’t read the Heritage Foundation’s blog “The Foundry” and the American Enterprise Institute blog “The American”, you can still stay well informed by reading IBD every day. If you are interested in raw news without the analysis, then read CNS News.

It’s very important for Christians to understand that we have to be seen by others as aware and informed on other topics in order to be seen as aware and informed on religious issues. Part of that involves studying apologetics and being familiar with opposing arguments and evidence. Part of it is being informed about social issues like abortion, marriage and education. But part of it is just being a well-informed person in general. When topics like politics and economics and national security come up, our goal should not be to take whatever position is popular, or whatever position will make us look “nice”. We should have our own position, and we should be informed enough about the world to participate in – and even to dominate – conversations on those topics. We have to be the people who know how the world works.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bank run in socialist Europe begins

Europe: Annual Budget Deficit as % of GDP

Europe: Annual Budget Deficit as % of GDP

From CNBC.

Excerpt:

Money-market funds in the United States have quite dramatically slammed shut their lending windows to European banks. According to the Economist, Fitch estimates U.S. money market funds have withdrawn 42 percent of their money from European banks in general.

And for France that number is even higher — 69 percent. European money-market funds are also getting in on the act.

Bond issuance by banks has seized up because buyers have gone on strike.

From the Economist’s Free Exchange Blog:

In the third quarter bonds issues by European banks only reached 15 percent of the amount they raised over the same period in the past two years, reckon analysts at Citi Group. It is unlikely that European banks have sold many more bonds since.

Corporate depositors are also pulling their cash.

Free Exchange:

“We are starting to witness signs that corporates are withdrawing deposits from banks in Spain, Italy, France and Belgium,” an analyst at Citi Group wrote in a recent report. “This is a worrying development.”

And there are troubling signs that banks are even running out of collateral to back their borrowings from the European Central Bank .

So far the liquidity of the European Central Bank (ECB) has kept the system alive. Only one large European bank, Dexia, has collapsed because of a funding shortage. Yet what happens if banks run out of collateral to borrow against?

And from the leftist New York Times.

Excerpt:

The flight from European sovereign debt and banks has spanned the globe. European institutions like the Royal Bank of Scotland and pension funds in the Netherlands have been heavy sellers in recent days. And earlier this month, Kokusai Asset Management in Japan unloaded nearly $1 billion in Italian debt.

At the same time, American institutions are pulling back on loans to even the sturdiest banks in Europe. When a $300 million certificate of deposit held by Vanguard’s $114 billion Prime Money Market Fund from Rabobank in the Netherlands came due on Nov. 9, Vanguard decided to let the loan expire and move the money out of Europe. Rabobank enjoys a AAA-credit rating and is considered one of the strongest banks in the world.

American money market funds, long a key supplier of dollars to European banks through short-term loans, have also become nervous. Fund managers have cut their holdings of notes issued by euro zone banks by $261 billion from around its peak in May, a 54 percent drop, according to JPMorgan Chase research.

This is really disturbing. I wonder if any of my economics-minded commenters can explain to me what happens when there is a run on banks. I am guessing that there will be some rioting over benefits as austerity measures are imposed, and interest rates will go up.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wintery Tweets

Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,203,362 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,954 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,954 other followers

%d bloggers like this: