Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama’s irresponsible student loan policies leave taxpayers with trillion-dollar bubble

President Obama's student loan bubble

President Obama’s student loan bubble

This is from Investors Business Daily.

It says:

In 2010, Obama eliminated the federal guaranteed loan program, which let private lenders offer student loans at low interest rates. Now, the Department of Education is the only place to go for such loans.

Obama sold this government takeover as a way to save money — why bear the costs of guaranteeing private loans, he said, when the government could cut out the middleman and lend the money itself?

The cost savings didn’t happen. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office just increased its 10-year forecast for the loan program’s costs by $27 billion, or 30%.

What did happen was an explosive growth in the amount of federal student loan debt. President Clinton phased in direct federal lending in 1993 as an option, but over the next 15 years the amount of loans was fairly stable. The result of Obama’s action is striking. In each of the past six years, federal direct student loan debt has climbed by more than $100 billion. (See chart.)

And since Obama keeps making it easier and easier to avoid repaying those loans, it’s a problem that taxpayers will eventually have to shoulder.

Through words and actions, Obama has encouraged irresponsibility on the part of student borrowers. He constantly talks as if student debt were an unfair burden they unknowingly had foisted upon them.

At the same time, he’s made it easier and easier to avoid paying back student loans in full. Earlier this year, for example, Obama expanded eligibility for his “pay as you earn” program, which limits loan payments to 10% of income, with any debt left after 20 years forgiven.

Students got the message. The St. Louis Fed reports that 27.3% of student loans in repayment are at least a month behind in payments. That’s a far higher delinquency rate than any other kind of debt, and it’s significantly higher than the delinquency rate 10 years ago.

“This overall level of delinquency is very concerning,” concluded authors Juan Sanchez and Lijin Zhu.

A 2013 Consumer Financial Protection Board report found that less than half of this federal loan money was actually being paid. About 30% was held by borrowers still in school or in a grace period, another chunk in deferment or forbearance, and almost 14% was in default.

The problem here is that whenever the government nationalizes something that the private sector is doing, it always creates a problem. Let me explain. If student loans (or mortgage loans) are run solely by the private sector, then the motivation for lending money out at interest is to make money for the bank’s depositors and investors. In other words, because the bankers are in a free market and have to compete for depositors and investors, they have an interest in making sure that the loans they make get paid back.

But when the government takes over loans, they are not interested in being wise with the money they lend out – it’s not their money. They want to lend out as much as possible today in order to buy votes, and then kick the can down the road on the repayment. So instead of being careful about asking “will this get paid back?” they ask “how can I borrow from the future in order to buy as many votes as I can right now?” And that’s how we got the housing crisis of 2008, as well as this trillion-dollar student loan crisis.

When you take the profit motive out of the lending decision, then money gets lend to people who will never be able to pay it back. No private bank that has to answer to shareholders hands out money to students who want to study underwater basket-weaving. But the government does. They want to buy as many votes as possible. And besides, this is not their money. They are borrowing it from the future earnings of the very students they are giving it to! That’s what happens when you let big government decide everything.

Whenever big government politicians want to buy votes with taxpayer money, they always sell it to the people with sob stories about some poor, helpless group of people will suffer through no fault of their own. There are a lot of voters who will vote for politicians who cry crocodile tears for them, especially ones who don’t understand economics. There is no free lunch – somebody has to pay. Democrats are basically throwing a party for students, and then mailing them the (unexpected) bill for it, with interest.

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Is Obama’s economy as good as the mainstream media are telling us?

This article from CNS News was tweeted by GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

The economy is not good

This economy is not good (click for larger image)

It says:

The federal government taxed away more money, spent more money and ran a bigger deficit in the first half of fiscal 2015 than it did in the first half of fiscal 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“The federal government ran a budget deficit of $430 billion for the first half of fiscal year 2015, CBO estimates–$17 billion more than the shortfall recorded in the same span last year,” the CBO said in its Monthly Budget Review for March 2015, which was published April 8. “Both revenues and outlays were about 7 percent higher than the amounts recorded in the first six months of fiscal year 2014.”

Keep in mind that these deficit numbers are for half a year. In 2007, George W. Bush was running a deficit of $160 billion for an entire year.

And we’re being taxed more, too:

The biggest source of additional tax revenue for the federal government was the individual income tax. In the first six months of fiscal 2014, Americans paid the federal government approximately $585,000,000,000 in individual income taxes. In the first six months of fiscal 2015, Americans paid $642,000,000,000 in individual income taxes—an increase of $57 billion (or 9.7 percent) from fiscal 2014.

What’s the long-term forecast?

The Wall Street Journal has it:

Question: “How close are we from seeing entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security come into direct conflict with defense spending priorities? Defense spending is almost 20% of the Fed budget and nearly 60% of discretionary spending. Current cost of health care and an aging population are strong indicators this could happen sooner than later.”

Zumbrun: “I’d say we’re already seeing it now. As Nick noted above, the CBO projects that mandatory spending and spending on interest will climb, but that defense and nondefense discretionary spending will be squeezed. Anyone who doesn’t want to see that happen in the next decade needs some combination of higher revenue, much faster economic growth, or cuts to entitlement programs.

“The budget deal known as sequestration squeezed down both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. If, instead, everyone agreed it was okay to cut entitlements (which they obviously don’t), you wouldn’t have needed to squeeze that down. So I think it’s fair to say these things are already in conflict.”

Question: “Debt as long as partnered with productivity is no problem. From the looks of it, the U.S. might fall as an economy, but is now the time?”

Timiraos: “That’s a good point. One thing that’s a little bit troubling, however, is that estimates of the potential output of the U.S. economy have been revised down. What does that mean exactly? Instead of growing at a 2.7% rate from 2014-18, it now says the economy will grow at a 2.5% rate. That doesn’t sound too bad, but over time, it adds up.”

Question: “The U.S. has so far been capable of keeping its cost of borrowing at a remarkably low level. What about in the long term where it seems likely that servicing the debt will eat up a larger and larger percentage of government expenditures in an age of slowing growth?”

Zumbrun: “There’s actually decent reason to believe that if the economy slows down a lot then interest rates will stay very low. That’s basically the situation in Japan, right? They’re mired in decades of low growth, driven by aging demographics and a central bank that was really timid for a long time, but as a result of their permanently stagnant economy, interest rates are incredibly low. In the U.S., one scenario like this is known as secular stagnation.

Wow, if our economy starts to look like Japan, that will not be good. They have massive deficits, zero economic growth and a looming demographic crisis (few young workers, many older retirees). It’s a very bad situation that’s being masked by low interest rates and massive, massive borrowing.

The Brookings Institute agrees

Lest you think that this is just the conservative take on this, here’s the leftist Brookings Institute, writing about it just last week.

They say:

Debt figures tell part of the story. When the Great Recession hit, the federal debt was equal to about 40 percent of GDP. But to fight the recession, Congress enacted an $800 billion dollar stimulus bill. Stimulus spending, combined with already enacted spending and tax policy, resulted in four years of trillion dollar deficits. As a result, the debt ballooned to 78 percent of GDP in 2013, almost twice the pre-recession level. The annual deficit is now declining at a stately pace, but by 2016 it will begin increasing again, and by 2020 under CBO’s alternative fiscal scenario, we will once again return to annual deficits above a trillion dollars, thereby once again greatly increasing the national debt.

Oh come on – Obama says that he saved the economy, and everyone in the mainstream media agrees.

Did he?

What’s the word for our fiscal situation? Stunning? Shocking? Desperate? In recent testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, Boston University Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff, in effect, told the Committee that all of these terms are pathetically inadequate to describe our true fiscal situation. In compelling testimony, Kotlikoff argues that the federal fiscal situation is much worse than the CBO estimates let on. The reason is that CBO’s debt estimates do not take into account the full financial obligations the government is committed to honor, especially for future payments of Social Security, Medicare, and interest on the debt. He asserts that the federal government should help the public understand the nation’s true fiscal situation by using what economists call “the infinite-horizon fiscal gap,” defined as the value of all projected future expenditures minus the value of all projected future receipts using a reasonable discount rate.

If you’re going to be retirement age around 2030, you’d better do two things right now – first, don’t expect any help from the Federal government. I don’t care if you paid into their Ponzi scheme redistribution programs – there is no money for you there. Second, if you’re working till you’re retired, then expect the government to raise taxes even more on you.

Would you expect secularists to care about the next generation when this is the only life they have? I would not. Ideas have consequences.

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Should we care that Democrats ran up the debt from 8.5 to 18.1 trillion?

In 2007, Democrats seized control of the House and Senate after winning the 2006 mid-term elections. The last Republican budget through 2007 had a 160 billion deficit. What followed next was years and years of trillion dollar deficits under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. The Republicans only gained back the House in 2011, and the Senate in 2015.

Here’s what happened to the deficit while the Democrats had control of spending:

National Debt and Deficit 2007-2013

National Debt and Deficit 2007-2013

Now let’s take a look why this is a problem going forward, especially for young people. We’ll use this article from the Wall Street Journal.

It says:

The U.S. has come a long way since the days of trillion-dollar deficits, just a few years ago. The White House projects 2016 will have the smallest budget deficit in eight years. Yet the budgetary impact of the debt that’s been accumulated–$18 trillion in total, $13 trillion of that owed to the public–will reassert itself.

Currently, the government’s interest costs are around $200 billion a year, a sum that’s low due to the era of low interest rates. Forecasters at the White House and Congressional Budget Office believe interest rates will gradually rise, and when that happens, the interest costs of the U.S. government are set to soar, from just over $200 billion to nearly $800 billion a year by decade’s end.

By 2021, the government will be spending more on interest than on all national defense. according to White House forecasts. And one year later, interest costs will exceed nondefense discretionary spending–essentially every other domestic and international government program funded annually through congressional appropriations. (The largest part of the budget is, and will remain, the mandatory spending programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Mandatory spending is over $2 trillion and is set to double to $4 trillion by 2025.)

The advice I would give to young people just entering college is to make sure that you don’t vote for more spending and borrowing. Because you’re the ones who are going to have to pay it off!!! Also, don’t waste your money on a discipline for which there are no jobs. Stay away from anything that is not STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math. Try not to borrow money. One lady I know just completed a couple of years of community college, before heading into a computer science program at a university. That is smart – I really recommend that.

Be willing to move if a good job presents itself, because earning money now before the storm is really important. Work while it’s day, in other words. Try not to stay in school any longer than you have to, because work experience is usually worth as much or more than school, and you get paid to work – you don’t get paid to go to school. Don’t think that things are going to be as good as thy are now, or that things are good enough to take unnecessary risks. This probably isn’t the time to “follow your heart” unless your heart is telling you to take the job that pays the most, regardless of how much you like it.

It’s very important to start saving as early as possible so that you can take advantage of interest rates when they go up to earn interest. The earlier you start to save, the more you earn in interest. The key is to never miss a chance to earn and save. Always keep working, and never go to school unless you really need to and you are sure that it will produce a return on investment. Your priority has to be working and saving, and not spending money on frivolous things like travel or thrills. We are not at the right time in history for concentrating on sky-diving, zip-lining and surfing. Now is the time for saving.

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Obama said Obamacare would not add to the deficit, CBO says it adds $1.35 trillion

In the video above, Obama promised the American people that his health care plan would not add one dime to the deficit. And the low-information voters who voted for him believed him. Just like they believed that they could keep their doctor, that they could keep their health care plan, that Obamacare would lower the costs of health care, that Benghazi was caused by a YouTube video, and so on.

So how much did Obamacare add to the deficit?

The UK Daily Mail has the latest numbers from the Congressional Budget Office.

Truth:

It will cost the federal government – taxpayers, that is – $50,000 for every person who gets health insurance under the Obamacare law, the Congressional Budget Office revealed on Monday.

The number comes from figures buried in a 15-page section of the nonpartisan organization’s new ten-year budget outlook.

The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured in 2025, compared to the year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Pulling that off will cost Uncle Sam about $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head.

The numbers are daunting: It will take $1.993 trillion, a number that looks like $1,993,000,000,000, to provide insurance subsidies to poor and middle-class Americans, and to pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) costs.

Offsetting that massive outlay will be $643 billion in new taxes, penalties and fees related to the Obamacare law.

That revenue includes quickly escalating penalties – or ‘taxes,’ as the U.S. Supreme Court described them – on people who resist Washington’s command to buy medical insurance.

It also includes income from a controversial medical device tax, which some Republicans predict will be eliminated in the next two years.

If they’re right, Obamacare’s per-person cost would be even higher.

Did Obama know that he was lying when he said that his health care plan would not add one dime to the deficit?

Well, his buddy Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, certainly did:

But we should not be surprised, either by the low intelligence levels of Democrat voters or by the lies of Democrat politicians. After all, they want single payer health care – look what Harry Reid says:

“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.

When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

And they know – from looking up North to Canada – that single-payer health care will necessarily involve massive increases in taxes.

CTV News describes a recent study on the costs of single-payer health care in Canada:

A typical Canadian family with two parents and two kids will pay up to $11,786 for public health care insurance this year, according to a new study from the conservative think tank Fraser Institute.

Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Fraser Institute study estimated the amount of taxes Canadian families will pay for public health insurance this year.

What do you get for $11,786?

You get to be on a waiting list for a primary care physician, and you get to wait months for treatment. You can pay taxes your whole life, and then wait behind people who want sex changes – people who have never paid a dime into the system. And sometimes, you die while waiting for treatment. That’s “fairness” and “equality”. And that’s where the Democrats want to take us.

Remember when Obama said that we could keep our health care plans and our doctors?:

Democrats voters looked at this man, and they just knew – without any studies or any evidence – that he was telling the truth.

But the Congressional Budget Office says that TEN MILLION people will lose their employer health plans under Obama by 2021.

Look:

The Congressional Budget Office now says ObamaCare will push 10 million off employer-based coverage, a tenfold increase from its initial projection. The “keep your plan” lie just gets bigger and bigger.

The latest CBO report is supposed to be a big win for the Obama administration because the projected costs are 20% below what the CBO first projected in 2010.

But the CBO report also shows that ObamaCare will be far more disruptive to the employer-based insurance market, while being far less effective at cutting the ranks of the uninsured, than promised.

Thanks to ObamaCare, the CBO now expects that 10 million workers will lose their employer-based coverage by 2021.

This is in addition to the FOUR MILLION who already lost their health care plans in 2013.

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

National debt up more than $10 trillion since Pelosi/Reid budgets of 2007

This post is from Red State.

Excerpt:

Despite his promises to cut the deficit in half by the end of his “first” term, Obama  racked up the largest deficits in U.S. history:

  • FY2009: The federal budget deficit was $1.413 trillion, the highest in U.S. history. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2011: The federal budget deficit was $1.299 trillion, the second highest in U.S. history. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2010: The federal budget deficit was $1.294 trillion, the third highest in U.S. history. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2012 The federal budget deficit was $1.090 trillion, the fourth highest in U.S. history. (“An Analysis of the President’s 2013 Budget,” Congressional Budget Office, 10/5/12)

You shouldn’t be shocked by Obama’s failure to reduce the deficit in half by the end of his first term in office. He did warn us there would be “trillion-dollar deficits for years to come.”

Interest expense on the national debt is what sinks countries. The zero interest rate environment we have today masks the problem. When we return to normal interest rates, say 6%, our interest expense will jump to approximately to 25% of tax receipts. We have recently seen what happens to countries with debt problems similar to ours. Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Argentina all brought to their knees by excessive debt.

Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore:

Here is the biggest worry about an $18 trillion debt: What happens if/when interest rates start to drift back upward? Answer: This is the economic equivalent of the nuclear option.

Each 1-percentage-point rise in interest rates causes the U.S. deficit to rise by more than $1 trillion over ten years. So a 300-basis-point rise in rates — nothing more than a return to normalcy — would mean about $5 trillion in federal deficits.

If that happens, the debt-servicing costs grow astronomically and interest payments would become the biggest expense item in the budget. We start to pay more and more taxes just to finance past borrowing. This is what happened in Detroit; look at how that turned out.

Maybe this debt bubble won’t burst. Let’s pray that it doesn’t. If it does, the 2008–09 real-estate crash could look like a picnic by comparison.

[…]Oh, and we’re still borrowing half a trillion a year, so the debt will likely hit $20 trillion sometime before 2018. Have a nice day.

In 2007, when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over the spending, the national debt was only 8.5 trillion!

I am really hoping that interest rates will go up. Not only would it help me personally to get a predictable return on my investments, but I would like the people who voted for the Democrats to perceive (when it blows up) that lowering interest rates and borrowing trillions of dollars was not the right way to achieve real economic growth. The economy looks better if you throw 10 trillion dollars of borrowed money at it, but it’s not sustainable. In fact, it seems as if the left is always trying to wreck the economy with one bubble or another. It’s not just reducing mortgage lending requirements to create a housing bubble, it’s reducing student loans requirements to create a higher education bubble, and it’s reducing interest rates to create a debt bubble. It’s almost as if they were trying to destroy the economy.

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