Here we go again

Feb 12, 2014


Last Friday, in a letter to Congress, the United States Treasury Secretary stated that unless our elected officials act to raise the federal debt limit he will run out of cash to pay our nation’s bills by Feb. 27. Once again this is a battle of theme songs in Washington.

“Running on Empty” the Treasury Department’s theme song, their version of the Jackson Brown hit, versus Congress theme song, which is their rendition of Aerosmith’s “Same Old Song and Dance”

The Treasury Secretary says his department will be running on empty to pay the bills because unlike the same old song and dance that Congress has performed previously, which has led to accounting strategies known as “Extraordinary Measures” it seems those measures will not buy him much time.

This time.

All of which brings us to this week’s trivia question. Who is the Secretary of the Treasury?

A. Jude Hammond

B. Mr. Mooney

C. Jack Lew

D. Lewd Jack

The answer will appear later in this column.

It is now later.

The answer is not Jude Hammond, who is school treasurer here, there and everywhere. Nor is it Lucille Ball’s TV banker boss, Mr. Mooney or Lewd Hoefert, err, Jack.

Coincidentally the Feb. 27 date Jack Lew has given Congress as the drop dead do or don’t debt date is also the one-year anniversary of the senate confirming him as U.S. Treasury Secretary.

Secretary Lew has said if the government has to stop borrowing once the debt ceiling is reached, it will continue taking in money from taxes. Somehow I doubt the debt will be met with just our taxes, and it might be time for Congress to consider other sources of revenue:

The National Candy Bar Sale

Just like schools that send home boxes of candy bars for students to sell, with prizes for the top sales student, Congress can send boxes of candy home for Senators and Representatives to sell to their constituents and earn prizes like a Super Pac.

Oh wait, all of them already have that prize.

The National Bake Sale

The sales on this could be high. Especially with brownies made in Colorado and Washington being sold by Congress in states that don’t have marijuana sales.

Oh wait, all states already have marijuana sales. Just not legal sales like Colorado and Washington.

The National Car Wash

With Congress scheduled to be in session a whopping 113 days this year (Wow! They really are the 113th Congress.) I’m sure they could find the time to hold a car wash. Perhaps the people here in Ohio would pay extra to have their vehicle washed with home state Reps. Marcy Kaptur and John Boehner in their bathing suits.

Oh wait, that would definitely boost the Colorado and Washington brownie sales.

The National 50/50 Twice Daily Ticket Drawing

Oh wait, most states already have versions of twice a day lotto drawings proving a profit can be made without giving it all away.

Other money makers that could provide a source of revenue to help pay our nation’s bills might include a National Spaghetti Dinner, a National Rummage Sale or a National Telethon.

Oh wait, C-Span’s low ratings have proven the only people watching politicians on TV are politicians themselves.

What Congress needs to do with the remaining 96 working days they have scheduled for this session is to figure out a way for future generations of elected officials to pay our bills without raising the debt by borrowing from foreign countries and adding to the bill.

Because right now we are not borrowing from Peter to pay Paul; we are borrowing from Peter to pay Peter.

If we keep that trend up, we might have a National “Country for Sale” Day.

Oh wait…..

We already do.


The Big Dog's back

So chuckie, who should pay for all those things the Repubs put on the credit card?

There you go again

These snow days don't let you go back to Kindergarten, do they?


Is that your final answer?

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

And the usual flock of brain dead obamabots show up to dismiss the lies... shocker...


Sec'y Jack Lew:

Former CEO for a Citgroup-based hedge fund & and had money stashed in a Cayman Is. bank.

Just another member of the Washington/Wall St. revolving door.

BUT, he's a bleeding-heart Dem who cares about the little guy. lol.


Re: "National Telethon."

See the movie: "Americathon."


Re: "we are borrowing from Peter to pay Peter."

More like we are borrowing from Chang, Akio, Luiz, Ahmed, et. al. to the tune of over $4T.

Foreign ownership of U.S. debt:


I thought this was about the Cleveland Browns.


And yet, America's economy is in better shape than many other countries. We have exited from a financial crisis; Asia and Europe have not. China, the 2nd largest economy in the world, is pretty much where the U.S. was 5 years ago; 4 dollars of debt are needed to create 1 dollar of growth. Japan, where gov't debt is over 200% of the GDP, is struggling, too. In Europe, deflation is making already bad debt troubles even worse.

By contrast, America is looking good. If the current projections of 3% GDP growth hold, the American economy will - for the first time in almost 6 years - expand faster than the global economy.


Re: "America's economy is in better shape than many other countries."

It's been called the 'dirtiest shirt in the laundry.'

Thank the Fed Resv. for helping to artificially prop up the U.S. economy with an almost $4T of off-the-books cash infusion.

The central bank 'cash high' looks great for now - stay tuned.


Re: "4 dollars of debt are needed to create 1 dollar of growth,"

Guess you're OK with interest payments being $1T annually by 2020 huh?

So you're also OK with the trillions of dollars in projected unfunded liabilities for Soc. Sec'y, Medicare, et. al?

Just let Gen Xers & Millennials foot the bills.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Yet we get made fun of for being both concerned about that fact and that we are trying to find ways to prevent it from happening to us and our kids when we have them. Must be nice to have a convenient generation like that that has grown up completely unprepared and untrained to ask questions of their superiors/leaders or even understand a modicum of political/economic matters.

But when one like me does ask, not only are answers never given, we are given the "you wouldn't understand it" from someone who can't even explain it (rationally or otherwise) themselves! It is for this reason I do as much as I can to instill that curiosity in as many of my generation and the next as possible. I'm doing my part, Contango, so don't feel too badly or give up on us.

The secret that you and any other parents/grandparents out there need to know is that if you are concerned for us you need to be able to explain your political/socio-economic positions. Because there are so many out there who can't, if you can or at least put those kids on a path of curious research then your point(s) will win out against populist flash-in-the-pans that require cultural and historical amnesia.

You can't just tell us "because". We are a generation that has grown up with abundant information, but the need for a starting point. For a quote. For an inspirational figure. Spark our curiosity and use it to subtly teach. After the passions of the statists/pluralists wear away and over time get repetitively old, the continued journey of the individual and self will empower those left to make their own decisions which will better themselves and the others around them.

Maybe the Green Party can use this as an opportunity to, like the Tea Party, tear down the defunct Democrat and Republican institutions and finally give people clear choices into which they can vote their true hearts and not feel like they made a morally dirty decision otherwise.

Demand a Libertarian dose of Green/Tea in 2016, anyone? Don't forget the Independents, either!


Re: "you need to be able to explain your political/socio-economic positions."

Google and read about Stanley Druckenmiller. He's been out there talking about generational theft.

Have tried to explain personal finances and investing to my GenX daughter. Her eyes pretty much glaze over, so I usually only give her the Cliff Notes version.

She saves in her 401(k) and has an IRA. She has me control both portfolios for her. I give her an end of the yr. report.

IMO, classes in personal finance and economics should be mandatory in elementary and secondary school.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I won a $500 scholarship from the Democratic Women of Erie Erie County for writing a report on a very similar suggestion.


Democrat, personal finance and economics?

Reads like a contradiction in terms. :)

Congrats on the scholarship!


@coasterfan You are correct we are doing better than other countries, but we are still the largest debtor nation in the history of the world. This is not a left or right issue, this is about the future of the Republic. At some point in the not too distant future the interest on the national debt will constitute 100 percent of all of the tax revenues we take in, what will we do then? We would need 6 percent growth for decades to narrow the gap and I don't see that happening, as long as we send jobs overseas and have a massive trade imbalance with the rest of the world eventually we will fail. We are living at a very interesting time in history and I don't know how of this will turn out.


Re: "I don't know how of this will turn out."

Every empire and great nation ultimately destroyed itself by way of:

Too much debt and military adventurism.

See: Rome, Spain, France, the USSR, et. al.

Also see: "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly"

Coasterfan is like the naive, foolish person, who is enjoying the warm, sunny weather and so doesn't see the need to fix the hole in the roof at this time.


Vote Democrat. They'll do for the country's finances what they did for Detroit's!

4-wheeler al

state and federal lawmakers they have more money than us let them buy their own medical insurance instead of tax payers paying for them. That's about 100 million in saving.

Dr. Information

Just wait until the stock market crashes again and there is a run on the banks, who do not have the funds to support it. Digital cash worth nothing is what many Americans will be looking at.