Federal debt

Surprise! Here's Where Your Tax Dollars Go

Taxes. We resent paying them, yet, for the most part, they fund things we'd rather not do without. But exactly how much of our money is going to each service? The White House has made it easy to answer that question. So here's a receipt for where your tax dollars are spent.

Who Shouldn't U.S. Pay If Debt Deal Isn't Reached?

The debt ceiling debate is raging inside the Beltway, but many Americans are tuning it out. And among those paying attention, a majority would ignore the consequences and let the U.S. default. Find out who they'd chose to stiff first -- and tell us who you think the country shouldn't pay if it has to skip out on some of its obligations.

Digging Into the U.S. Budget: What We Spend, and How

Getting even a tentative handle on the multi-trillion dollar federal budget is no easy matter. Still, as the debate surrounding U.S. spending, taxes and the looming debt ceiling continues, it's worth asking: Exactly how does America spend all that cash, and what do the choices being debated really mean?

How the Debt Ceiling Issue Will Hit Us in the Wallet

Even the phrase "debt ceiling" sounds like something too far removed from daily life to be of much interest. But ignoring the political battle over this issue would be a mistake: How the government handles the nation's debt limit will directly affect our personal finances in all sorts of important ways.

Ryan's Proposed Budget: The Numbers Don't Add Up

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan promises his proposed 2012 federal budget is the solution to America's money woes. But is the Tea Party favorite's plan based in reality, or does it rely on impossible numbers and fairy tales?

Who Wins and Who Loses If the Government Shuts Down

Unless Republicans and Democrats can agree on budget legislation to keep the federal government running, a shutdown at midnight Friday looms. From a political and financial perspective, if that shutdown happens, there will be a few clear winners, some who break even, and a whole lot of losers. DailyFinance breaks it down:

GOP Wins Budget Battle, but May Lose Political War

The Republicans are winning this year%u2019s budget battle: Discretionary spending will decrease. But this is hardly the time for the GOP to take a victory lap: Next, the GOP will have to lower unemployment and improve the average American%u2019s daily life -- two areas where the party has historically come up short.

Obama's Cuts: Less Than Meets the Eye, Thankfully

A parade of Republicans immediately lined up to attack the president's proposed budget cuts this week, claiming the plan falls short of making a real difference. They're right. And that's good, because really deep cuts are the last thing the economy needs right now.

Obama's 2012 Budget: Why Federal Spending Needs to Be Raised, Not Cut

President Obama's proposed spending plan seeks to slash $1.1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Republican House Speaker John Boehner says that's too little. In fact, the cuts go too far in the wrong direction: With the economy still recovering, Obama should raise federal spending.

What's Really Ailing Employment: Lack of Demand

Many people blame America's high unemployment rate on a mismatch between workers' skills and the fields with open jobs. But it seems clear that jobs are scarce across all sectors. That means effective policies are needed to stimulate demand and rebuild economic output.

Spin, Not Substance, Is Just What Investors Need Now

With the economic recovery gaining steam, President Obama's State of the Union address -- and the GOP response -- should be seen as a shift to a less activist approach. Feel-good rhetoric may be wiser than heavy-handed policies that could easily backfire.

A More Bullish Forecast From Deutsche Bank

The bank now say positive trends developing in consumer spending, employment and the stock market will likely boost U.S. economic growth higher than the 3% most analysts had previously predicted. Deutsche's chief equity strategist is predicting a 23% rise in the stock market for 2011.

Social Insecurity: Inside the 'Trust Fund' Illusion

The federal government has been borrowing Social Security's surpluses for decades and issuing the program IOUs in return. However, the ability to pay those IOUs depends on the Treasury borrowing more money on global bond market at affordable rates. That's hardly a sure thing.

Wall Street May Be a Casualty of Debt-Ceiling War

Debt and government spending are firmly at the top of the new Congress's agenda. Just the threat that the U.S. wouldn't pay its bills has traders worried and wondering if the U.S. could end up on the same chaotic economic path taken by Greece or Spain.

America's Malady: A Bad Case of 'Baumol's Disease'

Unlike an illness caused by microscopic invaders of your body, which might raise your temperature and cause you physical aches and pains, Baumol's Cost Disease raises wages and causes some painful shifts in a nation's labor balance. Unfortunately, it's natural, and there's no miracle cure.

2010 U.S. Budget Deficit Comes in Below Expectations

Investors received another sign Friday that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal: The 2010 U.S. budget deficit came in at a smaller-than-predicted $1.29 trillion. Though it was still the second-highest deficit on record, the numbers reflect growth in tax revenues, and thus in the economy.

Make the Rich Pay Their Fair Share to Balance the Budget

When George W. Bush cut $1.3 trillion in taxes back in 2002, 36.7% of the money went to the top 1% of Americans. If those tax cuts for the wealthiest are allowed to expire, Republicans could get closer to something they claim to want: a balanced budget. So why are they fighting it so hard?

Larry Summers Wants Another Round of Stimulus

President Obama's Chief Economic Adviser is calling for another round of stimulus spending, totalling $200 billion. Summers will speak Thursday at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. As the event's media partner, DailyFinance invites readers to submit qutesions and watch the event liv