National Debt

Don't Fear a Moody's Downgrade - Fear a China Slowdown

Credit rating agency Moody's is threatening to downgrade U.S. debt if Washington doesn't get its act together soon -- which could (perhaps) increase the government's borrowing costs. That would be troublesome, but the really scary U.S. debt problem is China's economic slowdown.

Get Ready, America: The Debt Ceiling Debate Is Back

The U.S. is again closing in on its debt limit, and if a recent statement by John Boehner is any indication, another fight with the Obama administration over the issue is ahead. Here's a preview of what we might expect.

How Uncle Sam Spends Your Taxes: The U.S. Budget in 8 Easy Bites

Almost everyone agrees the federal deficit is a ticking bomb, but when it comes to ideas for solving the problem, some are contradictory and all are controversial. No wonder: If you look at where the money actually goes, it's easy to see why it's so hard to balance the budget.

Why Taxing the Rich Is Good for America

Last week, Warren Buffett wrote an incredible opinion piece in The New York Times asking the government to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, himself included. "My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress," he argued, and he's not alone in that view.

How U.S. Debt Stacks Up Against Other Nations

It's true that the U.S. has racked up the largest debt of any other developed country. But when you consider the debt in relation to the country's gross domestic product, it's only No. 7 on the list, according to Fortune.

Debt-Ceiling Law: States Brace for Another Hit

The debt-ceiling discussions may be over, but the fallout for states is just starting. Many states, still struggling to recover to pre-recession levels, have depended on federal money to make up their shortfalls. As the flow of money slows, which states will take the biggest hits?

Five Takeaways from the Debt Debate

As the debt-ceiling discussion winds down in Washington and everyone laments over the meaning and mutual downside of compromise, the economy is still in trouble. But we learned some lessons along the way. Here are some key points from the debacle.

Debt Hawks, Take Your Own (Virtual) Axe to the Budget

Think you can do better than Congress in coming up with a balanced U.S. budget? Several smartphone apps let you play along with all the fiscal fun happening in Washington. Raise taxes on market speculators? Cut spending on social services? You decide, and these apps will show you the results.

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?

Where's an Extra $1 Trillion in Spending Going?

Remarkably, Washington spends $1 trillion more a year now than it did a mere three years ago. But trying to figure out where all that extra money is going is no simple matter. However, a lot of slicing and dicing does yield some answers -- none of which are very satisfying.

Uncle Sam Wants You. . .to Buy Treasury Bonds

The Treasury has to find buyers for trillions of dollars in new bonds needed to fund the federal deficit. It hopes average citizens will pony up and invest in some $337 billion worth. But for a host of reasons, "safe" T-bonds might not be a winning investment for you.

U.S. National Debt Is Huge, but It's Not a Catastrophe

True, the U.S. national debt is large and it should be reduced at some point, but does a large national debt doom a nation to economic ruin? Only if you believe that nations like Germany, France, and Japan are economic basket cases too.

Tea Party Leaders Say They'd Back Defense Cuts

The Tea Party says everything is on the table regarding its goal to cut federal spending and balance the budget -- including defense spending. If the political faction succeeds in cutting military spending, not only would the U.S. economy benefit, national security could well be strengthened.

Getting to Zero: How Congress Could Balance the Federal Budget

It took about 10 years of decisions for the federal budget to get more than a trillion dollars out of whack, and it's going to take at least five years to balance it again. The only way to do it is piece-by-piece, with equal sacrifices from both Republicans and Democrats.

The Higher the Debt Ceiling, the Deeper the Hole

When some new members of Congress recently declared their resistance to raising the nation's debt limit, it triggered warnings of "catastrophic consequences." Problem is, the higher this ceiling gets, the deeper the hole that the U.S. is digging itself into.

Moody's, S&P May Downgrade U.S. Debt Rating

Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's are both considering downgrading their ratings on U.S. debt because of rising interest-to-revenue ratios, the nation's jobless recovery, and rising Social Security and health care costs, among other factors, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Why Interest Rates Keep Rising, Despite QE2

The Federal Reserve is doling out billions to buy bonds in hopes of keeping interest rates low and stimulating the economy. However, several powerful forces are working against that low-rate strategy, ranging from investor psychology to global competition for capital.

A Rising Economy Is Pushing Down Treasurys

Doomsayers insist the recent rapid rise in yields signals the nation's creditors finally getting fed up with financing U.S. deficits. But a stronger argument can be made for blaming the better-than-expected economic reports that have been piling up recently.