federal deficit

U.S. Budget Deficit Reaches $172 Billion in November

The U.S. federal government's budget deficit widened in November compared to October, a sign that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus deficit. The budget gap rose to $172 billion in November, up from $120 billion in October, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.

Goodbye, Payroll Tax Holiday; Hello, Tax Hike for the 47%

Even if you're part of the 47% who don't pay federal income taxes, you probably do pay payroll taxes. A few years ago, President Obama and his allies in Congress cut you a break to ease the pain of the recession: a 2 percentage point payroll tax holiday. Well, the holiday is over.

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.

Before You Cheer IRS Budget Cuts, Consider This

Nobody enjoys paying taxes, so hearing that Congress is cutting the IRS budget might inspire you to applaud. But this is the agency that makes sure the rest of government gets funded, and stops the unscrupulous from dodging their fair share of the burden.

This 'Fear Trade' Could Bring You 87% Gains

Fear is in the air on Wall Street. Unemployment is high, housing sales are sluggish and the dollar is weak. Now, to add insult to injury, Standard & Poor's has lowered its U.S. debt outlook to negative, putting the nation's AAA credit rating at risk. Fortunately, smart traders can benefit from these worries.

Social Security Isn't Broke, But We Still Should Fix It

It's true that Social Security paid out more than it collected in 2010. But the Trust Fund owns $2.6 trillion in Treasury bonds, and though some people may claim those holdings are an illusion, they aren't. Still, there are some fairly painless steps we could take to shore up the program's balance sheet for the long term.

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.

Hocus + Pocus = The 2012 Federal Budget Plan

Like all budgets, the federal government's spending plan is all about revenues and expenditures. Unfortunately, Uncle Sam is very good at grossly overestimating tax receipts and grossly underestimating spending. It's enough to make you wonder if any of it is real.

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.

State of the Union: Obama Eager to Fix Health Reform Law

In his State of the Union address, President Obama didn't shy away from tackling the ongoing questions about the health care reform law head on. And though he opened with a joke, he made it clear that while he's serious about repairing any flaws in the law, repeal is not an option.

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.

Waging a War of Numbers Over Repealing Health Care Reform

GOP leaders will plead for the benefits of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, bringing arguments and numbers to support their viewpoint, while House Democrats will continue their counterpush, throwing very different numbers at the American public.

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.

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.

The Hidden Cost of Big Wall Street Bonuses to Society

Though most Americans wish that Congress would rein in excessive pay on Wall Street, that won't happen while the huge campaign contributions keep flowing. And the financial industry's big money shell game drains away something more precious from our society than money -- it siphons off talent.

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.