Borrowing in a Field of Study That Pays

Many of our young adults pass through a college experience that leaves them burdened by heavy debt and a field of study choice that is likely to earn low wages. For many, the selection of a college and a major places oversized emphasis on the architectural beauty of the college, its “easy” courses, its students’ […]

Important Topics by The Numbers

Get used to hearing “trillion” –  i.e., a million millions.  Two decades ago, I heard a politician lament about government spending, “a million here, a million there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”   Today, Wall Street and Washington DC are awash in discussions of financial and economic factors that need measuring with a trillion dollar […]

The Fed, Government Debt, Pensions and Retirement Savings

In the depths of the great recession, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) chose to push interest rates down by buying massive amounts of Treasury notes and bonds.  That tactic was meant to stimulate private sector investment and invigorate demand for additional employees.  Unfortunately, holding interest rates very low for 6 years has starved pensions and […]

Real Clear Policy: The Puerto Rico Bailout Blunder

This op-ed discusses the attempt to bailout Puerto Rico’s massive debt. The bailout will likely push costs to bondholders and others, instead of taking steps to deal with the root cause — overspending.  Who is holding Puerto Rico’s politicians responsible and what will prevent other states from trying to do the same? The article can be read […]

Shifting the Burden of Government Borrowing

Illinois’ problems with government pension funds started with negotiated promises for excessive benefits.  Some Illinois pensions run at $100,000 or more per year and half of employees retire with benefits before age 60.  Those problems were inflamed by the state making smaller contributions than needed to support the benefit payouts.  Instances of early retirements and […]

Underfunded Retirement Plans May Sink Us All

As we wriggle out from the worst recession in about 70 years, unfunded state and local pensions, and federal egos, could trigger the next financial calamity. The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2011 that states and local government owed $2-3 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities for government employees. One state and one city at a […]

The European Union of Economic Strife

The European Union (EU) is a large trading partner for the US and so the EU’s economic health matters to American consumers and workers.  We exchange goods and services from comparably skilled labor forces and from well-capitalized industries with comparable technology.  Our trade with the EU is not about offshoring jobs to subsistence-wage workers. While the […]

Suffocating Debt and Oxygen from Jobs

The New York Federal Reserve Board reported in May 2012 that U.S. Household debt, including home mortgages, consumer credit, auto loans, and student loans totaled $11 trillion, down a little since 2011, as families adjusted what they owe to a more tolerable level.  In contrast, Federal debt grows steadily and stands at $16.6 trillion.  Big […]