Nov 23,2011 - The U.S. Debt – a new Excel workbook is now available
I have posted a new version of the workbook that is
1) Refreshable. The source data is now published as an OData feed,
so the workbook can be refreshed on-demand to pull in recent data.
2) Optimized for Excel Services (some of the design elements in the original
workbook would not display in Excel Services).
Nov 08,2011 - The U.S. Debt – are the “unfunded wars” to blame?
The ‘unfunded wars’ [of recent history] have driven up the debt.” This argument points to recent military conflicts that were not accompanied by
tax increases as the source of the United States’ financial problems. A careful analysis of all spending and receipts, however, shows these conflicts are responsible for, at most, 15% of the national debt
at Austin. Read the full analysis
For the numbers behind this analysis, download
the Excel workbook - here.
May 27, 2011 - Tyler Chessman to start blogging for Texas Enterprise.
Texas Enterprise, a new online resource from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas
at Austin. My first post will be an introduction to the debt (taken from Chapter 1 of my book) - which I am also posting
April 22, 2011 - Confusion about the trust funds - even among conservative thought leaders.
On Friday, former White House Chief-of-Staff Karl Rove spoke to talk show host Sean Hannity about the
debt ceiling (audio recording available here.).
Warning about the dangers of not raising the ceiling (and putting the President in control of financial decisions), Rove stated the following:
...he [President Obama] will unilaterally put our country in a place were we will trim back defense, he will do things like, he could delay payments,
you know, lots of payroll taxes come in for Social Security Benefits. What he could do is say,
"You know what , we're not to put that over in the Social Security trust fund. I'm going to use that to keep Social Welfare spending going, and I'm going to fund it that way". We don't want to put him in complete command of our countries' finances.
I'm not sure what to make of this statement. Karl Rove is a smart
individual, so perhaps he's using concepts he feels the average
American can understand. But to be clear, there is no money in the Social Security or Medicare trust funds, nor has money ever been deposited into these "funds".
There is no danger of the President "not put[ting money] in the Social Security
trust fund". The trust funds consist of something called Government
Account Series (GAS) Securities, which are effectively an IOU written from the
Government to the Government. At best, the trust funds track whether incoming
collections exceed or lag behind outgoing benefit payments. They do not contain marketable securities.
I talk about the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds in great specificity
in Chapter 2 and 4 of my book.
April 6, 2011 - Budgeting Talks, seeing through the hype.
In February of this year, President Obama unveiled a budget proposal that would "reduce projected deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next decade".
This week, House Republicans unveiled their own budget plan that would cut "more than $6 trillion over [the] next decade".
It sounds like both parties are really focused on getting our country out of debt, right? Well,
not really; let me give you an example.
Under the President's proposal, the country will actually rack up an additional
$7.2 trillion in deficits over the next ten years. In other words, the
President's budget will run up $7.2 trillion in deficits, rather than some prior
estimate of $8.3 trillion. There's your $1.1 trillion reduction.
March 23, 2011 - Tragedy in Japan, The U.S. is next?
The enormity of the unfolding tragedy in Japan has saddened the world. It is difficult to imagine three successive events, an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster, all hitting one country at the same time. These unfortunate incidents could not have been easily predicted or prevented.
But there’s another tragedy that has been unfolding in Japan for the last 20 years - an avoidable tragedy that’s cost Japan trillions of dollars and affected every one of its citizen. And this tragedy is also unfolding in the United States.
Growing up, I remember reading and hearing about the economic might of Japan – how it was on its way to surpassing the United States. Let me share an excerpt from my new book –
…By the 1980’s, it was the Western countries who were studying Japan to improve their own economies. In 1980, Japan was the 2nd largest economy in the world – second only to the United States. This is even more impressive when considering Japan is geographically a fraction of the size of the U.S. and, in 1980, half the number of citizens. From 1980 to 1995, Japan’s economy grew from 38% to 71% as large as the United States’. Based on growth, Japan was on its way to becoming the world’s largest economy.
Fast forward to 2010 – Japan is not the world’s largest economy; it is the 3rd largest, having been surpassed by China. Japan’s estimated 2010 debt as a percentage of GDP is 225%, the 2nd largest ratio of all 183 countries tracked by the International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook Database.
Japan is in very bad economic shape – its debt ratio is worse than even Greece or Italy. Japan had a bursting of its real estate market in the late 1980’s, and it responded with a massive amount of stimulus spending. The spending effort was a complete failure - leaving Japan in worse condition than before. Does this sound familiar?
When analyzing Japan’s decisions in the 1990’s, it is hard not to become angry with the United States government. Japan experienced a crisis similar to what the U.S. began facing in 2008. America had a clear and very recent model of what not to do in terms of reviving an economy and avoiding debt – and yet we followed right in Japan’s footsteps.
February 2011 - author Tyler L. Chessman, and his book Understanding the United States Debt, was featured on Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) T.V.