Top 5 Things Not to Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving
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This season, we are thankful for our friends, and family, and that we live in a nation that can endure a contentious election and still have peace. (Even if the discussion around your Thanksgiving table is not always so serene.) While we are grateful for the things we have, we are mindful of the work we – especially our federal government – has ahead, especially when it comes to repairing the nation’s balance sheet and economy. To that end, here are the five budget- and economic-related events that we are not thankful for this year:
- No Budget. Congress failed to pass a budget once again this year. The House passed an outline, but the Senate did not. It looks like this trend could continue: according to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who is likely to take over the Senate Budget Committee, her panel may not even consider one for next year.
- $1 Trillion Deficit. For the fourth year in a row the federal government spent $1 trillion more than it took in. Deficits over the last four years totaled nearly $5.1 trillion.
- Nearly $16.3 Trillion Debt. As of Nov. 15, the national debt totaled $16.278 trillion, about $142,300 for every household in the country. That figure is nearly triple the average household income in 2011 ($50,054).
- Overspending, High Unemployment, Low Growth. On average since World War II, federal government spending has totaled 19.8 percent of the economy. In FY 2011, it was 24.1 percent and for FY 2012 it was estimated to come in at 24.3 percent. What have been the results? An unemployment rate of 7.9 percent (average since 1948: 5.8 percent) and a two percent economic growth rate in the third quarter(quarterly average since World War II: 3.1 percent).
- Coming Fiscal Cliff. After last year’s debt supercommittee failed to agree on a long-term plan to tackle the nation’s persistent deficits, billions of dollars of spending cuts kicked in. Congress is now trying to undo many of these cuts and figure out how to deal with trillions of coming tax increases. Together these policies have led to great uncertainty. A Reuters survey found 42 of 50 economists believe there is a significant chance fiscal cliff negotiations would reduce consumer and investor confidence. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal revealed at least 40 of the nation’s top companies are planning to cut capital spending because of fiscal uncertainty. Reduced spending by the private sector, combined with lower confidence from consumers and investors, will eventually result in even higher unemployment and worsening growth.