The Pronk Pops Show 142, October 3, 2013, Segment 1: U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew Panics Plays Politics With Debt Ceiling — Claims U.S. Will Default On Treasury Debt If Debt Ceiling Is Not Raise and Will Cause Recession — Pure Propaganda — Treasury Receives About $200 Billion Per Month With Interest On Debt Less Than $35 Billion Per Month! — Videos
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Segment 1: U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew Panics Plays Politics With Debt Ceiling — Claims U.S. Will Default On Treasury Debt If Debt Ceiling Is Not Raise and Will Cause Recession — Pure Propaganda — Treasury Receives About $200 Billion Per Month With Interest On Debt Less Than $35 Billion Per Month! — Videos
U.S. Debt Clock
BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE STAR - TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE TABLE 1. SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS) ACCOUNTING DATE: 08/13 PERIOD RECEIPTS OUTLAYS DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-) + ____________________________________________________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ PRIOR YEAR OCTOBER 163,072 261,539 98,466 NOVEMBER 152,402 289,704 137,302 DECEMBER 239,963 325,930 85,967 JANUARY 234,319 261,726 27,407 FEBRUARY 103,413 335,090 231,677 MARCH 171,215 369,372 198,157 APRIL 318,807 259,690 -59,117 MAY 180,713 305,348 124,636 JUNE 260,177 319,919 59,741 JULY 184,585 254,190 69,604 AUGUST 178,860 369,393 190,533 SEPTEMBER 261,566 186,386 -75,180 YEAR-TO-DATE 2,449,093 3,538,286 1,089,193 CURRENT YEAR OCTOBER 184,316 304,311 119,995 NOVEMBER 161,730 333,841 172,112 DECEMBER 269,508 270,699 1,191 JANUARY 272,225 269,342 -2,883 FEBRUARY 122,815 326,354 203,539 MARCH 186,018 292,548 106,530 APRIL 406,723 293,834 -112,889 MAY 197,182 335,914 138,732 JUNE 286,627 170,126 -116,501 JULY 200,030 297,627 97,597 AUGUST 185,370 333,293 147,923 YEAR-TO-DATE 2,472,542 3,227,888 755,345 -
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Who Is Jacob Lew?
Treasury warns default could be worse than Great Recession
he U.S. Treasury Department is warning that the economy could plunge into a downturn worse than the Great Recession if Congress fails to raise the federal borrowing limit and the country defaults on its debt obligations.
A default could cause the nation’s credit markets to freeze, the value of the dollar to plummet and U.S. interest rates to skyrocket, according to the Treasury report released Thursday.
(Read more:Buffett speaks out against DC’s ‘extreme idiocy’)
Treasury officials hope by laying out potential consequences they will be able to bring pressure on Congress to act. Treasury SecretaryJacob Lew has said he will have used up the extraordinary measures to avoid breaching the debt ceiling by Oct. 17. After that, the government will have around $30 billion of cash on hand.
The report looked at the disruptions caused to financial markets during a similar stand-off between the administration and Congress over raising the debt limit. It then made projections about what could occur if there were an actual default.
In August 2011, Congress eventually raised the nation’s borrowing limit before a default occurred but only after a protracted debate. The politics that nearly led to a default prompted Standard & Poor’s to cut the nation’s credit rating by a notch.
(Read more: Hank Paulson: Tea party ‘hijacked the debate’)
“As we saw two years ago, prolonged uncertainty over whether our nation will pay its bills in full and on time hurts our economy,” Lew said in a statement. “Postponing a debt ceiling increase to the very last minute is exactly what our economy does not need—a self-inflicted wound harming families and businesses.”
Our nation has worked hard to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, and Congress must act now to lift the debt ceiling before that recovery is put in jeopardy,” Lew said.
The report notes that even the possibility of a default could roil financial markets and damage the economy, thereby harming American businesses and households. Sharp declines in household wealth, increases in the cost of financing for businesses and households, and a fall in private-sector confidence, all tend to undermine economic expansion. It also states that if the current government shutdown is protracted, it could make the U.S. economy even more susceptible to the adverse effects from a debt ceiling impasse than it was prior to the shutdown.
In the event of a default, the U.S. economy could be plunged into a recession worse than any seen since the Great Depression, it said.
“The U.S. dollar and Treasury securities are at the center of the international finance system. In the catastrophic event that a debt limit impasse were to lead to a default on Treasury securities, financial markets could be shaken to their core as was seen in late 2008, which resulted in a recession worse than any seen since the Great Depression.”
Simple facts show Obama’s debt-ceiling default threats are nonsense
The United States of America isn’t going to default on its debt, even if Congress doesn’t increase the statutory borrowing authority in the next couple of months. Everyone in Washington knows, or should know, this. Any assertions to the contrary are tantamount to — perish the thought! — playing politics with the debt ceiling.This is the second time in less than two years that the nation finds itself at this juncture, with Republicans in Congress threatening to hold the debt ceiling hostage. Some lawmakers are willing to shut down the government in order to pressure President Barack Obama to agree to spending cuts.
A shutdown is certainly possible. A debt default? Not gonna happen.
Why? Because the income taxes withheld from most of our paychecks each month exceed the interest the Treasury owes on its debt outstanding. In November, for example, the Treasury’sinterest expense totaled $25 billion. That compares with tax receipts of $161.7 billion. The ratio of receipts to interest expense varies from month to month, but what comes in more than covers what goes out in debt service.
Without an increase in the $16.394 trillion debt limit, the federal government can’t pay all of its bills: It borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends. Still, “debt service would come first,” said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson Icap LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Wait. The Treasury claims it has no authority to prioritize payments, to pay bondholders first.
That’s what it says, yes. Others beg to differ. In response to a congressional inquiry on the issue in 1985, the Government Accountability Office concluded the following: “We are aware of no statute or any other basis for concluding that Treasury is required to pay outstanding obligations in the order in which they are presented for payment unless it chooses to do so.”
The GAO is equally unaware of any new law that would alter its opinion in any way. So repeat after me: The U.S. isn’t going to fail to make timely payment of principal and interest on its sovereign debt. If it can’t issue new debt, it can roll over maturing debt. Borrowers may very well demand a higher rate of interest, especially if Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner raise the specter of default, as they did in 2011.
Issuing such a threat is irresponsible and even counterproductive if it prompts bondholders to dump Treasuries. That’s what happened initially during the debt-ceiling negotiations in July and August of 2011, costing the U.S. Treasury an additional $1.3 billion in interest expense, according to the GAO.
Once Standard & Poor’s put the U.S.’s AAA rating on credit watch on July 14, stocks went into the tank and Treasuries ignored the downgrade threat, which became a reality on Aug. 5.
“The bond market has its own credit-rating system,”Crandall said.
I am not suggesting that a failure to raise the debt ceiling wouldn’t be disruptive or cause undue hardship to those who rely on government checks. Social Security payments might not get processed. Medicare and Medicaid providers wouldn’t get paid. Neither would those serving in the military.
The sad part is that the debt ceiling has nothing to do with the debt problem. It merely allows Treasury to borrow what Congress has already spent. It does not authorize new spending commitments.
Options to get around the statutory debt limit, such as invoking the 14th Amendment or minting a $1 trillion platinum coin, seem like a bad precedent (the former) or a gimmick (the latter) to circumvent a relic. Neither is likely to be implemented.
The only solution is to address the debt ceiling directly. Obama has made it clear he won’t negotiate with Congress over the government’s borrowing authority. Republicans have made it equally clear they aren’t going to give him what he wants without extracting concessions on spending cuts. Given thepublic’s view of them as spoilers, Republicans would be better served by using their leverage in negotiations over the sequester. As part of the deal to avert the fiscal cliff, the first installment of the 10-year, $1.2 trillion of not-so-automatic discretionary-spending cuts was delayed for two months.
Obama no longer has the leverage he had in the cliff negotiations: tax increases for all if Congress failed to act. Republicans, as a rule, oppose cuts in defense spending. So does the Pentagon. Obama doesn’t want to pare nondefense spending. In fact, he would like to increase it under the guise of”investment.” (It sounds so much better.)
Obama has also said that any deficit-reduction agreement must be balanced, by which he means spending cuts only in return for additional tax increases. Congress just made the Bush-era tax cuts permanent for all but the top 0.7 percent of earners. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, echoing the view of his caucus, said the “tax issue is finished, over, completed.”
The lines in the sand have been drawn — rather sharply, as it turns out. The negotiations could get interesting if Republicans pick their battles carefully, addressing spending cuts at a time and place that’s appropriate.
(Caroline Baum, author of “Just What I Said,” is a Bloomberg View columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)
To contact the writer of this article: Caroline Baum in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this article: James Greiff at email@example.com.
More government insanity:
Jacob Joseph “Jack” Lew (born August 29, 1955) is an American government administrator and attorney who is the 76th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury, serving since 2013. He served as the 25th White House Chief of Staff from 2012 to 2013. Lew previously served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton and Obama Administrations, and is a member of the Democratic Party.
Born in New York City, Lew received his A.B. from Harvard College and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Lew began his career as a legislative assistant to Representative Joe Moakley and as a senior policy adviser to former House Speaker Tip O’Neill. Lew then worked as an attorney in private practice before working as a deputy in Boston’s office of management and budget. In 1993, he began work for the Clinton Administration as Special Assistant to the President. In 1994 Lew served as Associate Director for Legislative Affairs and Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, where he served as Director of that agency from 1998 to 2001 and from 2010 to 2012. After leaving the Clinton Administration, Lew worked as the Executive Vice President for Operations at New York University from 2001 to 2006, and as the COO at Citigroup from 2006 to 2008. Lew then served as the first Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, from 2009 to 2010.
On January 10, 2013, Lew was nominated as the replacement for retiring Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, to serve in President Barack Obama‘s second term. On February 27, 2013, the Senate confirmed Lew for the position. He was sworn in the following day.
Early life, education, and early career
Lew was born in New York City. He attended New York City public schools, graduating from Forest Hills High School. His father was a lawyer and rare-book dealer who came to the United States from Poland as a child. Lew attended Carleton College in Minnesota where his faculty adviser was Paul Wellstone, who eventually represented Minnesota in the U.S. Senate. He graduated from Harvard College in 1978 and the Georgetown University Law Center in 1983.
He worked as an aide to Rep. Joe Moakley (D-Mass.) from 1974 to 1975. He then was a senior policy adviser to House Speaker Tip O’Neill. Under O’Neill he served at the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee as Assistant Director and then Executive Director, and was responsible for work on domestic and economic issues including Social Security, Medicare, budget, tax, trade, appropriations, and energy issues.
Lew practiced as an attorney for five years as a partner at Van Ness, Feldman and Curtis. His practice dealt primarily with electric power generation. He has also worked as Executive Director of the Center for Middle East Research, Issues Director for the Democratic National Committee’s Campaign 88, and Deputy Director of the Office of Program Analysis in the city of Boston‘s Office of Management and Budget. 
From February 1993 to 1994, Lew served as Special Assistant to the President under President Clinton. Lew was responsible for policy development and the drafting of the national service initiative (AmeriCorps) and health care reform legislation.
Lew left the White House in October 1994 to work as OMB’s Executive Associate Director and Associate Director for Legislative Affairs. From August 1995 until July 1998, Lew served as Deputy Director of OMB. There, Lew was chief operating officer responsible for day-to-day management of a staff of 500. He had crosscutting responsibilities to coordinate Clinton administration efforts on budget and appropriations matters. He frequently served as a member of the Administration negotiating team, including regarding the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.
President Clinton nominated Lew to be Director of the OMB, and the United States Senate confirmed him for that job on July 31, 1998. He served in that capacity until the end of the Clinton administration in January 2001. As OMB Director, Lew had the lead responsibility for the Clinton Administration’s policies on budget, management, and appropriations issues. As a member of the Cabinet and senior member of the economic team, he advised the President on a broad range of domestic and international policies. He represented the Administration in budget negotiations with Congress and served as a member of the National Security Council.
Between Clinton and Obama tenures
After leaving public office in the Clinton administration, Lew served as the Executive Vice President for Operations at New York University and was a Clinical Professor of Public Administration at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. While at NYU, Lew aided the university in ending graduate students’ collective bargaining rights. The Obama administration has maintained that Lew supports workers’ union rights. According to a 2004 report in NYU’s student newspaper, the Washington Square News, Lew was paid $840,339 during the 2002-2003 academic year.In addition to his salary, several hundred thousand dollars in mortgage loans from NYU to Mr. Lew were forgiven by the University.
In June 2006, Lew was named chief operating officer of Citigroup‘s Alternative Investments unit, a proprietary trading group. The unit he oversaw invested in a hedge fund “that bet on the housing market to collapse.” During his work at Citigroup, Lew had invested heavily in funds in Ugland House while he worked as an investment banker at Citigroup during the 2008 financial meltdown. Lew also had oversight of Citigroup subsidiaries in countries including, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and Hong Kong; and during his time at Citigroup, Citigroup subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands increased to 113.
Lew co-chaired the Advisory Board for City Year New York. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institution Hamilton Project Advisory Board, and the National Academy of Social Insurance. Lew is also a member of the bar in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
Deputy Secretary of State
As Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Lew was the State Department‘s chief operating officer and was primarily responsible for resource issues, while James Steinberg, who also served as Deputy Secretary of State during that period was responsible for policy. Lew was co-leader of the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.
On July 13, 2010, the White House announced that Lew had been chosen to replace Peter Orszag as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), subject to Senate confirmation. During confirmation hearings in the Senate, in response to questioning by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Lew said that he did not believe deregulation was a “proximate cause” of the financial crisis of 2007–2008: Lew told the panel that “the problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation,” and after discussing those issues, added that he didn’t “personally know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don’t believe that deregulation was the proximate cause.”
On November 18, 2010, Lew was confirmed by the Senate by unanimous consent.
The $3.7 trillion 2011 budget President Obama unveiled the administration estimated reductions to federal spending deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next decade if adopted and economic assumptions were fully achieved. Two-thirds of the that estimated reduction would come from spending cuts through a 5-year freeze in discretionary spending first announced in Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address, as well as savings to mandatory programs such as Medicare and lower interest payments on the debt that would result from the lower spending. Tax increases are responsible for the other third of the reduction, including a cap on itemized reductions for wealthier taxpayers and the elimination of tax breaks for oil and gas companies. Economist and former financial fraud investigator William K. Black warned that the OMB budget statement prepared under Lew’s direction was “an ode to austerity,” and that austerity would force the U.S. economy back into recession.
Lew meeting with President Barack Obama and the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors
In an op-ed in the Huffington Post, Lew cited top Administration priorities to achieve deficit reduction; including: $400 billion in savings from non-security discretionary spending freezes, $78 billion in cuts to the Department of Defense, returning to the Clinton-era tax rates for the top 2% of income earners, and lowering the Corporate tax from 35% to 25%.
Chief of Staff
On January 9, 2012, President Obama announced that Lew would replace William M. Daley as White House Chief of Staff. Lew’s nomination was followed with criticism after renewed reports that he received over $900,000 in bonuses while working at Citigroup, which had been rescued with $45 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) after losing $27.7 billion, or 90% of its value.
During his tenure as Chief of Staff, Lew was seen as a supporter and top negotiator for a “grand bargain” deal between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, to avoid “Fiscal cliff” sequester cuts and tax increases.
Secretary of the Treasury
On January 10, 2013, President Obama nominated Lew for the position of Secretary of the Treasury. The nomination became the subject of some humorous commentary, due to Lew’s unusual loopy signature, which would appear on all U.S. paper currency for the duration of his tenure; the signature generated enough media attention that Obama joked at a press conference that he had considered rescinding his nomination when he learned of it. Lew later adopted a more conventional signature for currency. The Senate Finance Committee held confirmation hearings for Lew on February 13, 2013, and approved his nomination 19–5 on February 26, 2013, sending his nomination to the full Senate.
During his confirmation hearings before the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley expressed concern that Lew did not know what Ugland House was, though he had invested in it. During his work at Citigroup, Lew had invested heavily in funds in Ugland House while he worked as an investment banker at Citigroup during the 2008 financial meltdown. He had taken advantage of current tax law and his financial allocation in the venture resulted in Lew taking roughly a 2.8% loss, a $1,582 decrease in his investment principal.
On February 27, 2013, the full Senate voted and approved Lew for Secretary of the Treasury 71–26. He was sworn into office on February 28.
Interviewed in a 2010 article, Lew’s former boss on the National Security Council, Sandy Berger, commented that “Lew’s faith never got in the way of performing his duties.” Berger also said that Lew’s commitment to his family was also extremely important, but that Lew “was able to balance the requirements, which was very, very hard – and he was determined to observe his religious traditions.”
A 2011 press release from the Religion News Service noted that Lew also “has extensive connections in the American Jewish community,” and that he might be able to help President Obama “build a more friendly rapport” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jacob Lew.|
- About the Secretary-U.S. Department of the Treasury
- Chief of Staff Jack Lew at The White House
- Works by or about Jack Lew in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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- Collected news and commentary at Bloomberg News
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