The 2009 budget deficit could be close to $2 trillion, or 12.5 percent of gross domestic product, more than twice the record of 6 percent set in 1983, according to David Greenlaw, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist. Two weeks ago, budget analysts said the measures might push deficit to as much as $1.5 trillion.
The financial health and earnings prospects of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — seized by the government on Sept. 7 to prevent them from failing — worsened in the second and third quarters, the companies’ government regulator said this week.
On top of all that, budget watchdogs say the sheer size of the interventions is making Washington more profligate than usual. To attract votes in Congress, leaders added several costly items to the $700 billion rescue, including extensions of some tax credits and tax breaks for makers of wooden arrows and stock- car racetrack owners.
Under normal circumstances, there would have been more resistance to such expenses, said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan budget watchdog.
The news sure is not yet getting better. And our failure to act responsibly in good times now seriously increase risk. Just as someone that lived far beyond their means, with excessive debt, debt on multiple credit cards… we have continually elected politicians that had our government live beyond our means for decades. And that means we don’t have the resources to pay for the measures we are talking. For now the world markets are willing to give the USA government more credit cards to finance more spending. But at some point that stops.
At some point the loans have to be paid back. The only options are large reductions in spending, large increases in taxes or just printing more and more money people don’t want to pay off loans (which will cause massive inflation). There is also the possibility of growing our way out of the problems (the equivalent of yes, I have $40,000 in credit card debt but when I make $150,000 a year paying that off will be easy). To some extent this will happen (unless things get very very bad) but the level of economic growth needed is unlikely to fix the problem we make worse every year (as we fall further and further behind). We are now spending huge amounts to money we didn’t save in the good times. That means we are mortgaging even more of our future than we already had before this mess.
Related: Financial Market Meltdown – Warren Buffett Webcast on the Credit Crisis – FDIC Limit Raised to $250,000 – Financial Markets Continue Panicky Behavior – USA Federal Debt Now $516,348 Per Household
Michael Mussa, former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, said next year’s deficit “is certainly going to be well over $1 trillion.”
Although different countries may use different methods, they are all resolved to act as needed, said Youssef Boutros-Ghali, head of the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee. “No tool will be spared.”.
At a Paris summit, the leaders of the 15 countries that use the euro said they would partially nationalize their banks when necessary.