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Why I Will Not Use U.S. Government Data for Three More Years

I have reluctantly concluded that I cannot believe any numbers emanating from the U.S. government. The purpose of this article is to explain why I will not use U.S. government data for three more years. The exception is long-term historical data that is harder to fudge. I remain hopeful that the next occupant of the executive branch will restore integrity to the data. … I am personally heartbroken speaking as someone who has used and relied on this data since 1971.
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The Current State of the Government Debt

The debt-to-GDP ratio is too high. The U.S. is not Greece or Italy — yet. But if we stay on the current path, at some point an auction of Treasury securities will fail in the sense that there will be no bidders from the private sector. The Fed could bail out Treasury by purchasing the entire new issue. But that is a policy choice that the Fed must make. The really scary part of all this is that nobody knows the debt-to-GDP ratio at which an auction will fail. There will be warnings, however. Watch for rising interest rates on TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities).
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U.S. Government Debt

In the not-too-distant past you could find this information pretty easily on the U.S. Treasury Department website. … It took me the better part of two hours to find and assemble the data … And the editing basically involved converting a text table (which was not formatted as a table …) into an Excel workbook. Tedious, boring, and requires a pretty good attention to detail. You think maybe Treasury has something to hide? Continue Reading →