Peter Boockvar puts the latest revolving consumer credit figures in perspective at The Big Picture. Yes, we now have less credit card debt relative to GDP than at any point in the past seven years, but if we are to get back to the levels of past recessions, we're only about halfway on our deleveraging journey.
A new survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling shows that more than one in five U.S. adults do not have a good idea of how much they spend on housing, food, and entertainment. The Fiscal Times reports on the survey results, including the fact that nearly one in three adults say they are spending the same or more than they were a year ago, and the same number report saving less.
The latter would be a concern, specially considering aggregate debt levels in the country have not fallen that much from the peak a few years ago. It could be a host of unemployed turning to their last source of funds as their 99 weeks of unemployment run out. Or, since it happened in December, credit cards could just be a way more people funded their gift shopping. Whatever the case, shorter term it is a boost to an economy that is 70% dependent on consumption – longer term, we’ll have to see a few quarters from now if default rates begin to jump again.
As the Congressional Budget Office reports a record $1.5 trillion U.S. deficit for fiscal year 2011, U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) today introduced legislation to force Congress to dramatically cut spending over 10 years. Corker, who spent the fall delivering a sobering presentation about America's fiscal situation to more than 43 audiences in Tennessee, will announce the bill in a speech on the Senate floor and during a news conference in the U.S. Capitol.The Corker-McCaskill CAP Act is cosponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.). "Washington continues to borrow and spend, and despite the pleas of the American people, there is no end in sight," said Corker in a news release. "As we approach our debt limit of $14.29 trillion and more and more Americans - Republicans, Democrats and Independents – call on Washington to get spending under control and reduce our deficit, I see no better time to change course. What Senator McCaskill and I are offering is a legislative straightjacket, a way of forcing Congress to dramatically cut spending over 10 years. The beauty of the CAP Act is that it imposes fiscal discipline and smaller government, while incentivizing lawmakers to pass policies that promote economic growth." "Cutting trillions of dollars from the federal budget in the coming years won't be easy or painless; it will require backbone and discipline on the part of policy makers and shared sacrifice for the country. I believe Americans will be willing to make short-term sacrifices for the long-term good of our country and demand commensurate actions from their elected officials," continued Corker. The Commitment to American Prosperity Act, the "CAP Act," would put in place a 10-year glide path to cap all spending – discretionary and mandatory – to a declining percentage of the country's gross domestic product, eventually bringing spending down from the current level, 24.7 percent of GDP, to the historical level of 20.6 percent.
Just more pandering to the tea party base. As much as it may pain Ketron to admit it, the fact remains that the House and Senate are our elected representatives for federal matters. If Ketron, et al, want their opinion heard on these issues, perhaps they out to run for Congress. Or, if you really feel that Congress can't make these decisions by themselves, why not create a ballot referendum system so "we the people" can decide on these issues...I'm not sure why Ketron thinks state legislatures have greater collective wisdom than both the Congress and the people of this country.
Joseph F. Furlong, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, stated, “This is an important day for American HomePatient and all of our stakeholders. We believe this transaction provides fair value to our shareholders and resolves the uncertainty caused by the maturing of our senior debt over a year ago. Our Company and its constituents will all benefit from this more stable financial environment as we continue to provide critical services to our patients. At this time, I would like to especially thank our employees for their hard work and dedication and our vendors for their support during the extended time needed to resolve our debt maturity issue.”
Under Spheris’s plan, a trust is created to distribute the proceeds and any other remaining assets. Subordinated noteholders, owed about $133.6 million, and other unsecured creditors will share the trust. They are estimated to recover about 23 cents on the dollar. Lenders with claims of about $75.6 million were already paid in full from the sale, court papers show.Spheris is now officially known as SP Wind Down Inc., following the $116 million sale of its assets to New Jersey competitor MedQuist Inc.