The question of whether you should pay off your mortgage is a complex one and everyone has an opinion. Some radio talk show hosts say all debts should be eliminated as fast as possible, including your mortgage. Debt presumes on the future they say. Your ability to pay might be impacted by health, job, or other unforeseen factors.
The barricades are down, the parks, monuments, and museums are open, the pandas are back on TV, licenses, passports, and IRS letters are being issued, and government workers can resume work and consuming. Headlines focus on the futility of the effort and disarray within the Republican Party, with some suggesting ‘civil war.’ Traditional backers from main street to Wall Street are furious with both the Tea Party and the leaders who allowed the derailment. And Democrats are doing their best not to gloat.
These are difficult times for Americans as we watch in disbelief our government’s continued dysfunctionality in the face of impending crisis. The rising shrill of the media and political jabs only make matters worse. We wanted to share some facts we hope will assuage fears and put the current situation in a more realistic context.
Welcome to the Beacon Weekend Reader: Our weekly compilation of interesting articles and videos designed to keep you informed and engaged in the areas of economics, personal finance and life. We hope you enjoy this week’s edition. Please send us your thoughts on this week’s articles and suggestions for future posts. Have a great weekend.
The US economy likely slowed substantially in this current quarter under the weight of political uncertainty. The best clue comes from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who said, “Clearly the fiscal cliff is having effects on the economy,” he said, referring to the combination of expiring tax cuts and scheduled spending cuts set to begin early next month. “This is a major risk factor right now.”
President Obama and Speaker Boehner are back behind closed doors after a week of posturing that moved slightly in the president’s favor toward higher taxes. While the president uses every tool he’s got to pound his tax hike position, Republicans try to hold their coalition together while negotiating publically, so far unsuccessfully, with the White House. However, regardless of some openings in Republican ranks, compromise on a cliff-avoiding measure remains a long-shot with strong ideological anchors firmly set on both sides.
Global investors and credit rating agencies alike are closely watching dramas on two world stages. The first is playing a very small stage with no audience and a limited run. The final curtain call for the Congressional Super-committee to reach their plan for cutting $1.2 Trillion from the federal deficit is just four days away, if you count the 48 hours required by the Congressional Budget Office to score it. The actors are evenly divided between protagonists and antagonists (depending upon your political point of view of course) working from the same economic script. In stark contrast, the second stage
Our nation’s motto was enacted unanimously in 1955 and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The words appear on every denomination of US currency. They are inscribed in stone in the Capital’s main lobby, its southwest entrance, and the House Chamber. Both houses of Congress begin each day with prayer. So, in this time of national crisis, when leadership seems lost, would we and our leaders not do well to seek God’s counsel?
As the clock ticks with little more than a week to go before the August 2 deadline, Democrats and Republicans say they are no closer to a deal to raise the debt limit and cut spending. The latest out is that Obama and House Speaker John Boehner may be close to a deal. Even though details are sketchy, Democrats are critical of it because spending would be immediate and tax increases would come only later, if at all.
In perhaps the most audacious and partisan verbal tempest so far as we approach the looming budget storm, Treasurer Geithner said “what I want to make sure they [italics added, referring to Republicans] don’t do is take us too far into June, take us too close to the edge.” Amplifying those remarks, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said any Republican effort to hold out on a debt-ceiling vote for deficit-reduction measures “could in fact tank the global economy.” He added “it would be foolhardy to play chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States of America.