Getting Your House in Order as the Government Destroys It

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 06-02-2010

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We are trying to recover from a debt driven bubble, and Americans are cleaning up their personal debt. The problem is the government is borrowing 700% more than people are paying off. Makes you wonder why you should even get your house in order, when the government is mortgaging our futures away.

For every dollar in debt that Americans have paid off since they started cleansing their balance sheets in mid-2008, the U.S. government has borrowed more than $7. All the hard work by consumers to replenish their piggy banks may be for naught if big government budget deficits play havoc with the economy.

Last week’s federal budget didn’t provide much solace. The Obama administration projected that the federal debt could double over the next decade, prompting Moody’s Investors Service to warn that the pristine AAA credit rating of the U.S. “could come under downward pressure.”

Investors need to account for the burgeoning federal budget deficit as they save for retirement, college tuition or homes. Uncle Sam’s borrowing binge could set off a surge in inflation and push down the dollar, both of which would erode the value of savings. It could also push interest rates higher, hammering the value of the more than $1 trillion in Treasury bonds owned by households directly or through mutual funds. Income taxes, already set to rise, might have to climb further to help close the government’s budget gap.

The result could be what Laurence Siegel, director of the Research Foundation of the CFA Institute, calls a “triple whammy” of weak economic growth, higher inflation and higher tax bills. Inflation itself is a kind of tax; by driving up prices of assets like stocks and real estate, it triggers bigger capital-gains tax bills even when the assets barely keep pace with the higher cost of living.

via Protecting Yourself From the Giant New Deficit – WSJ.com.

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