Friday, April 8, 2011

The Real State of the Union in Five Screenshots - April 2011 Update

Back in January, I posted a brief summary of the real State of the Union using just 5 screenshots from United States government data sources.  I thought that it was time for an update since the annual Presidential State of the Union Address is still nearly 9 months away, so here is the March 2011 data including the month-over-month changes where appropriate:

That's an increase of $87 billion from March 1st, 2011.  The Federal debt is now very, very, very close to the  government’s debt limit of $14.294 trillion (as we all know).

2.)   The interest paid on the debt to the penny to March 31st, 2011 for this fiscal year alone:

That's an estimated increase of $189 billion in the deficit for the month of March 2011 alone.  That's up $124 billion more than the deficit in March of 2010.  The deficit for the first six months of fiscal 2011 is now estimated to be $830 billion, up from $717 billion in the first six months of fiscal 2010.  We're not off to a good start!

Average nation-wide home prices have now reached the same level as they were in the first quarter of 2003.  The National Home Price Index fell 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 alone.

While the number of unemployed Americans may be dropping, it is still well above pre-recessionary rates.  As well, the number of layoffs has increased on a month-over-month basis and is stalled at a level that is higher than before the Great Recession:

Despite what some pundits in the mainstream media tell us after a data release and what we hear from Federal Reserve bankers and America's politicians, all is not well on the home front and things, if they are improving at all, are improving very, very slowly.  This could definitely be termed “The Reluctant Recession”.  Reluctant to leave, that is!

Once again, the most critical of these issues is the massive and growing amount of interest owing on the debt since it is already impinging on the federal government’s ability to fund entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. 

Now that both the European Central Bank has increased its interest rates to battle inflation and the People's Bank of China has just implemented its fourth interest rate increase since October 2010, the Federal Reserve may have no choice but to join the party, resulting in an even more painful federal debt and deficit situation.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the debt is scary, and seeing such a large increase (at a rate >1000b$/yr) is even worse.
    Juxtaposing the interest on the debt makes clear that over 1/4 of March's 87b$ debt increase is due to debt service.

    But your housing price data is not an update, it ends at January.
    Also, using that "change from previous year" graph might lead readers to think that prices are falling. They are not - they've stabilized at the 2003 price levels, that had already been carried aloft by the balloon (well above historical real estate investment return) before it burst. Moreover, you ignore residential sales volume entirely (they have been rising, which is why the prices leveled off). Is the middle-class okay? okay enough to keep the bond market viable.

    Unemployment has dropped 1% in 1/2 year - how fast did you expect it to go down?
    Your comment about the number of layoffs increasing is not what your link data shows - layoffs _decreased_ for half a year, but have now stalled at higher level than before the recession.

    Some measure of income disparity ought to be included here, having important implications for the "state of the Union". Maybe you'll incorporate one in future updates.

    Thanks for the read.