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    IRS-Gate: The Potential Criminal Implications

    With the announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder of a criminal investigation of the IRS over the agency’s targeting of conservative Tea Party and other groups, a key question that has arisen is: What are the relevant federal criminal laws that might apply to the misconduct of IRS employees? There … More

    One of America’s Biggest Exports: Treasury Securities

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recently released statistics on U.S. exports for January, but failed to mention of one of the biggest U.S. “exports”—federal Treasury securities. In 2012, the government financed its deficit spending by selling $382 billion in Treasury securities to foreign buyers. To put that in perspective, … More

    China Is Not Our Banker

    China has fallen behind Japan as the largest foreign holder of U.S. securities. The Department of the Treasury’s new numbers are good only through June 30, 2012, but it puts Japan at $1.84 trillion and China at $1.59 trillion. There are lots of things to say about this, but one … More

    The Curious World of Jack Lew, Treasury Secretary Designate

    President Obama has nominated White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to succeed Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Lew could be in for some tough questioning. For better or for worse, the Secretary of the Treasury stands at the center of the U.S. financial system simply by virtue of the … More

    Morning Bell: Don't Raise Debt Ceiling Without Balancing the Budget

    All across America, families are balancing their budgets and even paying off debt. Since the financial panic of 2008, personal debt has fallen as Americans tighten their belts and pay back loans. Some, unfortunately, had to declare bankruptcy because their debts got too big. Washington cannot declare bankruptcy; it must … More

    Debt Ceiling: Default Not at Issue, Federal Spending Is

    President Obama is expected to make his case for a debt ceiling increase at a press conference this morning. The development comes as House Republicans are reportedly weighing “default” and “government shutdown.” While it’s encouraging that conservatives are gearing up for a fight, it’s important that policymakers and the public … More

    Chinese Money Mysteries Solved

    The Wall Street Journal this week observed that money is leaving China. It has been doing so off and on since the economic crisis began, and during the last 18 months the amount of gross outflow may have been as much as $300 billion. This, however, sounds more important than … More

    Another Day, Another Default: Postal Service to Miss $5.6 Billion Payment to Treasury

    In August, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) failed to pay $5.5 billion due to the Treasury Department to fund health benefits for its retirees. This Sunday, USPS will miss a second payment to the Treasury, this time for $5.6 billion. This second default is no surprise; the USPS just doesn’t … More

    Budget Deficits vs. Exports

    The federal government recently announced that it is expected to run a budget deficit of more than $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. One often-overlooked result of these large budget deficits is their negative impact on U.S. exporters. Sales of U.S. Treasury securities to foreigners are not counted as … More

    Fannie and Freddie: The Bailout Continues

    U.S. taxpayers were reminded on Friday (and again this morning) that our long national Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nightmare is far from over. On Friday, Fannie Mae requested another $5.1 billion in aid from the U.S. Treasury to keep its capital at acceptable levels, which would bring the total … More