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.
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.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Protecting Yourself from the Giant New Deficit