Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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On The World Wide Web
Track the U.S. national debt in real time. Watch the world debt
levels and a selected state here.
Find the actual public debt on a specific day or date range from
January 4, 1993 to the present at Treasurydirect.gov. From there, click on historical debt outstanding
for fiscal years dating back to 1791.
Looking for something dog related? One site compiles everything
canine on the web so you can find supplies, gifts, breeders, rescue
organizations and much more with a click. Find them here.
Tip of the Week
Seems as if most every product today has an extended warranty
available. Should you invest? Ask yourself a few questions first. If
the product breaks, will you want to get it repaired? Technology
changes so quickly that often an upgrade to a new version is a better
Will the repair cost more than the extended warranty? Ask the
salesman for the cost of a typical repair and decide which is the
better option. What are the chances that the product will break while
the warranty is still in effect? Answering these questions will help
you decide whether the warranty is a good investment or if your money
is better saved for other purposes.
"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish
nothing in life." - Muhammad Ali
Today in History
1873 - Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Rutgers universities draft the
first code of football rules.
Henry Ford was Charles Lindbergh's first passenger in the Spirit of
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ways to increase our customer's security. With Verified by VISA, we
are able to provide another layer of security for on-line purchases
made with a GCF VISA Debit Card. Click for details!
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WE OWE HOW MUCH???
The Treasury Department reported today that $3 Trillion has been
added to our country's national debt in the past two years. Numbers
that large are hard for ordinary people to digest.
National debt is defined as direct liabilities of the U.S.
Government. Our public debt consists of two major concepts. Debt held
by the public includes U.S. Treasury securities held by institutions
other than our government. Gross debt includes intra-governmental
obligations such as the Social Security Trust Fund and Medicare that
our government borrowed from itself.
Debt held by the public is the most important concept as it measures
the cumulative amount outstanding that the government has borrowed to
The U.S. has had public debt since its beginning. The American
Revolutionary War was costly to a fledgling nation. The first
reported value dates back to January 1, 1791 when our national debt
It grew and shrank until President Andrew Jackson's term in 1835
when it went to zero. But it grew quickly soon after to reach $65
million by 1860.
Once again, war proved costly as the Civil War ballooned our debt to
$2.7 billion by 1864. After fluctuating the remainder of the century,
it grew steadily to about $22 billion after World War I.
The trend continued through World War II and the introduction of
social programs by Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. Our nation has
encountered a steady stream of events that must be pursued, despite
the cost. Including recovering from the September 11th terrorist
attacks. All contribute to record levels of debt.
If you run a household, you understand the concept of debt. Should
your expenses exceed your income in any particular month, you need to
borrow money to make ends meet. You'll pull out a credit card to pay
for groceries or gas with the understanding you will pay your bill
the following month.
But the next month finds your credit card bill added to the pile of
obligations that you couldn't meet the month before. You can only
squeeze out enough for a partial payment. Now the interest starts to
build. Your car needs a major repair or illness strikes and your
financial picture got ugly quite quickly. Soon you can only pay the
interest on that debt, leaving the balance to grow.
But a consumer credit card has a limit. Your charging privileges end
until you can pay the balance down. Our federal government has no
Legally, it does have a cap on how deep our debt can go. Yet once
reached, Congress can approve a new ceiling.
Like your home budget, the more debt you are paying off, the less
you can stash as savings. In the case of our country, this means less
money to reinvest in our economy or to refurbish a crumbling
When Social Security was solvent, the government tapped their
account to pay for other federal programs. Those funds cannot be
repaid as intended. As aging baby boomers qualify for benefits, the
money will have to come from somewhere.
The same with Medicare. Those same baby boomers paid into these
systems since they started their working years with the expectation
these benefits would be theirs at the proper time. These benefits
must be honored, with our debt increasing in the process.
Throughout U.S. history, there has always been a budget deficit. The
next generation has always paid for what the previous generation
But today's young workers already know this system won't be
available for them. So the wise ones are taking their future into
their own hands and planning now for their retirement needs. We can't
thrust our burdens onto their shoulders as well.
Budget deficits occur when more money is being spent than earned.
There are only two ways they can be fixed. You can either bring in
more money; i.e., raise taxes, or cut spending.
No matter how high you raise taxes, we cannot eliminate this
deficit. We can't even come close to closing the gap.
Spending cuts are never popular. Politicians will discuss funding
cuts for some of the most important programs. One might wonder if
it's merely to make raising taxes more palatable.
Yet wasteful spending is abundant. Certainly steps can be taken to
eliminate costs without hurting services the needy depend on.
You can make a difference. The mid-term elections are upon us.
Voting is a responsibility to be taken seriously. Learn about the
candidates, don't fall for propaganda in an opponent's negative
campaign. Elect officials who best represent your views, those with
the skills to serve the greater good of the people.
One step at a time, we can recover. The debt will likely be with us
always. But if we can stop the spiral and get it under control, we've
made great progress.
PLAN EARLY FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL
We haven't even costumed the kids for trick-or-treating, do we
really need to think about our holiday plans now?
The answer is a resounding yes. Air fares are expected to rise
compared to last year, and flight schedules are getting trimmed. The
sooner you book your tickets, the better. Or you just may end up
Try to remain flexible with your itinerary. Online travel sites
offer the option to check fares within a date range. You might be
surprised by how much more you'll pay to travel on a Sunday rather
than a Tuesday or Wednesday.
You'll find the lowest fares and most available seats if you can fly
on the holiday itself. Is your family willing to have turkey dinner
on Friday instead of Thursday?
Check alternate airports. The savings are significant if you can fly
into Midway rather than O'Hare when you're visiting Chicago.
The flight you're on might continue to another destination once
you've reached yours, and with it a lower fare. I was booking a
flight to visit family in Cleveland and checked nearby airports. I
found a flight into Pittsburgh for $50 less, but I had to connect
through Cleveland. The identical flight I was considering at the
higher price. My seat went empty on the Cleveland-Pittsburgh leg of
Baggage fees will add to the cost of your flight. And the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) frowns on wrapped
packages in luggage. They will likely unwrap the gifts to confirm
their contents. Save yourself money, time and trouble by shipping
your packages in advance.
You are permitted one small carry-on bag along with a personal item
such as a laptop, briefcase, small backpack, purse or camera case.
Undeveloped film and cameras with film belong in your carry-on bag.
They can be damaged by the screening equipment for checked baggage.
Label your laptop computer with contact information in case you get
separated from it.
Do NOT place jewelry, cash, laptop computers, electronics or fragile
items in checked baggage. Think carefully about the personal items
you travel with, as the screeners will have to examine the contents
of your bag.
Liquids, aerosols and gels are subject to the 3-1-1 rule. You may
carry your liquids in volumes of 3.4 ounce bottles or less packed in
one clear, plastic zip-top bag per traveler. They should be screened
separate from your carry-on baggage. Larger quantities must be packed
in your checked luggage.
Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are permitted in
reasonable quantities above the three-ounce limit. They don't have to
be packed in the zip-top bag but you do have to present them for
inspection at the checkpoint.
Beginning November 1st, new information will be required when you
book travel. You must provide the airline with your full name, gender
and date of birth within 72 hours prior to departure or risk being
denied boarding. Many airlines have already been requesting this
information. This gives TSA officials time to check their no-fly
list. And expected to avoid confusion with someone whose name is
similar to yours that appears on their list.
Expect delays. Your published flight times are longer than the
flight actually takes so you have some leeway. Airlines do this to
boost their on-time performance rating.
Air travel can be stressful. Know what to expect and try to go with
the flow. It's all worth it when you can sit down to holiday dinner
with your loved ones.
Today’s Market Rates
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Up 550.57 or 5.28% since 12/31/09)
(Up 50.80 or 4.56% since 12/31/09)
(Up 167.80 or 7.39% since 12/31/09)
|10 Year Treasury Bond Yield
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