As expected, the Senate has cleared the way to confirm Ben Bernanke, invoking cloture by a vote of 77-23. I favor keeping Bernanke as head of the Fed.
The Senate also voted to approve a $1.9 trillion boost in the amount of debt the federal government can take out. The measure passed by a 60 to 40 vote on strict party lines.
The Washington Post notes that this legislation would establish the new limit at $14.3 trillion — equal to about $45,000 for every American. However, a friend finds this figure misleading because it vastly understates the amount per American who actually pays taxes and would likely be held accountable for the bulk of the debt:
The [Post’s] figure — $45,000 per American for 14.3 trillion in debt — assumes 317,777,777 Americans. The census clock is actually at 308,575,000 (rounding up slightly). Knock that down to 285mm to account for illegals, and the per person number becomes [approximately $50,000]. But that’s still not even close to the right way to think about it.
From various sources, it appears the top 10% of income earners pay about 72% of all income taxes, so the top 10% carry 10.3 of the 14.3 trillion. Assume the top 10% is 28.5 million people (close enough, but still too high because it’s population, not tax payers), and we’re at $360,000 a head in debt.
Understated even then (although corporate receipts could ameliorate to some extent), but 8 times as much as the Post’s figure when you start talking about how much this is for the people who actually pay.