U.S. Government Hits Debt Limit on March 16th

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United States Government spends so much money these days that the debt is reaching its ceiling again. Do not expect Republicans put much of a fight up in stopping any raises as they usually join Democrats in governments spending addiction.

Via CNBC

Unless Congress takes action, the U.S. will hit its debt limit on Mar. 16, but would begin taking “extraordinary measures” to finance the government on a temporary basis, according to the U.S. Treasury.
In a Friday morning letter to House Speaker John Boehner and other House and Senate leaders, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that his office will be forced to suspend the issuance of State and Local Government Series securities on Mar. 13 unless the debt limit is raised.

“Accordingly, I respectfully ask Congress to raise the debt limit as soon as possible,” Lew wrote in his letter.

The Congressional Budget Office said this week that if Congress does not raise the federal debt limit, the Treasury Department will exhaust all of its borrowing capacity and run out of cash in October or November, slightly later than a previous forecast.

Why Gas Prices Will Go Back Up

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As crude oil prices have collapsed over the last few months oil producers have taken notice here in the US. Once oil prices reach a certain point, oil rig operators start shutting down rigs because it cost more to run them then what it’s worth in pumping oil.

Oil tycoon Boone Pickens is a guy you want to follow on predictions in the oil market and he just came out with one reason why oil prices will likely go back up in 2015. Robert Wenzel from Economic Policy Journal pointed to this interview for reference:

Boone Pickens was on CNBC this morning and he noted that some 75 rigs have been laid down, out of a total of around 1,500 rigs operating in the US. He expects that another 500 rigs will be taken out of operation over the next few months.

This is a big swing in oil production and something that needs to be monitored along with the strength of the dollar.

Food Chains Hit By Inflation

Inflation is being reported amongst the bigger food chains this past month. This will ultimately lead to higher costs for the consumer.

CNBC reported in Mid August:

“Food retailers like Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Noodles & Company are sounding the alarm on inflationary pressures, raising the question: Is this the start to higher food prices for consumers?

“Official data show inflation only gradually rising for the economy as a whole with the personal consumption index gaining 1.6 percent in June; however, a dozen food companies in the past few weeks have warned steeper price hikes hurt results last quarter.

Prices are rising for several restaurant staples like beef, seafood and cheese. But costs aren’t up everywhere: Grain and vegetable prices, for example, have been declining.

“This morning Red Robin said lower margins, which fell 1.3 percent from the same period a year ago, were mainly due to higher food and beverage costs.

“Noodles & Company, which reported last night, posted a two percent drop in margins due to increased costs. During the company’s conference call, CFO Dave Boennighausen said the cost of goods sold rose 70 basis points last quarter as a result of modestly higher pork, dairy and shrimp ingredient costs, as well as more promotional activity.

“Wholesale food inflation rose 4.2 percent in the first six months of the year, its steepest rise since 2011; however, menu and grocery prices – what consumers are paying – were only up 2.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, in the same period, according to the National Restaurant Association.”

These are striking numbers considering the purchasing power(Economies of Scale) these chains have compared too smaller food retailers. The smaller ones which most refer to as “Mom & Pop” will not be able to keep up as inflation keeps increasing. The consumer is still feeling squeezed on normal groceries going up in price. Eating out is a very easily controlled expense to decrease.