MacroScope

Uncle Sam Wants YOU: To Help Pay Off His Debts

Worried about the growing debt? You can help. In a little-known cranny of the Treasury’s website, the government asks for the help of everyday Americans in repaying the total public debt, which it tallies at a startling $11.3 trillion (or 80 percent of GDP).

In a section called “Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It,” Uncle Sam provides advice for those looking for the tip jar.

“How do you make a contribution to reduce the debt? Make your check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and in the memo section, notate that it is a Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public.”

And cc us if you do make a donation.

Need a job? Try AIG.

Need a job? AIG needs workers and the money is good.

American International Group CEO Edward Liddy was under the klieg lights Wednesday for paying $165 million dollars in retention bonuses to employees who are “winding down” the company’s notorious Financial Products division, known as AIG FP.

Liddy said he knew the company would be attacked for paying the bonuses, but he decided it would be better to pay them because the firm needed workers who understood the complex transactions on AIG FP’s “book” to make sure the contracts could be closed out.

Many lawmakers wanted AIG to fire everybody working for AIG FP and hire new ones to close the AIG FP unit.  But Liddy said it wasn’t that easy.

Thanks Uncle Sam!

It’s good to have a rich uncle. Until he runs out of money.

Thanks to a big jump in government spending, the U.S. economy didn’t shrink quite as dramatically as expected. While investors breathed a sigh of relief over the relatively modest 0.3 percent decline in third-quarter GDP, a look behind the numbers shows the main pillar of the economy crumbling.

Real disposable personal income — the extra money in consumers’ pockets that keeps cash registers ringing — fell 8.7 percent, the biggest decline since quarterly records started in 1947.

Considering that consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, that’s a scary number. So why didn’t GDP fall off a cliff? Government spending was up 5.8 percent, the biggest jump since the second quarter of 2003, which was right after the start of the Iraq War.