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Mexican Officials Aim to Block Contracts for Companies Building Trump’s Border Wall

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - Mar 15, 2017, 11:03 am
Companies Building Trump's Border Wall
National Action Party Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barrón told the country’s senate they should urge the federal government to deny contracts and awards of goods and services to companies that also participate directly or indirectly in the construction of the border wall. (Univisión)

EspañolSome Mexican officials are lobbying hard to prevent United States-based companies assisting in US President Donald Trump’s border wall from working in the country.

National Action Party Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barrón told the country’s senate they should urge the federal government to deny contracts and awards of goods and services to companies that also participate directly or indirectly in the construction of the border wall.

The senator argued Tuesday that the general interest and national security of Mexicans should prevail over the economic interests of individuals that would profit from the controversial border project.

Federal Business Opportunities, a US federal agency, began a public tender for the construction of the border wall last February, which had an estimated value of US $21.6 billion.

 

Some 470 companies, among them Cemex, have reportedly already shown an interest in participating in the work and have been formally registered for participation in the work.

Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Cuevas Barrón said the border wall to be built on the US southern border is a risk to Mexico’s national security and that “the construction of such infrastructure will have a direct impact on the lives of immigrants who cross through our territory in order to reach the United States.”

The senator requested that natural or legal persons “who seek to obtain some kind of benefit derived from any action that is against national interests, and even further endangers the national security of Mexico,” should be treated with a reciprocal generosity from Mexico.

Source: Excelsior

Elena Toledo Elena Toledo

Educator by trade, social-media apprentice, activist for a democratic Honduras, and free thinker. Follow her on Twitter @NenaToledo.

Trillions of Dollars of Debt Has Created New Problems for the U.S.

By: Guest Contributor - Mar 15, 2017, 9:59 am
financial-dollar-swap_1

By Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan As the federal debt has gone from astounding to unbelievable to incomprehensible, a new problem has emerged: The US government is actually running out of places to borrow. How Many Zeros Are in a Trillion? The $20 trillion debt is already twice the annual revenues collected by all the world’s governments combined. Counting unfunded liabilities, which include promised Social Security, Medicare, and government pension payments that Washington will not have the money to pay, the federal government actually owes somewhere between $100 trillion and $200 trillion. The numbers are so ridiculously large that even the uncertainty in the figures exceeds the annual economic output of the entire planet. Since 2000, the federal debt has grown at an average annual rate of 8.2%, doubling from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in the past eight years alone. Who loaned the government this money? Four groups: foreigners, Americans, the Federal Reserve, and government trust funds. But over the past decade, three of these groups have cut back significantly on their lending. Foreign investors have slowed the growth in their lending from over 20% per year in the early 2000s to less than 3% per year today. Excluding the Great Recession years, American investors have been cutting back on how much they lend the federal government by an average of 2% each year. Social Security, though, presents an even bigger problem. The federal government borrowed all the Social Security surpluses of the past 80 years. But starting this year, and continuing either forever or until Congress overhauls the program (which may be the same thing), Social Security will only generate deficits. Not only is the government no longer able to borrow from Social Security, it will have to start paying back what it owes - assuming the government plans on making good on its obligations. With federal borrowing growing at more than 6% per year, with foreign and American investors becoming more reluctant to lend, and with the Social Security trust fund drying up, the Fed is the only game left in town. Since 2001, the Fed has increased its lending to the federal government by over 11% each year, on average. Expect that trend to continue. Inflation to Make You Cry For decades, often in word but always in deed, politicians have told voters that government debt didn’t matter. We, and many economists, disagree. Yet even if the politicians were right, the absence of available creditors would be an insurmountable problem—were it not for the Federal Reserve. But when the Federal Reserve acts as the lender of last resort, unpleasant realities follow. Because, as everyone should be keenly aware, the Fed simply prints the money it loans. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); A century of arguing about how much to increase spending has left us with a debt that dwarfs the annual economic output of the planet. A Fed loan devalues every dollar already in circulation, from those in people’s savings accounts to those in their pockets. The result is inflation, which is, in essence, a tax on frugal savers to fund a spendthrift government. Since the end of World War II, inflation in the US has averaged less than 4% per year. When the Fed starts printing money in earnest because the government can’t obtain loans elsewhere, inflation will rise dramatically. How far is difficult to say, but we have some recent examples of countries that tried to finance runaway government spending by printing money. From 1975 to 1990, the Greek people suffered 15% annual inflation as their government printed money to finance stimulus spending. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Russia printed money to keep its government running. The result was five years over which inflation averaged 750%. Today, Venezuela’s government prints money to pay its bills, causing 200% inflation which the International Monetary Fund expects to skyrocket to 1,600% this year. For nearly a century, politicians have treated deficit spending as a magic wand. In a recession? We need jobs, so government must spend more money! In an expansion? There’s more tax revenue, so government can spend more money! Always and everywhere, politicians argued only about how much to increase spending, never whether to increase spending. A century of this has left us with a debt so large that it dwarfs the annual economic output of the planet. And now we are coming to the point at which there will be no one left from whom to borrow. When creditors finally disappear completely, all that will remain is a reckoning. Antony Davies is an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburg. James R. Harrigan is the Senior Research Fellow at Strata, in Logan, Utah. This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

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