Category: Politics

Sad But True

Marco Arment:

The Tea Party is probably the loudest and most dangerous fringe in U.S. politics today (and that’s saying a lot — both sides have some really whacked-out fringes). But this just shows that the real power in the Republican party is, was, and always be big money. And big money won’t let a debt default happen, because it could be very expensive for them.

Opportunity

The conventional wisdom is that the United States is borrowing too much. But don’t tell that to the markets. As Daniel Kruger reports in Bloomberg, demand for American debt was stronger in 2011 than in any year since 1995. It’s cheaper for the U.S. to finance its debt today than it was when we last had surpluses. For all that Washington is sure we’re borrowing too much, the signal from the markets is that we’re borrowing too little, that they wish we would borrow more.

This is not, to be fair, a bet on America’s economic strength. It’s a judgment about the rest of the world’s economic weakness. U.S. Treasuries are what savvy investors buy when they’re in a canned-goods-and-ammunition sort of mood and they think gold is overvalued. But though that makes the demand we’re seeing more depressing, it doesn’t make it any less real.

The Treasury Department keeps track of something called “Daily Treasury Real Yield Curve Rates.” It’s the actual rate — the one that takes into account expected inflation — at which the United States can borrow. And something amazing has happened to it in the past year. For three-year, five-year, and 10-year treasuries, the rate has turned negative. That is to say, the market is so afraid of losing money in the dangerous, uncertain world out there, that they’ll pay us to keep their money safe for them.

That’s a sad commentary on the state of the global economy. But it’s an incredible opportunity for us.

via Wonkbook.

So Dysfunctional

Congress is patting itself on the back for something it didn’t even do.  Surprise, surprise…

It’s not exactly right to say that congressional leaders cut a deal last night. Rather, they learned that they didn’t have to cut a deal. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) realized it could stretch its resources through the end of the week, which happens to be the end of the fiscal year (yeah, fiscal years end in September). Since Republicans and Democrats have already agreed to a baseline level of funding for the agency in the next fiscal year, there was no need to reach a deal on the funds this week. But let’s be clear about what happened here: It’s not that our legislators averted a crisis. It’s that the crisis averted itself.

via Wonkbook

Republicans Didn’t Get Obama Message

Some in the GOP want to sink the jobs bill even though they like it, report Marin Cogan and Jake Sherman: “House Republicans may pass bits and pieces of President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, but behind the scenes, some Republicans are becoming worried about giving Obama any victories — even on issues the GOP has supported in the past. And despite public declarations about finding common ground with Obama, some Republicans are privately grumbling that their leaders are being too accommodating with the president. ‘Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?’ said one senior House Republican aide who requested anonymity to discuss the matter freely. ‘I just don’t want to co-own the economy by having to tout that we passed a jobs bill that won’t work or at least won’t do enough.'”

via Wonkbook: The question Obama’s jobs plan can’t answer – The Washington Post.