The budget that isn't

Peter Schiff nails it:  "Whatever the crisis, the real one will be much worse because we did raise the debt ceiling. . . . The debt ceiling is not a ceiling.  We should just call it the debt sky!"   I'm increasingly impatient with stories about the cost of the government shutdown, the danger of default, the "gridlock" in Washington, and all the rest of it.   Yes, it's all unappealing, but it pales in comparison with the alternative, which is a cheerful, cooperative status quo. When a boat is about to go over the falls, a snag in the river is the least of its worries.  I feel more like Michael Walsh at PJ Media:
The GOP is not, in any meaningful sense, a conservative, first-principles, Constitutionalist party — and unless it’s subsumed by the Tea Party, it never will be.  Rather, it’s content to be the lesser half of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party as long as it can collect some of the pork scraps from underneath the table of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Government.  No wonder they keep losing — they like it.
Update:  While Fitch generated some spookified coverage earlier this week by putting the U.S. credit rating on a downgrade watch, the Chinese rating agency Dagong went ahead and made it official.  One big difference between the two, besides decisiveness, is that Fitch blamed its action on "political brinksmanship," as if a soothing compromise could fix the problem.  Dagong, for its part, issued the downgrade after everyone got chummy on a compromise:
[T]he temporary fix of the debt issue would not defuse the fundamental conundrum of the U.S. fiscal deficit or improve repayment ability in the long-term, but could trigger defaults at any time in the future. 
"The deal means only an escape from a debt default for the time being, but hasn't changed the fact that the growth of government borrowing has largely outpaced overall economic growth and fiscal revenues". . . .
Who care what China thinks?   Admittedly I don't look to a Communist regime for economic wisdom.   On the other hand,
Dagong estimated that the U.S.'s foreign creditors could have suffered an estimated loss of $628.5 billion between 2008 and 2012 due to a weakening of the U.S. dollar. 
China, sitting on the largest stockpile of foreign exchange reserves in the world, is the biggest holder of U.S. treasuries.
For now, China seems not to have much choice but to invest in U.S. treasuries.  It will be interesting to find out what happens when that changes.

1 comment:

RonF said...

China is the largest single holder of U.S. Treasuries, but according to the last article I read it only holds about 6% of total Treasuries.

What ARE China's alternatives, anyway? Whose economy is more stable than the U.S.'s and has sufficient liquidity to sell China any significant number of bonds?