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Entries Tagged as 'debt'

And the Super Winners Are…

November 22nd, 2011 at 12:00 pm 42 Comments

“Winners and Losers” headlines abounded after the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSC) whimpered to an end.

One of the most interesting analyses was in The Hill, malady written by Bob Cusak, although we disagree with some of his picks.

Here is our analysis. “and, the winner is…the Democrats!”

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Will the Super Committee Act Out of Fear?

October 7th, 2011 at 5:30 pm 6 Comments

“Messiness” has been a prime characteristic of legislation since the days of Solon. So, cheap the mess surrounding the operations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and Congress’ “work” on a jobs bill shouldn’t surprise anyone. What does always seem to surprise observers almost every single time is when the messiness turns into legislation.

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Is Daniels’ Jobs Warning A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

September 20th, 2011 at 12:55 pm 6 Comments

I’ve been reading through Gov. Mitch Daniels’ new book to see if he has anything to say about the current jobs crisis that America is in. The early results are a little disappointing. The first third of the book is focused on long term debt, the middle is focused on his time as governor, and the final section deals with his proposals to reform the tax code.

There are worthwhile thoughts in this book, it’s just unclear how immediately relevant those thoughts are. Yet there was a section that did touch on jobs, and that was Daniels’ discussion about Unemployment Insurance (UI).

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Huntsman Goes All in For Ryan

September 1st, 2011 at 12:50 am 15 Comments

While watching Jon Huntsman give his remarks on his jobs plan, I paid attention to how his speech described the existential threat of US debt.

Huntsman made clear he supports a Balanced Budget Amendment because “our debt is immoral and should be unconstitutional.” During a question-and-answer session, he added that the debt had to be controlled or it was going to “metastasize and kill this country.”

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The Downgrade Rally

David Frum August 8th, 2011 at 3:30 pm 49 Comments

The bond market has reacted to the S&P downgrade of US debt with a big rally in US Treasuries. As I write, the US government can borrow money for 10 years at about 2.3% and for 2 years at under one quarter of a point. The market wants to buy, buy, buy US debt.

What the market wants to sell are stocks:  ie, claims on the future earnings of private-sector companies.

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Who To Blame for Defense Cuts?

August 1st, 2011 at 4:17 pm 62 Comments

Unlike David Frum, stuff I don’t blame the Tea Party for a budget deal that promises, seek ultimately, ampoule to:

(a)   gut the defense budget;

(b)   seriously limit America’s ability to project military power; and

(c)   undermine our national security.

The Tea Party, after all, isn’t interested in cutting the defense budget; it’s interested in containing our crushing debt burden, which is caused by explosive growth in entitlements, not defense.

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WSJ on Debt Crisis: Reject Reality

David Frum July 28th, 2011 at 10:37 am 115 Comments

I used to write editorials for the Wall Street Journal myself, 20 years ago now.

So I’m well aware of the challenge faced by those assigned to compose these documents. The strict demands of the paper’s ideology do not always lie smoothly over the rocky outcroppings of reality. It can take considerable skill to match the two together.

In that regard, this morning’s lead editorial about the debt-ceiling crisis is a true masterpiece.

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How to Profit From the Debt Apocalypse

David Frum July 28th, 2011 at 12:51 am 18 Comments

Those inclined to speculate can buy credit default swaps on US debt. Warning: the price has already reached a record high, illness reports the FT.

How to Protect Your Finances in a Default

David Frum July 26th, 2011 at 8:19 am 45 Comments

Six months ago I thought a federal default unthinkable. Default now seems all too sadly possible. How can individuals protect themselves from the economic consequences of a worst-case scenario?

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Boehner Shows Leadership in Debt Negotiations

July 11th, 2011 at 10:57 am 120 Comments

Let’s have some genuine applause for John  Boehner’s leadership: his acknowledgement that a smaller debt deal makes sense does seem to allow a path to avoid default and, ampoule simultaneously, click lets the Republican Party make the best of the politically disastrous decision to play with the debt limit.

The decision to bring up the debt issue in the first place was a no-win situation for the GOP. Under the initial plan, Republicans could either get real debt reduction by coming up with a plan that the administration and Senate Democrats want—modest spending cuts and big tax increases—or force default on the debt and thereby cause an even more serious recession. A modest plan that puts aside the “trillions” in cuts that Boehner once promised allows for a “plan C”: a package of spending cuts that can get Democratic votes and a Presidential signature in return for a short-term debt limit increase. Even better, from a rank-and-file point of view, such a plan could let many members stake out a position to the right of their own leadership and get away with it.

The real losers for real leadership may be Boehner and the rest of his leadership team. He’ll have to bring to the floor a package that, most likely, will pass only because Democrats will support it. The Democrats who support it will get kudos from the business community and, given the way such things work in Washington, whatever they want from the White House. (Want a regulation to benefit a big local employer? The President showing up at your next fundraiser? Some tax breaks for your friends? Senate consideration of a pet proposal? Step right up.)  Republicans will have many fewer favors to offer but will still have to twist arms. For every Republican “no” vote that pads his or her majority in a right-leaning “safe” seat and fends off a Tea Party challenge, another member in a less-safe Republican district will be stuck casting a “no right way” vote. Meanwhile, Democrats will get the credit for being the ones who favor a big-time deficit reduction package without actually having to vast a vote in favor of the painful choices it will involve. It seems quite possible that Boehner will face a semi-serious challenge to his leadership at some point: it probably won’t succeed but it could well lead him to decide to cut his career short.

Is this “Plan C” better for the GOP than any alternative currently on the table? Quite possibly.  Does Speaker Boehner prove his leadership bona fides by bringing it up? Yup. Is it a real political winner? Not at all. But, once the debt ceiling debate began, no Republican alternative ever was.