Posts Tagged ‘Debt Limit’

Why the Next Debt Limit Debacle Might be Worse

Congress’s latest flirtation with debt-limit default caused barely a ripple in the financial markets. Rates on short-term Treasuries spiked in early October, before quickly subsiding to more normal levels. The spread between one- and three-year Treasuries temporarily widened, but quickly fell back to a more normal trend. All told, financial markets barely blinked. Unfortunately, the […]

How Washington May Turn June Into Fiscal February

For those of you keeping score, the Congressional Budget Office now figures the next showdown over the nation’s debt limit will occur in March, or maybe as late as May or early June. That means up to six more months of fiscal uncertainty, unless Congress decides to kick the can further down the road before […]

Time to Fix the Budget Process

Congressional negotiators are trying to craft a budget deal by mid-December. Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square asked twelve experts what they hoped that deal would include. My suggestion: it’s time to fix the budget process: Odds are slim that the budget conference will deliver anything big on substance. No grand bargain, no sweeping tax reform, […]

The Illogic of the McConnell Debt Limit Rule

In the aftermath of the recent government shutdown and the painful negotiations that brought the country perilously close to defaulting on government debt, policy experts are searching for a way to avoid a replay of this crisis. After all, the recent congressional agreement only delays the next potential shutdown till January 15 and lifts the […]

One Modest Path to a No-Drama Budget Deal

The conventional wisdom is that next January, Congress and President Obama will be in exactly the same place they’ve been for most of the past three weeks—deep in government shutdown mode. The argument: The recent fiscal battles that ended with last night’s short-term deal to reopen the government and reauthorize Treasury borrowing  buys time but […]

Should We Eliminate the Extraordinary Measures?

You’ve probably heard that Treasury will hit the debt limit on October 17 and soon thereafter it won’t be able to pay all of America’s bills. That second part is true: Congress needs to act soon—preferably before the 17th—so Treasury doesn’t miss any payments. But the first part isn’t: Treasury actually hit the debt limit […]

Latest House Debt Limit Plan Will Accomplish Nothing

Washington may be about to do what it does best–kick the can down the road. House Republicans have tentatively agreed on a plan to extend the debt limit for about six weeks while keeping the government partially shuttered. Their idea: use the shutdown as a stick to get Democrats to negotiate over “pressing problems,” including more […]

It is Never Good When the U.S. Treasury Gets Compared to Brazil

The other day, I was talking to a guy who closely watches Washington for big foreign investors. Like most of us, his clients are struggling to understand the debate over the fate of the debt limit. He told me about one investor who asked whether it would be considered a default if Treasury made its […]

Actually, the United States Has Defaulted

Since the day of Alexander Hamilton, the United States has never defaulted on the federal debt. That’s what we budget-watchers always say. It’s a great talking point. One that helps bolster the argument that default should not be an option in Washington’s latest debt limit showdown. There’s just one teensy problem: it isn’t exactly true. […]

Government Shutdowns Threaten To Become The New Normal

President Obama must continue to refuse to negotiate policy while the government is shut down. If he does not hold firm on this principle, these mindless and grossly inefficient closures threaten to become the new normal. Real shutdowns—and not just vague threats of closures– could well become a standard part of the annual budget process. […]