December 27, 2011

Markets don't agree with Washington's debt obsession

Ezra Klein, Washington Post - In Washington, 2011 was all about dangers posed by America’s deficits. Republicans said deficit reduction was priority number one. Democrats mostly went along. But in the markets, the story was precisely the opposite. 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.

No comments: