Closer to the edge
The grand compromise over the budget and debt ceiling was scuttled by the House. So, the expected Republican surrender didn’t emerge yesterday or today. And everyone was so hopeful, too. Anyway, we now move closer to at least a technical default on US Securities, and, as a result, Fitch announced today that the US rating was being put on watch for a possible downgrade.
Chicago-based Fitch, the third-largest of the major debt-rating companies behind Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service, put U.S. Treasury bonds on Rating Watch Negative, which is sometimes but not always a first step before a downgrade. Fitch said in a statement that it still thinks the debt ceiling will be raised in time to prevent a default.
Fitch said the government would have only limited capacity to make payments on the $16.7 trillion national debt after Treasury Department’s emergency measures run out Thursday.
Speaker Boehner did come up with a plan for some sort of House bill, but he abandoned it at the end of today, apparently not having the votes to pass it.
Last-minute protests from conservatives in the House created a day of delay and confusion in Congress’s efforts to avoid a U.S. debt default, as Republican leaders failed to craft a GOP budget proposal that could muster enough votes to pass.
In an embarrassing retreat for House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), House leaders had to cancel plans to bring a GOP bill to the floor for a vote Tuesday night.
At this point, under Congressional rules, I don’t see how a debt deal can be struck that can pass Congress and be signed by the president before the Treasuries emergency actions on the debt run out on the 17th.
The markets are starting to get cautious about all this. There were 3- and 6-month T-Bill auctions today. They didn’t go especially well. The rate for the 3 month jumped 10 basis points, while the 6-month yield rose 9 basis points from last week. Last month’s 4-week auction was weak, as well.
Doom approaches! Or not.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government is calling for a de-Americanized world.
“The world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites,” the commentary said. “Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated.”
“The congressmen are behaving irresponsibly not only for other countries but also for” the United States’ “own creditors,” said Mei Xinyu at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, which has ties to the Commerce Ministry. “They are gambling the U.S. future on their political-struggle interests.”
I don’t know what they’re complaining about. After all, we’re funding a great portion of their defense budget with the interest payments on the US bonds they own, so I don’t see why….oh. Wait. If we default, those interest payments stop. OK. I think I’m beginning to see what they’re so upset about. I imagine our messy democratic maneuverings are also a bit foreign and frustrating to a one-party dictatorship, too.
If only we had a dictatorial, one-party, state here, we could do these things so much more efficiently. Just like Tom Friedman always says.
I like the phrase, “political-struggle interests.” You gotta hand it to those Commies, boy. You just can’t beat ‘em for catchy political sloganeering. “The running dogs of the capitalist-imperialist forces” has always been a favorite of mine.