Is Paul Ryan's budget plan a liability for Romney? Or are Dems celebrating too soon? Patricia Murphy, Zachary Karabell, and John Avlon take a closer look at the details.Read More
In case you haven’t noticed, Washington is currently consumed in an acrimonious debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling. There is no agreement about whether to do so or how, but both parties appear to accept the logic that the United States is suffering from an unacceptably high level of government debt and that further debt will doom the U.S. to generations of decline. Judging by polling data, large swaths of the country agree. Nonetheless, that consensus is wrong.Read More
"The United States is not going to default on any obligation. We are not a credit risk, believe me." Calm words, coming from the financial sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett, and words meant to keep the markets calm in the face of mounting hysteria in Washington over the debt ceiling and potential default of the U.S. government. This perception—that Washington may go to the wire on Aug. 2 but that in the end, sanity will prevail—is widely shared on Wall Street and on bourses throughout the world. That is almost as disturbing as the debt mania, because if Buffett and the financial community are wrong, they are wholly unprepared for the consequences.Read More
It’s official: the United States government is overdrawn on its debt limit of $14.294 trillion as of yesterday. Well, not technically overdrawn, as the U.S. Treasury directed by Secretary Timothy Geithner has taken a variety of measures to forestall any actual federal defaults on its operations—which range from keeping the lights on at the Smithsonian to maintaining combat forces in Afghanistan. These accounting sleights-of-hand will delay any actual defaults to early August. But still, after months of inconclusive wrangling by both parties, a new Rubicon has been crossed.Read More
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Remember the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where two men push a wheelbarrow through a plague-afflicted village shouting: “Bring out your dead”? A family heaves a body on to the pile, whereupon it lifts his head and says: “But I’m not dead yet!” One man whacks him with a cudgel and says: “Now you are.” That is the perfect metaphor for the American consumer on the one hand and strategists, commentators and economists on the other.