I sure am glad that’s over—that is—the debt ceiling standoff, even though Congress simply “kicked the can down the road.” Maybe next time cooler heads will prevail. Maybe some lessons have been learned, such as The debt limit is out of bounds. The debate next time should be on legitimate budgetary issues, not on the
I fondly remember “the good old days,” when government actually worked much of the time, when a conciliatory spirit was a badge of honor, and tough issues were resolved thoughtfully and with civility. Howard Baker, Tennessee Senator from 1967 until 1985, exemplifies a leader who set the tone for those times. In his day he
It appears the government shutdown will not be resolved quickly; brinksmanship likely will continue, with the focus shifted to the debt ceiling increase, whose deadline has been targeted as October 17.
The way Congress goes about its business is maddening, counter-productive, and basically, a drag on the economy. This week we examine the partial government shutdown and its ramifications.
As St. Augustine spoke of the need for restraint, so also the Fed has spoken of its need to begin restraining its large scale asset purchase program. Though the initial bond-buying program may have helped stimulate demand in 2010 and 2011, keeping it going is now doing very little to stimulate economic growth and employment. In its announcement September 18 the Fed showed that it was as reluctant as the great Saint to implement restraint by tapering the size of its asset purchases; its message was “not yet”. Critics of the Fed believe the Fed’s unconventional program creates economic imbalances, stokes inflation, and provides markets a short-term, unsustainable “sugar high”. The unconventional program will continue, at least for a while. Markets were positively surprised by the announcement.
Labor Day is behind us and fall—usually a volatile period-- is before us. The last weeks of August showed signs of optimism for the economy and as well as a rise in tensions in the Middle East.