6 votes

Trump’s Budget Deal Shows Deficits Don’t Matter Anymore

5 comments

  1. [3]
    ubergeek
    (edited )
    Link
    Deficits only matter if there's a Democrat in office. If there's a Republican, they don't matter. It's been like this since Reagan.

    Deficits only matter if there's a Democrat in office. If there's a Republican, they don't matter.

    It's been like this since Reagan.

    10 votes
    1. frozenplums
      Link Parent
      Dems like it this way so they don't have to keep any promises they make to their constituents. Don't want to upset the donors.

      Dems like it this way so they don't have to keep any promises they make to their constituents. Don't want to upset the donors.

      2 votes
    2. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      Yep - the Two Santa Claus Strategy still seems to be in play. Not sure how it's going to survive a war, economic crisis, or yet another badly spun attack on Medicare and Social Security entitlements.

      Yep - the Two Santa Claus Strategy still seems to be in play. Not sure how it's going to survive a war, economic crisis, or yet another badly spun attack on Medicare and Social Security entitlements.

      1 vote
  2. [2]
    deing
    Link
    [noise] @Deimos would you mind updating the link?

    [noise] @Deimos would you mind updating the link?

    2 votes
    1. nic
      Link Parent
      In case of a paywall, here is the text of the article: By the sheerest of coincidences, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, the world’s benchmark long-term interest rate, topped that of...

      In case of a paywall, here is the text of the article:

      By the sheerest of coincidences, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, the world’s benchmark long-term interest rate, topped that of Greece Tuesday after President Donald Trump and congressional leaders agreed to suspend the debt ceiling until after the 2020 election—and to lift budget caps by an additional $320 billion.

      That comes, if you need to be reminded, as the federal deficit already is expected to reach $900 billion this year and is, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts, headed to over $1 trillion in future years—even before this lift in the budget caps.

      And the reaction in the bond market? Yawns. The Treasury benchmark traded at 2.061%, virtually unchanged from Monday’s close. But the yield on its Greek counterpart continued its headlong plunge, to 2.056%, from over 3.40% as recently as two months ago.

      To be sure, the rally in bonds of dodgy debtors such as Greece says more about the desperate global search for positive returns in a world with $13.29 trillion of negative-yielding debt, per Bloomberg’s tally.

      So much for the now-moribund bond vigilantes, before whom Clinton advisor James Carville famously cowered. Way back in the 1980s and 1990s, they would impose discipline on policies that departed from fiscal or monetary probity by sending bond prices plunging and yields soaring.

      That was then. A decade and a half ago, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush’s vice president, famously declared that former President Ronald “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”

      Cheney was a far better political analyst than a marksman. And nobody has been more aware of the apparent irrelevance of the budget deficit than the self-described “King of Debt,” President Trump.

      Trillion-dollar deficits are all part of his “strategy to turbocharge U.S. economic policy ahead of the next election,” according to Greg Valliere, chief U.S. strategist at AGF Investments.

      “He’s looking like a Keynesian (or a proponent of Modern Monetary Theory) as he agrees to enormous new spending, confirming that neither he nor [National Economic Council Director] Larry Kudlow ever cared about deficits. In private, they dismiss concern about red ink—and why not? There’s an insatiable demand for Treasuries,” Valliere writes in a client note.

      That’s largely because the 2% yields from U.S. debt stick out in a world where German 10-year Bunds yield minus 0.35% as the result of the European Central Bank charging banks interest to park their excess cash there. Only by that standard is Greece’s euro-denominated debt a relative bargain, especially if the ECB fulfills expectations of further policy easing later this year, possibly including the resumption of asset purchases.

      In a world of money for nothing and bips (trader slang for basis points, or hundredths of a percentage point) for free, there is nothing to deter unlimited borrowing. Deficits are headed only in one direction—up—according to NatWest’s Treasury strategy team headed by John Briggs. “There is no party of fiscal responsibility anymore, and I expect that no matter who wins the 2020 election, spending and deficits will only go up more, be it under the guise of MMT or just your standard candy for everyone,” he writes.

      What once passed for satire now is reality. Back in 1978, Saturday Night Live’s Dan Aykroyd portrayed former President Jimmy Carter trying to cope with the economic crisis of the time. His solution: an “Inflation Maintenance Program,” which would send folks cash tax rebates, paid for by printing money. “Since this revolutionary new approach welcomes inflation, our economy will be free to grow, and we can spend, spend, spend! I believe the watchwords for the ’80s should be ‘Let’s Party!’”

      That was a joke some four decades ago. Now it’s called policy. Investors who get the joke are buying gold and mining stocks.

      1 vote