Re: Washington Post on “In Debt” vs. “Insolvent”

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Karen: In my experience, if you let a political writer deal with complicated economics subjects, they will consistently get most things wrong. They rely totally on interviews, and not on any actual knowledge of fiscal and monetary policy, of course. Business reporters are the ones who know something about this, but they’re kept separate from the political reporters who see everything through a lens of electoral politics, and who are blind to larger finance and economics issues.

This article by Hicks is utterly puerile in its level of analysis, since it totally ignores the cost of keeping the price of government debt so low. The Fed is desperate to keep interest rates low so that the government actually can pay its debt service.

And the Fed is only pulling this off by buying up more than half of all new government debt, thus making it appear that there’s a ton of demand for super-low-yield government debt out there. Since the Fed has to buy so much of the new debt to keep up appearances, there is obviously not nearly as much demand for US Debt in the real economy as people like Hicks seem to believe.

How does the Fed buy all this debt? It creates new money. At some point, when inflation takes over, the Fed will have to stop this reckless money creation, the interest rate will rise, and then there won’t be any more pretending that the US government can pay its bills. Or we can have 7 percent growth per annum and we’ll just grow out way out of this! I won’t bet any money on that latter option.

9:25 am on October 24, 2012
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