The fake debt crisis and the real investment crisis

Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider produced a graph which shows that Federal interest payments on debt are falling rapidly relative to the size of the economy. That is, the amount of money the government spends paying interest on the Federal debt is far less of a burden on the economy than it was even a few years ago. The debt is big (probably too big) and there is too much debt in the economy as a whole, but there is no crisis - except for Bond Investors who get really low interest rates on US treasuries.(By the way - note that the debt was most troublesome due to Ronald Reagan's Presidency). The Republicans, with their usual flair for just making it up are claiming that the US needs radical cuts in deficits to reassure a bond market that is supposedly alarmed at how much we've borrowed - even though in the real world bond traders are queuing up to buy US treasuries and keep pushing the interest rates down (which is why the graph shows such a drop on the right). The real problem with the economy is that investment money is going into Treasuries (for safety) and wild speculation (in an attempt to find high profits and also to insure against inflation) - but not into the kinds of productive long term projects that the economy actually needs. But if we discussed that, we'd need to talk about Federal subsidy of Wall Street via the way IRAs are structured and Federal protection for commodity speculation and other topics that would make Republicans and Conservadems unhappy.

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