Archive for the ‘default’ Category

Can The U.S. Pay Back This Huge Debt?

January 11, 2009

In its battle against the financial crisis, the U.S. government has extended its full faith and credit to an ever-growing swath of the private sector: first homeowners, then banks, now car companies. Soon, President-elect Barack Obama will put the government credit card to work with a massive fiscal boost for the economy. Necessary as these steps are, they raise a worry of their own: Can the United States pay the money back?

By Greg Ip
The Washington Post

The notion seems absurd: Banana republics default, not the world’s biggest, richest economy, right? The United States has unparalleled wealth, a stable legal tradition, responsible macroeconomic policies and a top-notch, triple-A credit rating. U.S. Treasury bonds are routinely called “risk-free,” and the United States has the unique privilege of borrowing in the currency that other countries like to hold as foreign-exchange reserves.

Yes, default is unlikely. But it is no longer unthinkable. Thanks to the advent of credit derivatives — financial contracts that allow investors to speculate on or protect against default — we can now observe how likely global markets think it is that Uncle Sam will renege on America’s mounting debts. Last week, markets pegged the probability of a U.S. default at 6 percent over the next 10 years, compared with just 1 percent a year ago. For technical reasons, this is not a precise reading of investors’ views. Nonetheless, the trend is real, and it is grounded in some pretty fundamental concerns.

Related:
 Europeans Deplore Huge Debts, Spending to Solve Current Economic Crisis
.
 China Losing Taste for Debt From the U.S.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2009/01/09/AR2009010902325.html?hpid=opinionsbox1