Dan Gross and Ezra Klein vs. Reality
Media supporters of President Obama, such as blogger-columnists Ezra Klein and my pal Dan Gross, are eager to dismiss the rise in interest rates as being a negative verdict on the financial soundness of White House economic policies. This is understandable, especially since many of my colleagues seem eager to propel the narrative that the nation’s economic center has moved down I-95 from New York to Washington.
Of course, the notion that a country whose stocks, currencies and bonds are traded in global markets in massive quantities is in complete control of its financial destiny is silly. Wall Street (using the term in the broadest possible sense) matters as much as ever. But they might be a bit right about the bond market. The linkages between rates and budget deficits are murky. Yet policy does matter. Just take a look at a 30-year bond chart and notice how rates peak in 1994 — Nov. 7, 1994, to be exact. That is the day before the congressional midterm elections when the GOP captured both houses of Congress. There was something about balanced budgets, slower government growth, lower capital gains taxes and free trade that the markets liked.