Obama deficit commission is a path to crisis
First, here is a bit from my Reuters Breakingviews column:
President Barack Obama might have stumbled upon a three-step path to financial crisis: 1) admit nation is dangerously in debt; 2) create high-profile deficit commission to find solution; 3) have commission fail. Subsequent market tumult could, of course, force a sudden, dramatic and harsh fix to America’s fiscal ills. But a rush job would be a poor way to solve the country’s long-term financial problems.
The immediate casualty of failure, however, would be the markets. Recall the House’s first vote against the $700 billion bank bailout in September 2008. The Dow industrials fell an unlucky 777 points in a flash. The bill passed two days later when panic set in on the Hill. Failure of the commission would send a frightful message to investors globally who have continued to buy trillions in Treasuries under the assumption hard budget choices would eventually be made.
True, a market jolt would again focus Congress’s attention. But that risks a hasty, ill-considered budget fix such as hiking taxes without a structural reform of America’s social insurance system. That would really be no solution at all.
Me: It’s like there arent’t all kinds of plans to cut spending. But Americans need to decide if they want to close the long-term budget gap through lower spending or higher taxes.