June 10, 2009

TREASURY AUCTION GETS “tepid response.” Interest rates hit new high.

Is it a “Bogart Moment?”

One thing is certain: Big buyers are losing interest in U.S. government debt. There is a clear upside to this, because of the distance between promised largesse and the issuing of debt to pay for it. As Katherine Mangu-Ward noted earlier, the never-popular American Reinvestment and Recovery Act is less popular than ever. Very little of the ARRA’s funding has actually been committed. In April the GAO estimated that only $49 billion of $787 billion in stimulus funding was committed to be paid by September 30. A Pro Publica article today tracks the relative chump change that has been paid for transportation, supposedly a cornerstone of the stimulus package.

This means theoretically it’s still possible to walk back the stimulus payout, if you can make a political case for it. One way is to use the kind of magic talk politicians love: For every dollar we don’t borrow at 4 percent now, we save almost $1.50 over ten years!

Works for me.

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